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To Build or Not To Build?(11 posts)

To Build or Not To Build?hammy
Dec 5, 2003 2:06 PM
I have a new carbon frame and box of Campy parts sitting in my living room.

Can anyone point me to a good set (up to date) of reference material on the web for instructions/tools for building up a bicycle.

Any thoughts or experience on doing it yourself vs. just paying the bike shop $150 and being done with it?

Thanks for the info.
just about everything you could ever want/needlaffeaux
Dec 5, 2003 2:10 PM
Check here:
if you have all the tools, go for itPmbH
Dec 5, 2003 2:18 PM
But that's a BIG if...

In addition to hex-head keys, screwdrivers, and wrenches, you'll need:

- Torque wrench (must have for home assembly!)
- BB tool
- Wire cutter & file (for cables, housings)
- Headset cup press (can be home-made if you're daring)
- Pipe cutter or miter box for cutting the fork steerer tube
- Chain tool (if the chain has no removable link)

it gets more complicated if you have a threaded headset, then you need more specialty tools (32mm wrenches, etc)

For installing the fork crown race, a length of PVC pipe works real well and is very cheap at a hardware store.

My home-made headset cup press is a long bolt & nut with stacks of washers. I've installed three King headsets this way, but some people swear it's a bad idea.

Assembling your own bike can be a very rewarding experience. You'll know that much more about the bike, and if you take your time, do everything right, you'll have a strong feeling of pride and confidence in your new ride.
re: To Build or Not To Build?DERICK
Dec 5, 2003 3:00 PM
You could also get a shop to do the parts you aren't comfortable with or don't have the tools for. That should be pretty cheap and you'll still have the satisfaction of building the rest of the bike.
re: To Build or Not To Build?rcarbs
Dec 5, 2003 3:07 PM
I just finished building up a Look KG361 with full Chorus. It was a enjoyable experience. I used the video by Tim Laftin at called "From Box to Bike". It is an excellent video for the campy enthusiast who wants to build his own. I highly recommend it.
are you truely mechanically inclined?joe friday
Dec 5, 2003 3:30 PM
if not, forget it. if you are, don't strip out any bolts
and measure the steerer tube twice. then measure it with
the stem you're REALLY gonna use! :-]
not that hardlaffeaux
Dec 5, 2003 3:37 PM
The first time you build a bike it seems like a big deal. However, eventually it's old hat and you can't imagine not doing it. Most newer bikes require a set of allen wrenches, a BB tool, a casette lock ring tool, a screw driver, and Phil Wood grease.

I do recommend letting the LBS install the headset as it's cheap, and they have the tools (which are prohibitively expensive for the average home mechanic).
I'm in the process right now.Mel Erickson
Dec 5, 2003 4:17 PM
I had the LBS install the Campy BB because it's not something I intend to do much and don't want to buy the tool for a one time use. The headset may or may not be an issue. My steel frame came with integrated top and bottom races and the fork had the race already installed. All I needed to do was drop in the sealed bearings. I don't have a pair of cable cutters but probably should have. I get along just fine by using a regular wire cutter then grinding the ends down on my bench grinder. I use a small nail to ream out the plastic insert afterwards. Otherwise most assembly is done with a few allen wrenches, an open end wrench for the pedals, a screwdriver, a hacksaw and mitre box (or a pipe cutter but make it a good one or you risk spiraling up the steerer tube), a file and a torque wrench. I think it's important to get the proper torque settings for almost all parts. You can find many settings on or the manufacturers website. An invaluable source of information is Barnetts Repair Manual. You can find that at

Even with a modicum of experience you can do a good job if you take your time and remain confident. It's a great experience and very satisfying. Good luck.

BTW, if you feel the task is too daunting even after all this encouragement, get a quote from the LBS. You might be suprised how cheaply and quickly they can do the job.
Campy BB tool for one time useKerry Irons
Dec 5, 2003 5:07 PM
Actually, the Campy BB tool is also the Campy cassette tool, so it's a resonable suggestion that you should have one in your tool box. $7 for the Park tool, or $17 for the real thing.
Good callMel Erickson
Dec 5, 2003 6:32 PM
I'd do that but I'm using Shimano compatible hubs and the American Classic cassette.
Spend the $150 on good tools, then take your time & go slow (nm)B2
Dec 6, 2003 6:25 AM