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Is it hard to assemble a bike?(21 posts)

Is it hard to assemble a bike?Iwannapodiumgirl
Oct 3, 2002 2:41 PM
I think it romanticto build your own bike - call me crazy if you will.

However, my over concerned girfriend thinks it should be left to the "experts" at my LBS!

Besides requiring a torque wrench, cable cutters and a myriad of Allen wrenches, is it a difficult and complex process?

Any tips would be great...
it depends...merckx56
Oct 3, 2002 2:50 PM
it depends on whether or not it's a bike in a box or you're starting from the bare frame and components.
in the box isn't terribly difficult as all the cables are run and the parts are hung properly (hopefully!).
if you've never done it before and you're starting from scratch, it becomes a bit more difficult.
I have wrenched for a long time and NEVER use a torque wrench but there are a myriad of other specialized tools that you'll need...headset press, bb tools, tools to face and chase, etc.
my advice...spend the $$ and get the BEST wrench in town to do it! some guys at some shops calls themselves mechanics merely because they have access to the tools. i have a rifle with a big scope, but that doesn't make me a sniper!
easy if you have the right tools and knowledgeDougSloan
Oct 3, 2002 3:21 PM
Sounds goofy, I know, but that's what it takes.

I've never used a torque wrench on a bike. I have 3 of them, but they were reserved for engine head bolts.

At a minimum, you need:

*cable cutters
*screw drivers
*allen wrenches
*cassette tool (which doubles as bottom bracket tool for Campy)
*bottom bracket tool(s) (lockring, too, for Dura Ace)
*hacksaw for steer tube
*headset press, or a make shift one (this might be best left to the shop, but some frames come with them, now)
*headset lower race installation tool (or a piece of pipe)
*tire tools, of course

I've built and rebuilt many. I've made lots of mistakes, but learned things along the way. I figure my mistakes have cost me around $1000, all said. I've learned much, had fun, got to know my bikes intimately (no secrets at all), and got them set up exactly the way I want.

Get the Zinn book. For Campy, there is tons of component info on its website; also, Park Tools has lots of installation and maintenance info on its site.

Take your time, and don't plan on doing a double century the day after you put it together. It might take a few debug rides to sort out adjustments, goof ups, and cable stretch.

"hacksaw for steer tube"Ahimsa
Oct 3, 2002 3:48 PM
Doug however, is no longer allowed to be within a 150 ft radius of a steer tube while brandishing a hacksaw.

; )

I think we have a logo for the "Poodles"!Humma Hah
Oct 3, 2002 3:55 PM
The Furnace Creek 508 "Poodle" team will sport jerseys featuring a really mean-looking poodle, eyeing a competitor's steer tube, while hiding a hacksaw behind his back.

This is a very sneaky place to sabotage someone's bike, as they are unlikely to notice until underway.

I used to prefer the BB spindle, but that's more difficult with modern cartridge BB's.
or perhaps a team name?Iwannapodiumgirl
Oct 3, 2002 4:14 PM
the hacksaw poddles?
You could base it on Kozik's "Piggums"Ahimsa
Oct 3, 2002 4:26 PM
Change pig to poodle, knife to hacksaw.

No biggie for a photoshop savvy artiste.

Hell, maybe I'll do it for ye.
ah a a a a a a let me at it!DougSloan
Oct 3, 2002 4:04 PM
Measure AND mark 27 times; cut once.
It ain't rocket science ...Humma Hah
Oct 3, 2002 3:26 PM
Torque wrench? We don't need no steenking torque wrench!

Look on the wall of your typical LBS and you'll see their pro wrenches have maybe one 8-ft long pegboard with a smattering of hand tools on it, most not very expensive, but some quite specialized for cycling. Thin wrenches (cone wrenches), specialized tools to pull BB's, freewheel pullers, a chain tool or two, spoke wrenches, and that pile of allen wrenches, mostly. Buy 'em as you need 'em. The only power tool of any usefulness is maybe a moto-tool for cutting cables.

The trickiest parts are the ones that require a bit of finesse: building and truing wheels, tuning a derailleur, and getting correct fit. But putting a bike together, shucks, you can tear one down, clean and lube the parts, and put it back together in an afternoon, if you're SLOW.
i would first suggest brakes and a wheelgwendolynofthemountain
Oct 3, 2002 5:21 PM
(1) completely disassemble and reassemble the brakes and (2) true, really true, a wheel, that should be a good starting point. then you can decide if you have the patience, skill and desire to go ahead with an entire bike and spending the cash needed for tools, some of which you will rarely utilize.

happy building!
Get a free bike at the dump, take it apart put it back together.dzrider
Oct 4, 2002 4:53 AM
It will be way harder taking an old one apart and getting it back together than it will be to do a new one. You'll learn alot and have the rare luxury of making free mistakes.
if the headset is already pressed in &_rt_
Oct 4, 2002 5:25 AM
the bottom bracket has been installed & the steerer tube has been cut, then all you will need is a lot of patience, cable cutters, & 5mm, 6mm, & 8mm allen wrenches....and a work stand is useful.

there's a lot to be said for building your own bike. it makes it all that much more yours. there's nothing particularly complicated and if you have another bike that is already built you can always go to it and use it as a model....

i'd also recommend "Zinn & The Art of Road Bike Maintenance" as a handy, well written reference book.

good luck.
ps- you'll also need...._rt_
Oct 4, 2002 5:28 AM
a screwdriver or 2....but you can ditch the torque wrench.

one more thing - cablesDougSloan
Oct 4, 2002 6:32 AM
You'll need a metal file to clean up and square the brake cable housing ends after you cut them. A fine grinder is better, as long as you're careful not to melt the outer cable housing. You might get away with not doing this, but you could prematurely wear out your cables and braking could suffer. The shifter cable housing cuts pretty cleanly with the cutters, and this is not a concern.

Over all, I'd say that doing the cables right takes longer than anything else in the build. One suggestion, err on the side of making your cables a little too long at first. Too often I've cut mine too short, then back to the shop for another.

What about when you use a Dremel?sn69
Oct 4, 2002 7:07 AM
Not having done it before, but considering it in the near future, I'm wondering how much cleaner the cut would be with a Dremel as long as proper care is taken. Your thoughts?

works okDougSloan
Oct 4, 2002 7:37 AM
I use one of those, too. It still tends to melt the outer housing if you are not careful. Also, I bet I've had several hundred of those little cut-off wheels fly apart on me while cutting things, and damn, it hurts when they hit you in the face (always wearing goggles). Gets frustrating. I find it's better to just cut the housing with a normal cutter, then square it off with a Dremel grinder wheel.

Funny aside...sn69
Oct 4, 2002 7:44 AM
...Speaking of little cutting wheels disintegrating, I had to use my Dremel to cut an opening for my dog door. The door is metal, and my sabre and jig saws wouldn't do it, even with carbide blades. I defered to the Dremel. Each circular bit was good for about two inches before they either ground themselves away or splintered. Goggles are good, very good. Anyhow, it took two days to do both sides of the door. ...But the cut quality was terrific and the dog door went in without flaw.

I once read a definition of insanity:Steve_0
Oct 4, 2002 9:42 AM
Repeatedly performing the same mistake, while expecting different results.

I thought that was the definition of government. nmsn69
Oct 4, 2002 10:47 AM
In Defense Of Torque Wrenches....Gregory Taylor
Oct 4, 2002 7:46 AM
I find a torque wrench to be one of those core tools that I have come to depend upon for making sure that certain jobs are done correctly. For the burly parts like crank arms, bottom brackets, etc., I always get out "the wrench" to make sure that I have torqued them down hard enough - if I do it by feel, I find that I usually err on the loose side. A torque wrench is also appropriate to handle the smaller "fiddly bits" like stem bolts, etc., that can shatter if they are torqued down too much and fail. This is especially important when you start running really light parts or exotic metals...remember all of those bar/stem failures at the Tour this year? Yup, probably over torqued.

In short - some of the new, more exotic parts out there require close attention to torque values in order for them to be safe. If that describes your bike, I'd use a mechanic who shares that philosophy, or buy my own torque wrench.
you'd need to pay to press in headset racescyclopathic
Oct 4, 2002 9:26 AM
at least on steel or Ti frame. On Al you can hammer them in with a hammer and wood block (don't try it at home ;). The rest is pretty easy, if you've got cable cutters, set of Hex and BB tool. Make sure you strip paint overspray inside headtube and clean BB threads.

It isn't rocket science I've assembled most of my bikes. Even if takes 2-3 times more time then for shop monkeys, they aren't gonna spend more time on it then it absolutely necessary and they cut corners where they can


PS. you might wanna get a manual (Barnett, Zinn etc) if you never wworked on bike good luck.