Going Custom at Your Local Bike Shop
More frame builders than ever are selling bicycles through independent bicycle shops in the USA. For many customers this presents a very attractive option.
For many, the answer is to enlist the expertise of your local bike shop.
Let's start with fit. Your dream bike might be built in some other part of the world, making an in-person visit challenging. If you don't know your exact requirements with regard to geometry, a fitting is crucial. This is the first step your local bike shop can assist with. Yes, fittings cost money - and well they should - but it's a small price to pay for peace of mind.
Component selection has also become increasingly complicated. There are probably five times as many front derailleur options alone than we had ten years ago. Cable routing, brake configurations, electronics help you get the idea. Your local shop can explain the pros and cons of all the different options available to you. Again, you should expect a fee for consultation, but buying the right components the first time will save you time and money.
The build is the last step. Although many of us fancy ourselves as mechanics, very few of us have the resources and experience of a good shop. An expert build can ensure a much higher quality experience on your bike. And it's safe to say those kind folks at your local shop absolutely love building handmade bikes when compared to some of the material they might get to work with otherwise.
The moral of the story is that a great local bike shop is a tremendous resource and even if you order a frame from an independent builder a continent away, a quick trip to your local retailer can make the whole experience a better one.