For not too long, a few highly regarded frame builders have been offering up semi-custom framesets at a reduced price. Winter Cycles has officially joined the small club, with their new Tool Line. Eric Estlund has been hard at work, making several appearances we covered at NAHBS and OHBS. I know what youre wondering, and yes, their awesome multi-step hammered-antique looking finish (pictured above) is an option!
With “stock” bikes from primarily custom builders you can sometimes get custom geometry, other times you get stock geometry. The same idea applies to the available finishes, tube selections and so forth. The line between “stock” and “custom” just became a little blurry.
Read more to find clarity.
This first frameset will clearly be a road bike, and is quoted as being designed for “aggressive use.” The frame continues to be custom sized to fit the rider based on their needs and measurements. The tube set used here starts with True Temper OX Platinum mix, and is then modified based on riding style, usage, and rider size/power output.
This type of consultative tubing selection is what the industry generally calls “builders choice,” which usually requires a consultation. This generally means the stays or head tube will get beefier, or daintier, on an as-needed basis. This is a very good thing, an experienced frame builder will know exactly how different tubes interact with each other, or how to tune a ride for endurance club rides, criterium races, and every flavor in-between.
In regard to the finish, Eric went with his never disappointing multi-stage finish dubbed the Hammervein and a classic Pewter. Furthermore, he chose a Pegoretti Flaz carbon fork and Cane Creek 110 Series headset to round off the frame set. Both of which are modern, high quality and very consistent parts. While you do loose a little bit of customization, the turnaround time is fantastically quick when compared to the 1 – 4+ year wait many custom builders offer. Again, you even save money on this build, allowing you to go with a nicer drivetrain or more advanced wheels, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Pricing starts at $2,500 for frame, fork and headset. Ultegra build runs about $4,500. Other builds will be available.