“Function” refers to what your Waterford must do to perform properly. At first, the answer sounds simple as in, “I want a road bike.” No longer must you limit yourself to the offerings on the sales floor.

The first place to start is to determine how the bike will be used? Racing? Club rides? Credit card touring? Trails? This is the best time to clarify how you want to use your new Waterford. Then we can develop a design that anticipates your use, component selection, and other attributes.

How will you use your bike? In a few words, please summarize how you will use your bike. Then allocate your percentage of use to different kinds of riding. This helps us understand your “big picture” vision.

Wheels: Most road bikes use 700c wheels unless otherwise specified. Proper fit and safety may dictate an alternative size. When frames are required to be small, 650c or 26” wheels are typically used. These smaller wheels offer better stability and acceleration for some riders. Keep in mind that gearing should be adjusted to compensate for smaller wheels.

Tires: List the maximum tire size (width) you would like to use on your new bike. This affects frame construction, braking system choices, fit, tube selection, and a number of other decisions about your bike’s design.

Brakes: Your wheel diameter, tire and fender clearance requirements will determine the available brake styles. Most “road” brakes are limited to 25C (1 inch) tires without fenders. For racing, of course, it’s a must. They are functional for a wide range of good weather road riding.

In recent years, good quality brakes have appeared on the market that provide the style of a road brake while providing more room for bigger tires plus fenders. A growing number of riders are choosing cantilever and disc brakes to accommodate a wider range of tire and fender options. They can ride with the same 23-25C tires when conditions permit but can go to a fatter tire for different kinds of terrain and riding conditions.

The list at right shows examples of popular brake styles and their maximum tire size limits.

Drivetrain: Most adult bikes employ derailleur shifting systems. However, a growing number of riders are adding fixed gear/single speed bikes to their fleet as well as hub mounted shifting systems such as the SRAM 3×7, Shimano Alfine, and 14-speed Rohloff hub for which we recommend Paragon dropouts. Your drive train choice determines the type of drop out and cable routing needed.

The choice of shifting system can determine your handlebar choices. Shown at the right is an example of the Rohloff hub shifter, which typically mounts to flat or tourist bars. When using the Rohloff shifter with drop bars it can only mount to the lowest part of the bars.

Loading / Racks: Your desired load capacity affects tube selection and steering design. It’s better to have a frame over-designed for every day riding than it is to be under-designed for unsupported touring. An under-designed frame is more subject to high speed wobble and may be harder to control, especially on descents.

We recommend front, as well as rear racks for loads over 20 pounds (10kg). If you plan to use a front rack please list the brand and model as the mounts are not standardized. We have a selection of front rack mount options that cover 80% of racks available. Mounting other racks may incur additional charges.
Light duty racks can mount off the brake bridge, avoiding the need for rack mounts. This can be desirable if you enjoy the clean look of a frame with a minimum amount of braze-ons.

For randonneurs, we offer standard mounts for Mark’s Rack from Rivendell. This rack is designed to support a light handlebar bag.

Fenders: We add eyelets and other mounts for fenders. Like front racks, fender mounts are not fully standardized. Upcharges may apply when special fenders from Honjo, Velo Orange, and other suppliers are specified.

Handlebars: Your handlebar choice dramatically affects how you fit your bike. Properly located drop bars remain the most comfortable configuration for distance riding. Flat and tourist bars shorten the reach and offer excellent short distance riding comfort, but the lack of hand positions makes them less desirable for most rides over 20 miles. Mustache bars offer multiple positions but require extended reach.

Pedals: Your choice of pedals affects the required amount of toe clearance we calculate into the frame design. Clipless pedals do not require as much clearance as toe clips. Platform pedals require the most room since there is a tendency to push the ball of the foot well ahead of the pedal spindle.

S&S Couplers: S&S Couplers allow you to break down your bike so that it fits into a case that meets airline standards, reducing or eliminating baggage fees. S&S’s carrying case and packaging accessories are sold separately.

S&S Couplers aren’t for everyone:

  • Large frames (many over 62cm) may not fit into an airline regulation case due to their size.
  • The rider, or person who packs and unpacks the frame should have mechanical expertise. It may not always be needed, but without such expertise, you may not properly assemble your frame so that it is safe to ride. Also, with larger frames more components must be removed in order to fit into the case. This requires additional expertise in crankset and fork installation.
  • Packing and unpacking takes time. Budget yourself 2-3 hours or more the first time with a coupler frame. This process can reduce to about a half hour under the right circumstances.
  • Couplers are complicated to pack and unpack. If you travel less than three times a year, you may need to allow for extra time to “relearn” the packing process.


This section addresses how we will construct your frame and fork. Our clients choose Waterford because of our proven virtuosity in frame construction. We offer three categories construction:

33-Series: Ideal for competition use featuring TIG-welded True Temper S3 and Reynolds 953 tubing. It is designed for riders looking for quick acceleration and light weight.
22-Series: Our lug designs have achieved a world-class reputation for quality and workmanship.
14-Series: TIG-welded OS2 construction means versatility and excellent performance in an economical package.

22-Series Options

Waterford offers a wide range of lug options, starting with four popular lug profiles.

Italian Cut: These clean, minimalist lugs pay tribute to the classic Cinelli bikes of the 70’s. It’s available in 1” and 1 1/8” steerer configurations and is included in the base 22-series charge (as long as the design stays within lug angle constraints).

Special edition lugs: Waterford offers special edition lugsets, custom built for each individual frame. Custom built lugs eliminate one of the major constraints in lug designs – restrictions on tube angles. Additional charges apply.

Empire: (Art Deco) Edgy and sharp, this style takes you back to a time when industrial design first hit its stride. Available in 1 1/8” steerer only. Constructed of stainless steel, we build these lugs to match each individual’s frame geometry.

Fleur de Lis: Feast on the delicious curves and windows of this design. Available in 1 1/8” steerer only. Constructed of stainless steel, we build these lugs to match each individual’s frame geometry.

Newvex: Builder Richard Sachs patterned these lugs after the classic French Nervex lugs which dominated the high-end bike world from the mid-1950’s to the mid-1970’s. Available in 1” only.

Each of these profiles is available in a polished stainless as well as painted finish.

22-Series Stainless: You can upgrade from Waterford’s extensive palette of custom heat treated air-hardening tubes to high performance heat treated stainless steel from Reynolds and KVA. Additional charges apply.