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Bespoke Cycles

Aaron Allen

Tuesday 23 February 2016

Going Custom at Your Local Bike Shop

More frame builders than ever are selling bicycles through independent bicycle shops in the USA. For many customers this presents a very attractive option.

Going Custom at Your Local Bike Shop
Bespoke Bicycles in San Francisco helps customers learn about the world of handbuilt custom bicycles. Photo: Paul Skilbeck

Customers in the handbuilt custom bicycle market have never seen so much choice. Partly this is due to many builders setting up to sell direct, rather than through bike shops. For some this arrangement works fine, but with the industry expanding farther and wider than ever before, and a phenomenal range of frame and component options, the question for many new customers is: how to manage the process confidently from beginning to end if we choose a maker who doesn't sell through bike shops?

For many, the answer is to enlist the expertise of your local bike shop.
Bespoke Cycles

Let's start with fit. Your dream bike might be built in some other part of the world, making an in-person visit challenging. If you don't know your exact requirements with regard to geometry, a fitting is crucial. This is the first step your local bike shop can assist with. Yes, fittings cost money - and well they should - but it's a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Component selection has also become increasingly complicated. There are probably five times as many front derailleur options alone than we had ten years ago. Cable routing, brake configurations, electronics help you get the idea. Your local shop can explain the pros and cons of all the different options available to you. Again, you should expect a fee for consultation, but buying the right components the first time will save you time and money.

The build is the last step. Although many of us fancy ourselves as mechanics, very few of us have the resources and experience of a good shop. An expert build can ensure a much higher quality experience on your bike. And it's safe to say those kind folks at your local shop absolutely love building handmade bikes when compared to some of the material they might get to work with otherwise.

The moral of the story is that a great local bike shop is a tremendous resource and even if you order a frame from an independent builder a continent away, a quick trip to your local retailer can make the whole experience a better one.