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Verdict: 
Fast and inspiring ride with great handling and fine looks; a true contender for any performance road bike shortlist
Weight: 
7,870g
Genesis Volare Team 953 road bike
8 10

With sublime handling and rapid performance, the Genesis Volare is proof, if ever it were needed, that steel still has a place at the top table of performance road bikes. The Madison Genesis Pro Team have been ambitious in putting steel bikes back in the professional peloton, and in doing that have developed an exciting bike that should appeal equally to racers and non-racers alike.

Ride: Fast and engaging

To ride, the Volare Team 953 just feels good; really good. Boot it up the road with all the watts you can summon from your legs and it rips along at a terrific pace. Drop into a descent and it is stable and predictable. The Volare gives you the confidence to explore some high speeds through the corners. Pin it through an apex and it feels settled, almost calm, unlike some bikes which can start to get nervous at such speeds.

Point it at your favourite hill and, whether seated or out of the saddle, climbing reveals just how stiff the frame is, the front half especially feeling exceptionally tight. The oversized head tube together with the Enve carbon fork give the front end a very solid feeling. Push and pull on the bars shows not a hint of flex or limpness. It's responds sharply to such inputs, at any speed.

The Volare isn't compromised because of its race-crafted design though. That's a good thing because I think the Volare is right at home with anyone simply wanting a fast road bike for blasting the lanes of a Sunday morning. It's comfortable if you want to take it easy; you can cruise along and take in the views.

It's a comfortable bike most of the time, in that distinct way of a good steel-framed bike. On smooth Tarmac it quietly buzzes along, just the sound of the tyres for company. Get it on a less well maintained road though, and the ride is a touch jolty, and the rougher the road gets the more it feeds vibration through to the handlebars and saddle. This is no doubt a consequence of the oversized tube profiles and enormous head tube and bottom bracket. At times it feels more like a stiff carbon frame than a steel frame, which just shows how much stiffness they've managed to add with all the oversized tubes.

Thankfully it never gets harsh though, and the large volume 25mm tyres (which I found felt best at about 90-95psi) certainly help take the edge off. You could probably get a more more vibration damping by fitting carbon fibre handlebars and seatpost.

It's a very fast and brilliant-handling bike, and if you want a genuine alternative to aluminium or carbon fibre for a high performance road bike, the Volare is easy to recommend.

Some people pointed to the weight penalty of the bike during the test period, and that is a consideration. Genesis have worked hard to bring the weight of the frame down, and the bike pictured tipped the scales at 7.91kg. Not really that heavy is it?

A quick look through the reviews archive to see what a carbon bike for the same money gets you, and we arrive at the Storck Fenomalist. Full carbon and five grand, and it weighs 7kg on the nose. So, a 0.8kg weight difference. I don't think that's much of a penalty. If you're a weight weenie, if every gram matters, then the Volare isn't for you, but you'll be too busy weighing your latex inner tubes to be reading this review.

In the real world, the weight difference is negligible. Yes, at times you can feel the weight, but I never found it holding me back on the climbs. Against a stopwatch I know I'll be quicker up my regular climbs on a lighter carbon bike, but probably not all that much. On one test hill I've set a PB on the Volare against a sway of carbon bikes. There's a lot more than a light bike to going fast up a hill.

Everywhere else, the Volare just excels. The ride is classy and well balanced, it feels really nice to ride, it is fun to ride, it's a cracking bike.

Would I have one in my garage? Well, that's a tricky question. If I was wanting a race bike, I'd probably be tempted by carbon or alloy and a cheaper groupset for a bike of about the same weight, and for non-racing, just riding fast for fun, then I'm not sure the frame really benefits enough from the oversizing to warrant the tradeoff in total ride comfort.

The fact is, the Volare Team 953 is a fantastic bike. It's so good in fact that I spent so much time with it that I wore out the brake pads. I don't usually wear out brake blocks on test bikes.

Frame: Oversized Reynolds 953 tubing

What have Genesis done to produce such a fine riding bike then? Well it started a couple of years ago with the intention of supplying the then-new race Madison-Genesis, and it has been fettled, tweaked and honed before it was finally launched to the public this year. Genesis have been back and forth to Reynolds, tweaking the shape and profile of the tubes, and changing small details based on feedback from the racers.

The team have been critical in the development of the frame since its inception. That's the advantage, and attraction, of working with professional riders; you get a lot of feedback very quickly, because they rack up the miles and are usually very demanding. Based on that feedback they've made changes like giving the top tube more slope, and decreasing the diameter of the tubes to build in a little more compliance and reduce the weight. Genesis claim a weight of about 1,650g for a size 54cm frame.

Oversized tubes are the order of the day, visibly in the down tube, top tube and chainstays. The head tube is a 44mm diameter tube and an Enve Road fork with a carbon tapered steerer tube slides into the headset bearings. The bottom bracket is Shimano's press-fit BB86, the wide shell providing plenty of surface area for the oversized down tube, seat tube and chainstays. To provide some comfort they've fitted a 27.2mm seatpost.

The tubeset is Reynolds 953, a specially developed 'martensitic-aging' stainless steel alloy that Reynolds claim offers a tensile strength in excess of 2000MP (853 is around 1400MP), giving a very high strength-to-weight ratio. It's a lovely tubeset, and gives a noticeable performance increase over 853 or one of the other non-stainless steel tubesets, with a bit more tautness when you wind it up to speed. It's also very forgiving, but the oversized head tube, bottom bracket and chainstays perhaps undoes some of the compliance just a touch.

Geometry is fairly racy, as you might expect, and sticks to tried-and-tested numbers, so there are no real surprises in the handling. The head angle is 73.3° and the seat angle 73.25°, the effective top tube is 56.1cm, the wheelbase 985mm and the chainstays are 407mm. One thing worth pointing out is the 14.5cm head tube, that's very aggressive and just how racers like it (they love getting as low as possible on the bike) and while Genesis do stick a few spacers above the headset, it's really very specific in its focus.

Build: Full Dura-Ace 11-speed and RS81 wheels

Just like the team race, the Volare Team gets a full Dura-Ace 9000 11-speed groupset with a 52/36 chainset and 11-28 cassette. The groupset is wonderful to use. Shifting is light and crisp and very accurate, front shifts are fantastic with plenty of trim options, and the brakes are extremely powerful. The brake blocks don't last all that long in the rain and grit of a UK winter/spring though.

The 52/36 chainset was something I instantly grew to like. It just takes the hurt off trying to push a 53/39 in winter training mode without resorting to a compact.

The Shimano theme continues with the RS81 C24 wheels. They use the same carbon laminate rim design as the more expensive Dura-Ace wheels, but have slighter heavier hubs. There's nothing wrong with these wheels at all, they spin up fast, are a decent weight and very reliable, but Dura-Ace wheels would have been nice at this price.

Wide tyres are all the rage at the moment. The team have been racing 25mm tyres, and so the bike is fitted with Continental Grand Sport Race 25mm tyres. They're not Conti's best tyres, but they're fast and a good weight. I found their puncture resistance lacking on my local roads, though. They're a good tyre to get you started, and when they wear out you can upgrade them anyway.

The bike is finished with Genesis 0.4 inhouse handlebars, stem and seatpost, all made from alloy and featuring smart decals. The saddle should be a San Marco Concor, but that went missing somewhere so a Genesis branded saddle was fitted. I replaced it with a Prologo Scratch saddle anyway so I could get properly comfortable on it. It's all nice kit, but you might reasonably expect some fancier PRO branded finishing kit.

Five grand is a lot of money for a road bike, and they've probably had to work quite hard to get the £2,249 frame and fork and a full Dura-Ace groupset and decent wheels to squeeze in under, given a Dura-Ace groupset retails for about £2k.

The smart money might be to buy the Volare Team frame on its own for £2,249, and pick up a Dura-Ace groupset which can currently be bought discounted at various retailers for £950 (half the retail price). Use the money saved to buy some faster wheels and fancier finishing kit, and you'll either end up with a better specced bike for the same money as the complete bike, or save yourself a few quid.

Conclusion

The Volare Team is a great package that provides a fast and lively ride that can live with most carbon fibre or aluminium race bikes. It's a wonderful looking bike too, really standing out against a backdrop of carbon bikes in a club run and is easy to live with on a daily basis, doing everything you want of a high performance road bike. For just riding or racing, the Volare Team delivers. My one caveat is that good as it is as a complete package buying a frameset and building it up yourself might be a better financial move and you'd end up with exactly the bike you wanted. That said it's a well thought out build as it comes and you might not want the hassle of searching for parts - plus of course, if you're spending this amount of money saving a few quid may not be high on your list of priorities. So, if you want something a bit different and unique, the Volare Team 953 is a bike that should be on your shortlist.

Verdict

Fast and inspiring ride with great handling and fine looks; a true contender for any performance road bike shortlist.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Genesis Volare Team

Size tested: 56

About the bike

State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.

953's unparalleled UTS (Ultimate Tensile Strength) of 1750-2050 MPa results in a far superior strength to weight ratio of any other steel currently offered within the cycle industry, enabling Reynolds, in combination with oversize tube profiles, to draw very thin walled tubes (down to 0.3mm in places) and give an overall frame weight comparable to that of Titanium (circa 1600-1700g for 54cm), but much, much stiffer.

Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

Developing a bona fide, modern day race frame from steel, presented us with a real engineering challenge. Could we make it competitive in a race context (stiff enough, light enough)? Would it satisfy a group of riders who have spent the majority of their racing lives on carbon? What we've tried to do is push the boundaries of what's possible with a steel road race frame - some elements experimental (in the context of steel), others pre-proven.

So, what makes 953 so special? Its big trump card is its strength. It's off-the-scale strength that results in a superior strength-to-weight ratio, enabling Reynolds, in combination with oversize tube profiles, to draw very thin walled tubes (Reynolds will butt down to 0.3mm in places) and give an overall frame weight comparable to that of Titanium but nearly twice as stiff.

Yes, it's expensive. Yes, it's an absolute b**ch to work with (in its off-the-chart tensile strength lies both its biggest strength and biggest weakness), but, in 953 Reynolds now had a steel tubeset to trump Titanium, clawing back some much needed, long-lost ground to the favoured modern materials - stainless, stiff, competitively light yet still retaining that unmistakable compliant and road-connected ride feel for which steel is famous.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
9/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

Fantastic finish and build quality, lovely welds.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

The tubeset is Reynolds 953, a specially developed 'martensitic-aging' stainless steel alloy that Reynolds claim offers a tensile strength in excess of 2000MP (853 is around 1400MP), giving a high strength-to-weight ratio.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

Fairly racy as you'd expect from a race-tuned bike.

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

Spot on.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

Mostly yes, but on very rough roads it becomes a bit jolty, more akin to a stiff carbon or alloy bike.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

Yes, loads of stiffness detectable in the head tube and bottom bracket.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

Oh yes.

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

Loves cornering, where it feels stable and planted. Very accurate steering too

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

Carbon fibre bars and post might alleviate some of the road buzz.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for climbing:
 
7/10

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
8/10

The brake pads didn't last long

Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
9/10
Rate the drivetrain for value:
 
7/10

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels and tyres for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for value:
 
9/10

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the controls for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for value:
 
8/10

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes.

Would you consider buying the bike? Maybe.

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Probably.

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
7/10

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180  Weight: 67

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,

 

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

47 comments

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Some Fella [890 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

 105

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thegibdog [103 posts] 2 years ago
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Looks good but it's really poorly priced given that Madison is the UK distributor of Shimano.

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DeanF316 [135 posts] 2 years ago
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Typical Madison pricing. As much I like a steel bike this is just too much especially considering current pricing of Dura Ace groups on line.

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localsurfer [200 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Look awesome. As a big fan of steel though, it's just too much considering you could get a made to measure custom-built steel frame, (in 953 as well), for about half this price.

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step-hent [719 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

My custom built steel frame (in 953) is coming in a bit less than this, but not a huge amount - the Volare is more, but not out of the same ballpark. But its surprising that Madison haven't used their might as the Shimano distributor to price it more competitively as a complete bike.

Still, it looks lovely and sounds like a proper racer's steel bike - nice to see that it can be done by a well known brand and not just by the boutique framebuilders.

Cant wait for mine now...

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Nick T [913 posts] 2 years ago
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localsurfer wrote:

Look awesome. As a big fan of steel though, it's just too much considering you could get a made to measure custom-built steel frame, (in 953 as well), for about half this price.

I'm not sure if you can, 853 perhaps but not 953.

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Flying Scot [918 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Please remember, that as distributor, Madison will probably maximise 'RRP' so the retailer can then maximise 'discount''

I may be wrong, but as you can custom build for that, who would buy a factory bike in a standard size?

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David Arthur @d... [672 posts] 2 years ago
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localsurfer wrote:

Look awesome. As a big fan of steel though, it's just too much considering you could get a made to measure custom-built steel frame, (in 953 as well), for about half this price.

Got any examples to back up this claim? Just to pick one example, a Rourke 953 frame with carbon fork costs from £1950, so not quite half the price

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Flying Scot [918 posts] 2 years ago
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Custom 953 sure ain't half the price, but usually 'less than or equal to'  16

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PzychotropicMac [81 posts] 2 years ago
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Flying Scot wrote:

Please remember, that as distributor, Madison will probably maximise 'RRP' so the retailer can then maximise 'discount''

I may be wrong, but as you can custom build for that, who would buy a factory bike in a standard size?

Yes, you are wrong

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localsurfer [200 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

My bike?
Custom frames don't have to have all the fancy scroll work on them and so on. A basic bike, especially tig welded, aren't that expensive.

I was quoted 800 for a tig welded 853 frame with carbon forks, so this wouldn't be much more.

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bendertherobot [897 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Frame price is £2300. Should be able to get a discount there as well.

Quite how Madison spec DA on this and get to £5k is anyone's guess.

Stick SRAM Red from Merlin, £200 of finishing kit and some Fulcrum Racing 3 and you have a super bike for about £3500 or so.

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bendertherobot [897 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Of course you could buy a Condor Super Acciaio at £1k less as well.

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step-hent [719 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
localsurfer wrote:

My bike?
Custom frames don't have to have all the fancy scroll work on them and so on. A basic bike, especially tig welded, aren't that expensive.

I was quoted 800 for a tig welded 853 frame with carbon forks, so this wouldn't be much more.

That's an excellent price for 853, especially including a fork. Would you mind sharing who the builder is?

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Alb [127 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Thanks for the comments guys. The whole myth around the better/preferential pricing on Shimano as Genesis is part of Madison/Sportline is a longstanding myth that I think needs putting to bed. It probably stems (and was wrongly suggested on our part) from us using predominantly Shimano spec in the past - mainly for ease of spares for us and our dealers, but also, plain and simply - they produce good kit. Only if we were assembling in the UK then would our OEM order go through Madison. We assemble in Taiwan and therefore the Shimano order goes through our assembler and we pay according to their pricing from Shimano. As much as it would be nice to have a kickback from Japan for using their kit, I'm afraid this doesn't happen. We do have the freedom to spec what we like and whatever we think is the best fit for the bike (e.g. a few Campag-equipped bikes in next years' range as we think their classic styled alloy groupsets will be a nice match for some of our steel-framed models).

Albert@Genesis

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Nick T [913 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
localsurfer wrote:

My bike?
Custom frames don't have to have all the fancy scroll work on them and so on. A basic bike, especially tig welded, aren't that expensive.

I was quoted 800 for a tig welded 853 frame with carbon forks, so this wouldn't be much more.

A 953 tubeset costs the builder a substantial amount over 853 just for the metal, plus you'll have to pay danger money on top so you'll not be expecting much change from a grand over what you're paying for 853.

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Bobbinogs [154 posts] 2 years ago
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Dear Albert, please send me one of them there gorgeous bikes. I cannot afford to pay you but it would make me very happy, and what's the price of happiness, eh!

Many thanks...  1

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bendertherobot [897 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Alb wrote:

Thanks for the comments guys. The whole myth around the better/preferential pricing on Shimano as Genesis is part of Madison/Sportline is a longstanding myth that I think needs putting to bed. It probably stems (and was wrongly suggested on our part) from us using predominantly Shimano spec in the past - mainly for ease of spares for us and our dealers, but also, plain and simply - they produce good kit. Only if we were assembling in the UK then would our OEM order go through Madison. We assemble in Taiwan and therefore the Shimano order goes through our assembler and we pay according to their pricing from Shimano. As much as it would be nice to have a kickback from Japan for using their kit, I'm afraid this doesn't happen. We do have the freedom to spec what we like and whatever we think is the best fit for the bike (e.g. a few Campag-equipped bikes in next years' range as we think their classic styled alloy groupsets will be a nice match for some of our steel-framed models).

Albert@Genesis

That's understandable and thanks for the explanation. But, aren't you being stiffed a bit here? Shimano seem to be charging your assembler/you RRP or more on the components. Haven't they tried negotiating a volume discount?

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Gizmo_ [1381 posts] 2 years ago
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A bit different *and* unique, eh?

Looks gorgeous. Wouldn't buy it. But I hope lots of people do.

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snook [9 posts] 2 years ago
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I think the problem comes from the aggressive pricing offered by some online retailers. Even bikes from 'the big three' also appear overpriced when you look. For example - http://www.specializedconceptstore.co.uk/s-works-tarmac-sl4/28401/s-work...

SRP on that frame is £2600, and don't forget the complete bike is assembled using mostly own brand kit - wheels, tyres and sale included....

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DeanF316 [135 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Hi Albert

Just bought myself one of your High Lattitude 650b frame set and bought all the components of the internet. Full XT group set, Rox shock forks at price less than complete
bike from you with only Deore. So how is that I can sit at home and get a better deal than you. You would be better off buying your shamino from Ribble or Chain reaction. I see Chain Reaction are only ready offering 40% discount on pre order 105 11 speed and I assume they are buying from Shamino.

I think we have opened a real can of worms here. Once you have to go on line forums to defend your pricing policy you are either ripping people off or have lost control. The bike buying public are beginning to get sick of being taken for mugs by the cycle trade. Yes you are on a high with the current trend for cycling on back of the sportive craze but every bubble bursts. Look what happened to new motorbiker craze of the mid to late 90's.

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DrJDog [317 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

When you can buy the bits retail, build the bike yourself, and save over a grand there is something badly wrong with the price.

I think it's a gorgeous looking bike, but that price for a steel frame is madness. Especially since it's probably impossible to repair.

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allez neg [497 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Volare?

Was it designed by Dean Martin?

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allez neg [497 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Dean Martin went fishing, and caught a massive eel.

That's a moray.

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localsurfer [200 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

"A 953 tubeset costs the builder a substantial amount over 853 just for the metal, plus you'll have to pay danger money on top so you'll not be expecting much change from a grand over what you're paying for 853."

Really? I stand corrected if that's the case.

Avatar
localsurfer [200 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
step-hent wrote:
localsurfer wrote:

My bike?
Custom frames don't have to have all the fancy scroll work on them and so on. A basic bike, especially tig welded, aren't that expensive.

I was quoted 800 for a tig welded 853 frame with carbon forks, so this wouldn't be much more.

That's an excellent price for 853, especially including a fork. Would you mind sharing who the builder is?

PM'd you

Avatar
Alb [127 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
DeanF316 wrote:

Hi Albert

Just bought myself one of your High Lattitude 650b frame set and bought all the components of the internet. Full XT group set, Rox shock forks at price less than complete
bike from you with only Deore. So how is that I can sit at home and get a better deal than you. You would be better off buying your shamino from Ribble or Chain reaction. I see Chain Reaction are only ready offering 40% discount on pre order 105 11 speed and I assume they are buying from Shamino.

I think we have opened a real can of worms here. Once you have to go on line forums to defend your pricing policy you are either ripping people off or have lost control. The bike buying public are beginning to get sick of being taken for mugs by the cycle trade. Yes you are on a high with the current trend for cycling on back of the sportive craze but every bubble bursts. Look what happened to new motorbiker craze of the mid to late 90's.

Hi Dean, great point and quite a lot of factors at play. Can of worms indeed!Some of it comes down to import duty we're subjected to on bikes/frames we import from the Far East (frames = 7% / bikes = 14%). It might not sound like much of a difference, and, at the lower/mid end of the scale the difference can be absorbed somewhat without much to overall retail price. As you can imagine, in the instance of the model above, which obviously has a very large sum of parts, it has a significant effect on the overall srp. Another factor, and arguably the biggest and most relevant to percieved value, is the aftermarket pricing of groupset/parts. With online players working on very small margins, bypassing a link in the traditional distributor/dealer/consumer) supply chain (and passing the savings onto the consumer), fierce competition/price wars, coupled with the fact that an awful lot of it is grey stock and purchased at OEM prices means that in terms of aftermarket parts, the end consumer has never had it so good! This obviously comes at the detriment of the percieved value of OTP bikes at the moment. I hope this goes some way to maybe helping explain the current situation.

Avatar
notfastenough [3665 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Agree with the comments regarding a self-build being cheaper, but I do note that a Condor Leggero frameset is around the same price, and the DA 9000 build that was in the shop when I visited was also £5k. It seems ridiculous that Shimano would actually think that we can only source this stuff for full RRP (thus justifying the build price).

Avatar
dave atkinson [6201 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Alb wrote:
DeanF316 wrote:

Hi Albert

Just bought myself one of your High Lattitude 650b frame set and bought all the components of the internet. Full XT group set, Rox shock forks at price less than complete
bike from you with only Deore. So how is that I can sit at home and get a better deal than you. You would be better off buying your shamino from Ribble or Chain reaction. I see Chain Reaction are only ready offering 40% discount on pre order 105 11 speed and I assume they are buying from Shamino.

I think we have opened a real can of worms here. Once you have to go on line forums to defend your pricing policy you are either ripping people off or have lost control. The bike buying public are beginning to get sick of being taken for mugs by the cycle trade. Yes you are on a high with the current trend for cycling on back of the sportive craze but every bubble bursts. Look what happened to new motorbiker craze of the mid to late 90's.

Hi Dean, great point and quite a lot of factors at play. Can of worms indeed!Some of it comes down to import duty we're subjected to on bikes/frames we import from the Far East (frames = 7% / bikes = 14%). It might not sound like much of a difference, and, at the lower/mid end of the scale the difference can be absorbed somewhat without much to overall retail price. As you can imagine, in the instance of the model above, which obviously has a very large sum of parts, it has a significant effect on the overall srp. Another factor, and arguably the biggest and most relevant to percieved value, is the aftermarket pricing of groupset/parts. With online players working on very small margins, bypassing a link in the traditional distributor/dealer/consumer) supply chain (and passing the savings onto the consumer), fierce competition/price wars, coupled with the fact that an awful lot of it is grey stock and purchased at OEM prices means that in terms of aftermarket parts, the end consumer has never had it so good! This obviously comes at the detriment of the percieved value of OTP bikes at the moment. I hope this goes some way to maybe helping explain the current situation.

let's not pretend it's a situation exclusive to Madison either. with the exception of direct-to-consumer bikes such as Ribble, Planet X, Canyon and Rose, you could build up pretty much any top-end frame that's offered frame-only for less than the manufacturer charges for the built Shimano bike. Specialized, Pinarello and Cervélo are obvious examples, there are plenty more.

Avatar
Neil753 [447 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Alb wrote:

the end consumer has never had it so good!

Hi Alb.
Are you sure we've never had it so good? The whole bicycle industry seems hell bent on turning a machine that ought to last for many years, into a virtually disposable item, condemming millions of older (but often quite recent) bikes to languish in sheds around the country, through a program of rapid obsolesence, and by designing components that often wear much more quickly.

And seeing as I'm on a roll, 2k for a TIG welded "production" 953 (which despite the carefully crafted mystique is actually an easy tube to machine according to Reynolds themselves), and with a fairly basic paint job, is hardly much of a bargain when compared to inflation adjusted prices for the very best frames of yesteryear. My 1979 753, made by the same frame builder of many world champions, cost me just 150 quid (£643 in today's money) and that included a Campag Record headset. Built in the UK, at UK labour rates. And that was properly lugged and silver soldered, a much more expensive process than TIG welding. If you're so concerned about import duties, why not build them here? You wouldn't have to ship the tubes made in Birmingham half way round the world and then back again. Hardly the epitome of environmental friendliness is it?

I personally think it's the "industry" that's never had it so good, rather than the actual cyclists themselves.

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