Should you buy a custom bike frame? Some thoughts

I’ve had a quite a few emails from readers since I posted about my Woodrup Sportivo asking about the process of specifying a custom frame.

Now I have few hundred miles under my belt on this lovely machine, I feel it’s time to offer some thoughts on going custom which may be of help if you are considering a similar project.

Why do you want a custom frame?

Woodrup SportivoThis is an important question and one that requires some thought. In my case, my height, back trouble and aesthetic considerations were key factors in opting for a custom frame.

Your requirements may be different… Continue reading

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Woodrup 853 Sportivo: done

Woodrup SportivoHere are some pics and build specs on my Woodrup. Assuming I can sell some more stuff, I hope to add an upgraded wheel set at some point but the hoops off the Thorn will do for now.

Frame: Woordup Sportivo 853 oversize tubing, custom.
Wheels: DRC rims on XT. Gatorskin 28mm tyes.
Mudguards: SKS
Brakes: Shimano Ultegra 57mm drop.
Pedals: Shimano Ultegra
Drivetrain: Sram Rival 20 spd, 50/34 crankset and WiFli rear mech. 11-32 rear cluster. 10spd Sram PC1051 chain. Chris King BB.
Bars: Pro Lt
Stem: Cinelli
Headset: Chris King
Seat post: Deda RSX 02
Saddle: Brooks B17
Accessories: King Cages, stainless steel. Carradice Zipped Roll.

Woodrup Sportivo 853

After nearly three years thinking about purchasing a custom frame I have, at last, taken the plunge. I took delivery of a Sportivo this week from Woodrup Cycles in Leeds, built with care and enthusiasm by Kevin Sayles.

woodrup-sportivo-8While three years may seem like a long time, I’m glad I deliberated. Trips to Bespoked Bristol planted the idea of a custom frame while also highlighting the challenges of building in steel a frame that would be big enough and satisfy my eye aesthetically.

This latter point was very important. I spoke to many builders who could deliver a frame that would fit but didn’t necessarily understand the ‘look’ I was after. I reviewed examples of large frames and, frankly, some looked like gates. I became despondent and rejected the whole project. This was not helped by personal financial ‘challenges’.

Then I visited Kevin at his workshop in Leeds armed with my Thorn Audax and we had a lengthy and fruitful chat about fit and form. Kevin is a real cycling enthusiast and has been building for more than 40 years. He used to work for Thorn and was pretty certain he’d set my Audax up.

While I had pretty fixed idea as to what I wanted, he suggested the 853 oversized tubeset which resulted in him having to fabricate a seat cluster lug (the frame had to have lugs!). The geometry was tweaked to accommodate my penchant for Brooks saddles and their relatively short rails. Other features included stainless strips for cable rub and a ‘proper’ head badge. A Chris King headset and bottom bracket completed the order.

I am delighted with the result. Not gate like to my eye, although remember I am 6’6″ with a 37.5″ cycle inseam. Can’t wait to get it built 🙂