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Looking for a locally made custom bike frame?

By johnboy - 13 February 2012 19

kumo bicycle

Playing bike polo yesterday I met Keith Marshall.

Keith is particularly interesting because he manufactures bicycle frames here in Canberra, under the brand Kumo Cycles.

If your body requires a non-standard bike frame, or you just want a stunningly beautiful and very rare bike, or you like the idea of supporting local manufacturing, then check out the website.

What’s Your opinion?


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19 Responses to
Looking for a locally made custom bike frame?
Grrrr 6:40 pm 13 Feb 12

I like the exceptions to warranty “Please note that the warranty does not cover damage incurred by: accidents, abuse or neglect of the frame …. or acts of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.”

Keith has suggested checking out other framebuilders around the world. Or you can look closer to home – Wayne Kotzur will build you a custom bike, or fix your broken frame. He fixed my alu bike frame for a decent price (although he’s, er, busy…) He charges $900 labour for a standard build – tubing extra – and I doubt he’s getting rich.

KB1971 3:03 pm 13 Feb 12

Solidarity said :

You could buy a Lada Riva for cheap. That’s different and you don’t need to pay for it….

Hahahahaha, thats if you can find one that still goes, has not rusted away or broken the steering box off its mounts……

The Lada Niva is a classic example of great design put together with no quality system whatsoever & people complain about the reliability of cars these days.

KumoCycles 2:55 pm 13 Feb 12

Hi everyone,
Thank you for taking the time to check out my work and visit my website!

My frames are made by hand, one at a time to the exacting specifications set out during interviews between me and the customer.
I can specify the exact sizing, weight, ride characteristics and aesthetics of a frame. How many bicycles made by Taiwanese kids in some huge factory can provide you with this?

Sure a K-Mart bicycle, may suit many people just fine, but my frames are for those who are a little more discerning.
Be it someone who is 6 foot 6 and needs a bike frame that wont bend like a wet noodle when they put power down to the pedals, or someone who wants a bike that looks unique and handles perfectly, I can make these specific frames that cannot be had from the cookie cutter factories.

Mystery man: those who are in the market for a custom frame will often want to choose the parts to build up the bike by themselves as each component is an important consideration. Of course I can organize full build kits and build up the frame into a complete bicycle.

Solidarity: you make it sound so easy! The tubing I use is of a range of very specific steel alloys, butted to differing tube thicknesses.
The tubes have a thick wall at either end of the tube, and a thin middle section. This cuts down on weight significantly and also allows me to ‘tune’ the ride quality by using different buttings.
The wall thicknesses at the thick end range from 0.9mm to 0.6mm and the middle sections 0.6 to 0.4mm! Try welding that with your MIG you have in the garage!

On top of this alignment (as the tubes move when subjected to welding/brazing temperatures) is paramount, you don’t want a frame to be out of alignment or else you will end up steering into a ditch when you take your hands off the bars.

These factors, among many others mean it is not as easy as it looks!

And in terms of those baulking at the price, please look at some of the other builders around the world such as Vanilla Cycles, Richard Sachs and LLewellyn cycles and you will quickly realise that my frames are quite fairly priced.

Cheers,

Keith Marshall

Solidarity 2:47 pm 13 Feb 12

KB1971 said :

Solidarity said :

I was actually commenting on how simple a bike frame is compared to fabricating say, anything else, ever.

I’m probably completly misunderstanding it because I have little interest in bikes. I fabricate stuff for cars all the time, I just can’t see the complexity in a bike frame. Measure a bit of alu tube, tack it together, adjust and finish it?

It’s a Chevy C10 for arguements sake. Not mentioning that for any other reason than I just got it and am still in the honeymoon period of talking non-stop about it.

I was of the same opinion, I was going to build my own frame (I still will at some point) as you can buy all the bits on fleabay, on the surface it looks simple but things like steering head angle, chainstay length & the such are not as easy as they look on the surface.

Then there is the wow factor, people buy a 1971 Corvette with a 454 (or just about any American car for that matter) for its looks and straightline go, not its handling Other people buy a Ferarri for both, people buy custom made bikes because they just ride better as they are built for you plus they are a talking point amongst the vein riders or all riders for that matter.

Horses for courses, I would not pay 40 grand for a 71 Vette because they are not very nice to drive & its 40 years old, I would rather buy a SS Commodore as its a much nicer thing to be in with all its modern convenicences. Like anything in life, if you want something different, you have to pay for it.

You could buy a Lada Riva for cheap. That’s different and you don’t need to pay for it….

aidan 2:47 pm 13 Feb 12

johnboy said :

Solidarity said :

2 grand for some metal and welding!?!??

I’m in the wrong business….

and the fit, and the finish, and making it all work…

Not to mention the shallow depth of field … feel the width of that aperture

Mysteryman 2:27 pm 13 Feb 12

So… maybe I’m reading this wrong, but it appears he only does the frames? You have to by the seats, handlebars, wheels, etc, separately?

I’d be lying if I said I thought it looked like it was worth it, but it’s horses for courses I guess. I spend a lot of money on things that others wouldn’t care for.

basketcase 2:27 pm 13 Feb 12

One should not quote rumours but have heard that the AIS pay $5000+ for their hand made bikes. Presumably they are carbon fibre.

I’d like a bike to fit, but given the price it is easier to adjust to the run of the Taiwan mill models

Martlark 2:13 pm 13 Feb 12

I’ve had custom bicycles built for me by Wayne Kotzur in Gundaroo. They do cost about $2500 for the whole deal. The result is well worth it to have a bike built just to suit you.

Keijidosha 2:01 pm 13 Feb 12

Brandi said :

How much would a successful businessman pay for a bespoke suit? Why wouldn’t a successful cyclist pay the same?

According to the Kumo website, Keith produces a lot of fixies. How do you measure the success of such cyclists? (Cue hipster gags)

Jibe aside it is always good to see a local fabricator plying their craft, and the quality of the work being put in looks to be of a very high standard, so I can see the value in his workmanship. $1500 for a bespoke frame isn’t more than some people spend on a TV.

KB1971 1:47 pm 13 Feb 12

Solidarity said :

I was actually commenting on how simple a bike frame is compared to fabricating say, anything else, ever.

I’m probably completly misunderstanding it because I have little interest in bikes. I fabricate stuff for cars all the time, I just can’t see the complexity in a bike frame. Measure a bit of alu tube, tack it together, adjust and finish it?

It’s a Chevy C10 for arguements sake. Not mentioning that for any other reason than I just got it and am still in the honeymoon period of talking non-stop about it.

I was of the same opinion, I was going to build my own frame (I still will at some point) as you can buy all the bits on fleabay, on the surface it looks simple but things like steering head angle, chainstay length & the such are not as easy as they look on the surface.

Then there is the wow factor, people buy a 1971 Corvette with a 454 (or just about any American car for that matter) for its looks and straightline go, not its handling Other people buy a Ferarri for both, people buy custom made bikes because they just ride better as they are built for you plus they are a talking point amongst the vein riders or all riders for that matter.

Horses for courses, I would not pay 40 grand for a 71 Vette because they are not very nice to drive & its 40 years old, I would rather buy a SS Commodore as its a much nicer thing to be in with all its modern convenicences. Like anything in life, if you want something different, you have to pay for it.

Brandi 1:12 pm 13 Feb 12

I test-rode this bike yesterday. The frame feels comfortable, strong and surprisingly light. The workmanship is astounding – it appears that Keef is a perfectionist in every detail. The picture above doesn’t do it justice.

You could pay more for a secondhand motorbike. This is a local craftsman making a personalised product to measure in low volume. How much would a successful businessman pay for a bespoke suit? Why wouldn’t a successful cyclist pay the same?

Solidarity 1:06 pm 13 Feb 12

I was actually commenting on how simple a bike frame is compared to fabricating say, anything else, ever.

I’m probably completly misunderstanding it because I have little interest in bikes. I fabricate stuff for cars all the time, I just can’t see the complexity in a bike frame. Measure a bit of alu tube, tack it together, adjust and finish it?

It’s a Chevy C10 for arguements sake. Not mentioning that for any other reason than I just got it and am still in the honeymoon period of talking non-stop about it.

KB1971 12:04 pm 13 Feb 12

johnboy said :

Solidarity said :

2 grand for some metal and welding!?!??

I’m in the wrong business….

and the fit, and the finish, and making it all work…

Not to mention the labour involved. Mass production brings these costs way down but also the quality as well.

Solidarity, you mentioned commuting with a 6lt car (I will assume it is a Holden for the sake of the argument), yep, pretty good value for money: heaps of power, not bad handling but its quality is only ok & no one really cares that you are in one. Cost between 35 & 60 grand new?

The next best thing that would be hand built would cost you in the hundreds of thousands of dollars BUT those sorts of cars go like stink, handle as if they are on rails, have high quality components & gets jaw dropping looks as you drive them around.

That is the difference 😉

johnboy 11:45 am 13 Feb 12

Solidarity said :

2 grand for some metal and welding!?!??

I’m in the wrong business….

and the fit, and the finish, and making it all work…

Solidarity 11:42 am 13 Feb 12

2 grand for some metal and welding!?!??

I’m in the wrong business….

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