If I was in a position to have a frame commissioned for myself there are two things I would specify over the basic requirements list:
The first would be chromed rear stays and front forks .
Pics of Hardisty rear stays
The second would be some nice hand cut lugs , not really fussy what style just as long as they are a bit fancy.
For some reason I just think chrome gives a bike a timeless classy look, where as other chromed items can look a bit tacky and over kill to me but not on a nice steel bike frame .
The cut out lugs all add to the classy look that the chrome gives, so what would chromed lugs look like if the rest of the frame was painted , I think it would or could look stunning and I don’t think it would need any luglining either .
This kind of craftmanship is normally only seen on steel rather than alloy or carbon machines and I should think it goes a long way towards making steel bikes even more individual compared to the masses of Alloy framed bikes that only seem to change colour with each new model year introduction .
My other must haves would be mudguard eyes front and rear along with at least one set of bottle cage mounts on the seat tube rather than the downtube and I always think brazed on front mechanisms look nicer than the clamp around variety. I would also like a pr of pump pegs on the rear stays and the ability to run up to 700c x 28 tyres and down tube lever mounts these are all personal things .
I think this about makes my ideal bike an Audax style machine rather than an out and out race machine but not quite a relaxed touring bike .
I have no preferance over caliper , v type or disc style brakes mainly because most of my riding has been done with single or dual pull calipers and very little experience of the other two styles . In fact the only bike I have ridden with disc brakes is our family Tandem .
As for tube material it would have to be steel , so would I go for Reynolds , Columbus or one of the Japanese variety like Tange never mind all the other brands of steel tubing you can have offered to you . Not really sure if my experience or expertise is good enough to tell the difference between any of them .
What colour paintwork would I go for ? Now this is really a hard choice and a difficult one to say but my thoughts are a nice shiny deep red but most definitely not white as for some strange reason I do not like like white bikes . I think I would have to have a plain colour panel on the seat tube or even a barbers pole . Seat post and handlebar stem would be chromed to match the chromed forks and stays .
As for groupset and wheels I have no favourite and not even sure if I would go for sti’s over downtube shifters , I think Shimano groupset would be my choice but no idea which one .