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Building up bicycles(14 posts)

Building up bicyclesoz
Nov 13, 2001 3:48 AM
I was wondering how hard it is to build up a frame. Any websites covering this material? Thanks

re: Building up bicyclesAkirasho
Nov 13, 2001 5:10 AM
...assumming you're talking about building up a bare prebuilt frame and not building your own frame... the fundamentals are quite simple... the only caveat would be the possible need for a few specialty tools (depending on how much you want to do for yourself).

While I don't know that I'd make a build my first maintenance project (it would help if you got your feet wet with general bike maintenance first) it's doable depending on how handy you are (and as Red Green would say... "If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy") with, and what tools you had on hand.

Here are a couple of links...

Specialty tools that will pay for themselves in short order would be items like a chain breaker, cable cutters, pedal wrench, bottom bracket and cassette tools and chain whip (to name a few). Other tools necessary, but oftimes left to a shop would be a headset press, race setter and saw guide (for fork installation). Other tools you could acquire over time would include a wheel truing stand... the Park site gives a pretty good breakdown of what does what.

The Lickton site gives you a good checklist for getting your ducks in a row... Sheldon's site answers 'bout everything else (though you might have to hunt and search over this vast site).

So the simple answer is... 'tain't hard atoll...

We abide.

Remain In Light.

P.S. If you're talking about building your own frame, check here...
I've always been surprised at how much difference the properbill
Nov 14, 2001 12:44 PM
tool can make, so I went ahead and bought every little gizmo made by Park Tool out there to make my life easier on my first bike build. Some of them, however, were entirely useless, as has been hammered home to me by my complete inability to find them on any LBS workbench. Among these are the Park Third and Fourth hand tools. I'm going to get these mixed up, but the one that you can use to pull the cable tight was mildly useless and the one that holds the brake calipers a certain distance apart was entirely useless.
The torque wrench was probably a decent get; picked up the proper sockets at an auto parts store (much cheaper than their bike-specific counterparts -- they don't fit quite as cozily on the drive, but the disparity seems purely cosmetic). Thoroughly unimpressed with Park's cable cutters; I understand that there are better cutters out there, but I think that a good electrical cutter/crimper would work every bit as well as the Park tool if not better.
The first, last, and best tool you need is patience, patience, and patience.
Not too bad.vanzutas
Nov 13, 2001 7:13 AM
If you are going to have a shop do anything. I would start by having them Press in the headset cups. another is to Chase the threads in the Bottom bracket. the tool to chase the threads is around $200 so you probably wont want to buy it. even a new fram often needs the threads chased. if you are buying a frame from a shop or online from a dealer, just ask them to chase the threads and press in the headset cups. any reputable dealer will do this for you. the rest is just time.

My two Lincoln Head 1943 iron pennies worth ...breck
Nov 13, 2001 7:47 AM
In the very beginning before you bite into the apple get a bike stand. You will never regret it and shows commitment to the sins you are about to commit; pray brother, pray. Secondly, have the LBS install your head set and fork. Thirdly buy the wheel set already built up. Get a simple bicycle maintenance and repair guide manual.

For starters the bare minimum may-bee (as opposed to june-bee):
Allen wrench set incl. 4, 5, and 6mm size
"Y" socket wrench, 8, 9, & 10mm size
headset wrench, 32mm most common size but check
pedal wrench, 15mm & 9/16 are common sizes & typ. combo wrenches
crank bolt wrench of the correct size
crank extractor, get correct type
cassette lock nut tool, correct type
chain whip
cartridge bottom bracket tool; adjustable and
fixed cup wrenches, correct types
chain rivet tool
cable and housing cutter w/the special jaws, or not
large Crescent style wrench for headset & cassette tool
and coffee; plenty strong black coffee.
??? to be filled in by other Post Toasties or Cheerios as the taste may be.

Small bit screwdrivers, miscl. small metric wrenches, floor pump, lubes, flat repair kit, etc., you may already have & buy specialty as required. Get a dedicated tool box to keep your bike stuff in. As you progress you may want to aquire more special bike dedicated toolz, etc. & bigger tool box. Get a plastic storage bin unit for your miscl. parts and sort and label the drawers; again small leads to large, etc.

Take on the project one step or section of the bike at a time, otherwise the whole of it may overwhelm you. It's best if you already have a bike built up to examine for details, etc. Have a dedicated area set side for the bike project, maybe where the large Home Theater project used to be, or that section of the garage where you sold the 1949 flat-head V8 Ford primo Woody to pay for your bike habit, or ...jes kiddin'.

It ain't for everyone and you will not put the LBS outta' business. First phase is thinkin' it; second phase is doin' it; third phase is error and true larnin'.

"Handy Man" from the James Taylor album, "Taylor Made - Greatest Hits", makes a good workin'-on-tha-bike-project listen with the Velodyne 1215X sub ( HT salvage :) kikkin' out the bass, or ..?? what say mickey-mac ???

Nov 13, 2001 9:31 AM
I see working on bikes as a form of therapy from ringing phones, balky computers, and shifting priorities from a "damager". Having a comfy well lit place to work is a first priority.Tthe important thing is to take it slowly and think about what you're doing. If you get confused or become unsure, then stop wrenching and start asking questions. Thinking things through and coming back to it the next day is a whole lot easier than trying to correct a semi-serious error made in frustration late at night. The biggest thing is you can't be in a rush when you're learning. Once you get skilled and experienced you'll be able to do complex work quickly and efficiently. It is much easier to work with new and undamaged stuff. It can be fairly difficult to figure out exactly what's bent on a used and abused drive train. Most good wrenches at a shop will give you all sorts of free advice if you're friendly, show a little respect and listen to what they have to say. Laying a sixer of good brew on the shop boys sometimes can go pretty far. They do this stuff all day long and don't get to talk about it too much sometimes. messing with wheels, especialy tweaked and used wheels, is a more advanced skill. Just getting the brakes and drive train running perfectly can be a bit of a challenge. Recognize that sometimes even new parts from a box can be AFU, but it's not often.

It's pretty sweet to have a new frame and boxes of new parts to install. Kinda like Xmass - even if it's not yours. Working on low end department store bikes is to be avoided at all costs.
well lit comfy place...Amenvanzutas
Nov 13, 2001 10:04 AM
I usually work in the house, as long as the work is not too greasy (such as packing bearings). This is not an option for most people. some good music and a stool or a chair goes a long way to keeping it fun.
well lit comfy place...Amengrzy
Nov 13, 2001 12:34 PM
That and some good elixer. ;-)

I run a wood stove in my garage (aka the "dawg house", or "pig pen") that I found at the dump - really makes a difference when you have a nice work environment. I've got far too many years of doing it the other way.
Building a Santa Cruz Superlight right now. . .js5280
Nov 13, 2001 10:33 AM
This is my first bike build. Started from a bare, but previously used frame. If the frame is used, you probably don't have to have the LBS do anything (i.e. face/ream the head tube, chase bracket threads) except maybe press in the headset cups. $100 for a Park headset press. I tried to do it myself w/ a homemade press ($3 in hardware from Home Depot: 3/4" threaded rod, nuts, washers) as described in the Tooltime forum on MTBReview. No luck, couldn't get it lined up right and didn't want to take a chance of ovalizing the head tube, so $10 and trip the LBS took care of that. Everything else is pretty much bolt on and a little mechanical understanding. The art comes in the setting up brake and derailers properly (where I'm at now) and fine tuning the wheels if needed. Here's an excellent tool kit (picture below from REI) to start with, about $40-50 dollars. You can find it lots of places. Add on Cable cutters and one of the Zinn books and you're good to go. It's a fun project but may or may not save you some cash in the short run. However you'll have the confidence and tools to do your own maintaince in the future which will save you $$$, know the quality of the work, and have exactly what you want since you can pick and choose your own components. does a good job of showing how to use various bike tools. One note, older bikes are a bit more difficult to work on. Threadless headsets and sealed bottom brackets make building it yourself a lot easier project. Good luck!
Here's that toolkit. . .js5280
Nov 13, 2001 10:40 AM
Picture didn't take, try this link instead. Seems a little pricey at $60. Bought mine from REI for $40-45 on sale.
Added Benefit.grzy
Nov 13, 2001 12:41 PM
You can really save a ride by being able to do a McGuiver out on the road or trail with your understanding of how the bike works. You'll know when the bailing wire/duct tape repair will make it and when it's time to throw in the towel for safety's sake. The gals love it. A word of caution though: be careful or your friends will start showing up and hour or two before a planned ride wondering if you can do a "quick overhaul" their DA bottom bracket or completely dish and true their abused rear wheel. You stand to get in very big trouble if you fix some other gals bike ahead of the wife's., but you only make that mistake once and live to talk about it....
re: Building up bicyclesdzrider
Nov 13, 2001 10:36 AM
Previous posts offer lots of wisdom and detail, so pay attention! I'd add the bottom bracket to the list of stuff done by the lbs. All the other work will give you knowledge that is useful on the road. I don't know anybody who carries bottom bracket tools on the bike. The feeling of confidence that comes with riding a machine you can repair is worth more than the money you save and makes the process worth some time and effort. Go for it slowly!
re: Building up bicyclesmackgoo
Nov 13, 2001 12:36 PM
It's actually very easy. I built my first bike a few years ago with no prior experience at all. It would have been a breeze if I had known about this board. A few things I did was one have the LBS install the B/B and fork, as Chasing the B/B and pressing in the head set cups require some relatively expensive tools and it cost virtually nothing to have the LBS do it. Also get a handle on your B/B threads. Just because it's an Italian frame does not mean that it's Italian threads.
re: Building up bicyclesFrank
Nov 13, 2001 8:57 PM
I built up a complete bike this past spring for the first was great! The bike is a nice riding bike (Tommasini SLX) but I am sure a little of the "magic" comes from knowing I built it up and it was the first bike I ever attempted to do so on.

My LBS is 100+ miles away, so it took planning and time to get back and forth to them. I had all the tools I needed at home, including a headset press and torque wrench for the bottom bracket and cranks (would not have ever tightened them enough without it if I went by what I "felt" was tight).

I took my time in the quiet late evening, was slow and deliberate in each step, and had fun learning and understanding what I was doing while building the bike. It took away the mystery that I had always felt surrounded bike repair and build-up, and since then I have built and taken down several. I don't think anyone else will take the time and care building up my bike that I will, and it is truly an enjoyable and relaxing experience.

The hardest part was getting the shifting just right on the Ultegra double stuff, but that came out fine. I made a builder's guide by taking info from the Park Tool website and keeping the instruction sheets that came with the components, then put all of this in a 3 ring binder. I reference that when in doubt, as well as having the luxury of looking at an already built-up bike for additional reference.