Got a polite email today from a fellow who had narrowed his choices to a few different framebuilders, and wanted to know why one of my bikes would be better than ____ or ____.
Folks, there's nothing really wrong with the question, but here's the thing (or the things):
-We all know each other, mostly. I would *never* say anything bad about a fellow framebuilder to get someone's business, and I am pretty sure the same goes for most other builders regarding me. Pretty much any builder who's been around for more than a few years is a reputable, responsible person who will do a great job for you or die trying. There are a few who aren't, but I'm not about to publicly badmouth them - that's just bad karma.
-You're not going to get me (or anyone else) into a bidding war. If Billybob cycles will do it cheaper, or faster, or both, great - but don't tell me this, because it's not going to get me to give you a cheaper price or a quicker turnaround time. Honestly, if you get someone who *is* willing to bargain like that, you probably want to run the other direction as fast as you can. Info on pricing and wait times is right there on my site - heck, you can even track how I'm doing in terms of when people paid deposits and when they get their bikes, if you're willing to watch the waitlist enough.
The best way to figure out who you want to build your new frame is to send some emails and make some phone calls, and try to get a sense of how the process will work and how well the builder understands your situation and desires. Lots of people can build you a great bike, so if you're even a little bit conscientious about doing your research, you're virtually guaranteed to be happy in the end.