View Full Version : custom bike -- any recommendations?

07-28-2003, 02:12 PM
Life is short. And so am I. I've given up on trying to get stock bikes to fit, so I'm thinking of a custom bike where I can have the fit I want with the frame materials I want.

I'm a squish under 5'1" and very short waisted. That means I have a very short torso. I also have small hands. I'm fussy about fit.

Right now I'm riding a 43 cm Cannondale R800. It's as good as it can be. The fit is not bad after a whole lot of tweaking here and there with saddle, bar and pedal position. But I think a carbon or high quality steel frame might be a sweeter ride.

Anybody have any experience with custom road bikes, especially for shorter folks? I don't race, but I ride a lot recreationally, maybe 100-200 miles a week in season with at least one long trip a year. I'm planning to do a cross country trip within the next 5 years. This will be my bike for the next 15 years.

07-28-2003, 02:56 PM
I love my Ramboullet from Rivendell. It's not a custom frame, but they will make them for you. The only person to complete the staff ride of the Devil Mountain Double (200 miles, 20,000 feet of climb) was on a Riv custom bike. It took her about 18 hours to ride and she was as happy as clam! Don't know for sure how tall she was, but certainly shorter than me. I'd guess about 5'2".


07-28-2003, 06:32 PM
Titus makes some pretty small bikes and will do custom sizing, too. Independant Fabrications is another custom bike maker (www.ifbikes.com) and boy do they have some SWEET paint jobs! Almost puts Kleins to shame :)

Good Luck in your search!

07-29-2003, 05:27 AM
Habanero does customs also, they do a great Ti hardtail, and road bikes too.


07-29-2003, 08:45 AM
If you're willing to spend some money, check out Seven. (http://www.sevencycles.com)

I adore my Seven Axiom. It is me-sized (I'm 5'3" with wrist problems) and built to accomodate my long legs and delicate wrists. I could go on and on... *grin*

07-29-2003, 01:24 PM
I have a Cannondale R800. Not only did I buy it to big but I got tired of feeling every vibration on the road. It's now my trainer bike.

I now ride an Aegis Swift, http://www.aegisbicycles.com. I bought it 3 yrs ago and love it as much today as I did then. It's all cf. It fits perfectly, I'm 5'2" and ride a 43. The fit is perfect and it rides like a dream.

The fun of building your own bike is putting components on it that you want, not what some company says you need.

08-10-2003, 01:31 PM
Hi Lucky.........gosh I thought I was short at 5'4" I ride a 48. I had my bike custom built by Serotta and of course had one of their bike fits. If you have a Serotta dealer in your area they will do a bike fit for you and you can go from there.

You'll find out IF you NEED a custom built or if you can by a frame off the rack so to speak. Sounds like you've tried all the tweeking of seat and ect....I can only add that there is IMHO nothing sweeter than the feel of steel!

I wish you luck and post back what you've decided.


10-01-2003, 02:29 PM
I recently got a custom fitted Serotta Concours Road bike. It is one of the best things I have got. It makes a big defference for me to ride this bike compared to my previous bike that had stock geometry.

You can check Serotta's web site (www.serotta.com) to see which dealers they have in your area (if you are in the Washington, DC metropolitan area I know a guy who does fittings for Serotta and is really good at it, drop me a note in that case). If you get interested in a Serotta, talk to the dealer who will fit you for the bike and tell him about what type of bike you are interested in/what type of riding you do and how your present bike feels and if you have any other concerns. After that they can design a bike that will fit your anatomy and your riding style.

I think Serotta is awesome. I know several women of various sizes that have had their bikes custom build by Serotta and they are very happy with them.

Good Luck:cool:

10-02-2003, 12:17 PM
Wow with your size you should really really look at Terry bikes. They have even the top Ti model on sale. Talk to Georgena Terry.

03-04-2004, 02:12 PM
I'm 5'1" and I bought a custom Luna bicycle a year ago. It is totally custom, and the price was good with the bike kits they offer. Margo C is the frame builder and she does an excellent job. It took about 3 months to get the bike, but I am so happy with it. It is beautiful (I got to pick my paint) and it fits like a glove. She has a web site at www.lunacycles.com.:D

03-04-2004, 04:03 PM
What about Women's Specific Designs? Do they only come in aluminum? After I got my fitting, my LBS is trying to get me to buy a custom Waterford frame, because my torso is too short for a stock model. I'd like to know if I have options...


05-23-2004, 08:16 PM
Joycily - I'm with you - am the proud new owner of a Seven Elium.
Custom ti/carbon frame and I didn't really name previous bikes, but this one is Joy - as in joy ride - all the way! Can't stop grinning when I'm on it - such a sweeeeeeet ride! I have a Bianchi Volpe, that I've used as my commuter and a custom Rodriguez (steel) that has provided me with thousands and thousands of miles of safe rides but I've been saving up and pining for a titanium/carbon frame for a while now. Did tons of research online about various options and lots of test rides before working with a local Seven dealer. He has 20 yrs experience in a couple of lbs' and is a top rider himself. He's a sole proprietor now specializing in bike fits as well as a longtime Seven dealer. So, now I've got my dream bike and am looking forward to my rides even more than usual!

05-24-2004, 01:13 PM
I have made a promise with myself that when my youngest child
is out of college, I am going to go and get me a Seven Axiom!


05-24-2004, 06:47 PM
Hey Karen -

chuckling as I spotted a review from a Seven owner during my pre-ordering research: the guy noted only this as a weakness in the feedback section: that he had to break his habit of lusting after the newest, coolest frames - since he was already riding it!

Hang in there, it was worth the wait (and $aving) for me and besides, you're in the same state - I had to track status online from here in Seattle. The folks at Seven are outstanding though and really did customize the whole experience for me.

05-25-2004, 07:41 AM

I went to grad school in Boston and used to drive by the Seven
factory often. What great restraint I showed NOT going in! My baby is currently 12 so in ten years I'll be writing you about your SEVEN!!

ps-I love their green long sleeved retro jersey