Sometimes trying to get an off-the-shelf bike that does exactly what you want, or rides exactly how you want can be frustrating. If you want a particular set of wheels, you have a handlebar in mind and you want to carry a load in a certain way, there might be no bike that does this out of the box. Maybe you just want something that feels a bit more like Your bike with an aesthetic that grabs you. If you also have preferences about the components you want to use, then you’re guaranteed not to find a ready-made bike that really speaks to you.
If you find yourself in this situation, then maybe you should be thinking about a custom build. We have been building custom bikes for people since the early days of Commuter Cycles. We start by working out the right frame as a base, then figure out how to make it work for you, then figure out the rest based on your physiology, usage and budget along with any aesthetic desires. We have a lot of experience that helps us pick good parts that work with what you want.
Planning a custom build
Planning a custom build takes as long, and often longer, as actually building it. When you first approach us for a custom build, in person, on the phone or via email, the first thing we will do is mine you for information. We will ask about your requirements, your preferences, your planned usage, your budget, and any decisions on frames or components that you may have already made. If you’re chasing a certain look for your bike this is where you let us know. Armed with this info we will put together a proposed list of specifications (or spec list) that details the build along with a quote for that spec.
Bikes are relatively simple machines, but as always the devil is in the details. It is surprisingly easy to find yourself with incompatible (or worse, only seemingly-compatible), or ill-fitting components despite lots of research. Not only are we exceptionally good at avoiding these incompatibilities, we are also very good at judging the suitability of each component for the job at hand.
At this point we might already have your fit sorted based on test rides, matching an existing bike or taking a few measurements such as inseam and arm length. Sometimes, customers have had a fit done by a physio or another bike fit expert. We are happy to use the recommended fit data to set up your new bike when available. Bike fit is tricky because there are competing factors at play. Usage, handling and sizing are all at play when locking in a fit. The fit on a fully-loaded touring bike that will be ridden at 15k/h for long days is completely different to that of an unloaded gravel bike that will be moving at 25k/h for a few hours at a time. Our expertise is in fitting people for pretty much any type of riding that isn’t racing. We all have significant personal experience with touring, commuting, gravel and dirt road explorations, long distance road riding and mountain biking.
Once the sizing and spec list is approved, we will ask for a 50% deposit and begin assembling components. For any given custom build we often have about 80% of the components in store already but the others will need to be ordered in. Any components that need ordering are now ordered and we give you an ETA on anything that is likely to take more than a week.
The build itself
Once the parts all arrive the build itself is often done quite quickly. In some cases it is done in a single day. Frames are always prepped before building. This means headset and bottom bracket fittings are reamed, chased and faced where appropriate to ensure the headset and bottom bracket bearings run as straight and smooth as possible. Everything is fitted and adjusted before being test ridden and further refined. A small amount of steerer tube on the fork is left above the stem to allow for small adjustments in the fit after it has been ridden for a while. Tape will sometimes be left unwrapped until after you’ve taken it for a test ride if there is any doubt over your preferred handlebar and lever angles.
Like any new bike, a custom built bike will benefit from a first service to make small adjustments after things have settled into place. We typically recommend this after a month or two, or sooner if you notice anything coming out of adjustment. Even if it seems to be running perfectly, we still like to spend some time going over it to make sure everything is as it should be. This first service is free and we would not expect it to need another until you have put some decent km on it and it’s getting closer to a year old.
Ready to start a build? fill out the form below…
Custom Build Bike Form
How have other people customised their bike?
Here’s a listing of some previously completed custom builds for customers. Check them out and get inspired!
Here’s our wonderful Cath with her Bombtrack Beyond+ bikepacking rig✨
Cath’s currently out somewhere along the Munda Biddi Trail in WA, we can’t wait for her return and tales from the trail! 🗺️✌️
Bombtrack Beyond+. SRAM GX shift bits. Shimano Deore Stop bits. Truvativ Stylo Cranks. Thomson X4 Stem. SQ Lab 30x 16deg bar. SQ Lab 411 inner barends. ESI Chunky Silicone grips. KS Lev Si Dropper. SQ Lab 611 Saddle. Tumbleweed Mini Pannier Rack. King Anything Cages. Sun Ringlé Duroc 40’s laced to Schmidt Son front and DT 350 rear hubs. Vittoria Mezcal’s. Klite Lighting & Charging. Dressed in a mix of Wizard Works, Revelate, BikeBagDude and Sea To Summit bags, mounted with Voile straps.
Laura’s new Custom Surly Bridge Club is all set for the daily commute and the next touring route. 🗺️
Surly Bridge Club Frameset. Shimano CUES Shifting bits. Shimano MT410 Stopping bits. Driven by a Shimano/Stronglight Chainset combo to achieve the desired gearing. MKS Allways pedals. Cane Creek Forty Headset. Pro LT Stem. Pro LT Seatpost. SQLab 30x Handlebar. Ergon GP2 Grips. WTB Volt Saddle. Novatech sealed Bearing hubs laced to Alex MD27’s. René Herse “Umtanum Ridge” 650b x 55mm. Tubus Logo Evo Rear Rack. Arundel Looney Bin Cage.
Stephen’s rad new custom Tumbleweed Stargazer AXS build is a great mix for fast rolling gravel rides with no compromise in terms of versatility✨
Tumbleweed Stargazer. SRAM Rival/GX AXS Groupset. Curve Walmer Handlebar. Thomson X4 Stem. Cane Creek eeSilk+ Carbon Seatpost. Brooks C17, Special Orange Saddle. DiPell Leather Bartape, Tan. Velo Orange Sabot Pedals. Schmidt SON 28 front dynamo & DT350 rear laced to Curve Carbon DirtHoops via DT Comps. Rene Herse Fleecer Ridge tyres. Schmidt SON Edelux II front dynamo light. Schmidt SON rear rack Mount dynamo light. Tumbleweed T-Rack Front. Tumbleweed Mini Pannier rack rear. Lezyne Power Cage.
We’re really stoked how this build came together, featuring some really neat work from Zeke in our Workshop.
John’s Tumbleweed Prospector custom build is super well equipped, ready for some rough & rugged touring! 🗺️
Tumbleweed Prospector frameset w/ 135mm spaced fork. Shimano XT crankset. Shimano GR400 pedals. Jones H-Loop Bar. Pro LT Stem. Cane Creek Forty Headset. Thomson Elite Post. Brooks B17 carved Saddle. Avid Speed Dial 7 levers. Avid BB7 calipers. Rohloff Speedhub rear & SON 28 135mm dynamo hub front, laced to DT HX531’s via DT Comps. Vittoria Mezcal’s, 29x2.6”. kLite Bikepacker dynamo front Light. kLite Qube dynamo rear light. kLite Dual USB Charger. Tumbleweed Mini Pannier Racks front and rear. Revelate MagTank. And an ensemble of John’s supplied Rockgeist bags.
For a while now Huw’s been after a fast and capable gravel bike with at least 29x2” tyres to cope with the rutted and rocky tracks in Central Victoria. The “Fools’ Gold 420” bikepacking event coinciding with the arrival of “Big Kev” gave him the drive and opportunity to build up this amazing rig.
Curve “Big Kev” Frameset XM. Shimano GRX shifting w/ Garbaruk Cage, Pulleys and Cassette for extended range. White Industries G30 Crank and TSR Chainring. Chris King Headset. Curve Walmer Handlebar. Ergon BT Gravel Bartape. Thomson X4 Stem. Thomson Masterpiece Carbon Post. WTB Volt Ti Saddle. Curve Carbon DirtHoops laced to DT350 rear and Schmidt SON28 Dynamo hub via DT Comps. kLite Dual USB Charger, Gravel V2 front & Qube Rear lights. Rene Herse Fleecer Ridge Endurance front & Endurance+ rear tyres. Revelate Ripio Framebag & MagTank.
Big thanks to: Curve for getting the Frameset and Rims quick smart. Kerry at kLite for the combo Lighting & Charging setup. Stewart at Riderfit for the fit session. Stu at SCV for the sweet finishing kit. Zeke and Mike for staying back late to build the bike. ❤️
John and Rose came in after a couple of custom built steeds for their upcoming trip to Norway 🇳🇴
Naturally, a pair of Salsa Fargo’s were a perfect solution✨
Salsa Fargo. Rohloff shifting paired with Ergon GP4 grips. Shimano Deore Disc Brakes. Shimano XT Crankset. Rohloff Speedhubs laced to Alex MD23’ via DT Comps. John’s with a Son28 Dynamo front hub, Rose’s with Novatech. Both rolling on Schwalbe Marathon Almotion’s 700x50c. Salsa Down Under HD Front low-rider Racks. Tumbleweed T-Racks rear. Planet Bike Cascadia Fenders. MKS Gordito pedals.
John’s bike equipped for charging and lighting with: Schmidt SON Edelux II front. Schmidt SON rack Mount rear. kLite Dual USB Charger housed in a Bike Bag Dude Garage TT bag.
Both expertly built by Bailey in the workshop🔧
Thanks John & Rose, we look forward to hearing about your trip 🗺️😊
Commuter Cycles acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional custodians of the lands and waterways in the area now known as Brunswick, and pays respect to their Elders past, present, and emerging, as well as to all First Nations’ communities in Australia.