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  1. #1
    Senior Member xnihilo's Avatar
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    Building my own bike.

    I'm a fairly competent motorcycle mechanic and would like to build a bicycle from the frame up. Totally new venture and I need to educate myself about specific components, tools, etc.
    Can someone recommend a book(s) that show you step-by-step procedures for this feat? Or for a first timer should I really put it in the hands of someone whom has done this before and take mental notes and supply him/her with Sam Adams?

    Have my heart set on a Gunnar Sport frame. Good choice?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Joshua A.C. New's Avatar
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    I don't know anything about that particular frame, but you should totally be able to do the project.

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/
    http://www.parktool.com/repair/

    The Park Tool Blue Book is pretty good, as is the Bicycling Magazine Guide.

    Getting the headset into the head tube can be a pain in the butt. When you get there, look up how to make a headset press. You'll do a limited number in your life, particularly considering that the press-in headset is slowly going extinct, and the tool to do it is expensive for the 2-3 times you might wind up using it. The rest of tools, you should get better ones. ****ty tools wind up being expensive, as you no doubt know from working on motorcycles.
    Joshua A.C. Newman,
    Passionate lover of construction

  3. #3
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    as mentioned the headset pressing will be a pain, integrated headsets are slightly easier
    other special tools will be for the bottom bracket and cassette
    everything else uses regular tools(allen keys, screwdrivers)

  4. #4
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    I was not sure if you actually wanted to make the frame or not until your last sentence .

    Since you have not done it before (not all that hard), I would suggest you strip and reassemble an "expendable" bike first. You'd hate if you did something wrong to that Gunnar.

    You may need a shops help to install the headset and face your bottom bracket. Everything else is very doable and you'll have tools that you will be able to use again. You could do the headset if you really wanted to. I don't think you'd want the expense of the facing tools for how little you would use them.

    The above sites and searching on here should get you through just about anything you need.

  5. #5
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Zinn and the art of road bike maintenance: http://www.amazon.com/Zinn-Art-Mount.../dp/193138259X

    This is my build project, I was a novice: Soma Double Cross Commuter build, finally finished!
    2014 Trek DS.1: "Viaggiatore" A do-it-all bike that is waiting in Italy
    2012 Pedal Force CG2: "Secolo Bicicletta" the modern carbon fiber road bike
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    2010 Origin 8 CX 700: "Servizio Grave" Monstercross/29er bike
    1997 Simoncini Special Cyclocross: "Little Simon" lugged Columbus steel CX bike
    1987 Serotta Nova Special X: "Azzurri" The retro Columbus SPX steel road bike

  6. #6
    Broom Wagon Fodder reverborama's Avatar
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    I've restored a few motorcycles and can say your experience should stand you in good stead. Just a few random thoughts:

    1. You won't save any money building one yourself. Trek, Cannondale, etc. buy their components in such volume that you won't come close to matching their costs. What you WILL have is the satisfaction of doing it yourself and the ability to build exactly the bike you want.

    2. Do your research! There's nothing worse than discovering that the seatpost you bought is .2mm too big for the hole. Or that the front derailleur can't handle a 16-tooth difference between the big and little chainring. Or that the bars won't fit in the stem. Man, it really kills the project!

    3. Masiman is correct. The tools to press the headset and face the BB are the most expensive of the bunch. On my first build I had a shop install the headset and the BB for me. I've done them myself since but paid shops when the head tube or BB require chasing or facing.

    4. Use a torque wrench. Most mechanics do it by feel, but you don't have the feel. I don't have it either.

    5. You probably will suck at adjusting the rear derailleur and the brakes. Get someone to show you how to do them.

    6. I like SRAM chains. Their master link doesn't require breaking the chain. I'd suggest SRAM or any brand with a similar master link.

    7. Get a good cable cutter or use a dremel. Regular wire cutters won't do a satisfactory job.

  7. #7
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    For facing the headtube and bottom bracket, Speedgoat (where I recently purchased my Gunnar Crosshairs) includes this with your frame purchase. They also chase the bottom bracket threads and ream the headtube and seattube. (No affiliation, just a happy customer)

    I would suggest determining your component choices and then posting them to this forum so that we can verify that everything you have chosen will work together. Key things to match are:

    -fork steerer tube diameter and headset
    -headset and headtube (Gunnar's use standard external headsets)
    -stem clamp and handlebar diameters
    -seattube and front derailler clamp diameters
    -chainrings and front derailler (double/triple)
    -front derailler and front shifter (MTB/Road)
    -front derailler, chain, and number of cassette cogs
    -rear derailler, cassette size, and number of chainrings (different cage lengths for double/triple and MTB/road deraillers (depending on largest rear cog)
    -seatpost diameter and seattube inner diameter
    -bottom bracket and crankset (length and interface)
    -if building wheels too, spoke length and hub and rim dimensions

    Bike building is a lot of fun and you can get exactly what you want as opposed to compromising then later wanting to swap parts out. You'll spend more in general but with closeout deals and coupons, you can sometimes get close to an off-the-shelf bike.

  8. #8
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    i never read any other bike book than an old school copy of "anybody's bike book" and that got me learning, then tinkering and eventually building. i'm sure there are many great books and good luck.

  9. #9
    Senior Member bluenote157's Avatar
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    Before you go buying tools, you need to identify your components. Depending on the type of bottom bracket you are using, you'll need the proper tools for that specific bb. Bottom brackets have evolved from cup and loose bearings, cartridge, external bearings, etc. All of which may or may not require special tools such as a pin/spanner and lockring tool, or a bottom bracket cartridge tool for isis/octalink, or a bb tool wrench for external bearings bottom brackets.
    With that said, get a METRIC set of allen wrenches, sharp wire cutters so you don't fray your cables, philips/flathead screwdriver, chaintool, and a lockring or freewheel tool (again..depending on your components). You might also need some tire levers to install the tubes/tires. Finally.. there is that rare occasion that you'll need cone type wrenches for those times when your crescent wrench isn't narrow enough.. (unless your pedals use an allen wrench)

    Once you get your cables on for either brakes or derailleurs, you want to squeeze the brakes or shift the gears to get the initial stretch out of them.

    ...funny.. my buddy works for Sam Adams. I helped him out with his bike and some other home projects and he gave me a case of Pale Ale, Ocktoberfest, etc..

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluenote157 View Post
    Finally.. there is that rare occasion that you'll need cone type wrenches for those times when your crescent wrench isn't narrow enough.. (unless your pedals use an allen wrench)
    Good advice except this bit could be a bit misleading. Cone wrenches should NEVER be used as a pedal wrench. They are not meant to apply that kind of torque. Use a pedal wrench (narrow head [but not cone wrench narrow] 15mm sometimes padded wrench) for R&R of pedals.

  11. #11
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    If you plan on servicing your wheel hubs, you'll need at least a couple of cone wrenches of the appropriate sizes for the hubs. The Park Tool website Repair Help section lists the tools needed at the beginning of each repair writeup.

  12. #12
    Senior Member vettefrc2000's Avatar
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    Fyi...

    You can make your own headset press with threaded rod and pieces of hard wood, nuts and washers. Bottom bracket facing is generally not needed with modern frames / BB combination.

  13. #13
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lennyk View Post
    as mentioned the headset pressing will be a pain, integrated headsets are slightly easier
    other special tools will be for the bottom bracket and cassette
    everything else uses regular tools(allen keys, screwdrivers)
    Integrated headsets require a frame made to accept them. The Gunnar Sport uses a conventional headset so it's not an option. Unless you want to build a lot of bikes, I'd suggest taking the bike to a LBS and pay for them to do it the first time. Ask them if you can see the procedure for future reference. The headset and the bottom bracket are two places where you can turn a bike into an expensive wall hanging is very short order
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