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Custom Frame Building Perth

Crispy's picture

By Crispy - Posted on 05 December 2011

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

Hi Guys,

After building my first Frame around the start of the year, I got the Bug. Big time.
Frame building is both extremely challenging and rewarding.

Some of you may have seen my original trussed frame, 4130 Chromolly design. Worked well, but the geometry was a bit off and a little bit flexy. Next was my twin down tube design, very stiff front end, geometry needed a little more tweeking. And it was heavy 2.8 kg for the Frame! Built very tough tho, I am sure it could handle just about anything 99% of riders could throw at it.

Next came Greg Murison's CX bike, nice Columbus Zona tubing. It came out very nice (I believe) until Greg drove it into the top of his garage with his car still attached to the racks. 5 days is all he got out of it.... But this will work out for the best as I will install some S&S couplers on it replacing the tubes that were bent so it will be a traveler bike (easily disassembled and pack up neatly for fitting into a neat bike bag).

Next came my dream bike, I think I nailed it this time. Titanium Fabrication, Sagged 69' head angle 420mm chain stays, ultra light strong hardtail frame at 1.5 kg. 29er single speed of cause. Designed for vertical flex (you can visually see), torsion and horizontal rigidity. Slack Head tube makes for a completely different ride, leaning the bike to steer is alot more fun and confidence inspiring, plus the super short chain-stays keep it nimble enough for jumps and switchbacks.

After working with the metal building the frame and it coming together in the end, I could be fooled to believe Ti was developed only to build Bike frames. The strength to weight ratio, corrosion resistance and it looks cool.

What I am trying to say is, I have deliberately slowed down my welding shop for the next month and a half to have fun, building frames and stuff.... So if anyone thinks a custom frame is for them, please contact me ASAP as next year I will be caught up in the Mining boom. I can build whatever you can dream up, in any material from Ali to Ti.

Allan Crisp


cRAZY Canuck's picture

the bikes look pretty sweet too

Crispy's picture

Seriously it is in need of heaps of work, and I hate I.T. stuff.

Maybe I will have to do that over the break.. Sad

...or... someone could build me a cool website and I will build them a cool frame in return Smiling

hawkeye's picture

Interesting-looking bikes there Alan. Smiling

On the second bike, is that seat tube crimped in about 3 places?

Crispy's picture

Hi Hawkeye, I am not one for conformity, its stifling....

Yes in a way, its more of a kink as grade 9 tempered Ti does not stretch/bend really well.
95% of forces that negatively effect your ride will be torsion from the bottom bracket, a flattened seat tube will resist these better, from my experience.

Ideally it would be better for me to get annealed Ti and roll it evenly to make the bend to allow flex and tire clearance, obviously still keeping it oval shaped. As this is a personal bike I do not mind if it eventually cracks in the kink as I can always build another, and put more of my wild ideas into the next one Smiling

hope that answers your question mate.

hawkeye's picture

Thanks, yes it does. Good on you for having a go.

cRAZY Canuck's picture

I still like frank though

Check out word press for website info, pretty simple. The first thing people do is google companies so websites are your friend.

Part of my job is piping and the other part is aluminium structures so I'm always interested.

Cotic Tony's picture

Well done mate, the Ti bike looks cool although the front end looks pretty high.
How do you control alignment when you're building something like a frame?

DudeistPriest's picture

This to me is very impressive, I can't imagine every being able to build my own bike, next you need to add rear suspension.

Crispy's picture

Thanks for the comments.
Tony, The front may look a little high but it is a 29er with 120mm forks and the grip part of the bars are about 40mm under the seat with sag. I used to ride with low bars and it just doesn't do it for me.

Alignment and holding the pieces in place are done by a jig I made up.

Crispy's picture

But personally I do not see or even feel the need to have rear suspension on a bike, unless I was racing down hill, or doing massive 3m drops to flat. I ride because it is fun and hardtails keep it fun, plus if the bike is set up right it will never feel like a harsh ride.

But if someone wants me to make a dually, I would be more than happy to rise to the challenge. I am looking forward to it and have done a bit of homework on it.

Slowpup's picture

Crispy, what bars are you running on the 29er? Looks like they are swept back like a Jones or Mary. I find my Jones' bars solved my sore wrist problem from straight bars. Did you make the bars yourself? I'd be interested in talking about a set.

Excellent work on actually doing this. I have the desire, just not the time....

Do you purge the frame tubes when welding the Ti? That must be some serious tooling time you have invested in the jigs and fixtures.

Look forward to seeing more pics.

Crispy's picture

The bars are a Ragley Carnegie's Flat bar 25 deg back sweep, 685 tip to tip.
I found them a much more natural position, but you have to get the rotation right. And they feel heaps wider that they are.

Yeah you have to Purge the Ti otherwise it will just fall apart, and make sure they colour stays in the acceptable range.

I will post some more picks when I get them loaded onto my site and link them across. Probably this week sometime.

BTW my Ti frame was Anodized to make it the Gold colour, Ti is really great for anodizing, nearly any colour is available right through to hot pink.

I can't understand why other frame builders don't do this.

Slowpup's picture

Cheers for the info on the bars. I was thinking of trying something like a Groovy Luv Handle as an alternative....

On the anodising, my understanding is that the extremely thick oxide layer required for giving the colourisation to the Ti increases the risk of surface cracking leading to stress risers and fatigue failure.

I don't have a lot of matsci experience with Ti (apart from lovingly polishing my two Ti frames) but was of the impression that high stress Ti components for the aerospace industry aren't anodised, they just rely on the natural thin oxide build up for protection. I assumed this is one of the same reasons that colour of welds is critical as the deeper the colour the more oxide present in the weldment.

I'll follow your progress reports with interest as it's always better to see a real world experiment than just learn from theory.

Not related to are you?

Crispy's picture

Love handles are defiantly Groovy, but not for me.
The 4130 will give a good feel, especially if you are running rigid.

With the Anodizing I think most people and maybe yourself would be thinking along the lines of anodizing Aluminum, which is quite thick 5-15nm and quite hard, compared to Ti anodizing which is in the range of 1-2.5nm. I used a Phosphoric solution which is still a quite soft finish in the end. I don't believe it will effect the fatigue life very much if at all. Normal Ti oxidization is < 1nm range.

Where as oxidization while it is hot and unprotected from the atmosphere can go deep. hence the need to keep the weld colour silver to grass, maybe a little blue, but best to avoid any blue...

Darren Crisp maybe a distant relative, I did have that conversation with him, we both originated out of England a few Generations ago, and both have the same Gangly look. :)He did help me get started out with advice and info on Geometry and pointing me in the right directions.

Thanks for the interest.

Actually from my Google searches Anodizing Ti is becoming more accepted in the Medical and Aerospace Industries slowly as the are starting to realize the benefits.

Allan Crisp

Crispy's picture

I did a little work on the site today, trying to get a bit more useful information on it. Some closeups and that sort of stuff.

Tempest's picture

Thought I'd just drop into this thread to say how happy I am with my custom CX bike that Allan built me.

As many of you will know, he built one, and 4 days later I drove into a garage and pretty much destroyed it. Being a complete legend, he agreed to rebuild it as best as he could, and the result is even better than the original. I have to say though, that the weld quality is as good as I have seen, and far neater and more consistent than any factory bike I've owned.

I'll start a new thread and put some pictures in it for you all.

......'s picture

rekon you can build an sser for a 100kg rider that brakes frames???

Crispy's picture

I can lend you a bike to see if you can break it if you want but you will have to post what you do to it and how it goes. What is your riding style?

......'s picture

for sure. The only frame i haven't been able to break is the banshee paradox. I've busted a gt peace, 2 khs solo ones, niner mcr orange sub 5, SC blur voodoo wanga.
Just a plain old sser. Nothing special. Just xc trail riding stuff. 100kg's 6 foot.

Crispy's picture

you will probably like the one on the top photo, but you have to run your gear, 120-140mm forks will be ideal.
You can do what you want with it as long as you record what it is an post the results.

Is two weeks long enough to try it out, It is ready when you are. I am in Rockingham.

0417 120 931

......'s picture

sounds good to me. I'll have to chip in for freight though i assume. I'm in NSW. I have a 120mm fork on order. I'll be in touch once i get that through.

Crispy's picture

I keep forgetting PMBC and NOBMOB forums are linked, I never though I would be making any more than a few frames for few local guys.

What the hell... but firstly how do I know you are not just going to steal it and will actually send it back?

Don't get me wrong this is NOT a business venture just a hobby Smiling

Cotic Tony's picture

Hi Allan.
I regret selling a steel Kona explosive many years ago as it gave such a sweet ride. I still know many that swear that steel is real and love its fantastic alive feel. Reynolds 853 seems to be the benchmark for steel MTBs although Columbus also seem to have a good name.

I was wondering how much difference the tubing makes to the cost of a frame, with off the peg Ti jobs going for about $2k up and good, butted steel ones costing way less than half of that as well as cheap Taiwanese al frames costing as much of a pair of tyres it must be because of volume or the tubing and manufacturing?
Is this right?

All the best

Crispy's picture

To the average frame builder tubes will be bought a set or two at a time like we would buy hardware at Bunnings;

Steel Tube sets $120-$200 plus your dropouts, head-tube, BB and stuff $100-$400
Depending on what the rider wants, total. $220-$

Ti Tube sets $350-$700 plus your dropouts, head-tube, BB and stuff $200-$800
Depending on what the rider wants, total. $550-$

no one wants their custom frame made from the cheapest stuff too.

You might know that if you where to buy say bolts in mass from a manufacturer and compared the price to Bunnings, you could see at least 10 times difference in the price.....

Plus usually all the things like labour, consumables, rent, and insurances are alot less in these other countries including America.

The time difference to weld up a Ti frame to a steel one would be about 20% longer, not that much, but the skills required and the implications of mistakes probably make up some of the difference. Plus Ti looks cooler (cause people love to pay for cool).

So as a business decision it pointless for someone in Australia to compete with that and the ones that do are only doing it for love Smiling

SO if you get a frame built in Australia, be nice to them cause they are doing it for their passion and for you, unless they are charging $2500 plus.

......'s picture

yeah, i hear you Crispy. no worries.

Cotic Tony's picture

Thanks mate . It's good to know as I'm sure some would see four figure plus frames & think that the maker must be making big money..

Imho appreciation of a handmade, one off frame only comes about after a certain time bIking when the rider is experienced enough to know what they want & articulate it to a competent builder. It's not about value or even performance although for that individual it may represent those things. To me it's engineering verging on art & I get it.
Oh, & there's also the"Unique" factor.

Cheers T

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