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  1. #1
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    Build up questions

    i have two questions about building up a bike. I am considering purchasing a colnago cx1 frame, and thinking about building it up myself. I believe it takes an English bottom bracket, which seems strange for an italian bicycle company, but not sure where to find that out, the colnago website doesn't say at least not that I can find. Also going to go with campy superrecord 11speed, compact 50-34 cranks. Do I need a long cage front deralliur? thanks in advance. And anyone out there who like me doesn't do much wrenching ever built up there own bike, and how did it go? Would you do it again, or take it to lbs and say here put this together.

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    You do want to start at the top don't you? A Colnago frame and Campy 11-speed Super Record for your first build is pretty ambitious, particularly since you say you are a novice at bicycle mechanics in general.

    Frankly, given the high cost of all of your components and your lack of knowledge, I'd opt for having the LBS build it up. The first bike I built up from a bare frame and a build kit was after I had several years of increasingly involved bike repair and maintenance experience on simpler and less costly bikes. The build went well but I wasn't a babe-in-the-woods at the time.

    BTW, There is no such thing as a "long cage front derailleur", cage length refers to rear derailleurs. The Colnago may indeed have English threading as many Italian makers have gone to it over the past few years. Try e-mailing either Colnago's US distributor or the dealer where you are buying your frame to find out for sure.

    I hope this posting doesn't come across as patronizing but I think you are taking on more of a project than you have the expertise to handle and I don't want you to make some very costly, or worse, dangerous mistakes.
    Last edited by HillRider; 08-08-10 at 04:13 PM.

  3. #3
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    I would recommend your first build be something simpler, and cheaper. I am a big fan of buying complete bikes, used. The bicycle market is very inefficient, so if you are patient, you can find some outstanding deals on the used market.

    But if you take your time, and are mechanically inclined, I don't see why you couldn't build a bike. And you can always have a shop check your work, or do some of it (like installing the headset and bottom bracket).

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    Not patronizing at all. I guess I worded the front derailleur question wrongly, I know there are different lengths of front derailleurs, what I don't know is whether the compact cranks require a different(longer) one. I realize I am a novice at this, but it's not exactly brain surgery, or in my case kidney surgery. I am very hesitant to buy something used, at least a bicycle, since most of that is done over the internet, and you really know nothing about the condition and have absolutely no warranty. Also I am a Campy fan, running that currently, and complete bikes on the net with campy are VERY unusual. I really don't want three bikes, so buying something less and practicing on it does not appeal. I thought about having the lbs do some of it, the headset especially. I don't have the frame or the campy stuff yet so nothing is really set in stone.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by oujeep1 View Post
    i have two questions about building up a bike. I am considering purchasing a colnago cx1 frame, and thinking about building it up myself. I believe it takes an English bottom bracket, which seems strange for an italian bicycle company, but not sure where to find that out, the colnago website doesn't say
    At the time I built up my 2004 C50 all Colnagos used Italian threaded bottom brackets. Without definitive information, I would not assume they are different now . Wait until you see the frame, then you'll know.

  6. #6
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    Its not brain or kidney surgery but there are nuances that are particular to bicycle assembly. It also depends on the level of build that you are considering. Are you planning on building the wheels? Do you have any specialized tools for the assembly, if you don't have the tools, I would at least have the LBS face and install the BB and headset and check the derailuer hanger for proper alignment.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bustercrb/sets/72157623483647522/

  7. #7
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    The recommendation to buy something used and cheap is not to have you aquire still another bike but to give you a practice vehicle to learn the basics of bike assembly, etc. before you tackle your new and very expensive Colnago/Campy build.

    Get something used, play with it and then either resell or discard it and consider it a good investment in education.

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    A few comments. Determining the BB threading should be simple. The seller of the frame should know. Colnagos of the past always had Italian threading, but some frames are being built in Asia and those may be English threaded.

    About building the bike. Installing SR parts is no different or harder than Chorus or Centaur. The only difference is the weight and expense of some of the parts. I've used Campy since 1995 and would recommend Record or Chorus and no more than Chorus for the cassette. Those Ti cogs cost a lot more and last half as long at best.

    Campy FDs now fit either compact or standard cranks (since 2008). All you have to do is pick the proper FD mounting (braze-on in this case), your cassette and BB threading.

    Park tool has instructions for just about every part of the job. The most time consuming part is installing the cables.

    The most expensive mistake I've read of is cutting a steering tube too short. I assemble the bike, with the stem and bars at the height I want, then scribe a line on the steering tube, at the top of the stem. Cut 2-3mm about that line and then install a 5mm spacer on top of the stem. Never make the mistake of trying to add up a series of measurements to come up with a total steering tube length. It's not accurate and some people forget a big part, like the 40mm stem or 20mm of spacer.

  9. #9
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    The recommendation to buy something used and cheap is not to have you aquire still another bike but to give you a practice vehicle to learn the basics of bike assembly, etc. before you tackle your new and very expensive Colnago/Campy build.

    Get something used, play with it and then either resell or discard it and consider it a good investment in education.
    +1 Its tuition in bike building school. Do you want your first bike to be a $4000 gamble, or a $150 used bike. You decide. I know what I did.

    +1 Measure twice, cut once on that steering tube. When in doubt, slightly too long means a small spacer above the stem. Too short, and you know that outcome.


    As far as the comment that most used bikes are via the internet, huh? I have bought over 100 bikes in the last two years, only three were not in person. I bought my 2003 Colnago Master Lite in person. My experience is that I can get much better deals in person.

    I don't worry about warranties. I save enough buying used that I self insure.
    Last edited by wrk101; 08-09-10 at 08:04 AM.

  10. #10
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    Unless the OP doesn't even own a bike, he can practice on whatever he owns now. Most parts are extremely simple to install. Many have one bolt. How tough is it to install one bolt or nut?

    The BB cup installation does require special attention. The BB width must be 67.2-68.8mm (step one). The BB shell threads should be checked for squareness to the BB faces. This can be done by threading the cups into the frame, just until they contact a .010 inch feeler, then using .008-.012 inch feelers to check for high or low spots. If either if these tests fail, it's off the to bike shop for facing and a recheck of the BB shell width. Once all that's done grease the threads and torque to 35Nm. You must have the proper BB cup tool and a torque wrench.

  11. #11
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    oujeep1, Going by your original post I suspect your skills are still in the newbie range and not yet suitable for a 'money pit' build. I also suggest you pick up something from craigslist to polish your skills with..it'll also make for a good foul weather rider.

    Use the LBS to chase and face the BB shell and check overall alignment before you start the build. This may sound silly, but after witnessing what a friend did to his frame on a partial build ("It's a bicycle, how hard can it be?") cover everything with blue painter's tape until you're through.

    I'm not attempting to discourage you from this build, quite the opposite. With a personal build attention to detail and performing the extras that can't be done with a mass produced complete bicycle can turn even a medicore frame/group into a brilliant bicycle that'll last for decades.

    Brad

  12. #12
    Gouge Away kaliayev's Avatar
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    My advise is to read as much info as you can get your hands on before you start the build. Understand completely how to install a component before you put it on. Patience is key. Never try to force a component on, something is wrong. Don't skimp on tools, it's expensive, but they will work better and last much longer. Have fun!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    +1 Its tuition in bike building school. Do you want your first bike to be a $4000 gamble, or a $150 used bike. You decide. I know what I did.

    +1 Measure twice, cut once on that steering tube. When in doubt, slightly too long means a small spacer above the stem. Too short, and you know that outcome.


    As far as the comment that most used bikes are via the internet, huh? I have bought over 100 bikes in the last two years, only three were not in person. I bought my 2003 Colnago Master Lite in person. My experience is that I can get much better deals in person.

    I don't worry about warranties. I save enough buying used that I self insure.
    Obviously you are in a unique situation, buying that many bikes. You also live in North Carolina, which has a significantly higher population density than Oklahoma, especially if you take in the surrounding states. I suspect the number of good higher end used bikes for sale in Oklahoma and the surrounding states is fairly low.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by oujeep1 View Post
    I suspect the number of good higher end used bikes for sale in Oklahoma and the surrounding states is fairly low.
    You don't need a high end bike as a practice tool. Any low to mid-line Trek, Cannondale, Specialized, Fuji, etc. etc. road bike will do fine. Something like that should be available almost anywhere. Try Craigs List, the local newspaper's classifieds, the Pennysaver, and post a WTB card at local bike shops. You'll find something suitable.

    Most parts are extremely simple to install. Many have one bolt. How tough is it to install one bolt or nut?
    Dave, you know better than that. How many broken or damaged parts have we seen from one bolt or one nut tightened improperly?

  15. #15
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    High end retail bike sellers will, ship a bike like that pretty well assembled , that will be a better thing to do.
    If you feel you must, like, learn to drive in a Maserati first.. its your money..

    Just keeping that 11 speed race bike kit tuned will be enough of a challenge..

    Colnago keeps shifting importers to the US, why is probably best not said.

    Just that there may be Gray market paths that that stuff goes thru..

    FWIW, back in the 80's No Italian Builders did any threading , that was for the dealer to do
    in setting the bike up for the customer ,
    there was a rough resemblance of threading , that the investment cast shells already had.
    but the dealer would get out their special Bicycle tap and die set and do all that work.

    Now, a lot of parts have narrow torque specs, so a torque wrench in 1/4" and 3/8" drive and sockets and allen socket drives are needed to put all that High tech CF stuff together .
    then there are a number of other specialty tools to buy, as well..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 08-09-10 at 07:16 PM.

  16. #16
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    I dont need to learn to drive the maserati, to use your analogy I already own a maserati(look 585 with campy record 10) and I am considering building a ferrari. This thread has been sufficiently hijacked from what I was hoping so I will say adieu.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oujeep1 View Post
    I dont need to learn to drive the maserati, to use your analogy I already own a maserati(look 585 with campy record 10) and I am considering building a ferrari. This thread has been sufficiently hijacked from what I was hoping so I will say adieu.
    It would have helped if you would have posted something about your mechanical ability (or lack of). I posted an honest suggestion to try it, since most parts are simple to install. You should go to the park tool website and read up on each procedure before trying to do it. All that said, I was rebuilding car engines at age 16, so most mechanical things seem simple to me, over 40 years later.

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