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  1. #1
    Senior Member burbankbiker's Avatar
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    Okay guys, bear with me or skip this thread if I'm going too fundamental but I'm in the learning stages. I've pretty much decided that for my first major bike purchase I'm going to get a Surly Cross Check frame and build up the parts. But I'm left to wonder, before I start researching the best components to use... what are the parts of a bike? What all do I have to select. I've seen a bunch of stuff mentioned: derailer, chainstays, headset, cranks... but I'm very new to what all these are AND what parts I haven't heard mentioned but are needed for a build.

    I totally appreciate any info people can pass on... even if it's just saying "GO READ XXXXXXX BOOK"

  2. #2
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    Seriously, only you are going to be able to make this list.

    Have you thought to look up a component list for a built-up bike that has features you want?

    Most people building up a bike from a frame have already owned bikes to which they have made component changes. No one says you have to go about it this way,
    but it would give you a little bit of experience that would make the building-up of a bike from a frame a more informed and efficient process.

    You might go to a local bike shop and ask to see a book on basic bike maintenance and then buy it. If you are really coming to this process with zero experience, I recommend that before even buying a frame.[I]

  3. #3
    Retro-nerd georgiaboy's Avatar
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    Make a spreadsheet with the following headings. Take your time and research the many components for quality and price. List the mfg and part number. Chew on it. Push it around. Make changes. In about three months you just might have a component list you are happy with.

    Hopefully, I didn't leave anything out.


    Frame: ___________________

    Component Type Description:
    Fork __________
    Headset __________
    Stem __________
    Handlebar __________
    Wrap or Grips __________

    Brakes __________
    Brake Levers __________

    Front Derailleur __________
    Rear Derailleur __________
    Shift Levers __________
    Cassette __________
    Chain __________
    Crankset __________
    Chainrings __________
    Bottom Bracket __________

    Wheels:
    Hubs __________
    Rims __________
    Spokes __________
    Tires ___________

    Saddle __________
    Seatpost __________
    Would you like a dream with that?

  4. #4
    ctp
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    Quote Originally Posted by burbankbiker
    I've pretty much decided that for my first major bike purchase I'm going to get a Surly Cross Check frame and build up the parts.
    Another bit of advice. If you plan on buying every piece of the bike new at retail you could end up paying double what an already complete bike would cost. In other words select your parts and add up the prices.

    Then again, if you shop for used parts, or shop on eBay, it's doable, but it can take a lot longer.

  5. #5
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    You are sort of in the same position as the guy who is getting his first car and wants to start with a Lotus 7 or Ford Cobra kit. It's not a recommended beginner's method.

    If you go through with this project you will have to do a lot of reading in repair manuals and catalogs and talk to experienced riders/mechanics. You might pull it off but it's not going to be quick or easy.
    Last edited by HillRider; 12-26-05 at 07:34 AM.

  6. #6
    Macaws Rock! michaelnel's Avatar
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    Even with that spreadsheet template, there are lots of little things that you need that will slow you down if you don't have them. For instance, if you get cantilever brakes, you need a cable stop for the front one that goes on either the fork tube if threadless or on the stem if you chose a quill stem. You need the little plastic guide that goes on the bottom of the BB to guide the cables. You need cable end caps. Rim tape. Tubes... headset spacers.

    Tools: BB and headset installation tools (unless you get the shop to do that stuff). Torque wrench. Cable cutters... the list of little things is long and painful, but not having them keeps you from being able to finish the build.

    I agree, it's no place for a beginner. I have built four bikes up from a bare frame, but I did a lot of modifications on built bikes before attempting my first build.
    ---

    San Francisco, California

  7. #7
    Ride for Life wearyourtruth's Avatar
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    i agree with most of the things said so far.

    the list is a pretty good one, the only thing i thought to add is cables and housing
    if you buy new, you often get a lot of the little pieces you might otherwise have to search for.

    also remember that building a bike from scratch means a LOT of specialized tools.

    i don't necissarily agree that building a bike from scratch is not for beginners though. there's a definate learning curve there, but i think the key is to be a beginner with experienced friends. i've only been riding for 2 years and i've built my road bike and my mtb both from bare frames and have customized both of my commuters along with building 4 bikes for friends. i didn't know everything when i started, but i pooled my resources and i figured it out. the BEST BEST BEST thing you can do is find a willing LBS who is willing to help you and let you work on your bike there. i have a decent collection of tools, but i just got them, and i am far from having everything (like a truing stand, for instance). i am lucky enough to have an LBS within walking (or biking) distance from my house with some really cool guys who work there. i went in, told them i was going to try and build up my road bike (the first full buildup) from scratch and asked if they would help me learn and let me use their tools. i learned how to install and remove a headset, bottom bracket, true wheels, thread STI cables... any of the stuff i couldn't figure out on my own i asked them. you can do the same thing with a friend if they know what they are doing.

    there are many parts of a bike that you can figure out how to install just by looking at one that's put together. how to put brakes on, how to put a stem and handlebars and shifters in the right position, cranks, if you spend some time studying a fully assembled bike, you will find that there are many things that are made to be relatively easy to maintain or replace, which makes them not too hard to assemble.

    i say if you can find good help, knock yourself out! it's a great learning experience and a wonderful sense of satisfaction.

    P.S. a way to make your LBS much more willing to help is to purchase some of your parts through them. i didn't buy all my parts for my latest build (mtb) from them, but i did drop about 1/3 of the price in their store. you scratch my back, i scratch yours...
    before posting, a "noob" should always ask themselves "could this have been answered by first visiting Sheldon Brown

    -Tim-
    www.velocipedebikeproject.org

  8. #8
    Senior Member burbankbiker's Avatar
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    Thanks to everyone who's contributed so far. It's a lot to chew over. To clarify my original post. I'm not planning on ACTUALLY physically building the bike. More simply, I'm going to have my LBS build and order the parts but I was wondering all of what I should be researching so I can go in with some clear idea and say, "Okay, I want to order this frame, these wheels, this saddle, etc."

    The list georgia_boy provided looks pretty good towards answering my question.

    Funny you mention the cobra kit analogy, though... because my friend and I have a fantasy of doing that... and I'm also an audio engineer with a box of parts for an LA-2a compressor waiting to be put together... so the words of warning are worth saying to me. I do tend to get in over my head. Luckily in this instance I'm not trying to build the bike; just to know what parts go into it so I can be some help in guiding the guy at the LBS as to what I'd like to order.

    Thanks again, for all the great input.

  9. #9
    Senior Member curt in denver's Avatar
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    My advice,
    1) Buy a good Quality bike tool kit(not from performance) and a stand.
    2) Jump right in!!!!!!!!!!
    "People who speak in metaphors should shampoo my crotch"
    -Jack Nicholson

  10. #10
    Double Naught Spy TrekDen's Avatar
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    If your going to have the LBS build it, believe me, they will walk you through the options. You are doing yourself a favor by trying to get some knowledge beforehand.
    Good luck with the build.

  11. #11
    Klaatu barada nikto cascade168's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by georgiaboy
    Make a spreadsheet with the following headings. Take your time and research the many components for quality and price. List the mfg and part number. Chew on it. Push it around. Make changes. In about three months you just might have a component list you are happy with.

    Hopefully, I didn't leave anything out.


    Frame: ___________________

    Component Type Description:
    Fork __________
    Headset __________
    Stem __________
    Handlebar __________
    Wrap or Grips __________

    Brakes __________
    Brake Levers __________

    Front Derailleur __________
    Rear Derailleur __________
    Shift Levers __________
    Cassette __________
    Chain __________
    Crankset __________
    Chainrings __________
    Bottom Bracket __________

    Wheels:
    Hubs __________
    Rims __________
    Spokes __________
    Tires ___________

    Saddle __________
    Seatpost __________

    Great list, but, as the saying goes - "there's always one more bug". I would add "Pedals" to the list.
    It always kills me that when people weigh bikes, they often do it without pedals. What's with that? But, I have noticed that most people are using them when they actually ride the bikes ;-) Tubes for the tires will also come in handy. Keep reading the list over and over and I am sure you will find even more. I keep a text file of every bike I build and use it every time. It's mostly complete at this point, but there are so many little bits and parts that change. I build all my own wheels, so I have all of the spoke calculations in there. I put down all of the prices as I come up with them and then go look for better deals. That's what makes this so much fun, in my opinion. Computer? Saddlebag(and all the goodies to fill it up)? Pump? Front and rear lights? Mirror? Racks? Fenders?

    Burbanbiker, good luck with your build. Make your list and it will change and grow and your bike comes together. The result will likely make you very happy. Oh, and you can be sure that it will cost more than you figured in the beginning. Don't let that stop you from ending up with what you want.
    "Work is the curse of the drinking class."
    - Oscar Wilde

  12. #12
    Retro-nerd georgiaboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cascade168
    Great list, but, as the saying goes - "there's always one more bug". I would add "Pedals" to the list.
    It always kills me that when people weigh bikes, they often do it without pedals. What's with that? But, I have noticed that most people are using them when they actually ride the bikes ;-) Tubes for the tires will also come in handy. Keep reading the list over and over and I am sure you will find even more. I keep a text file of every bike I build and use it every time. It's mostly complete at this point, but there are so many little bits and parts that change. I build all my own wheels, so I have all of the spoke calculations in there. I put down all of the prices as I come up with them and then go look for better deals. That's what makes this so much fun, in my opinion. Computer? Saddlebag(and all the goodies to fill it up)? Pump?

    Burbanbiker, good luck with your build. Make your list and it will change and grow and your bike comes together. The result will likely make you very happy. Oh, and you can be sure that it will cost more than you figured in the beginning. Don't let that stop you from ending up with what you want.
    I know my list is missing a few things. I king of typed it on the run. It would be great to even have a more extensive one. I remember going on a website that sold bicycle components and they had a very thorough template but I can't remember which website it was. Someone could post a different one that is more complete.
    Would you like a dream with that?

  13. #13
    Klaatu barada nikto cascade168's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by georgiaboy
    I know my list is missing a few things. I king of typed it on the run. It would be great to even have a more extensive one. I remember going on a website that sold bicycle components and they had a very thorough template but I can't remember which website it was. Someone could post a different one that is more complete.

    My reply was intended to show that your comment about how the list will change and grow as you go along is exactly correct. I agree completely. I have not done a bike yet where there was not some change along the way. No matter who's list you use - mine included - there is almost always going to be something different. I did not mean to come off as being critical.
    "Work is the curse of the drinking class."
    - Oscar Wilde

  14. #14
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Security Bicycle is the source that you're looking for. They sell "bike kits" that are commonly sold along with frame sets for beautique bike brands. A bike kit is a component group plus all of the extraneous and small parts that are needed to make a bicycle.

    Even if you decide not to buy a Security kit, it will list everything that's in the kit. Buy one of everything that's in the kit and you'll have all of the parts that you need to build your bike. Uh - assuming, of course, that everything matches and that's a BIG if.

  15. #15
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Perhaps your best bet is to have your LBS order your Crosscheck built through QBP with choice of build kits available for that frame.
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
    .litespeed.classic.litespeed.firenze.bianchi.pista.dean.colonel.plus.more.

  16. #16
    Senior Member rufvelo's Avatar
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    'To clarify my original post. I'm not planning on ACTUALLY physically building the bike. More simply, I'm going to have my LBS build and order the parts '

    I thought you wanted to save money plus learn about bicycles. Looks like you'll have to forget about saving money with the route you're going - ask the LBS for labor charges. Building is great for saving money later, but your best option is buying an inexpensive road bike like a Trek 1000 that's instantly usable, then start reading and upgrading as you learn more.

    To just get build kit info you can always try something like competitvecyclist.com

  17. #17
    ctp
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    Quote Originally Posted by rufvelo
    but your best option is buying an inexpensive road bike like a Trek 1000 that's instantly usable, then start reading and upgrading as you learn more.
    I was just about to say something like that. I used to do builds with custom lists of parts, and it was always for guys (yes, it was a guy every time) who had more money than they knew what to do with, and had some agenda in specing each and every part "a la carte"...either to impress someone, or they had some sort of bicycle OCD, or they put way too much stock in bike mag reviews.

    For my money (and everyone I ride with come to think of it) it always made more sense to just buy a bike that met most of my spec, and get on it and ride it, and then swap out the parts over time that I needed to swap out. Not only saves hundreds of dollars, possibly thousands, but you get to ride a lot sooner.

    If someone has a build kit that is close to your spec, I'd go for it...and again, swap out what you really need to over time.

  18. #18
    Senior Member burbankbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ctp
    it was always for guys... who had more money than they knew what to do with, and had some agenda in specing each and every part "a la carte"

    For my money... it always made more sense to just buy a bike that met most of my spec, and get on it and ride it
    This sounds like good advice, since I don't have more money than I know what to do with. And that website is a great resource for what I was asking about and even points me towards some manufacturers like Deore, Campy, etc. that I can read up on. Thanks to all for getting a new guy off on the right foot.

  19. #19
    Senior Member af895's Avatar
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    Everyone's already given you great advice burbankbiker.

    I empathize with you on wanting to build it all up from scratch and while it may delay your getting on the road by a couple of weekends, you'll be intimate with everything about the bike.

    A few suggestions:

    Buy that Surly frame - and find something like a Raleigh Carleton Corsair for $50 on Craiglist. You could completely swap the parts over and have a rideable Surly.

    Once you put the "good parts" on it that you're looking for (and I highly recommend used) - put the parts-bike back together and either sell it or keep it as a backup bike.

    Here's a photo of a 12-speed my friend found for $50CAD on Craiglist:
    http://www.ncf.ca/~af895/LJ/bobbotron/RobsRCC3.jpg
    It rides like a dream and I suspect it was sitting in a hermetically sealed room for the last 20 years.

    *** *** ***

    If there's a bike co-op in your town, make it your 2nd home. The head mechanics are there to give you advice. If you can't work it out with the help of Park-Tools Bike Blue Book of Bike Repair, you'd be in the right place to ask questions. Co-ops will have walls of every tool you need too.

    Also: the bike co-op will have used parts usually dirt cheap. Deore derailleur at my local: $7. XT cassette: $5. LX hub: $5. You'll never beat that at an LBS or online and it will let you build up that bike for much less than you could buying new gear. It's also more satisfying, in my opinion.

    *** *** ***

    I've attached a "Shimano Best to Worst" list. If you're looking at used gear, it's helpful in figuring out if you should gank, say, the "Deore" or "Acera" hub from the used parts bin at the co-op. I can never keep "Altus, Alivio, Exage and Acera" straight in my head.

    EDIT: Here's a link to a page outlining some of the history of Shimano components over the last 10+ years. http://home.ca.inter.net/~kroberge/hierachy.html

    Something like c.1993 "Altus C10" is much better quality than the Altus you'd buy new today. In road stuff, just about any grouppo is OK - Sora is quite good despite being labeled entry level.

    In MTB/touring kit, Deore is very good. Alivio is quite acceptable (in my opinion.) I would tend to avoid the newer Acera, Altus and Tourney kit. (i tried a Tourney rear derailleur and was frustrated enough to exchange it for a Deore 24-hours later)
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by af895; 12-26-05 at 07:44 PM.

  20. #20
    ctp
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    Quote Originally Posted by af895
    Also: the bike co-op will have used parts usually dirt cheap. Deore derailleur at my local: $7. XT cassette: $5. LX hub: $5. You'll never beat that at an LBS or online and it will let you build up that bike for much less than you could buying near gear. It's also more satisfying, in my opinion.
    I wholeheartedly second the ideas of buying a parts bike for cheap to get your Surly frame rolling quickly, finding and using a local co-op, and about it making the build more satisfying!!!

    Listen to af895!

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