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Any tricks/magic required to build a bike?(11 posts)

Any tricks/magic required to build a bike?turbo6bar
Nov 16, 2003 1:35 PM
I had an accident against a Ford Taurus last month, and my Trek is dead. I have been shopping for a new bike, but I haven't found anything I like a lot. These are my issues: don't like the fancy wheels, want Campy drivetrain, don't know what frame material to select.

So, I have been considering building my own bike. I would get the chance to buy a Campy Centaur build kit with handbuilt, bombproof wheels, and buy a decent, but cheap frame and fork. A great bike would cost me around $1500-1700. I've installed shifters, derailleurs, and brakes, but I have never installed a bottom bracket. I would buy a frameset with fork and headset already installed. I don't think this is mission impossible, but is there any other specialized labor that I'm missing.

Later, after I've done my homework, I can buy a killer frameset and trade the Campy drivetrain and wheels over to the new bike, selling the old used frameset for hopefully a little less than I paid.

Option 2 is just buying a temporary bike off Ebay and selling it when I figure out the direction in which to head.

Whatcha think?

I was about to order a Giant TCR Composite 2 on Friday, but Giant is backordered until Feb 2004. The Composite 2 is $2300, has Ultegra drivetrain and Shimano R-540 wheelset. I'd have to spend an extra $150-175 to change over to Campy brifters, then buy a regular wheelset, and sell off the extra parts at a slight loss. Sounds like a lot of money to get where I want.

... nope...Akirasho
Nov 16, 2003 1:57 PM
... many home tools can do double duty for wrenching on your bike... and aside from a few specialty tools (BB, crank arm extractor, pedal and cone wrench tools are cheap enuff to buy outright) these will suffice.

Indeed, since you're contemplating a frame with headset and fork already installed (and assumed the fork is cut to the correct length), and given that you sound as though you've got the aptitude and desire... it should be quite straightforward.

Aside from a text, Park's website has lots of free good info for virtually every aspect of bicycle maintenance and build

Also, Lickton's offers a nifty little checksheet to make sure things go according to plan.

Note however, it's not always more economical to build your own... it depends on what you've got on hand... and what you want/need.

It's quite satisfying to DIY (as you noted, you can have it your way)...and if you're so inclined, you might consider a few of the more expensive specialty tools (over time) for later on (my toolbox has grown over 10 years to include almost everything a shop would have).

Good luck!

Be the bike.
I don't consider a bike "mine" if I didn't build it up....TFerguson
Nov 16, 2003 4:31 PM
I had the first one delivered with the headset installed. Even that is easy; it's just that the consequence of failure (frame= trash) is high. A couple of specialty tools (borrowed from friends?) and your riding your bike.

re: Any tricks/magic required to build a bike?gtx
Nov 16, 2003 5:44 PM
It's all easy if you are mechanically inclined, have the right tools and go slow. If you have a shop build the wheels and press in the headset doing the rest won't be hard (maybe have them cut the fork if it's a carbon steerer). And for a cool, light, compact US-made AL frameset check out the Titus Drop-U, I think they're around $700.
Have your LBS order just the frameLive Steam
Nov 16, 2003 7:24 PM
There may be better availability for just the Composite frame. Then build it up the way you want. You have already done work that people have the most trouble with - installing and properly adjusting the shifting. The BB and everything else you will do when building your own bike is no harder than what you have done already.

It sounds like you are willing to settle, but are having second thoughts. You should get what you want now. Why go through the effort of buying everything, then building it and ending up with a bike you already have plans to get rid of? Especially if you have the financial means.

One more thing. If the "fancy" wheels are Mavic Ksyriums, thay are pretty much bomb proof. Don't let their light weight fool you. I have more than 5K of hard riding on mine and they are still true as razor blades.
Nov 17, 2003 4:59 AM
.....I won't buy a complete bike again if I can help it. The way bikes are usually put together from the factory is pretty poor. I've spent more time getting things right on complete bikes than it would take to build a frame up from scratch. From your post it looks like you're sufficiently mechanically inclined. By all means go for it.
$2,300 for the Giant is too much...DERICK
Nov 17, 2003 6:01 AM
A shop in Pensacola, FL has that bike in stock for $2,000 (the 2004 model). I'm considering buying it and swapping the Ultegra with my Dura Ace group and E-baying the new Ultegra. I will probobly keep the wheels as back ups.

I took one out for a few miles and it's one sweet bike.
They could probobly ship it to you but you would have to work that out with them. The shop is really great to deal with.

Dragon Sports
Ask for Donald and tell him Derrick sent you.
re: Any tricks/magic required to build a bike?MShaw
Nov 17, 2003 10:12 AM
Quick question: what about the pre-built wheels is it that you don't like?

Next question: what part of the country do you live in that doesn't have a local custom frame builder? I know Russ Denny here in SoCal will build a full custom road frame with fork for less than $1000. Tom Teesdale, Andy Gilmour (AZ), etc. That way, you get something that fits YOU and you don't have to buy two frames if you don't want to.

Heck, for that matter, what's wrong with buying an S-Works frame on ebay for half off?

You CAN put together a bike for pennies on the dollar if you shop around. I know I have... Its the only reason I'm running D/A!

Hint about the Giant frames. They only make 3 sizes. I know the small's too small, and the medium is too big for me. Make sure they work for you geometry-wise before you go that route.

The nice thing about building your own bike is that you can run Record shifters with Chorus everything else with Shimano hubs and you know it works 'cause you made it work.

Nov 17, 2003 11:26 AM
Live Steam said:
"It sounds like you are willing to settle, but are having second thoughts"

Pretty much. I'm on a compressed timetable (wanna get back on the road). The Giant is really nice, but it isn't exactly what I want. However, I don't know exactly what frame I want. I do know what components I want. A curse on that Ford Taurus. Oh well.

I do have a handful of bicycle tools, but I need to buy a Campy cassette tool, maybe a BB tool. I bought a Felco cable cutter last year (pricey, but very nice). I'm pretty sure I can build a bike, but just wanted to make sure there weren't any major issues I overlooked.

I admit I'm biased against the Ksyrium and other low-spoke-count wheels. This is my first year back on the bike, and in the middle 90s, these wheels did not exist. I am sure the Ksyriums would be plenty strong for my 155 pounds of flailing arms and legs, but at my bike pricepoint, $1500 to $2500 MAX, Ksyriums would be somewhat prohibitive. I think a handbuilt wheelset designed for my weight and riding would be the best bang for the buck. Would Ksyriums or other wheels handle 7000-9000 miles per year?

Derrick, thanks for the referral. A fellow in Atlanta also pointed me to a shop that has the TCR Composite 2 in Large. It's a shame I can get the bike from a shop out of town, for less bucks, while the local dealer has not a single TCR (carbon or aluminum frame) in stock, and wants full retail price.

Mike, you are right about the Giant frame sizes. My body needs the seat tube of a large with the top tube of the medium. With the 5cm jumps between sizes, I am not entirely happy. I'm sure it could be made to work, but I'm having second thoughts about spending $2000-2400 on a bike that isn't a great fit for my body. You and I think alike. I installed an American Classic 10 spd conversion cassette on Dura Ace wheels, added Centaur 10 spd r. derailleur and shifters. I love the way it shifts compared to Shimano. That's why I really want Campy. It took a long time to get the parts broken in, but now it's like butter. Well, it was like butter until and old man nearly ran over me. :)

I'm hunting Ebay and the classifieds for a complete bike with Campy, or a good frameset. Whichever I find first will be the direction I head. BTW, I'm in Memphis, TN. As far as I know, there exist no custom frame builders in my area.

I have no problems shopping for good deals on Ebay, but time is against me. Chugging on the mountain bike just isn't fun when the terrain is flat.

Let a Pinarello get away...turbo6bar
Nov 17, 2003 11:47 AM
This was in my size, and the Chorus 10 setup is nice. My internet connection was lagging, and I typed in the wrong Ebay password, so I lost the chance to get in a bid.

Can you say "Doh!!!!!!!" one million times? :)

That's a shame! I ride a Paris!russw19
Nov 17, 2003 12:38 PM
Mine is Banesto blue and was originally built for Jeremy Hunt when he was with Banesto, but the frame got to the team after he transfered to Big Mat. And I managed to pick it up at auction for cheap. (It didn't have his name on the frame or anything cool like that, just a nice story behind the frame...)

But I think this is the nicest frame I have ever riden. It's not that light by today's standards at about 3.5 lbs for the frame and 1.2 for the fork, but my bike complete is still under 17 lbs. It rides like a really nice stiff aluminium bike should. Stiff but not harsh, and corners like it's on rails. I love it. I want to get a new bike this year with Dura-Ace 10 speed, but I seriously doubt I will sell this one to get the new one. I think this is getting kept forever by me.