Field Cycles- A custom frame

leicaman

Maximum Pace
Sep 20, 2012
2,551
2,247
133
Asakadai, Saitama
#1
I blame @theBlob . It was he who started a stupid thread asking what bike people would get if they could get any frame from any maker. That planted the seed.

Before responding in his thread, I thought long and hard about what frame I would love to have. I settled on a Speedvagen after briefly choosing a Cherubim, but then I spoke to @xDOMx who was waiting for his Field cycles to be built. I must admit, I hadn't heard much about Field cycles but after a little googling, I fell in love. I then decided to change my response (mentally) and that was that. Fast forward a month and I find myself on the Field cycles waiting list. After emailing Harry, the framebuilder, I was told the waiting list would be 25 weeks meaning I'd be getting the bike around the end of May 2016. Fantastic. Six months wait for my dream bike wasn't so bad.

After speaking to Dom, he told me to be prepared for a longer wait than 6 months. I'm glad he was going through the process and could offer his insight. I thought that May might be a little hopeful but summer would be a nice time of year to get the bike. I started looking at what components I would like to get. This created a big dilemma. Should I go with rim brakes or disc brakes. After annoying the hell out of my cycling mates, I finally decided on rim brakes. I always feel confident when descending and I never push it, keeping it well within the safety zone. With that decided, I went and ordered some parts.... Enve 2.2 SES climbing wheels and SRAM Red eTap.

I've spoken to Harry many times via email and visited him at his workshop last Xmas. He had been staying at his mums house over Xmas but went back to Sheffield early just so I could meet up with him and he could show me where all the magic happens. Fieldcycles is comprised of three über talented people, Harry the frame builder and main man at Field, Tom the designer and John the painter. It's a very small setup but they are producing the most beautiful bikes out there at the moment (in my opinion).

So anyway, May came and went. Summer came and went and we are now nearly into December. How is the bike coming along? It's got a front triangle, but no seatstay or chainstays yet. They should be brazed on sometime this week. I have finally started conversing with Tom about what design I want but I haven't got any designs from him yet. I'm hoping to get some in the next few days.

One thing is for sure, getting a Field cycles is a loooong process but I'm 100% sure it will be worth it. I'm guesstimating that I will have the bike by February but who knows. Could be sooner, could be later. The wait is agonising but in the best way possible.

This is where we are up to at the moment


 
Last edited:

ryanm

Speeding Up
May 28, 2016
38
9
28
38
#3
That welding looks amazing. I'm curious if you had an opportunity to test a Cherubim. They look amazing, but a person I talked with said that they don't actually ride all that well. I was thinking of getting a custom steel and was looking at the websites of some of the local builders. Some of them looked really nice, but the wait time was going to be a bit too long for me.
At any rate, I hope that the bike rides as nicely as it looks!
 

TokyoLiving

Maximum Pace
Dec 9, 2015
605
255
93
53
#4
That welding looks amazing. I'm curious if you had an opportunity to test a Cherubim. They look amazing, but a person I talked with said that they don't actually ride all that well. I was thinking of getting a custom steel and was looking at the websites of some of the local builders. Some of them looked really nice, but the wait time was going to be a bit too long for me.
At any rate, I hope that the bike rides as nicely as it looks!
Look into speedvagen. Not local but wait time is shorter than most. And they have lots of options to choose from.
 

ryanm

Speeding Up
May 28, 2016
38
9
28
38
#5
Your bike on your other thread looks beautiful. I ended up getting a carbon bike and can't justify a new bike just yet but will keep them in mind if the n+1 urge becomes too overwhelming (especially when n only equals 1). I see speedvagen have even started selling an off the rack bike that also looks quite nice.
 
Likes: TokyoLiving

leicaman

Maximum Pace
Sep 20, 2012
2,551
2,247
133
Asakadai, Saitama
#6
That welding looks amazing. I'm curious if you had an opportunity to test a Cherubim. They look amazing, but a person I talked with said that they don't actually ride all that well. I was thinking of getting a custom steel and was looking at the websites of some of the local builders. Some of them looked really nice, but the wait time was going to be a bit too long for me.
At any rate, I hope that the bike rides as nicely as it looks!
I've not ridden a Cherubim but I have ridden with a guy who was riding his new Cherubim at the time and said it was very nice.
I've never ridden a Field either, but I've heard from quite a few people who have and love them. I find that people who have never ridden a custom steel bike seem to like to say how bad they are, whereas people who own them absolutely love them.
I'm not sure what the waiting list is like if you slapped down a deposit today but I would guess that it's not too far off two years, maybe more. If I had no bike and was waiting for a custom, I would be ripping my hair out with frustration but as I already have a bike that serves me well, the wait is just an inconvenience.

What did you get?
 

bawbag

Maximum Pace
Mar 20, 2013
430
244
63
Tokyo
#7
I find that people who have never ridden a custom steel bike seem to like to say how bad they are, whereas people who own them absolutely love them.
This is going to sound rather troll-esque, but what differentiates between a non-custom and custom steel aside from geometry, and are those differences really enough to cause people to judge them differently? I mean, I have a steel bike that fortunately would be pretty much the exact right size (1cm too short on the seat tube) as if I'd had it custom made. No-one has ever said how bad it is; quite the opposite in fact as it's rather an elegant thing.
 

TokyoLiving

Maximum Pace
Dec 9, 2015
605
255
93
53
#8
This is going to sound rather troll-esque, but what differentiates between a non-custom and custom steel aside from geometry, and are those differences really enough to cause people to judge them differently? I mean, I have a steel bike that fortunately would be pretty much the exact right size (1cm too short on the seat tube) as if I'd had it custom made. No-one has ever said how bad it is; quite the opposite in fact as it's rather an elegant thing.
I am sure others will chime in and offer their experience. And rather than retype something I have already written about, give this a read. I talk about the experience of riding a custom.

https://tokyocycle.com/bbs/threads/a-custom-frame-story-speedvagen.7209/#post-103638
 

leicaman

Maximum Pace
Sep 20, 2012
2,551
2,247
133
Asakadai, Saitama
#9
This is going to sound rather troll-esque, but what differentiates between a non-custom and custom steel aside from geometry, and are those differences really enough to cause people to judge them differently? I mean, I have a steel bike that fortunately would be pretty much the exact right size (1cm too short on the seat tube) as if I'd had it custom made. No-one has ever said how bad it is; quite the opposite in fact as it's rather an elegant thing.
To be honest, I can't really comment on how a custom bike rides as I've never ridden one, but of all the people I've spoken to that have one, not one of them has been disappointed. One of the main differences between getting a custom steel and an off the peg steel is that you can choose what type of tubing you want. In my case, I told Harry, the frame builder, what kind of riding I like to do and what kind of a ride I wanted. He then suggested a mix of different tubes for different parts of the bike. All steel tubing isn't the same so a different combination of tubes gives a different ride. I went for an oval top tube in Reynolds 853 with seatstays that morph into the top tube, making for a laterally stiff rear end (and I'm sure you are with me when I say a stiff rear end is a pleasurable experience ;) ). Reynolds 853 Pro team on various other parts of the bike will drop the weight a little which will help (mentally) with climbing. I'm sure an off the peg steel frame using quality steel tubing will also ride very nicely, just don't expect a bargain basement steel frame to ride the same.

Here is my oval top tube and seat stays btw



 

ryanm

Speeding Up
May 28, 2016
38
9
28
38
#10
I've not ridden a Cherubim but I have ridden with a guy who was riding his new Cherubim at the time and said it was very nice.
I've never ridden a Field either, but I've heard from quite a few people who have and love them. I find that people who have never ridden a custom steel bike seem to like to say how bad they are, whereas people who own them absolutely love them.
I'm not sure what the waiting list is like if you slapped down a deposit today but I would guess that it's not too far off two years, maybe more. If I had no bike and was waiting for a custom, I would be ripping my hair out with frustration but as I already have a bike that serves me well, the wait is just an inconvenience.

What did you get?
Thanks for your thoughts here and later on in the thread. I had mainly been thinking about custom steel for sizing issues, but the ability to choose tubes also makes lots of sense. I should have clarified earlier, however, that I definitely was not intending to criticize steel or custom steel. I rode a Lemond with Reynolds 853 and also had a Nishiki that I liked a lot. The Lemond felt a bit noodly out of the saddle, but that was most likely more due to the crap wheels than anything else. The person who told me that Cherubims lack road feel exclusively rides steel, although I'm not sure if that person has ever actually ridden a Cherubim. The bikes are so beautiful that I simply remember being surprised when that person said that Cherubim is more interested in aesthetics and that the ride quality was not great. I consider that person to be very knowledgeable about steel bikes and was wondering if your experience had been different. I'll definitely consider a custom steel sometime down the road and appreciate you sharing your experiences with the process. In the end, I found a pretty good deal on Yahoo auctions on a Pinarello Gan (based on the Dogma F8, but cheaper carbon). While I was apprehensive about buying a bike second hand, especially since this voids the warranty with Pinarello, it doesn't seem counterfeit and has not spontaneously exploded yet. It isn't a weight weeny bike (or at least not with this build), but I really like how it rides so far. I love seeing the pictures of the progression of your bike build. It looks like it will be really nice.
 
Likes: leicaman

George5

Maximum Pace
Oct 16, 2014
385
141
73
46
#11
Besides the geometry another huuge factor is the selection of tubing based on what the intended use of the bike is and more importantly the body type of the rider. Saying that a good fit rider on an off the peg bike will beat me in a race 99 times out of 100 (must get a puncture or two at sometime). Bikes are like lovers, love the one you're with.
 
Likes: leicaman

leicaman

Maximum Pace
Sep 20, 2012
2,551
2,247
133
Asakadai, Saitama
#12
@ryanm no worries mate. I wasn't referring to you when I was talking about people criticising custom steel. I've read a lot of stuff on other cycling forums where people like to bad mouth stuff that they've never tried.
I'll be heading back to the UK this Xmas and meeting up with the frame builder, most probably over a pub lunch. Call me crazy, but it's little things like this that makes a custom build extra special to me ;)
 

bawbag

Maximum Pace
Mar 20, 2013
430
244
63
Tokyo
#14
It's certainly going to be a beautiful bike. The idea of having a bike made exactly for you is also nice in an age of identikit off-the-peg...everything. I also like the fact that someone is pouring a lot of time and attention into constructing something.

I'm a bit leery of the idea that tubing choices make that much of a difference outside of making it as stiff or as light as possible - I've ridden 531, 531 Competition (the tubing of my current bike), and Columbux SLX (similar to 531c but a touch stiffer) in lugged frames, and 753 and Columbus Max as lugless fillet-brazed frames. To be honest, I thought that they were all preeeeeeeetty much the same "steel" feel (very smooth, minimal road buzz, bit flexy etc), except the Max is OS tubing, so was a lot stiffer relative to the others. Weight-wise, I can't remember but I think there was about a maximum of 1kg difference between old-school 531 and the Max. Max was also the most modern of the tubing variants, having different oval orientations depending on the tubes.

I can understand a builder trying to balance lightness with stiffness as I can see the Field guy is doing; as mentioned, trying to make a stiff rear by using stiffer materials and constructing it in a way that lugged bikes generally aren't, but at the end of the day, it'll still be a steel bike, with all the pros and cons attached to the material.

I guess that's a more pertinent question - what is the overall aim of the bike? Is it as an artisanal piece of craftsmanship? Something which celebrates the history and lineage of cycling? Something that's just nice to look at? Something just different from what you have? Not trying to goad at all, I'm genuinely interested as I've seen you riding what looks like an amazing bike at the moment, and am curious as to your motivations.

edit: see? I don't always have a foul mouth!
 
Last edited:
Likes: leicaman

dastott

Speeding Up
May 10, 2012
80
24
28
Fukuoka
#15
Interesting thread. I have a 1989 vintage Peugeot with 653 tubing which I have owned since new that I still get to ride and enjoy occasionally. Just wondering though how much better a custom steel bike would be compared to a top carbon bike like a Canyon Ultimate SLX or Cannondale SS Evo Hi-Mod? Will it be faster climbing or descending? Will it be more comfortable? I can certainly see the aesthetic appeal...
 

leicaman

Maximum Pace
Sep 20, 2012
2,551
2,247
133
Asakadai, Saitama
#16
It's certainly going to be a beautiful bike. The idea of having a bike made exactly for you is also nice in an age of identikit off-the-peg...everything. I also like the fact that someone is pouring a lot of time and attention into constructing something.

I'm a bit leery of the idea that tubing choices make that much of a difference outside of making it as stiff or as light as possible - I've ridden 531, 531 Competition (the tubing of my current bike), and Columbux SLX (similar to 531c but a touch stiffer) in lugged frames, and 753 and Columbus Max as lugless fillet-brazed frames. To be honest, I thought that they were all preeeeeeeetty much the same "steel" feel (very smooth, minimal road buzz, bit flexy etc), except the Max is OS tubing, so was a lot stiffer relative to the others. Weight-wise, I can't remember but I think there was about a maximum of 1kg difference between old-school 531 and the Max. Max was also the most modern of the tubing variants, having different oval orientations depending on the tubes.

I can understand a builder trying to balance lightness with stiffness as I can see the Field guy is doing; as mentioned, trying to make a stiff rear by using stiffer materials and constructing it in a way that lugged bikes generally aren't, but at the end of the day, it'll still be a steel bike, with all the pros and cons attached to the material.

I guess that's a more pertinent question - what is the overall aim of the bike? Is it as an artisanal piece of craftsmanship? Something which celebrates the history and lineage of cycling? Something that's just nice to look at? Something just different from what you have? Not trying to goad at all, I'm genuinely interested as I've seen you riding what looks like an amazing bike at the moment, and am curious as to your motivations.

edit: see? I don't always have a foul mouth!
Ha ha, I wasn't sure it was you at first when your posts contained no profanity;)

To answer your question regarding the overall aim of the bike, I guess it is a mix of creating an artisanal piece of work, creating something that will look beautiful (in my eyes) and creating something that I don't want to swap for the "latest model" when it is barely 6months old. One thing I don't like in cycling is the constant pressure from manufacturers to buy their latest and greatest technology. What they told you was unbelievably good on their 2016 model is now crap and you "need" to have their 2017 model because it is vastly superior.
 
Last edited:
Likes: George5

leicaman

Maximum Pace
Sep 20, 2012
2,551
2,247
133
Asakadai, Saitama
#17
Interesting thread. I have a 1989 vintage Peugeot with 653 tubing which I have owned since new that I still get to ride and enjoy occasionally. Just wondering though how much better a custom steel bike would be compared to a top carbon bike like a Canyon Ultimate SLX or Cannondale SS Evo Hi-Mod? Will it be faster climbing or descending? Will it be more comfortable? I can certainly see the aesthetic appeal...
We'll soon see as I have been riding a Canyon Ultimate SLX for the last few years. I'm pretty sure it won't be any faster at climbing , but I'm interested in how comfortable it will be. I do love to ride my Canyon but it doesn't inspire me like the Field is already doing, despite it not being a finished frame yet. With a decent amount of training, I'm pretty confident I can get into the top 5 on the Shiraishi leaderboard next year on the Field.
 

leicaman

Maximum Pace
Sep 20, 2012
2,551
2,247
133
Asakadai, Saitama
#19
The design has been finalised. Tom, the designer (yes, his family name is The designer) is taking the frame back from his house to the workshop so that John The Painter (yep, you guessed it) can work his magic on it. Shouldn't be too long now.