Bike Setup: I chose to have my TET frame powdercoated at Rainbow Graphics in Cedar Rapids - Good job for $150 and VERY durable - many colors and effects to choose from
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: July 22, 2011
Strengths: Custom fit. Tube choice.
Weaknesses: Finishing: welds look amateurish and are over-penetrated; tubes rusted; fittings corroded and painted over.
As custom-welded framing goes, this is a lame product. Last fall I contacted Teesdale about a frame, and dealing with him was pleasant; we discussed the build, tubes, my purposes for the bike, and he generated a professional rendering. So far, so good. Put down the deposit and he became more difficult to contact. The frame was slow in coming. He *did* find the color I wanted, and I appreciated that.
When the frame got to my local shop, the guys wouldn't build it until I'd seen it in person. The welds were (are) like cottage cheese--lumpy, over-penetrated, etc.--amateurish. Assembly-line welding from Asia is significantly better. The tubes were rusty. The fittings were corroded and covered in paint. **The frame could not be built as delivered.** The shop essentially had to finish the frame to build it, which is *not* what I expect when paying a premium for a custom frame (I have other custom frames, and I don't agree that since it was "only" $900 for a frame and fork I should expect to have to pay more to have it finished). The paint was thin and even non-existent behind some of the fittings. To his credit, Teesdale took it back for a repaint.
When it came back, the paint was chipping off on edges everywhere, and was soft enough to peel off with a fingernail even after 6 more weeks of curing (>check youtube for a video<). The decals were simply paper stickers over the old ones, with a clearcoat. The paint was cluttered with inclusions. Over the next many weeks I tried to discuss a compromise on this frame that simply didn't meet expectations. The most Teesdale offered was to cover the paint cost, but that was months ago, and he neither comped the cost, nor replies to e-mails. The phone number on the invoice is out of service.
Does the bike *work*? Wal-Mart bikes *work*, but that's not the point when you pay top dollar for a custom frame; you expect it to rise at least to the level of factory product, and it doesn't. Was I patient and polite? Too much so. I wanted to support an Iowa builder, but there's no way I can do that now, and despite the impression TET's website gives, this is NOT going to be a frame you'll show off to your biking buddies as your big purchase--it's embarrassing to have paid for it. There are too many builders out there to choose Teesdale.
from Cleburne, Texas, USA
Date Reviewed: October 14, 2010
Strengths: Tom's frames are second to none. The TIG welds are prefect. He offers a wonderful drawing of your frames specifications in the planning stage-- these 'blueprints' are wonderful and he is easy to work with if you want adjustments to the design, etc. My Cyclocross bike is a Teesdale frame-- fits perfectly and the True Temper OX Platinum tubing is much improved over the tubing of 10 years ago. I'm 6'6" and a custom frame is mandatory. Tom's prices are very reasonable, and the frame is perfect.
Weaknesses: Well, Tom's paint jobs are fine, but you may not get the precise color you want. Also, wait a bit for the paint to harden nicely before building. The decals are very nice and understated. People who are obsessed with paint colors and fancy paint jobs might be disappointed. I actually really like the color Tom chose for my cross bike.
At this point, I will only buy Teesdale frames. They are the best value for money you will find. If you want fancy lugs,luxury paint jobs, or that sort of cosmetic stuff (high dollar) you might look elsewhere. But if you are looking for the best Tig frames anywhere-- write to Tom. He will get it right. He also delivers your frame fast-- just a month or even less in my experience. My frame with True Temper Platinum OX cost me about 850.00 dollars. I've just ordered a road race frame that will use 200cm crank arms-- no problem for Tom. I've just reviewed the 5th drawing and given it the thumbs up. Now he will work out what sort of tubing is best for my riding style, etc. This is a full custom service second to none. Just order one, you will love it.
Similar Products Used: Zinn custom frame (overpriced and it cracked inside of two years) Mercian custom (631 tubing-- nicely done but not as nice as the Teesdale in terms of weight and options for design). Harry Quinn custom (it broke after 2 years). Dave Russell custom (it broke after 2 years).
Bike Setup: For cross racing I use a single front ring with a ten speed rear cassette and SRAM bar end shifter. The frame is a 66cm with a 180mm crank. I had Tom lower the top tube about 3cm too. With tubular cross tires this thing handles perfectly. It's relatively light, as well, for such a large frame.
a Weekend Warrior
from Lynchburg, VA
Date Reviewed: January 8, 2003
Strengths: Comfort, response, fit, finish
Weaknesses: Out of saddle climbing
This frame was total custom, in particular steep seat angle for my "non-LeMond" legs (75 degree) and low BB height (copied from the lowest practical I could find, 10" from Rivendall). With the specs given the frame performs exactly as Tom stated. I did not want a harsh ride and Tom speced the tubes accordingly. Out of saddle climbing is not on par with the OCLV trek, but the fine ride of steel is uncomparable. Reasonably light 3lbs 9oz for a 57cm frame.
a Cross Country Rider
from east coast
Date Reviewed: February 27, 2002
Strengths: 1. Awesome ride feel 2. Build quality looks great 3. Tom was fabulous to work with 4. Order to shipping took just 2 weeks! 5. Frame arrived EXACTLY as spec'd and exceeded all expectations
Weaknesses: painted not powdercoated
I am totally blown away by everything having to do with this frame. The comfort level is beyond anything I've ever experienced, yet it also feels like the fastest steel hardtail I've ever ridden -- faster than a lot of alu rigs too.
Tom was as awesome as could be to work with on this project.
EVERY single detail was exactly as it was supposed to be. The paint application was first rate, but it does not have the durabilit of powdercoat. Powder would be nice and I think Tom should consider sub-contracting such work for his frames in order to add value. However, for what I got for the price this frame could have had no paint at all and I'd still be delighted. A truly great frame and a truly great builder.
a Cross Country Rider
from Sacto, CA
Date Reviewed: July 13, 2001
Strengths: Light, strong, beautifully welded and painted frame. Comfortable, high end boutique quality ride with good acceleration and nimble handling.
Weaknesses: None that I can find.
Without question, this bike is a beautifully built piece of art. The welds, paintjob, and finishing are all first rate. I've had the opportunity to carefully compare this bike to a Serotta CSI and a Specialized Allez M4 (my brother's rides), and it ranks right up there with both of them. The CSI has a slightly smoother ride, but the acceleration on the CSI doesn't seem quite as quick as the Teesdale. The Allez seems a bit faster off the line, but the comfort level doesn't really compare to the Teesdale. It's really half a dozen of one....take your pick, but the Teesdale is unquestionably a first class ride to compare with any high end bike. Tom's frames easily compare to anything built by Rich Sachs or Della Santa (and I'd certainly put it up against a Serotta, Seven, Litespeed, etc.) but unfortunately Tom lacks a national reputation to match the quality of his frames. This is a problem that I hope Tom can soon correct, but for now, it's a great advantage to anyone looking for a great value on a beautiful frame, as an 853 Teesdale road frame can currently be had for less than half the cost of what you'd have to pay for a frame from a more well know builder.
Similar Products Used: Serotta CSI, Specialized M4 Allez, Bianchi Celeste
Bike Setup: Reynolds 853 steel frame, full Dura Ace group, Cane Creek C2 headset, Kestrel fork, Mavix aero rims with semi-radial flat spokes, Specialized Team Turbo tires, San Marco Due Race saddle, Ritchey Pro stem.
a Cross Country Rider
from Asheville, NC
Date Reviewed: July 13, 2001
Strengths: nice welds
Weaknesses: everything else - the CHEEEEEPEST PAINT JOB EVER!!!!!
Went for the custom thing and thought I was getting a good deal - this guy seemed reputable and was offering a custom frame with decent tubing off rec.bicycles.marketplace. His website would have you believe that he is an extremely accomplished and professional frame builder - well I beg to differ. While he was fantastic to deal with initially, allowing me to spec anything I wanted, when it came to painting the frame he did not get the color I had specified. Even though it was a custom color hard to match, I gave him 2 back up colors, neither of which he used and chose his own shade of blue for the paint job. Moron that I am I accepted it and paid for the frae upon arrival. Upon inspection I found that the top tube was 1/2 in too short and the paint job was really bad - dirt and dust under the clear coat, paint chipping off on the cable guides while inserting cables into the cable guides while building up the frame, and literally falling off on rides - there is no durability to this paint whatsoever. Typical scratches that occur in the course of normal riding end up coming off in dime and nickel size chips and I'm constantly touching up the paint and covering places up with stickers. Needless to say, when I first experienced these problems I tried contacting Tom - he did not reply to any of my emails nor would he accept the certified letter I sent him. I feel at the least that I'm owed the cash for a decent durable paint job - I don't have the time or energy to sue him across state lines but I've been fming about this for months now and figure I might get a response from him if I let the world know he does not stand behind his work - the paint job cannot stand up to any sort of mtb riding at all - it will not last more than a year before I'll probably have to have the entire bike repainted (whiel I spend and hourretouching EVERY WEEKEND) Teesdale SUCKS!
Wow, what a bike. I have less money invested in this custom framed bike that most people spend on an ultegra cookie-cutter bike from the LBS. The ride is unreal - It's the perfect blen of the cush of the OCLV, and the responsiveness of the Ti frames. Weight is great - The bike with Ultegra weighs 20.25 lbs. Keep in mind though that I'm running an olde, heavier wheelset. On climbs, the BB absolutely doesn't budge, and this is a feat for me - I'm 210 lbs. It moves less than my Crack-n-fail does. The bike is really responsive in a hard sprint too... It accelerates like a scalded dog. It's very similar to my aluminum cannondale overall, with exception in the harshness dept. It's sooo smooth on stutters and rough road...Tom Teesdale was a joy to work with. He was extremely punctual with getting my order to me, and seemed genuinely psyched about building a custom frame for me. It's clear that he truly loves his art. I'm a changed man... I'll never buy another production bike again, most likely. Custom all the way!!!If you want to see a picture of my ride, go to www.tetcycles.com and click on the link to the picture page at the bottom.