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  1. #1
    Senior Member markm109's Avatar
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    Building a bike - first time

    I've just started my search on information regarding building a bike from the frame up. I'm looking for basics for selection of components, what components are needed, and instruction for actually installing components. The first searches I've done on the internet and bike forums have not provided what I'm looking for so perhaps I'm not asking the right question. Any guidance would be appreciated.

    More info...

    I ordered a Voodoo Nakisi frame (http://www.voodoo-usa.com/bicycles/nakisi) and I'm planning on building it up over the winter. I already have a good road bike, mountain bike and comfortable long distance bike. What I am missing is a long distance comfortable gravel grinder bike. I live in an area where pretty much all roads south are paved and all roads north are dirt. I have not explored much in the dirt area because my mountain bike is not comfortable for long rides. So I am planning on building up the Nakisi similar to a Fargo - 2.0"+ size tires, disc brake 29er wheelset and dirt drop bars, maybe even the woodchipper bar.

    So now the next step - I know the main parts, but need more information to make good choices on parts. I like the Fargo but the 2012 with 10 speed STI double and DT Swiss wheels doesn't seem like it will hold up under Clyde weight and constant rough roads. The Nakisi will accept wide tires just like the Fargo and is a similar type of bike. Plus I am looking forward to researching, selecting and building the bike. I understand some parts may need to be done by the LBS who has the correct tools and knowledge. BTW - I purchased the frame from my LBS - the same one that I would help me build it. But I don't want to just have them build it up, I look forward to expanding my tune-up level bike knowledge by building as much as I can myself.

    So where do I go to get the knowledge to build up a bike?

  2. #2
    Senior Member markm109's Avatar
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    More info - I'm planning on building a geared bike with a triple and 9 in the back. I think I'll stay away from the newer 10 speed stuff. I'm looking for quality and durability over weight savings. Any wheelset suggestions for a disc 29er that will handle clyde weight plus gear? I may use this bike as a light tourer as well. While this would not be my choice bike for a century - there is a mapped gravel grinder 100 mile route that passes by my house that I would like to try using this bike.

    Call me crazy, but when I'm obsessed about something, like bikes, I like to learn as much as I can and I'm not afraid of trying to do something I've never done before.

  3. #3
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    lots of stuff here

    I will state the obvious so that it is out of the way.....this will cost more than buying a complete bike. But as long as you are ok with it.....have a blast

    good references are:

    park tool http://www.parktool.com/

    sheldon brown http://www.sheldonbrown.com/

    I am assuming you are looking at mountain components not road..... you might look for a build kit instead of individual pieces as an example

    http://www.blueskycycling.com/produc...-Group-Kit.htm

    If you have not done a lot of wrenching.....find a bike coop, friendly bike shop or close Forum member for consulting

    as for 9 vs 10..... I am not up on the moutain components...but in road 9 speed is way old and it is hard to find parts......I know from trying to pieced together an ultrega 9 group about 2 years ago.

    good luck and fun
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  4. #4
    Senior Member markm109's Avatar
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    Road vs. Mountain question...

    I want drop bars so that means road STI shifters. But I also want 29er disc wheelset for strength and running wider (up to 2.5") tires. What is possible here? Will a 105 or Ultegra shifter work with an XT long cage? Or am I limiting myself by going with drop bars and road shifters?

  5. #5
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    I want drop bars so that means road STI shifters.
    Not true at all.

    You could use bar end shifters or downtube/stem shifters.


    There's not that much to a bike. Have your LBS take care of the headset and fork (this is an area where you are best-served by having the proper tools, or a lot of experience), and you should be able to figure out the rest by looking at Youtube, comparing to your other bikes, common sense, etc...

    Go slow, ask questions, use a lot of grease!

  6. #6
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    you can get road triples with with matching derailers. You just need to be sure the cassette, derailer and shifters and brakes are compatible. Best bet is to use all from the same group, it is just easier.

    You have to be careful with the brakes...not all discs are compatible with STI.... a little googling suggest that Avid BB7 and BB5 or Shimano BR 505R will work. I would search and then post in mechanics and cyclo cross forums for more informed info.


    105 is a sweet spot in terms of price/performance and ultegra is just great

    I think you will need to think 10 speed, not nine unless you get lucky on NOS group set.

    I am a fan of road bars so I understand. Other options might be trekking bars or really nice ergo barends, but to me the best solution is still road.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    also on wheels.....almost any 29 er will be more than sturdy enough......
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    looking for: De Rosa 58cm ELOS frame and fork internal cable routing

  8. #8
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    That frame is very similar to the Vassago Fisticuff that I built up earlier this year for CX racing. I ride all singlespeeds so I won't be much in the way of drivetrain selection help, but here's my ideas for the rest of the build:

    Frame/fork prep - bring the frame to a shop and have them prep the frame. It's probably about $45 and they'll chase & face the bottom bracket shell and face the head tube for you. Ask them to chase the rack and fender eyelets while they're at it. Spend some extra $$ and have them frame-saver the thing for you so it's good for year 'round riding. Bring it back to the same shop to have the headset pressed in when you've selected one.

    Component selection -
    Unless you've got the money to spend on super-bling everything, pick and choose where to invest your money. You mention Clyde durability and it's a cro-mo frame so I'm guessing an ultra-weight-weenie build is out of the question; so don't worry too much about a piddly few grams here and there. You can save some hella cash on things like your stem and seatpost. I purchased mine through JensonUSA and went with some of the lower end Easton equipment (EA30 post, EA50 stem, less than $60 together).
    Shopping online can also save you a ton of money if you're willing to wait things out for sales and closeouts. I scored my tires for $12/ea, my saddle for half price, cables for 30% off, wheels/chain/freewheel etc. on sale. The money I had to spend on shipping and a couple of new tools still didn't equal what it would have cost to order it all through the local shops (even with my local shop discount).

    Where not to skimp -
    Headset. You're a Clyde and plan on gravel roading this thing. Get a good headset.
    Wheels. See above. Now, this doesn't mean you have to spend a zillion bucks; just get something strong. Good hubs and durable rims don't have to be pricey. My wheels were $98 for all the parts (all brand new) and I built them myself. You could do up a pair of Alex Adventurers, Velocity Dyads, or Sun CR18s on Deore hubs for a very good price point.
    Chain. Don't buy a crappy chain for a nice drivetrain. Crappy chains are loud, don't shift smoothly, and wear out quickly. Save money in the long run and get something mid-grade at least.
    Cables. Crappy cables are feel terrible. Shifts aren't smooth, brakes get "sticky" feeling, etc. For a gravel roader, look at a semi-sealed cable like Jagwire's Hyper with their nifty little cable sheath to keep out grit and gunk.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  9. #9
    Senior Member markm109's Avatar
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    Great advice everyone - thanks so far.

    Last night took some time and assemble components on both Pricepoint and JensonUSA to get an idea of the cost. I was surprised (shocked more like it) how fast the cart balance increased and how high it got. STI, Ultegra and so forth may need to be rethought...

    So I stopped that and the rest of the night just thought about what I am using the bike for - gravel grinder - not racing, not smooth paved, but rough, dirty, muddy roads. Rides when conditions are perfect. To be honest I don't ride in the rain or when there is a chance of rain because my other bikes were expensive and I'm afraid of messing up the Ultegra components and Brooks saddles. So my thinking is go the other way with this bike - make it of cheaper components that I'm not afraid to use when the weather is bad - but it still needs to be a comfortable bike.

    Bar end shifters was mentioned and that looks like an interesting concept. I want to use the Salsa Woodchipper bars (or something similar) and the Fargo when it first came out used bar ends. I've read they are simple and durable and should take more of a beating unlike STI which are more delicate (and expensive).

    Saddle - I love my B-17 and B-17N that I have on my other two bikes. But those can't get wet. What options are there for comfortable all day riding saddles?

    Wheels - The Velocity website didn't say what size tires the Dyad would take. I want to run wider 29er tires like 2.35 - or at least have the option to. So the rims need to support wider tires but also narrow tires like a 1.9.

    And lastly I'm still debating disc vs. cantilever brakes. Cantilever are more durable and simple but disc would be good if it's really muddy and the wheels go thru deep stuff that coats the rims.

    One last comment - I bought the frame thru the LBS that I intend to use to help with parts of the build I can't figure out myself. The price was about the same as buying online with shipping - they looked up online what the frame was going for and offered it at a decent price I thought - $360 plus tax. I think I saw it on bike.com for $352 and another bike store about an hour away was $382. So their price was good and now I think they will be more agreeable helping with the build. Frame saver and headset will be done before I bring it home - good advice.

  10. #10
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    some more thoughts

    saddle...... you can get a brooks rain cover....... see wall bikes, that combinded some liberal proof hide (especially under the seat) and you are ok.

    I don't think ultegra is any more delicate than say 105.... generally as you go up the line you get more metal, better finish, tighter tolerances and less weight. but is is more expensive and if you think you are going beat then going 105 or tiagra make replacements cheaper.

    parts..... again if you can find a build kit for parts it will be almost always cheaper than buying separtely .....but if you go bar ends then you are probably better getting off getting pieces as the sti is big part of a group price. the Shimano bar cons are durace and work really nicely. another option is buying a bike, harvesting the parts and selling the frame. People do this with bikesdirect bikes if the part mix is what the want.... one like this would get you close, but at 700c rims http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...ane/outlaw.htm
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  11. #11
    Senior Member markm109's Avatar
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    I'm going budget on parts, but not wheels. What does everyone think about Velocity P35 with XT hubs?

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/140626172704...84.m1423.l2649

    I've copied parts from the Salsa Fargo 3 build - deore F/R, Avid BB7 discs, Race Face XC 44/32/22 crankset w/bb, Shimano SL-BS77 9 speed bar end shifters, Tektro RL520 Ergo brake levers, KMC X9 chain. All this for $381 at JensonUSA. The bar ends are $115 and I've seen them for quite a bit less on eBay so I'm going to look around more for those.

    Performance and Nashbar have 20% off this weekend but I'm not seeing budget parts on their website but I'll review more when I have time.

    I'm thinking I can get the Nakisi built for less than $1,400. I'm still looking for around for 105 or Tiagra STI and may go that way yet if the price is right.

  12. #12
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    Check Shimano bar-cons on Amazon, they are often under $90.
    Last edited by Wolfwerx; 11-25-11 at 11:53 AM. Reason: bar-cons

  13. #13
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Yikes, this sounds like a NASA enterprise. I guess I'm more of a simpleton.

    a) Find a bike that's set-up in the manner you think you want to build yours, copy the component choices. Or, if you are lucky find that bike selling used and use it as a component donor.

    b) If you are confused about compatability go to your LBS; that SUPPOSED to be what they are there for...especially f they are ordering the part for you.

    c) All conditions MTB/distance saddle, I like the SMP line...choose your width accordingly. The beaked nose is ideal for climbing transitions from standing to sitting, etc. They are pricey, so if you can demo one from an LBS before purchase it is well worth the hassle.

    d) I had a woodchipper on a dirt bike - briefly. It's now on a road tourer. If I were you I wouldn't assume the dropbar approach is going to be ideal...so you might think twice before popping for STIs, i.e. get some saddle time with drops in the dirt/gravel before your commit financially to drop bar components.
    Last edited by FrenchFit; 11-25-11 at 09:53 AM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    Frame/fork prep - bring the frame to a shop and have them prep the frame. It's probably about $45 and they'll chase & face the bottom bracket shell and face the head tube for you. Ask them to chase the rack and fender eyelets while they're at it. Spend some extra $$ and have them frame-saver the thing for you so it's good for year 'round riding. Bring it back to the same shop to have the headset pressed in when you've selected one.
    I've built or re-built 4-5 bikes from the frame up over the last couple of years. Seems like most manufacturers are pretty good about prepping the head tube and BB: the only frame that needed facing and chasing was the one I welded myself... Even my $100 Nashbar touring frame was properly prepped. I agree with the recommendation to apply FameSaver before the bike is built up; the last thing you want is a steel bike rusting away from the inside. If you ride in the rain, I would suggest making sure that there is a small drain hole at the bottom of the BB. Water can easily enter the frame from the seat tube and modern BBs seal pretty well; you don't want water hanging around causing the BB to rust...

    Where not to skimp -
    Headset. You're a Clyde and plan on gravel roading this thing. Get a good headset.
    I absolutely would skimp on the headset. In terms of function and durability, I can't tell the difference between a no-name $20 sealed bearing model and a $100+ Chris King. Any decent sealed-bearing headset should last for at least a decade.

    Cables. Crappy cables are feel terrible. Shifts aren't smooth, brakes get "sticky" feeling, etc. For a gravel roader, look at a semi-sealed cable like Jagwire's Hyper with their nifty little cable sheath to keep out grit and gunk.
    Yokozuna makes the best cables. I thought all the hype about how well they worked was just that: hype. Then I bought a set on sale and they, quite literally, transformed the shifting on my bike. Shifting was so light and fast that I literally had to re-learn how to shift! The brake cables are very stiff and not really worth the hassle, but the shift cables are definitely worth the money. Highly recommended!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by markm109 View Post
    The bar ends are $115 and I've seen them for quite a bit less on eBay so I'm going to look around more for those.
    Have you ridden a bike with bar-ends? Personally, I don't like them. In tricky conditions, I'd much rather have shifters integrated with my brake levers so I don't have to change hand positions in order to shift... I watched eBay an ended up buying a set of take-off Ultegra STI triple shifters for a song.

  16. #16
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Bar ends work well.

    If you are going to be riding on gravel roads, you don't need massive 29er wheels and tires.

    I'd get a touring rim, perhaps a 36 spoke dyad, and tires designed for the sort of road you will be riding.

    Discs add weight, and the amount of mud that would clog a brake isn't the sort of riding I am interested in doing.
    YMMV.

    This is a good time to shop, end of year sales.

    Even seen a H bar?

    http://www.cambriabike.com/shopexd.asp?Item=100060360
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  17. #17
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    Be careful if using mtb rear deraillers with road shifters. Because of different cable pulls, 10 speed shimano MTB deraillers will not work with anything but 10 spd shimano MTB shifters. If you intend to go Road shifter with mtb rear deraillers use 9 speed deraillers from any of the manufacturers.

  18. #18
    Senior Member markm109's Avatar
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    I came across the new Shimano CX50 cyclocross crankset today. I like the 46-36 ring setup vs. Shimano Deore LX crankset 44-32-22. Since I ride Ultegra road most of the time, I think the larger rings of the cyclocross will work better. I'm in Michigan where we don't have big hills and I haven't used a small ring in years. Price difference is $147 with bottom bracket for CX50 vs. $89 for Deore LX.

    The CX50 is also 10 speed which changes my thoughts on the rear. I bought a wheelset with XT hubs so I need to check if that hub will accept 10 speed. Then I need to figure out if 105 rear will accept 32, 34 or 36 cassettes.

    Definitely more money to go 10 speed... I ordered the frame last Tuesday so I'm hoping it will come in over the next few days. I also picked up a slightly used Salsa Woodchipper bar off ebay over the weekend along with Salsa Semi 29er wheelset with XT hubs (200 miles on them).

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by markm109 View Post
    The CX50 is also 10 speed which changes my thoughts on the rear. I bought a wheelset with XT hubs so I need to check if that hub will accept 10 speed. Then I need to figure out if 105 rear will accept 32, 34 or 36 cassettes.
    8,9,10 speeds are all the same width. They just put more gears in the same space so if the freehub fits 8 or 9 it will also fit 10.
    But you can still use 9 spd if the crank is 10 spd. You just might get some more rub than normal when your cross chained(small ring front smallest gear back), which you shouldn't do anyway. I have 10 spd cranks on one of my 9 spd bikes. Works fine.

    The gear tooth compatibility is not determined by component level(105 vs ult vs DA) but by the size of the derailler cage. The easiest way to tell long cage vs short cage is to look at the length of the derailler between the two pulleys. A standard road derailler will fit all the way up 27t or 28t(can't remember which) and I have heard of people using them with 30t but I have never tried it. Long cage SRAM Apex road deraillers will fit up to 32t. Anything beyond that(34t or 36t) will require an mtb derailler. As I said earlier shimano 10 speed mtb rear deraillers will not work with road shifters so find a 9 spd mtb derailler from any manufacturer and you'll be gtg.

    Edited to add 10 spd crank info.
    Last edited by paisan; 11-28-11 at 03:50 PM.

  20. #20
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    just saw this on c&v.... it might not solve the mtb vs road question but might solve the don't want to goof up expensive sti shifter but still want to use road bars question. Also as a thought you might hit the cyclocross forum for compent recomendations.

    http://www.bikerumor.com/2011/11/28/...or-cyclocross/
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  21. #21
    Senior Member markm109's Avatar
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    Retroshift - That's an interesting idea. I found Paul's Thumbies yesterday and was really liking the idea of putting a downtube shifter up on the flats of a road bar - just inside of where the tape ends so when I ride on the flats it would be an easy reach with my thumb. The Thumbies seems easier to reach than either the downtube or bar end shifters. This Retroshift is similar but places it on the brakes - similar to STI. Another option to think about. Pricing of the Retroshift puts it up there close to STI however.

  22. #22
    2nd Amendment Cyclist RichardGlover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markm109 View Post
    Road vs. Mountain question...

    I want drop bars so that means road STI shifters. But I also want 29er disc wheelset for strength and running wider (up to 2.5") tires. What is possible here? Will a 105 or Ultegra shifter work with an XT long cage? Or am I limiting myself by going with drop bars and road shifters?
    29" tires are the same as 700c as far as rim diameter. The limiting factors on running wider rims on a road bike are frame and fork clearance, and brake clearance.
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  23. #23
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardGlover View Post
    29" tires are the same as 700c as far as rim diameter. The limiting factors on running wider rims on a road bike are frame and fork clearance, and brake clearance.
    I think the frame the OP is getting can clear 2.2" tires and has both canti and disc options (similar to my monstercross bike.) The bigger issue (IMO) in that case is getting a wide enough rim to handle the tire width, although you can still run a pretty darned fat tire on a narrow rim. I've got IRO Cold Fusion rims on my monstercross rig and I've rolled on tires as large as 38mm. Anything larger than that I'd be worried about rolling the bead, because they do feel kinda squishy in tight corners. I'm considering building up a pair of beefier wheels for it, probably with a CR18 or wider rim.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

  24. #24
    Senior Member markm109's Avatar
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    The Voodoo Nakisi can accept up to 2.3" tires per some sources and 2.5" per other sources - so I'll check when the frame comes in. The CR18 mentioned above has 22.5 mm width rim. I have wheels with the Salsa Semi 29er rim which has 30 mm width. I plan on running around a 2.3" tire.

    I have a Deore XT rear laying around so I am going to use that on this bike. I have the shop installing the head set ($15+part) and crankset ($10+part) on the frame when it arrives. I went with the Shimano CX50 crankset which has 46/36 rings. I have an 11/34 cassette laying around as well which I'm going to put on the bike. That will give me 36 / 34 worse case to get up any big hills and 46 / 11 for speed. Don't you love compromises? LOL

    Edit: I'm looking at running the Kenda Small Block 8 tire which is 2.1" in width.
    Last edited by markm109; 12-01-11 at 01:20 PM.

  25. #25
    Senior Member markm109's Avatar
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    Got a call from the LBS. The Shimano CX50 crank will not work. The bike requires a mountain bike crank. Since they said it would work, they didn't charge any restock on the crank. I guess I'll the the LX closeout on Jenson for $89. That should be more than enough crank. I finally brought her home and she is a beauty. I'll try to get a pic up later. Measured the seat tube so now I know what seat post size and FD size as well as top pull is required.

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