You planning on riding it much?
Yeppo, no queens for me. As much as I admire the art of framebuilding, I'm in it for the thrills
How does Grove finishing and built quality actually compare with for example a Fat Chance? Never saw one live
Ironic you should ask Melvin...when I first spent time at Grove Innovations Bill asked me the same question.
All hype aside (putting on my glasses and taking a serious tone), to actually compare the two you truly need to see them both without paint.
Fat City really needs to be separated into two time periods...When Chris and a small cadre of friends were fillet brazing frames and the Sommerville heydays, when Fat was in full boom. The early Fats are very nice examples of handmade frames; beautiful brazing, attention to artistic detail, and the personal touch that comes with one or two people sharing the build responsibilities. The Fats (from mid 80's on) are all TIG welded with the exception of the silver brazing on the toothpick assemblies. The welds were gently polished to smooth over rough puddles before painting. Each step of the build process was handled by a different individual at a station. The frames are very nice, dare I say the best, examples of assembly line products.
Grove bikes are a little different. The main frame members are machined to incredibly tight tolerances which allow the smallest TIG bead possible. An .028" filler wire was used so the miters must be exact to keep a steady puddle flowing. As you would expect, the weld beads are immaculate and almost invisible. No touch up or polishing was required. Areas such as the braze ons; canti posts, H2O bosses, seat binder, drop outs and front derailleur pulley wheels were all brass or silver brazed to give a seamless appearance. Secondary, the brazing vs. TIG process for these bits allowed for repair or replacement down the road. All finish reaming and tapping was done by hand to prevent additional heat tempering possible with machine finishing. Your frame may pass through 3 sets of hands over it's 40 hour creation. Bill, Hubby and Johnny set a standard that I hope to reach some day.
I personally feel that the construction of both Fat and Groves are to be admired in their own respect; Fats as a high volume assembly product, Groves as a hand built, small volume frame.
If you have a chance to pick one up, I would highly recommend it.
I shared this same view with Bill...he smiled kindly before he told me to stop kissing ass
Oh well, sometimes the truth hurts