from a thread on frameforum dot net
can be read in its entirety here):

> As a Newbie I would like the more knowledgible and experienced to
> pass that on in such a way as to explain where all these different
> criteria fit into the choice equation. Hence if weight, the feature
> that all the magazines, bike shops, etc, highlight, isn't the deciding
> factor, then what are the questions that ought to asked of the builder?
> It isn't sufficient for builders to do the measuring and questioning,
> i e., trust the builders experience solely, that's like general practitioners
> of old. These days riders want to play an informed role in the choice
> and design.

if riders are informed, than it's cool. most know, at most, their
contact points in a vague way. that info is easy enough for a builder
to work with. but when a client starts blueprinting a frame design
based on data he's culled from various road tests, it's a recipe for
disaster. and if the client wants a bicycle for the sheer market driven-
ness of it all, he should go to the mall rather than to a framebuilder
atmo. framebuilders typically are where they are because they eschew
the model year type hype that most consumers diet on. framebuilders
are small producers,and the pool from which we all get clients is hardly
the mainstream consumer base; we normally tap those who are more
sensible about their needs and indulgences. if it were otherwise,
everyone would b eout racing on $9,000 c-40s and similar mounts.
what was the question? oh - that. you can't tell a physician what to
prescribe, nor a surgeon what to cut out or leave in. you may be able
to get measured by a tailor, but you don't get to tell him what to sew.
the garment will fit and work superbly. if the style itself doesn't suit
you, don'task him to copy someone else's, just go to that someone else.

all of us who are career f'builders know what we are doing, what
material to use, and what goes where. since the components used
to assemble frames into bicycles are all available to anyone, the frame
is the only difference here. if the weight issue is of some importance,
consider that the net difference between a normal steel frame and
one made of - say, carbon fiber - is about a pound max. so, as a
cat 2 racer turned f'builder i wonder why anyone fusses over only
one pound of stationary-not-rotating weight. such a difference
simply does not matter.

proper fit and frame design trump all. material is tertiary atmo.
get a frame from someone who feels you and who you feel back.