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First Time Groupo installation: Do-it-yourself or Go-to-LBS?(7 posts)

First Time Groupo installation: Do-it-yourself or Go-to-LBS?DIYer wanna-be
Jul 8, 2001 3:44 PM
I am looking to buy a frame/fork used and then install components on it. As one who likes to do some maintenance at home, but without a major tools collection nor a vast experience, would I be better off giving the stuff to the local bike shop and have them install (their quote: $125-150, and a week's turnover time!), or get some tools myself and do it at home?

several issues I can think of:

COST: while $150 may seem a lot, do I need to buy a lot of tools to do it myself instead? Are these tools (BB wrench, stuff for crankarm installation, etc.) I would need and use a lot over the long run and would be good to have anyway, or would I need them only for build-up or strip-down times?

COMPLETE vs SELECTIVE INSTALLATION: Should I have the bike shop install the most difficult parts, (bottom bracket/crankset, brakes and the derailleurs come to mind), and do the easy stuff myself like the seatpost and the seat and the handlebar and the chain and the levers? (headset, thankfully, is installed already.)

SAFETY: Do I run a much higher risk of injury to myself and/or others if I install it myself? (I maybe need someone knowledgeable to watch over me.)

INSTRUCTIONS: Any good source for basic bike build-up techniques? (I'm going to check out "Zinn.....Maintenance" book.)

PRIDE: Of course I'd love to think I built the bike up myself and ride it around with pride, but from a practical standpoint, cost and safety issues as well, AM I NUTS?
re: First Time Groupo installation: Do-it-yourself or Go-to-LBS?Frank
Jul 8, 2001 4:06 PM
I recently built up my first road bike at home, after having many built up for me over the years. It was a great experience and I have much more confidence about my bike repairs, etc., especially with LBS 100 miles from here. It took about 5 hours total, and was much easier than I had thought it would be. Keys were patience, information, and tools...did I mention patience ;-)

I have a headset press, torque wrench, and another bike to look at as a guide and that certainly made a difference. I also had a home version bike machanic catalog by taking the instruction sheets that come with components (headset, cranks, shifters, derailleurs, etc.) and putting them, plus info from the Park Tools website, and putting them in a 3 ring notebook I can keep in the garage.

$150 sounds very high. The bike shop I was using charged $40 to install and adjust everything, and they did great work.

Good was an enjoyable and educational project for me.
re: First Time Groupo installation: Do-it-yourselfdavidl
Jul 8, 2001 4:13 PM
If you're thinking about it, at all handy with a wrench, and can read Zinn, you ought to be able to handle it. It's fun working on bikes, and it would be satisfying to know you built your own. You're going to want to buy built wheels, though. You'll have to buy some tools - check out the Park Tool website [a real good source of how to do it information] You won't hurt yourself. You can always fall back on your LBS for operations you don't want to buy tools for - or cannot do [for instance pressing in a headset] There's a lot of expertise on this forum. Good luck with it - let us know how it goes.
Doesn't GVH put 'em together for $75.00 ? nmdavidl
Jul 8, 2001 4:15 PM
re: First Time Groupo installation: Do-it-yourself or Go-to-LBS?Kerry Irons
Jul 8, 2001 5:45 PM
The only specialized tool(s) that you won't use regularly are for installation of the HS, and that's already done. So if you plan to do your own maintenance, you'll need the tools anyway. However, the fact that you think brake, crankset, and derailleur installation are going to be difficult suggests this job might be too big for you. It depends on your mechanical skill/inclination and patience. Installing brakes and derailleurs is only a matter of cutting cables and casings to the right length (proper tools helpful), lubing the cables and bolts, and putting it together. Crankset is pretty "easy" and the only trick to the BB is getting the torque right (all threads greased IMO). One of the joys (to me) of bicycles is that they are easy to maintain, and I would never consider letting an LBS work on my bike because I don't think they ever take the time to do things the way I want them (IOW, right!). However, it appears that the vast majority of serious cyclists do have a lot of work done by their LBS. YMMV.
re: First Time Groupo installation: Do-it-yourself or Go-to-LBS?Made in Taiwan
Jul 9, 2001 2:23 AM
it's not that hard, i recenlty took my bike completely apart for the first time and re-assembled it my self, no problems, just have a lot of patient and get instructions from park tools on the web.
Goalsgrz mnky
Jul 9, 2001 1:25 PM
Well, it's probably cheaper overall to have the shop do it - even though it seems like a stiff price. I frequently put bikes together for my buds b/c I enjoy it as a hobby and never think of charging them. If I were in business then probably $100 would be a minimum charge. Remember - if you show up at a shop with the frame and all the parts the only place they make any money is to charge you for their time. If you buy the stuff from them then they'll usually cut you a deal on the install. Some LBS folks really bristle at people buying stuff from other sources then expecting them to install the stuff.

You hit all of the major issues. You will need some tools and ultimately it doesn't make sense to buy a head set press (Park unit is over $100) or cutting the fork, but you still need one to install the headset. Then there's the whole issue of facing either the steer tube or BB shell - if required. All of the other required tools are fairly inexpensive and are good to have for routine maintenance especially when one consders, for example, that you don't need a crank puller to install the arms, but having a torque wrench is advised.

Ultimately it comes down to what's your goal. Do you want to be self sufficient and learn some wrenching skills or do you want to just go out and ride? Realistically I'd advise shopping around for a good LBS price or find a buddy with solid experience to guide you. Putting a bike together doesn't have to be very hard, but there are opportunities to make some mistakes.