Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner

Do Any Custom Builders Actuall Build Anything??

5515 Views 49 Replies 29 Participants Last post by  Thylacine
Yes that's sarcastic!

However it's true from my point of view. I've contacted a dozen small builders over the last three months and only heard back from one. Frustrating to say the least! I have money in hand and didn't mind waiting but if I can't even 'get in the que' what's the point. Clearly some of these guys are busy...busy enough apparently not to have to sell another frame...but is it that hard to answer the phone? return a phone call? answer an email?

Perhaps this is the sign that I should just build it myself. I guess all I really need is a few more tools and a tubset.

In the meantime I guess I'll give the boys at Waterford a call and get a more traditional frame. They always hook me up right!
1 - 20 of 50 Posts
I found email to be the best and quickest. They can respond at any hour without worrying about me being at work or asleep. Fred at Wolfhound got back to me within 48hours while answering all of my questions. Maybe someone to add to the list if you are still in the looking phase.

Both responded to my emails and were very helpful but I decided to stay with my current ride
Shayne said:
I've contacted a dozen small builders over the last three months and only heard back from one.
And who are they?
I'd Rather Not Say

Mostly because I know some of them read this site and others are close friends of regulars here....and I dont want people getting back to me out of guilt or for good pr.

I will say that most (75%+) are regularly discussed/mentioned on mtbr and seem to be held in high regard.
Carl (Strong) responds to my emails

within 24 hours, he's on the otherside of the world and always takes time to respond even if I'm just telling him where I've been riding or what I've been doing.
Two Words

Carl Strong*

*best time is early Mountain Time, like 8:00-9:00
hey, it's summertime. they're out riding. call in the winter if you want a new bike.....
i'm going to have Carl Strong build a bike for me later on this year, first and only time contacted him i got his e'mail back within one day !
the same with JJ.

I initially contacted Blacksheep last winter, and he has a guy whose job is supposedly to take care of sales. Heard nothing from the sales guy or from James. Carl Strong got my business.
Sherwood at ventana

Everytime I call with a question I talk to Theresa and then she forwards me to sherwood who is happy to talk tech with me.
He does custom work as well and with great turn around.
Their customer service is the best. Check the ventana board.
Sherwood at ventana

Duplicate post.
I Would Add to the...

Carl Strong tally. I just traded a Rick Hunter Cross rig for a Strong 29er. i had some questions and while I was somewhat hesitant to bother the guy about a frame I didn;t buy, he has been incredibly willing to answer everyone of my half dozen e-mails very promptly. Thats going the extra yard in my opinion. If I like this 29er thing, I am going to have one built to fit next spring and Carl is already at the top of the short list just based on my experiences over the last two weeks!!
Walt Wehner

Walt always responds to my emails within a few hours -- not even 24. I sent him one on a Friday afternoon at like 5pm EST and he had responded by the time I checked email that evening. took Doug a week or so to get back to me when I was trying to get with on a frame earlier this year. (sorry Doug if you read this, but it's true). Honestly, that's why I stopped writing / calling.

Shayne, I'll agree with you to a point. If I'm calling so I can give you $1000 to build me a bike, then you can spend the couple dollars and a few minutes of time to talk with me. At least respond to an email and say I'm busy but I got your message. I do understand that these guys are busy trying to make a living just like the rest of us. My philosophy with bike folks is simple: I come to you not neccessarily for the bike you have, but your customer service. That's what sets shops apart, that's waht sets builders apart, IMO.

That's why I like Walt. (btw, Walt, I got the new fork yesterday! thanks!)
See less See more
Geez, you can chat to us via AIM, iChat or Skype right now. Order a pizza, jump on the computer, have a chat about the prospect of a new custom ride....doesn't get any easier.

The problem with the guys who are trying to do everything themselves, is that you spend all day building, then attempt to answer a barrage of e-mails after dinner, and find some time inbetween to actually design bikes. Then the wife says "You're not spending enough time with the family".....yadda know how it goes.
To do customer service right takes a lot of time and a lot of people skills, and there's a big gap between doing everything youself and affording to pay someone else to do all the other stuff, like keep customers.

Another issue I find out there is that customers have increasingly higher expectations, but many don't want to pay for it. Designing other bike parts for other clients, the going rate is anywhere between 80-120 bucks an hour. With the 12 AIM sessions, half a dozen phonecalls, 10-50 e-mails and 2-4 design revisions we do for each client, (and that's before a tube is even cut) there's no way you can give the level of service and quality we think is worth having for bottom dollar.

You pay peanuts, you get monkeys as they say, and monkeys aren't that great at using computers or answering phones. I mean, their fingers are much too fat to begin with....
See less See more
when i went bike shopping i contacted thylacine, kish, blacksheep, IF, seven & desalvo. every single one of them got back to me within a reasonable amount of time. two of them, thylacine & IF, got back to me during a weekend.

i'll happily admin that thylacine got my business because of warwick's customer service. he is 100% accurate when he describes the massive amount of communication between him and his clients. i have a mountain of AIM logs and dedicated email folder full of replies as proof.

my bike will be in my hands within the next few weeks so if you're interested in pictures or would like to chat just shoot me a PM.

also, i know you said this have been over the last 3 months but keep in mind that the last 3 months is probably the busiest time of year for bike builders. at least one's in the northern hemisphere.

Hey Warwick!
Right on. You are the only person that got back to me.
Oldschool Welding, Riverside CA.
(951) 956-9498

[email protected]


See less See more
rickthewelder said:
Oldschool Welding, Riverside CA.
(951) 956-9498

[email protected]
So... are you saying that you are offering up frames Rick?
What are you charging for the hardtail?
1 - 20 of 50 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.