Saturday, June 21, 2014

Arrival of the new frame from Velobuild

My new frame arrived from China last week, about 4 weeks after placing the order. As far as I can tell, the shipping only took just over a week, and much of the remaining time was spent on the custom paint job. I suspect an order without custom paint might be quicker. After sending Chris at Velobuild a picture of the paint job I wanted, he contacted me about two weeks later to ask whether I wanted glossy or matte finish. I responded, and then heard back again about a week later with shipping confirmation and tracking information.

I had to go to the post office to pick up the box, though I think they would have delivered it to my door if anyone had been home when they came.

I got a large box that was taped shut very securely, but despite prominently displayed arrows pointing which way goes up, the side of the box was a bit dented, and featured several prominent foot prints.

Despite my occasional frustrations with the US Postal Service, I'm inclined to trust that they are more competent than that, so I'm blaming this one on China Post. The frame inside was wrapped with some foam padding, and as far as I can tell, did not suffer any damage from the mistreatment of the box.

Here's the finished frame. For the most part, the frame looks great. The colors look more or less like what I was expecting, and the paint looks like it should be durable. A comparison to the picture I sent them reveals that they made one small mistake: the blue region on the chain stays is a little too long compared to the blue sections on the other tubes, but I think it won't be too obvious when the complete bike is assembled.

The only other disappointment so far is that I don't think the frame perfectly matches the claimed geometry specifications. The specifications for the frame on Velobuild say the the top tube length on this frame is 58 cm, which is one centimeter shorter than my existing frame. After measuring the frame, I think it's closer to 57 cm. I think I can compensate for this by getting a stem that is 1 cm longer than I was planning, and still get the same position on the bike that I had before.

Aside from those two details, I don't have any other complaints about the frame or the process of buying it. I'm still awaiting a couple of parts I need to assemble the new bike. I've already got a new seatpost and stem for the new frame, as well as a new set of brake and shifter cables. I forgot until I'd already got everything else that I'll need a new front derailleur, because my old one is the clamp-on type, which is not compatible with this frame. When that arrives, assembly will begin.