Just wanted to say that these forums were pretty much invaluable while building up a bike for my commute. As a result, I'd like to give back to all those newbies out there thinking about building a bike. It wasn't bad, and I learned a TON in the process. On my second ride home, one of my cranks loosened. I fixed it and was on my way, and I had the BIGGEST smile on my face after doing so.
I do a 9 mile commute on Chicago streets every day. My road bike was getting trashed, and it didn't handle inclement weather very well. After reading the commuting forums, I decided to build up a cyclocross bike.
Here's a list of the parts I got:
Frame: Nashbar “X” Aluminum Cyclocross Frame
Gearing: All Shimano 105 - double crank (53/39), 9 speed cassette (12x23), front & rear derailleur
Shifters: Shimano 105 STI
Brakes: 160mm Avid BB7 Road Disc
Wheels: Mavic CXP 22 Black/Shimano w/ M475 Hub
Tires: Continental Contact City/Trekking Tire
Pedals: Shimano RX100
Headset: Cane Creek C-1 Threadless Headset
Bottom Bracket: Shimano 5500
Fenders: SKS P45
Little parts I forgot:
- Rim tape (whoops...blew 2 tubes before I figured that out)
- Seat post collar
- Reflectors (still need to get these for the pedals and the wheels)
- Bottle cage
A few lessons I learned:
- A rubber mallet is probably the second most infinitely useful thing in the universe (a towel, of course, being the first)
- Cutting a fork (I went with steel/threadless) isn't that hard.
- You can put grip tape on a few times to get used to it, especially if you don't buy adhesive grip tape. It'll look better after you practice a few times.
- These Continental tires are a PAIN to get over the rim. Thank you, Crank Bros. Speed Lever.
- Crank Bros. tools are VERY handy.
- Bring tools with you the first few rides. Something will always be loose or need to be adjusted.
- Getting a rack on a bike with disc brakes & fenders takes a bit of bending, but you can do it. Actually, a more generic rack seems to be more suited to this than a specialty rack.
- Keep ALL the instructions you get with the pieces. Often times, the information you need to attach one thing to another (say, brakes to brake levers) ISN'T on the manual you think it is, but it's usually there.
- Careful when ordering Avid BB7's. There is a lot of confusion on many sites about the fact that there IS a road version (Pricepoint.com didn't have it labeled that way on their site, and when I was talking to the LBS about it, they even had fallen prey to the problem once.) Make SURE the order shows road brakes if that's what you want. Some of the posts here said you could get them to work, but there must be a reason why Avid makes models for both road and mountain.
And now a photo of the finished result (well, mostly...I've since put a rack on it):
Oh, in case anyone notices, yes, the seatpost IS on backwards in that shot. It's since been fixed.
Thanks again to such a great community for being a valuable resource! I hope that my post inspires others to do the same.