Handbuilt Bicycle News


Strong Frames

Paul Skilbeck

Tuesday 23 February 2016

Ordering a frame: Strong logic

Ordering a custom bicycle frame might sound intimidating, but frame builder Carl Strong says it’s actually quite fun and can help customers discover new things about themselves as cyclists.

Ordering a frame: Strong logic
Carl Strong in his Bozeman, Montana, workshop. Photo: Loretta Strong

Owners of handbuilt custom bicycles may – or may not – be the most knowledgeable cyclists, but most likely whatever they knew when they started out, the process of ordering a custom frame will have expanded their horizons.

Carl Strong, owner-builder at Strong Frames, reckons the conversations we as customers have with frame builders lead to greater awareness not only of how bicycles work and the way they interact with their riders, but also about what we know of ourselves as cyclists.

“My customers and I have many conversations leading up to the point when they actually place the order. Then at that point, through a series of phone conversations, I’ll guide the customer through every element of the frame design, while responding to their personal levels of technical knowledge. I’ll translate their thoughts and words into specific frame design considerations, from frame size and fit to tube selection and geometry. But no action is ever taken on my part until they have finalized their decisions and are comfortable with their choices, and have given me the OK to move to the next stage,” says Strong.

He continues, “Ordering a bike should be interesting and fun. And I’ve found over the years that customers ordering their first custom bike usually learn more about themselves and their priorities in a bike, and they end up with a better understanding of frames and frame design.”

During 24 years as a frame builder, Strong has developed an ordering process that he says works for him and his customers.

Strong Frames infographic

Graphic courtesy: Strong Frames

Once the ordering process is complete, then comes the hard part: waiting for delivery of the frame. “I know the waiting can be hard, but based on all the feedback I’ve gotten from customers it seems to be worth it,” says Strong. Maybe these agonizing weeks can be seen as time to contemplate what’s been learned during the order process and what that will mean when it comes to riding that gleaming new bike.