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  1. #1
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    Build a bike from scratch

    Hello everyone,
    This is my first post on this forum (a friend referred me). I am an amateur cyclist who truly knows next to nothing about bicycle mechanics but am in dire want of learning. I have a decent amount of free time and have access to parts at relatively cheap costs. I was considering perhaps building a bike from frame up. I was hoping to build a triathlon/tt bike and realize that building a TT bike and road bike are pretty much the same process. I was hoping to get some references to a book/multiple books that I could buy that will walk me through the process of building a bike. I figured building one would give me an intimate knowledge of the parts and mechanics as well as giving me an attachment to my bike that few have. Spending hours on a bike is the only way to truly know it I suppose. Thank you guys/gals in advance for any help...
    JP

  2. #2
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dylan0483
    Hello everyone,
    This is my first post on this forum (a friend referred me). I am an amateur cyclist who truly knows next to nothing about bicycle mechanics but am in dire want of learning. I have a decent amount of free time and have access to parts at relatively cheap costs. I was considering perhaps building a bike from frame up. I was hoping to build a triathlon/tt bike and realize that building a TT bike and road bike are pretty much the same process. I was hoping to get some references to a book/multiple books that I could buy that will walk me through the process of building a bike. I figured building one would give me an intimate knowledge of the parts and mechanics as well as giving me an attachment to my bike that few have. Spending hours on a bike is the only way to truly know it I suppose. Thank you guys/gals in advance for any help...
    JP
    I would start by learning to repair bikes that you already have. For one thing, it would be hard to buy up parts for a new bike without understand how they work together. You might end up with incompatible things. Also, there are just a lot of tricks and ways of putting things together, and I think it'd be overwhelming to try and learn them all at once.

    I don't know any books specifically on BUILDING bikes, but my favorite bike book is Bicycling Magazine's Guide to Bike Maintenance and Repair. It's for beginners but covers a lot of detail.
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  3. #3
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    Thank you for your quick reply. I looked at that book and it definetly looks interesting. To adress your consideration though I have to explain something I left out of the first post.

    I am using a "hand-me-down" road bike. I am about 5'7/5'8 and probably would benefit most from around I believe a 52 sized frame. My brother whose bike I am using is around 6ft. (i think the frame is probably around 55-56) the problem I am having is that I want to convert the bike so that it has some tri specific modifications i.e. forward seat post, aero bars, and some other aero features. Unfortunately, since the frame is already too big for me, I cant put a forward seat post on because it would result in me not being able to fit on the bike. Also if I just plunked aero bars on without the seat post I would be forced to stretch too far which would most likely, at least as I understand it, seriously undermine my balance. So, I was hoping to buy a new tri bike but I figured I have the extra time and the resources available to try to learn how to build a bike. If it is too much I certainly understand but I was hoping to see maybe if there is a piece of literature that deals specifically with building like a dummies guide that walks a person through the process. But thank you for your recommendation for the book I am much obliged.
    JP

  4. #4
    Senior Member BillK's Avatar
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    I'd also recommend you attend a Park tool class sponsored by a LBS (local bike shop). It will give you a great overview of all the working components, how they fit together, and how to repair them.

    In fact, after attending one in my local area, I started working on my own frame-up fixie/singlespeed bike!

  5. #5
    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
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    That is good advice. My first frame-up bike build was my single speed road bike. When I got it all there was was the frame, with a fork and headset installed. It was a used frame. Then I built it up with parts sourced here and there until it was complete. I couldn't have done it without LOTS of reading, research, and a little bit of help. But dive in. Start reading before you buy anything or touch a wrench.

  6. #6
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dylan0483
    I am using a "hand-me-down" road bike. I am about 5'7/5'8 and probably would benefit most from around I believe a 52 sized frame. My brother whose bike I am using is around 6ft. (i think the frame is probably around 55-56) the problem I am having is that I want to convert the bike so that it has some tri specific modifications i.e. forward seat post, aero bars, and some other aero features. Unfortunately, since the frame is already too big for me, I cant put a forward seat post on because it would result in me not being able to fit on the bike. Also if I just plunked aero bars on without the seat post I would be forced to stretch too far which would most likely, at least as I understand it, seriously undermine my balance. So, I was hoping to buy a new tri bike but I figured I have the extra time and the resources available to try to learn how to build a bike. If it is too much I certainly understand but I was hoping to see maybe if there is a piece of literature that deals specifically with building like a dummies guide that walks a person through the process. But thank you for your recommendation for the book I am much obliged.
    JP
    Well, it sounds like you know a lot about bikes already. And since you have a good reason to start out by building a whole new bike, go for it. Just be prepared for some hassle. But I've no doubt that you'll really enjoy it when you've finished!
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  7. #7
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I have done lots of frame-off builds and rebuilds and have always enjoyed the process, parts hassles and all.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rykoala
    That is good advice. My first frame-up bike build was my single speed road bike. When I got it all there was was the frame, with a fork and headset installed. It was a used frame. Then I built it up with parts sourced here and there until it was complete. I couldn't have done it without LOTS of reading, research, and a little bit of help. But dive in. Start reading before you buy anything or touch a wrench.
    Haha I am in the process of finishing my bike off. I started with the frame/fork/headset and a partially installed BB. All I need now is a chain and rear derailleur and i'm ready to rock. I can't wait

  9. #9
    dangerous with tools halfbiked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dylan0483
    Hello everyone,
    This is my first post on this forum (a friend referred me). I am an amateur cyclist who truly knows next to nothing about bicycle mechanics but am in dire want of learning. I have a decent amount of free time and have access to parts at relatively cheap costs. I was considering perhaps building a bike from frame up. I was hoping to build a triathlon/tt bike and realize that building a TT bike and road bike are pretty much the same process. I was hoping to get some references to a book/multiple books that I could buy that will walk me through the process of building a bike. I figured building one would give me an intimate knowledge of the parts and mechanics as well as giving me an attachment to my bike that few have. Spending hours on a bike is the only way to truly know it I suppose. Thank you guys/gals in advance for any help...
    JP

    Do you like messing around with mechanical stuff? Starting with a bike build is a pretty big leap. Some folks will survive, some will end up selling partially assembled bikes on ebay. You might try with something a little more basic. I suggest you replace the derailler cables on your current bike. If you can get through that process without taking the bike to the shop to fix your mistakes you might be ready to build a bike from the frame up.

    just my humble opinion...

  10. #10
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    It is doable if you take your time and have the right tools. I am 75% done on my first build that I started a month ago but it is mostly because of other matters interfering. If you have all the right parts, the tools, a book like Zinn's, a LBS to go buy things you thought you would not need and a computer to surf the net as needed, you can get it all done in a weekend. Experienced builders probably can put all together in a few hours but you will want to pace yourself and assure that parts go in smoothly. I have found that even jobs considered tough as installing the BB or the headset can be done with the right amount of patience and care. Besides if you build it you will know how to fix or replace parts in the future.

  11. #11
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    Building a bike is not that hard. To make it easiest, as long as you don't have to install a BB and heaset, you will be fine. bike parts pretty much fit together in one way and one way only. you will have to read things though, to make sure everything is set up correctly. i woudl really strongly suggest taking your current bike apart, cleaning it, and putting it back together before building a new one. also, make sure your componetn group is the same throughout, which will help with compatibilityl.

  12. #12
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    Thank you guys for all of the replies. I am glad to see I am not the only amateur to consider taking a leap in mechanical ability. I realize this would be huge and understand the benefit of "practicing" on my current bike and had a question for everyone. Is it possible to transfer the components of my current bike (which is too big) to a frame that is more fitted to my size? Perhaps taking nearly all of the mechanical components and transferring them onto a new frame. This way, it wouldnt be from "scratch (as the title of this thread may lead you to believe) but it would still give me the knowledge neccessary to build a bike from frame up? Can this type of component transfer work?
    Thanks again guys.... This is really helpful
    JP

  13. #13
    Senior Member BillK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dylan0483
    Is it possible to transfer the components of my current bike (which is too big) to a frame that is more fitted to my size?
    In most cases, yes. Three things you need to watch out for are bottom brackets (British/ISO, Italian and French standards are all a little different), the brake mounting brackets (some frames use cantilever, some centerpull, some ...), and wheel clearance (some frames allow for a wider tire than others).

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    One more question guys (you've been so quick and accurate with answering the other ones I figured id try again)... Im 5'7/5'8 and want to get a new frame so that I can build it from scratch. I want to build a triathlon bike but the tri specific frames are so expensive that I am curious what is wrong if I buy a normal geometry bike and slap a bladed fork, aero bars, bladed seat post, forward seat post, etc... I am curious if this would in essence make the bike a triathlon bike or if I am ignoring a simple fact of science which seperate tri specific bikes from road bikes..? Also are dura-ace components that much better than ultegra of 105? Thanks again,
    JP

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    Need tools list to build fixie

    hi my name is andrew and i am looking to build a fixed gear bike. i have all basic tools, and was wondering if one of you could help me on making a list of which tools i need. the list of parts i will buy are as follows.
    1Origin-8 Bullhorn Pursuit Style Handle Bars 26.0 x 40cm.
    2.Diamondback Sound Pedal (Black Alloy, 9/16 - Inch, Pack of 2)
    3.KMC Z510 1-Speed 1/8 112L Bike Chain
    4.SHUN Track Fixie Crank Crankset 170mm 46T Black
    5.Track Fixie Road Bike Frame with Fork White 53cm

    i am buying a set of wheels with flip flop hub, so i will not be building the wheels.
    i need help on this asap, what tools will i need.

    below are the links to the numbered parts
    1. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...A2P97M9VQDMS1X

    2. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...=ATVPDKIKX0DER

    3 .http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...=ATVPDKIKX0DER

    4. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...A1C9T7ACO5T769

    5. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...A1C9T7ACO5T769

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by dylan0483 View Post
    One more question guys (you've been so quick and accurate with answering the other ones I figured id try again)... Im 5'7/5'8 and want to get a new frame so that I can build it from scratch. I want to build a triathlon bike but the tri specific frames are so expensive that I am curious what is wrong if I buy a normal geometry bike and slap a bladed fork, aero bars, bladed seat post, forward seat post, etc... I am curious if this would in essence make the bike a triathlon bike or if I am ignoring a simple fact of science which seperate tri specific bikes from road bikes..? Also are dura-ace components that much better than ultegra of 105? Thanks again,
    JP
    You are looking at a really specialist area of cycling, a TT/ Tri bike will often use very specific parts, and the frames are limited production, due to a limited market, meaning they will normally a lot cost more.

    Being this specialist, you will probably find it cheaper to buy a complete bike rather than individulal parts, if buying individual parts, simple things like seatpost can cause issues, as you have noted they are bladed, and need to be for that specific frame, rather than on a road bike, where you are just interested in the diameter.

    For Dura Ace being better than Ultegra / 105, which version? Dura Ace is a brand of groupset, what you need to be looking at is the model number, say 7900 is mechanical and expensive & 7970 is Di2 and very expenisve, but worth is if you are a Pro Tour rider , where as 5700 or 6700 will do for most other riders. All depends on what money you have to spend to how much better Dura Ace is over the other.

  17. #17
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    I'm guessing the tri bike is already built or abandoned.

    Tri bike posts were from 2005
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  18. #18
    Senior Member IthaDan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andrewgabig View Post
    hi my name is andrew and i am looking to build a fixed gear bike. i have all basic tools, and was wondering if one of you could help me on making a list of which tools i need. the list of parts i will buy are as follows.
    1Origin-8 Bullhorn Pursuit Style Handle Bars 26.0 x 40cm.
    2.Diamondback Sound Pedal (Black Alloy, 9/16 - Inch, Pack of 2)
    3.KMC Z510 1-Speed 1/8 112L Bike Chain
    4.SHUN Track Fixie Crank Crankset 170mm 46T Black
    5.Track Fixie Road Bike Frame with Fork White 53cm

    i am buying a set of wheels with flip flop hub, so i will not be building the wheels.
    i need help on this asap, what tools will i need.

    below are the links to the numbered parts
    1. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...A2P97M9VQDMS1X

    2. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...=ATVPDKIKX0DER

    3 .http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...=ATVPDKIKX0DER

    4. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...A1C9T7ACO5T769

    5. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...A1C9T7ACO5T769
    All of those are certainly serviceable parts. You're almost there, but you'll also need a stem, saddle, some kind of grip/tape and a bottom bracket off the top of my head.

    Do you have plans for a brake? At least to start, especially if you're not using toeclips or some other foot straps, I'd HIGHLY recommend one. In which case, you'll need at least one lever, a length of cable housing and a inner cable about 7" longer than the housing to be safe.

    Also, if you don't already have one, you'll need a Chain tool and maybe a half link. Or, just swap to a half link chain all together.

    Tools wise you'll need a 15mm combination wrench (box for wheels, open end for pedals), a set of 4,5,6 & 8 allen keys, the aforementioned chain tool and... maybe some side cutters for the cable (protip: cut housing with a sacrificial piece of inner cable in there, helps keep the housing from crimping.) have a LBS sell [and install!] a SQUARE TAPER bottom bracket in the frame, and from there it should be pretty straightforward.

    EDIT: please link the wheels you're thinking of buying, most are spaced at 120mm but that frame seems to be spaced at 115mm. Not a huge deal, but a deal no matter.
    Last edited by IthaDan; 03-03-12 at 08:30 PM.

  19. #19
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    Dylan,
    I just converted my road bike to tri specific setup this evening. The only issue is that there is no standard for aero seat posts. Also something to consider, aero bladed forks pretty much only come in 1-1/8”. You can often times find aero and base bars with shifters and brake levers for about $150 total on Ebay. I paid less than that for mine from some one through my tri club. Zinn had a tri specific book that goes into fitting.

    I like the suggestion of replacing your deraileur cables as a test. Also Sheldon Browns website is incredibly helpful.

  20. #20
    Senior Member IthaDan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by corynardin View Post
    Dylan,
    I just converted my road bike to tri specific setup this evening. The only issue is that there is no standard for aero seat posts. Also something to consider, aero bladed forks pretty much only come in 1-1/8”. You can often times find aero and base bars with shifters and brake levers for about $150 total on Ebay. I paid less than that for mine from some one through my tri club. Zinn had a tri specific book that goes into fitting.

    I like the suggestion of replacing your deraileur cables as a test. Also Sheldon Browns website is incredibly helpful.
    FWIW Dylan's posts were in 2005.

  21. #21
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IthaDan View Post
    Also, if you don't already have one, you'll need a Chain tool and maybe a half link. Or, just swap to a half link chain all together.
    The frame andrewgabig is considering has horizontal dropouts with fairly long slots, so a half-link is unlikely to be needed. But I concur on the need for a brake.

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