X

Custom Builds

A bike just for you

Sometimes trying to get an off-the-shelf bike that does exactly what you want, or rides exactly how you want can be frustrating. If you want a particular set of wheels, you have a handlebar in mind and you want to carry a load in a certain way, there might be no bike that does this out of the box. Maybe you just want something that feels a bit more like Your bike with an aesthetic that grabs you. If you also have preferences about the components you want to use, then you’re guaranteed not to find a ready-made bike that really speaks to you.

If you find yourself in this situation, then maybe you should be thinking about a custom build. We have been building custom bikes for people since the early days of Commuter Cycles. We start by working out the right frame as a base, then figure out how to make it work for you, then figure out the rest based on your physiology, usage and budget along with any aesthetic desires. We have a lot of experience that helps us pick good parts that work with what you want.

Planning a custom build

Spec list

Planning a custom build takes as long, and often longer, as actually building it. When you first approach us for a custom build, in person, on the phone or via email, the first thing we will do is mine you for information. We will ask about your requirements, your preferences, your planned usage, your budget, and any decisions on frames or components that you may have already made. If you’re chasing a certain look for your bike this is where you let us know. Armed with this info we will put together a proposed list of specifications (or spec list) that details the build along with a quote for that spec.

Bikes are relatively simple machines, but as always the devil is in the details. It is surprisingly easy to find yourself with incompatible (or worse, only seemingly-compatible), or ill-fitting components despite lots of research. Not only are we exceptionally good at avoiding these incompatibilities, we are also very good at judging the suitability of each component for the job at hand. 

Fit

At this point we might already have your fit sorted based on test rides, matching an existing bike or taking a few measurements such as inseam and arm length. Sometimes, customers have had a fit done by a physio or another bike fit expert. We are happy to use the recommended fit data to set up your new bike when available. Bike fit is tricky because there are competing factors at play. Usage, handling and sizing are all at play when locking in a fit. The fit on a fully-loaded touring bike that will be ridden at 15k/h for long days is completely different to that of an unloaded gravel bike that will be moving at 25k/h for a few hours at a time. Our expertise is in fitting people for pretty much any type of riding that isn’t racing. We all have significant personal experience with touring, commuting, gravel and dirt road explorations, long distance road riding and mountain biking.

Deposit

Once the sizing and spec list is approved, we will ask for a 50% deposit and begin assembling components. For any given custom build we often have about 80% of the components in store already but the others will need to be ordered in. Any components that need ordering are now ordered and we give you an ETA on anything that is likely to take more than a week.

The build itself

Once the parts all arrive the build itself is often done quite quickly. In some cases it is done in a single day. Frames are always prepped before building. This means headset and bottom bracket fittings are reamed, chased and faced where appropriate to ensure the headset and bottom bracket bearings run as straight and smooth as possible. Everything is fitted and adjusted before being test ridden and further refined. A small amount of steerer tube on the fork is left above the stem to allow for small adjustments in the fit after it has been ridden for a while. Tape will sometimes be left unwrapped until after you’ve taken it for a test ride if there is any doubt over your preferred handlebar and lever angles.

Post-build

Like any new bike, a custom built bike will benefit from a first service to make small adjustments after things have settled into place. We typically recommend this after a month or two, or sooner if you notice anything coming out of adjustment. Even if it seems to be running perfectly, we still like to spend some time going over it to make sure everything is as it should be. This first service is free and we would not expect it to need another until you have put some decent km on it and it’s getting closer to a year old.

Ready to start a build? fill out the form below…

How have other people customised their bike?

Here’s a listing of some previously completed custom builds for customers. Check them out and get inspired!

Here’s a little vid of Josh’s recent Surly Karate Monkey, built by the capable hands of Bailey in our workshop✨👀

Thanks, Josh✌️

@surlyoz
@surlybikes
@shimanoaustralia
@sqlab
@whiteind
@paulcomponent
@fox
@klite_dynamo_power
@ergonbike
@tumbleweedbikes
@onyxracing
@sonnabendynamo
@velocityusa
@vittoria_australia
@h_ngry
@bailsandthings
@400gdicedpomodoro

#surlybikes #surlyoz #surlykaratemonkey #commutercustoms
...

392 14

Vicky picking up her rad @salsacycles Journeyer with a fresh custom dynamo wheel build and lighting system⚡️🔦

Stoke levels are high!

@salsacycles
@salsacyclesoz
@sonnabendynamo
@buschundmueller
@dtswiss_distributor_aus
@reneherse
@scvimports
@vixson

#salsacycles
#salsajourneyer
#commutercustoms
...

108 6

Michael’s Ritchey Ascent custom build turned out super nice!✨

Here’s a little vid featuring the build and @bailsandthings having a great time on the tools 🧰

Thanks, Michael✌️

#ritcheyascent
#commutercustoms
...

3491 54

And for some light reading and inspiration, here’s link to some custom builds with blog write-ups:

https://offcourse.bike/blog/category/custom-builds/

One comment

  1. Many thanks to the wonderful team at Commuter Cycles and best wishes for a happy, healthy, successful 2022.
    Since Christmas, I’ve been riding my superb Tumbleweed Prospector Fat Bike from Commuter Cycles at least 5-or-6 days a week, learning to get optimal efficiency from its Ruhloff gears as I work on my fitness. I’m so happy with my bike and so grateful to Commuter Cycles.
    My bike arrived during the peak of Covid-lockdown at the end of October. The build is first-class and the excellent service I received was wonderful.
    Here’s the story of the build:
    https://www.bike-drifter.net/2021/10/24/my-new-bikepacking-fat-tyre-bike-arrived/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Off Course acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional custodians of the lands and waterways in the area now known as Brunswick, and pays respect to their Elders past, present, and emerging, as well as to all First Nations’ communities in Australia.