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Selecting a road frame
#1
I've been interested in getting into road racing and am beginning to look around for a nice frame. It's also sort of an experiment too as I'm a student in machining wanting to get into bicycle manufacturing so I'd manufacture what components I can (crankarms, bottom bracket i.e).

I'm thinking of a steel or (maybe) aluminum frame. My budget is going to be about $500 but that may change. What are some good manufacturer's for an entry level road racing frame? Any advantages or disadvantages or other things to consider? Surly has some relatively affordable frames but I'm open to suggestions.
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#2
Most of the well know manufacturers have aluminum frames that they use on their entry level bikes. You could to to any bike shop and have them order you a frame set. If this is going to be something that you are going to ride after the project is over, you will need to decide what type of frame geometry you want (race, compact, full) and the size.
HCFR Cycling Team
Ride Safe...Ride Hard...Ride Daily
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#3
This is just about in your budget:
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/gravity/liberty_x.htm

Making bicycle components is not a way to make a living - it is a great hobby, as long as you have another means of financial support. For example, the strongest, lightest crank arms are forged, with very little machining. Lowend crank arms are cast, again with very little machining.

And to have world class (meaning components that you can sell for enough money to actually support a business) bike components, you will need to have some very sophisticated Mechanical Design Engineering and analysis; and high end Industrial Design - those skill sets on a contractor/consulting basis are $100+ per hour. (And I am not that cheap)

I have a friend/business associate who has a one man machine shop. He has a few hundred thousand dollars in equipment, and does occasionally make a bike component - most for himself. He has paying customers to support his hobbies and life.

Keep in mind, in a business you have to pay the overhead first, then your take home pay. Overhead = taxes, rent, equipment, supplies, etc.
Nigel
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#4
Thanks Nigel. I've been working with a machine shop for a few years so I understand the challenges in the field. We get a CNC magazine that talked with the owner of Twenty6 and though bike components are his main thing, he picks up jobs from outside companies as well. There's more than just component manufacturing for to look into, and either way competition is huge. I enjoy getting my feet wet with what is out there.
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#5
A couple more thoughts:

If you purchase a complete bicycle; you have a target for the components you machine.

And if you want just a frame, these cannot be beat:
http://www.amazon.com/Nashbar-Double-butted-Aluminum-Road-Frame/dp/B004UMETP6/
http://www.amazon.com/Nashbar-Integrated-Alloy-Road-Frame/dp/B004UMCG24/
Nigel
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