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5.7 Frame Building Part 3: Questions


This article is from the Misc Bicycles FAQs, by various authors.

5.7 Frame Building Part 3: Questions

From: terryz@microsoft.com (Terry Zmrhal)

I've received a number of inquires and questions about the class. I'll
try to answer a few of them here.

How much does the class cost?
The class is $1000, plus the cost of materials; materials meaning the
cost of the tubing. You have your choice of tubesets - Columbus, Tange,
Reynolds, etc. The frame also comes with standard braze-ons - water
bottle bosses, pump pegs, cable guides, etc. and a single color Imron
paint job. Since this is a custom bike, you can ask for different
options - TIG-welded or fillet brazed, more braze-ons, different paint
schemes, etc., but you are likely to pay for it. The one limitation I
know of is no titanium bikes.

Considering that the cost of a typical custom steel frameset is between
$800 and $1500, with some as inexpensive as $600 and some well beyond
that, $1100 - $1300 for a custom frame is not that unreasonable. You
get the experience of finding out what goes into building a frame and
doing much of the work and you get to say you're riding a bike you've
built! The frame I've building, would cost about $900 if Dave or Ron
built the whole bike.

How often does he offer the class?
I asked Dave directly about this. Currently he offers the class once a
year. He usually offers it during the slower part of the year, winter,
since business is slow and so it doesn't take from his Saturday riding
time during the summer, since he's an avid rider/racer himself. He
works a full week Monday thru Friday and then having to work four
Saturdays is lots of extra time for him. If there was a way he could
offer classes during a weekday, he would consider doing this more often.
If you're sincerely interested I could forward your name and phone
number to Dave or you can call Ti Cycles at (206) 624-9697.

Thus far I've described a lot of machinery that Dave has including a
lathe, belt sander, brazing and welding equipment, alignment table, belt
saw, drill press, and frame jig not to mention all his other tools. I
have also seen the shop where Rodriguez frames are made in the basement
of R&E in Seattle. R&E's shop is about a fourth the size of Dave's shop
and doesn't have nearly as much equipment as Dave's shop. I also asked
Dave about this. He acquired much of this equipment at auctions which
he needed for working with titanium. Most of the work with steel can be
done with smaller machines or other methods, but the larger equipment
makes it much easier and quicker.

They also have many tools, jig, etc. which look professionally made, but
are actually custom made tools. They have quite a few. For the
alignment of the fork described in Part 3, they had several custom
tools. I can describe some since some were simple, but others are more
complex. For those I can't remember everything about them so I just
call them a custom tool. All their custom tools are precisely machined
for accuracy since accuracy by mm, or less, is important to building a


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