Custom Bicycle vs Customized Bicycle: What’s the Difference?
If you are a cycling enthusiast, you might have wondered what the difference is between a custom bicycle and a customized bicycle. Both terms sound similar, but they actually refer to different ways of creating your own unique ride. In this blog post, I will explain the main differences between these two options, and help you decide which one is right for you.
What is a custom bicycle?
A custom bicycle is a bike that is built from scratch by a professional frame builder, based on a professional comprehensive fit, and is built according to your specific measurements, preferences, and needs. A custom bicycle is tailor-made for you, and only you. It is designed to fit your body perfectly and to perform optimally for your riding style and goals. A custom bicycle can also reflect your personality and taste, with options for custom paint, graphics, and accessories. Lloyd Thomas of CycleFit Europe and Virtual Bike Fitting explains that a custom bike takes all parameters into the equation such as toe overlap, and tire size options, not to mention an uncompromised ride characteristic. He explains:
"A custom bike is designed to fit you perfectly and to perform optimally for your riding style and goals. It takes into account your body measurements, your preferences, and your needs. It also considers the technical aspects of the bike, such as the geometry, the material, the components, and the accessories."
A custom bicycle is not something you can buy off the shelf or order online. It requires a lot of communication and collaboration between you, your bike fitter, and the frame builder, who will take your measurements, discuss your preferences, and design a bike that suits you best. The frame builder will then handcraft the frame from the material of your choice, such as steel, titanium, carbon fiber, or aluminum.
The first step in creating a custom bike is to conduct a thorough fit session with a qualified Bike fitter. The fitter then uses CAD (computer-aided design) software to design a bike geometry that matches the rider’s preferences and needs. The fitter sends the relevant data to the frame builder, who makes their own CAD drawing and confirms the frame dimensions with the fitter. Once the frame design is finalized, the frame builder starts the fabrication process.
What is a customized bicycle?
A customized bicycle is a bike that is modified or upgraded from an existing bike, A customized bicycle is not built from scratch, but rather from an existing frame that may or may not fit you well. A customized bicycle allows you to change or improve certain aspects of your bike, such as the color, components, accessories, or performance.
A customized bicycle can be done in two ways: either by buying individual parts and assembling them yourself, or by ordering a bike online from various retailers that let you pick and choose the parts you want. The first option requires some mechanical know-how and tools, but it can be rewarding and fun to build your own bike piece by piece. The second option is easier and faster, but it may limit your choices and quality.
Sunny Quach of Piermont Bicycle Connection " relates:
“There are many ways to customize your bicycle, depending on your budget and preferences. You can change the components, non-fit related components like pedals, wheels, tires, bar tape, etc. to suit your preferences. You can also add accessories, such as lights, bags, racks, fenders, etc., to enhance your safety and convenience. And of course, you can personalize your bike with, decals, parameters, etc., to express your personality and style.”
A customized bicycle can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. You can change just one part of your bike, such as the saddle or the tires, or you can change everything from the frame to the pedals. You can also mix and match parts from different brands and models, creating a unique hybrid bike. A customized bicycle can be cheaper or more expensive than a custom bicycle, depending on how much you change and what parts you use.
Which one should you choose?
The choice between a custom bicycle and a customized bicycle depends on several factors, such as your budget, time frame, riding style, goals, and personal preference. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you decide:
- Do you have a specific vision of your dream bike that no existing bike can match?
- Do you have special fit issues or needs that require custom geometry or sizing?
- Do you value quality over quantity, and are willing to pay for a handcrafted bike that will last a lifetime?
- Do you have the patience and flexibility to wait several weeks for your bike to be built?
- Do you enjoy working with a small company that will listen to your ideas and create a bike that reflects your personality?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, then a custom bicycle might be the best option for you.
- Do you already have a bike that fits you well enough, but want to make some changes or improvements?
- Do you want to save some money by using existing parts or finding good deals online?
- Do you value convenience over customization, and prefer to order a bike online or buy one off the shelf?
- Do you want to get your bike as soon as possible, without waiting for long lead times?
- Do you enjoy tinkering with your bike yourself or with the help of a bike shop?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, then a customized bicycle might be the best option for you.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing between a custom bicycle and a customized bicycle. Both options have their pros and cons, and both can result in a bike that makes you happy and proud. The most important thing is to know what you want from your bike, and what you are willing to spend, both in terms of time and money. Whether you go for a custom bicycle or a customized bicycle, the end goal is the same: to have a bike that fits you, suits you, and inspires you to ride more.
Want more information on Bike fitting? Bike Fitting @ Piermont Bicycle Connection