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gotdurt

A new adventure/experiment: Custom Hardtail Frame!

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In the past couple of years, I've been really enjoying my current hardtail (Nukeproof Scout 275); not just the fun side of it, but the simplicity and dependability... especially in the past year, with my FS headaches.

The only thing that could make it better would be to make it steel, along with a few minor tweaks in geometry... This made me wonder if I could design a hardtail that would make me happy enough to pull me away from FS...

Being that this would be an experiment, I certainly couldn't justify the cost of the typical custom builder... A few years ago, I had read about a guy in Peru, "Marino Bike" (fb page), that makes custom chromo frames, cheap... there wasn't much about him online at the time, but experiences that I could find were mixed; it was interesting, but I didn't give it much thought. This year though, another PB article popped up in my fb feed with a pretty good review; I was now intrigued, and went to see if more people had tried him since my last search... it appeared that his work had greatly improved, and his prices were still ridiculously low. I did some checking around, messaging everyone I could find that used him, and folks were quite happy... the biggest challenge was the language barrier, but everyone seemed to get past it okay.

So, I poked at it... I sent him a fb message with some questions, to feel-out his communication ability, and it went well enough. I also felt him out on pricing etc, and the process... before long I had this ready to go (geo w/sag):

1652492167_Marinoquicksand-blue.thumb.jpg.b58a78f1e1b09b6652f822bb177dfffd.jpg

 

We worked out a few other details (dropout type, gussets, etc), made a $100 deposit, and I was in-queue...

It seems he has several frames going at once, and he works the process in phases; he'd send an update at each phase (the following photos were all taken by Marino Bike):

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IMAG7741.thumb.jpg.b4f17f7f838256b10af84609e50074a5.jpg
 

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We are going over shipping details, etc tonight... stay tuned.

Edited by gotdurt
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That’s awesome! I just bought an aggressive geometry chromoly hardtail frame from orange out of the UK and have my build complete! Wish I could tell you how it rides, but between the rain and my wife deciding on a whim we needed to buy a new house I haven’t had it on the trail yet! To the casual eye your frames rear end looks nearly identical! Your HA is a degree slacker and that color is sweet!! What size fork will it run?

Edited by 4fun

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Very cool, building one myself (the bike, not the frame.) I thought that as I got older I would be more of a FS bike guy, but the more I ride my hardtail SS the more I think that I don't need all of that suspension for most of what I ride.

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super cool man!

 

10 hours ago, gotdurt said:

before long I had this ready to go (geo w/sag):

1652492167_Marinoquicksand-blue.thumb.jpg.b58a78f1e1b09b6652f822bb177dfffd.jpg

 


 

 

 

 

super cool man! 

 

but, "geo with sag" on a hardtail? as in like tire pressure sag, or? (obviously not a hardtail guy)

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38 minutes ago, Seths Pool said:

but, "geo with sag" on a hardtail? as in like tire pressure sag, or? (obviously not a hardtail guy)

When you consider sag on a hardtail, the head and seat tube angles get steeper, the BB drops, the stack goes down and the reach increases. It can be drastic with a long fork.

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How easy was it to customize over email and with the language barrier? I am very interested in possibly buying one of these with some sliding dropouts if its possible. This is freaking awesome.

Edit: Just looked at their facebook page and they do tons of frames with sliding dropouts. So much want right now. Here is a link to the facebook for a bit of drooling. https://www.facebook.com/MarinoBikes/

Edited by csmceuen

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11 hours ago, gotdurt said:

that makes custom chromo frames, cheap...

That's an understatement/overstatement (need to finish my coffee). Keep us updated!

Edited by RedRider3141

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This is great... Always loved that little chainstay flex I got when I pushed hard on my steel Scott Racing. It was as if the frame was alive under me. Hope you enjoy this one for many years to come.

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This is crazy cheap for a custom frame. For a person who doesn't break frames this would be a good deal. But a 6 month warranty is a non starter for me, unfortunately. 

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12 hours ago, 4fun said:

That’s awesome! I just bought an aggressive geometry chromoly hardtail frame from orange out of the UK and have my build complete! Wish I could tell you how it rides, but between the rain and my wife deciding on a whim we needed to buy a new house I haven’t had it on the trail yet! To the casual eye your frames rear end looks nearly identical! Your HA is a degree slacker and that color is sweet!! What size fork will it run?

I missed Orange (I thought they were all AL), but looked at several other steel frames before going this route; Cotic, Chromag and Stanton in particular, but every option had compromises that I wasn't happy with. I've ridden enough frames in my years though that I felt I have a pretty good grasp at the geo I want, and settling for someone else's numbers wasn't good enough. Plus, I figure at $400ish, I get 2 tries to get it just right.

The color... haha, I've always hated tan, or any other shade of brown! Then Toyota came out with the "quicksand" color on their trucks, and something changed... I figured, if I'm experimenting with the frame, why not add color to the experiment? This is actually the hex code picked from a highlight (to make it a little lighter) on a photo of a Tacoma...

I designed it to run with a 150-160 fork, but it would work well with 140, too.

5 hours ago, AustinBike said:

Very cool, building one myself (the bike, not the frame.) I thought that as I got older I would be more of a FS bike guy, but the more I ride my hardtail SS the more I think that I don't need all of that suspension for most of what I ride.

Yep. The consensus in my small circle of "old men" is "I'm too old for a hardtail", but I'm leaning the opposite direction, plus life is to short to be futzin' with tuning, maintenance, etc. For me, there's more of a "game" in riding a hardtail smooth, and I find I enjoy that engagement more.

3 hours ago, Seths Pool said:

but, "geo with sag" on a hardtail? as in like tire pressure sag, or? (obviously not a hardtail guy)

Full suspension bikes have suspension sag too (under rider weight; it's accounted for in your setup), but it doesn't affect the geometry much, other than BB drop, because both ends sag similarly. However, a hardtail only sags on one end, and as mack_turtle said, this has a significant effect on all angles, especially with longer forks. For instance, with my 150 Yari, the static (no rider) reach of the drawing above will be around 430mm, and the head angle is 63.8*, but accounting for a max of 30% sag with rider, the reach goes to 442mm with 65.5* HA.

3 hours ago, csmceuen said:

How easy was it to customize over email and with the language barrier? I am very interested in possibly buying one of these with some sliding dropouts if its possible. This is freaking awesome.

Edit: Just looked at their facebook page and they do tons of frames with sliding dropouts. So much want right now. Here is a link to the facebook for a bit of drooling. https://www.facebook.com/MarinoBikes/

Not too bad, but there was a little learning curve. He speaks a little English, enough to get the point across, especially with the help of photos, etc.. I learned to make statements and questions as simple, succinct and efficient as possible. The program he uses ( www.bikecad.ca ) does the work geometry-wise, and he has the pro version to make tweaks to your basic design (gussets, tubing bends and nuances, dropout type, etc). If you decide to do it, let me know and I'll give you some pointers based on my experience.

2 hours ago, RedRider3141 said:

That's an understatement/overstatement (need to finish my coffee). Keep us updated!

The pricing on his website is slightly misleading, as it's trials/BMX biased (this is where he started); I'll end up with around $450 invested, still 1/2 that of the other frames I was looking at. I went with the Reynolds 725 heat treated Chromo option, too.

2 hours ago, Barry said:

This is crazy cheap for a custom frame. For a person who doesn't break frames this would be a good deal. But a 6 month warranty is a non starter for me, unfortunately. 

Keep in mind this is steel, which is easily reparable. If we were talking about aluminum or carbon, I'd pass. But, at this price, it's worth a gamble; if it breaks and for some reason can't be repaired, I'll just order another one redesigned to be stronger in the failure area... two frames will still be about the same or even less than buying a frame with a 1-2 year warranty. In my research online though, including contact with owners, I have yet to find a single failure report. Also, this is an experiment; I intend to order another frame with tweaks to get it perfect, and once everything is exactly how I want it, I won't feel so apprehensive about dropping $1500-2500 on a higher-end custom frame in the future.... Imagine investing that much into a custom steel frame, only to find out it didn't work the way you thought it would...

Edited by gotdurt
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1 hour ago, mack_turtle said:

When you consider sag on a hardtail, the head and seat tube angles get steeper, the BB drops, the stack goes down and the reach increases. It can be drastic with a long fork.

This^

I wish more people understood that when selecting/building a HT.

13 hours ago, gotdurt said:

 

1652492167_Marinoquicksand-blue.thumb.jpg.b58a78f1e1b09b6652f822bb177dfffd.jpg

 

 


 

49898560_820703634934678_4319061229306904576_n.thumb.jpg.219416251253864c2f1bfc610b2772e2.jpg

 

 

 

51596307_2623783337636877_1925941460981514240_n.thumb.jpg.5151a14bc925873e13b96d73019c9240.jpg

 

We are going over shipping details, etc tonight... stay tuned.

Looks good man!

Of all the bikes ive let go of, my HT was the toughest. So much fun.

Edited by ATXZJ

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Good point that it's repairable. I've had 2 steel frames break. One I had a friend repair (an old Jenson house brand, Zion), and one was simply replaced by the manufacture (Motobecane/Bikes Direct) since it was during the 7 year warranty. 

Good call going with Reynolds 725 as well. Both my steel frames have been 4130.

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17 minutes ago, ATXZJ said:

This^

I wish more people understood that when selecting/building a HT.

Looks good man!

Of all the bikes ive let go of, my HT was the toughest. So much fun.

And I also wish there was more consistency in geometry charts for hardtails; a few (very few) brands will show both static and sagged, which is ideal; some show sagged only (and state it), which is most important; others show (stated) static, which is okay, because at least I can calculate it, but too many don't specify static or sagged at all, and those I skip, because I don't have total faith that whomever answers my email actually knows.

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1 hour ago, gotdurt said:

And I also wish there was more consistency in geometry charts for hardtails; a few (very few) brands will show both static and sagged, which is ideal; some show sagged only (and state it), which is most important; others show (stated) static, which is okay, because at least I can calculate it, but too many don't specify static or sagged at all, and those I skip, because I don't have total faith that whomever answers my email actually knows.

This is such a good point. When I got my kona Honzo St I originally installed a 120mm fork on as suggested by manufacturer, but to my surprise once sag was set I felt like I was on an xc bike with a 70 degree ht. Ultimately I wound up putting a 150mm fork on it and now it feels perfect. Kinda like with the fork sagged it has the geometry it was designed to have?

Edited by csmceuen
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5 minutes ago, csmceuen said:

This is such a good point. When I got my kona Honzo St I originally installed a 120mm fork on as suggested by manufacturer, but to my surprise once sag was set I felt like I was on an xc bike with a 70 degree ht. Ultimately I wound up putting a 150mm fork on it and now it feels perfect. Kinda like with the fork sagged it has the geometry it was designed to have?

Exactly. Of course, once you got the head angle where you wanted it, you lost around 10-15mm of reach and raised the BB as well, so that's why knowing whether it's sagged or not is so important.

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18 minutes ago, csmceuen said:

This is such a good point. When I got my kona Honzo St I originally installed a 120mm fork on as suggested by manufacturer, but to my surprise once sag was set I felt like I was on an xc bike with a 70 degree ht. Ultimately I wound up putting a 150mm fork on it and now it feels perfect. Kinda like with the fork sagged it has the geometry it was designed to have?

I did a works headset and went to 130mm for that very reason. With the old 120mm, my honzo had a 11 7/8 bb height before sag.

It was no wonder the older xc hardtails felt like death machines when I used to ride them:classic_laugh:

Edited by ATXZJ
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12 minutes ago, ATXZJ said:

I did a works headset and went to 130mm for that very reason. With the old 120mm, my honzo had a 11 7/8 bb height before sag.

It was no wonder the older xc hardtails felt like death machines when I used to ride them:classic_laugh:

That's exactly why I went with a 44mm straight headtube, so I can fine-tune with a CC Angleset or the like.

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47 minutes ago, gotdurt said:

Exactly. Of course, once you got the head angle where you wanted it, you lost around 10-15mm of reach and raised the BB as well, so that's why knowing whether it's sagged or not is so important.

The added BB height was a bonus and the bike reach is perfect now imo, but I am running a 50mm stem vs 35mm I had originally intended so that really just counteracts the reach part.

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dang, $450 for a custom designed steel frame using Reynolds 725??? That is at least a $1500 frame by a small builder. This thing looks well gusseted at the seat tube and head tube, I doubt you have problems. I'd love to take you up on your offer to take it for a spin when you get it! 

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On 2/7/2019 at 2:00 PM, Anita Handle said:

dang, $450 for a custom designed steel frame using Reynolds 725??? That is at least a $1500 frame by a small builder. This thing looks well gusseted at the seat tube and head tube, I doubt you have problems. I'd love to take you up on your offer to take it for a spin when you get it! 

My offer, eh? :classic_laugh: Seriously though, if it comes out even close to realistic expactations, I'll be happy to be an ambassedor for the guy. 

Gussets were my own spec; he'll do just about anything you want, take a look at the photos on his fb/IG

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My offer, eh? :classic_laugh: Seriously though, if it comes out even close to realistic expactations, I'll be happy to be an ambassedor for the guy. 
Gussets were my own spec; he'll do just about anything you want, take a look at the photos on his fb/IG
I tried to get that by you but you caught it... Yeah, I've been drooling over the pics in FB. How long did it take to go from starting your conversation to ordering to the build being complete?

Sent from my LG-H810 using Tapatalk

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17 minutes ago, Anita Handle said:

I tried to get that by you but you caught it... Yeah, I've been drooling over the pics in FB. How long did it take to go from starting your conversation to ordering to the build being complete?

Sent from my LG-H810 using Tapatalk
 

He claims 3-4 weeks build time on his website, mine was more like double that... but I knew 3-4 had to be pretty optimistic; some of the pics he sent me had quite a few frames and/or drawings in the background, so I think his workload is growing... but, most custom builders I've known have a minimum 6 mo lead time, and Ganderson's Guerilla Gravity took a few months, and it wasn't even custom geo, so I'm fine with it. I'm also in no hurry to get rid of the frame it's replacing.

Edited by gotdurt
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