The decision to become a custom bike builder is definitely not an easy one. You have to be tough and unrelenting to make a name for yourself in the world dominated by corporate companies with armies of engineers and designers, and even larger teams of sales and marketing specialists. Yet there are those who succeed nonetheless and who are sought out by cycling enthusiasts from all around the world. We talked to three of them to explain why so many believe a custom-made bicycle will always beat one from the production line. So we asked three masterminds who managed to make a breakthrough in this competitive field, meet Doriano De Rosa, Richard Sachs, and Julie Ann Pedalino.
Choosing a High-End Bike
Any amateur usually has two choices for a top-level bike. On one hand, they may choose a Pinarello, Ridley, Argon 18 or any other brand. On the other, they can opt to contact a custom bike builder such as yourselves. Given that this amateur is not a professional rider in a World Tour team but rather a normal person going on weekend group rides, what are the main differences between both options when put side-by-side (performance & comfort wise)? How does the custom bike differ exactly?
Richard Sachs: That question is too wide for a succinct answer. My opinion is this – the amateur rider should buy a bicycle he likes, one that fits his needs, one that is affordable and easy to maintain, and also buy it from someone who has earned his trust. That could be the local bicycle shop, or it could be a frame builder he knows.
Any advice for amateurs who decide to buy a custom bike?
Richard Sachs: The same reply as above. You (the client) aren’t buying a commodity, you are buying an experience and a relationship.
Concerning the bike components used, many custom bike builders opt for carbon forks, seat posts, stems, and handlebars. What are your choices and why?
Richard Sachs: I make my own forks, and spec Cinelli stems, bars, and seat posts on my assembled bicycles.
What about the mechanical bike parts (group sets)? Do you have any preferred choice here or do you follow what your customer ask for?
Richard Sachs: Mechanical groups only. Electronic shifting isn’t an option here.