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Thread: Build your own?

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    Build your own?

    Hi,

    I was wondering if anybody can help out by listing good retailers with regard to price, for assembling your own bike?

    I'll accept any advice too. I don't have any experience assembling bicycles, but I'm pretty mechanically inclinded.

    Basically, it's driving me nuts trying to find a out of the box bike that I'm comfortable with spec and price.

    My price range is about a $1000 CDN.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by fireworks; 06-30-07 at 09:14 PM.

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    * vpiuva's Avatar
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    What's your price range? In any case, it's almost impossible to save any money buying a group and frame separately if that's a goal. Some on here buy BikesDirect bikes for the group, buy a frame they like, strip and sell the BD frame.

    The most important part of this whole process is finding a frame that fits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vpiuva
    What's your price range? In any case, it's almost impossible to save any money buying a group and frame separately if that's a goal. Some on here buy BikesDirect bikes for the group, buy a frame they like, strip and sell the BD frame.

    The most important part of this whole process is finding a frame that fits.

    Okay that sounds interesting. As for the frame, I assume there is a way to find the correct fit without going to a shop? BikesDirect is a web retailer after all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fireworks
    Hi,

    I was wondering if anybody can help out by listing good retailers with regard to price, for assembling your own bike?

    I'll accept any advice too. I don't have an experience assembling bicycling, but I'm pretty mechanically inclinded.

    Basically, it's driving me nuts trying to find a out of the box bike that I'm comfortable with spec and price.

    Thanks!
    You're in luck. Bikes come shipped in a box partially assembled. This is what we do at the shop when we set up a bike for you.

    1) Check bottom bracket for play
    2) True wheels, radial and lateral true, check hub adjustment
    3) Check headset adjustment
    4) Check gear shifting and adjust front/rear derailleur if out of adjust
    5) Setup front and rear brake
    6) Seatpost/seat installation
    7) Pedal installation
    8) Check every bolt for tightness

    Here are the tools you will need:

    1) Truing stand
    2) Spoke wrenches
    3) BB Lockring wrench
    4) Pin spanner
    5) Cone wrenches
    6) Assorted wrenches in different sizes
    7) 2x Headset wrenches
    8) Set of hex wrenches
    9) Grease
    10) Freewheel removal tool/Cassette lockring tool

    And about a billion hours to do all this correctly if you've never done it before. The most time consuming and difficult part of this installation is going to be truing the wheels. Sometimes you get lucky and it's good out of the box, sometimes not.

    Order and tools needed will change based on the type of bike you buy. But it'll generally be similar. This of course assumes you're buying the complete bike. If by assemble you actually meant pick out different parts and install it yourself - you have an added step of ensuring compatibility with every component you pick.

    If you're dealing with carbon components, you're going to NEED a torque wrench. I'd also highly recommend you have a pro mechanic supervise you while you do all this. Either that or let a shop assemble it for you. Most of what is done on the bike is fairly simple mehcanically, but there are chance for you to **** things up royally especially if you are starting with 0 knowledge of bike and bicycle related mechanics.

    If you're building from the frame up with custom component selection, there's also frame prep to deal, wheel builds etc. etc.
    Last edited by operator; 06-30-07 at 08:14 PM.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

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    Quote Originally Posted by operator
    You're in luck. Bikes come shipped in a box partially assembled. This is what we do at the shop when we set up a bike for you.

    1) Check bottom bracket for play
    2) True wheels, radial and lateral true, check hub adjustment
    3) Check headset adjustment
    4) Check gear shifting and adjust front/rear derailleur if out of adjust
    5) Setup front and rear brake
    6) Seatpost/seat installation
    7) Pedal installation
    8) Check every bolt for tightness

    Here are the tools you will need:

    1) Truing stand
    2) Spoke wrenches
    3) BB Lockring wrench
    4) Pin spanner
    5) Cone wrenches
    6) Assorted wrenches in different sizes
    7) 2x Headset wrenches
    8) Set of hex wrenches
    9) Grease
    10) Freewheel removal tool/Cassette lockring tool

    And about a billion hours to do all this correctly if you've never done it before. The most time consuming and difficult part of this installation is going to be truing the wheels. Sometimes you get lucky and it's good out of the box, sometimes not.

    Order and tools needed will change based on the type of bike you buy. But it'll generally be similar. This of course assumes you're buying the complete bike. If by assemble you actually meant pick out different parts and install it yourself - you have an added step of ensuring compatibility with every component you pick.

    If you're dealing with carbon components, you're going to NEED a torque wrench. I'd also highly recommend you have a pro mechanic supervise you while you do all this. Either that or let a shop assemble it for you. Most of what is done on the bike is fairly simple mehcanically, but there are chance for you to **** things up royally especially if you are starting with 0 knowledge of bike and bicycle related mechanics.

    If you're building from the frame up with custom component selection, there's also frame prep to deal, wheel builds etc. etc.
    Hmm. Okay I wasn't expecting so many proprietary tools. Or the wheels to need truing. I assumed the factory QA would have ensured that.

    I'm actually disappointed by that list of tools. I expected I'd need some special tools but not that many. That definitely cuts into the budget.

    Which one of these kits would cover all of the above in your opinion? http://circlecitybicycles.com/tool/toolkit.htm

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    What? Carbon Based's Avatar
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    You could probably find tool kits cheaper here rather than the site you listed. Check the other categories for proprietary tools and such. Some sort of mechanic's stand will probably be really helpful too, after tuning up my bikes flipped upside-down on the handlebars and seat, I'm finally ordering a real stand. www.gvhbikes.com offers fairly decent prices on build kits, if you have a bare frame you want to build up, although that may be out of your price range. Never bought from them myself, but I've read reccomendations from others on this forum.

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    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fireworks
    Hi,

    I was wondering if anybody can help out by listing good retailers with regard to price, for assembling your own bike?

    I'll accept any advice too. I don't have any experience assembling bicycles, but I'm pretty mechanically inclinded.

    Basically, it's driving me nuts trying to find a out of the box bike that I'm comfortable with spec and price.

    My price range is about a $1000 CDN.

    Thanks!
    Why don't you tell us what *exactly* you are looking for in a bike, and someone might be able to recommend an off the peg one that suits your needs.

    Building from the frame up is a lot more expensive than buying a complete factory bike, and if you are realistic about what you want spec wise there most likely is an off the peg to suit your needs in your price range .

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    Quote Originally Posted by fireworks
    Hi,

    I was wondering if anybody can help out by listing good retailers with regard to price, for assembling your own bike?

    I'll accept any advice too. I don't have any experience assembling bicycles, but I'm pretty mechanically inclinded.

    Basically, it's driving me nuts trying to find a out of the box bike that I'm comfortable with spec and price.

    My price range is about a $1000 CDN.

    Thanks!
    I built my commuter/tourer with zero experience and only some maintenance experience, but like you I have mechanical aptitude. I also have a pretty decent collection of tools, I only needed a few bike specific tools to complete the build. A workstand and wheel building stand are nice but not necessary for one build, neither are many of the bike-specific tools listed by Operator. Not for one build, anyhow.

    The only tools I had to buy were...

    A spoke tool
    Bottom bracket tool (to tighten shimano outboard bearings)
    Cone wrenches

    I already had...
    Chain breaker (you should have one anyway)
    Cassette tool

    If you buy a new rear hub you won't need a freewheel removal tool as the freewheel/freehub is already fitted.

    If you buy a pre-built wheelset the LBS will fit the cassette for you and offer one free truing service after a few hundred miles in which case you won't need the spoke or cassette tools, if they don't then go elsewhere or buy your wheels online and either pay for one truing after a few hundred miles or learn how to do it yourself (I found it dead easy).

    ...and I could have just asked the LBS to fit the BB bearing caps but I wanted the tool for future maintenance anyhow, and that's where the tools pay for themselves - when you do your own maintenance.

    I started with a Surly Long Haul Trucker frame, and a heck of a lot of research. The most valuable source of info by far was http://www.sheldonbrown.com/

    I had my lbs face and chase the BB, face the head tube, and press in the head bearing cones. I did everything else, including my first wheel build. I shopped around online and got good deals on all the bits over a period of time. I combined some components that several LBS's said would never work together (but they work perfectly) like the Dura-Ace barcons and the Deore LX rear derailer, sheldonbrown is the best source of info.

    The finished bike cost more than just buying the equivalent bike off the shelf (although only a little more), so if you're wanting to build your own to save money then be aware that you won't. I knew this before I started but saving $$$ was not why I did it. I wanted to build purely for the satisfaction and ability to build something quite unique, the premium I paid for that experience was more than worth it in my opinion. I know my bike inside and out and do all my own maintenance, and to be perfectly honest it was a dead easy thing to do, and I have over 12,000 trouble free miles on that bike, many carrying loads and commuting in all weather.

    Would I do it again? Absolutely!
    There are 10 types of people in the world - the ones that can count in base 2, the ones that can't count in base 2, and the ones that didn't expect this to be in base 3.

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    See if a bicycle maintenance course is given near you.
    http://parktool.com/clinics_training/
    2000 Montague CX, I do not recommend it, but still ride it.
    Strida 3, I recommend it for rides < 10mi wo steep hills.
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    Wieleder CARiBIKE (folding), decent frame.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas
    Why don't you tell us what *exactly* you are looking for in a bike, and someone might be able to recommend an off the peg one that suits your needs.

    Building from the frame up is a lot more expensive than buying a complete factory bike, and if you are realistic about what you want spec wise there most likely is an off the peg to suit your needs in your price range .
    Allright, here's he most amount of detail that I can relay based on what I've learned to date.

    I'm going to use it to haul the kids around in a trailer, run local errands (say up to 20 mins away), ride on paved bike paths, ride on hard packed dirt paths, ride on those dirt shortcuts that everybody used to cut through fields, and maybe commute one day. The commute is on bike paths again so I'm not _really_ that concerned about the road. Besides I figure that what is good enough to go on the bike paths is probably good enough for the road.

    As for spec, I personally believe that there is a minimum price you need to pay to get anything that is worth buying. I'm not really sure what that price is with a bicycle or what parts fit my 'minimum'. However, I believe these are the features that are worth paying for. My budget is around $1K.

    -Sealed hubs
    -Sealed BB (not sure if that's the sealed bit of the crank but you know what I mean)
    -Good rims (Alex R500(?))
    -Good spokes
    -Rims that will take a 28c - 38ish tire. I'm trying to avoid a suspension.
    -Good relible derailleur and front derailleur. This is the one I'm not sure how far you need to go to get a solid product. It looks like 105 is as low as you want to go, but I'd go lower if you're just buying longevity versus performance. I'm not planning on putting on major mileage in the next couple of years. I just want solid shift, and as little as possible adjustments.
    -Frame that will absorb impacts well. I don't mind if it's steel but I don't want a big increase in weight. I don't know what is a good brand for the money versus a cheap one.
    -Fork that will absorb impacts well. I think carbon is my best bet, again I don't know what is a good brand for the money versus a cheap one.
    -Handle bars that absorb impacts. Style on this one is a toss up. I'm not opposed to drops, but I like the height and width and brake placement of the straight bars. Don't know if there is a drop bar that comes close.
    -Seat stem. Carbon?

    I did a quick search this morning and came up with a few off the shelves that sound good.
    -Jamis Coda Comp
    -Specialized Crosstrail Pro (assuming the fork can be locked or has solid dampening)
    -Cannondale Road Warrior 500
    -Cannondale Bad Boy Disc
    -Lemond Poprad. (out of my price range I think)
    -Trek 7.6FX
    -Bianchi Strada

    I don't know if these fit the bill as I don't find the spec sheets mention whether or not the hubs are sealed etc.

    Anyways that should give you an idea of what I like.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    All modern hubs are sealed, although there are two types of hubs which are referred to as sealed. One is a hub with loose bearings and seals (this includes all Shimano hubs), and the other is a cartridge bearing. Either way they'll keep water out.

    As for things like a carbon seat post and fork, they really aren't necessary, but if after riding for some time you do decide that you need one they are easy enough to swap out.

    You can put cyclocross levers on a drop bar. What they are in a second set of break levers which go on the top of the handlebars similar to where MTB brakes are located. I use them on one of my bikes and like them a lot. They can be bought aftermarket for less than $30. Below is a photo of them on a Jamis Satellite, which you also might want to check out, as well as the Jamis Aurora.


    Also look at the Surly Crosscheck.
    http://www.surlybikes.com/crosscheck_comp.html

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    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by fireworks
    -Good rims (Alex R500(?))
    -Good spokes
    -Rims that will take a 28c - 38ish tire. I'm trying to avoid a suspension.
    We need to know your weight. The higher it is the more you have to pay attention to the wheel. Number of spokes, quality of the rim and quality of the wheel build.

    -Good relible derailleur and front derailleur. This is the one I'm not sure how far you need to go to get a solid product. It looks like 105 is as low as you want to go, but I'd go lower if you're just buying longevity versus performance. I'm not planning on putting on major mileage in the next couple of years.
    I just want solid shift, and as little as possible adjustments.
    False, Sora does everything 105 does substantially cheaper. The only thing you are paying for past sora is for the bling factor and for lightness.

    -Fork that will absorb impacts well. I think carbon is my best bet, again I don't know what is a good brand for the money versus a cheap one.
    Also false, get a steel fork. Any sort of ding on your carbon fork and it CANNOT be ridden. If you're going for a all carbon fork, it necessarily has to be high quality and expensive. From the description you gave of what you want on a bike, carbon has NO place on it. There is NO reason to have CF on your bike at all. It sounds like you've fallen prey to the "must buy cool looking stuff I see in magazines syndrome".

    -Handle bars that absorb impacts. Style on this one is a toss up. I'm not opposed to drops, but I like the height and width and brake placement of the straight bars. Don't know if there is a drop bar that comes close.
    You need to test ride a couple of bikes to find out before you purchase. Switching to drop bars and associated STI systems is VERY expensive if you start out with flat bars. The converse is also true. For your purposes it sounds like flat bar is the way to go. Again - ride it and find out for yourself.

    -Seat stem. Carbon?
    Not sure what seat stem is but there's also no reason for your seat or seatpost to be carbon. Complete waste of money.


    Anyways that should give you an idea of what I like.
    $1k should get you a very decent commuter bike. Nothing terribly heavy and nothing terribly light either. Is this $1k including accessories as well? You WILL need full fenders unless you live in the desert and you may optionally want to put on a rack as well. To that end, your bike must have eyelets on the fork and 2 sets of eyelets on the rear stays to accept rack/fenders. There's no reason to buy a bike without these.

    These recommendations dramatically change if you envision yourself doing some hardcore road riding (e.g not on MUPS) in the near future.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

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    Quote Originally Posted by operator
    We need to know your weight. The higher it is the more you have to pay attention to the wheel. Number of spokes, quality of the rim and quality of the wheel build.
    I currently weigh 180 lbs, buck naked.
    Quote Originally Posted by operator
    False, Sora does everything 105 does substantially cheaper. The only thing you are paying for past sora is for the bling factor and for lightness.
    Really? There is absolutely no difference between them other than weight?

    Quote Originally Posted by operator
    Also false, get a steel fork. Any sort of ding on your carbon fork and it CANNOT be ridden. If you're going for a all carbon fork, it necessarily has to be high quality and expensive. From the description you gave of what you want on a bike, carbon has NO place on it. There is NO reason to have CF on your bike at all. It sounds like you've fallen prey to the "must buy cool looking stuff I see in magazines syndrome".
    False! No market syndrome. Short of going to suspension carbon seemed to be the way to go for shock absorption. Selected it for a practical reason. So your saying that there is no advantage with regard to shock absorption by going with a carbon fork over steel?
    Quote Originally Posted by operator

    You need to test ride a couple of bikes to find out before you purchase. Switching to drop bars and associated STI systems is VERY expensive if you start out with flat bars. The converse is also true. For your purposes it sounds like flat bar is the way to go. Again - ride it and find out for yourself.
    This won't be a problem. I'm looking for a bit of an all rounder right now. If I want something more specialized I'll buy another bike.
    Quote Originally Posted by operator

    Not sure what seat stem is but there's also no reason for your seat or seatpost to be carbon. Complete waste of money.
    Again, carbon has _no_ advantage over steel? And yes I meant seatpost.


    Quote Originally Posted by operator
    $1k should get you a very decent commuter bike. Nothing terribly heavy and nothing terribly light either. Is this $1k including accessories as well? You WILL need full fenders unless you live in the desert and you may optionally want to put on a rack as well. To that end, your bike must have eyelets on the fork and 2 sets of eyelets on the rear stays to accept rack/fenders. There's no reason to buy a bike without these.

    These recommendations dramatically change if you envision yourself doing some hardcore road riding (e.g not on MUPS) in the near future.
    Nothing hard core planned. I just want a machine that will hold up and work properly every time I use it. I don't want to skimp and find out that xyz part sucks and have to upgrade it later.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    ^^^^

    The advantage of carbon over steel is weight. As you are not racing, and will be using the bike as a daily tooling around bike, the disadvantages of carbon far outweigh the advantages for you.

    BTW, suspension seatposts are marketing rubbish. As I mentioned earlier, try riding without these gizmos and I think you'll be surprised. If you feel you need them you can always add them later.

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    Senior Member tcmers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fireworks
    Hi,

    I was wondering if anybody can help out by listing good retailers with regard to price, for assembling your own bike?

    I'll accept any advice too. I don't have any experience assembling bicycles, but I'm pretty mechanically inclinded.

    Basically, it's driving me nuts trying to find a out of the box bike that I'm comfortable with spec and price.

    My price range is about a $1000 CDN.

    Thanks!
    You can build a bike for the same or slightly more than an out of the box bike, but it isn't easy. Lacking the proper tools and mechanical skills makes it much harder. I just built a mountain bike. I used fairly good components throughout, and ended up spending about $1100. This took a couple of months of scouring Nashbar, Performance, Jenson, CBO, Ebay, the LBS, etc. looking for clearance items and free shipping deals. When looking at factory bikes, I found I could get close to the specs I wanted in this price range, but there was usually some skimping here and there. Mostly found one derailleur and/or shifters were downgraded, and the wheelsets tend to be ok (heavy), but not great on $1000 factory bikes. I'm sure there are some out there with good wheels, but none were to be found at my local shops. Here are the specs, all parts were new:

    Motobecane hardtail frame (Go ahead, bash away. lol)
    Manitou Black Elite 100/120mm fork
    XT front & rear derailleurs and brake levers/shifters.
    Cane Creek sealed bearing headset (the model escapes me at the moment)
    Truvative two bolt seat post
    Truvativ straight bars
    Ritchey stem
    Truvativ Firex Team crank & bottom bracket.
    Bontrager Race Lite Disc Wheelset
    Bontrager Jones Tubeless tires
    Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes
    SRAM PC991 chain and 990 11-34 cassette
    Shimano cables/housing. (had the housing laying around, saving a few bucks)
    Saddle was a new takeoff from my road bike, again saving a few bucks.

    Ended up right at 25.5 lbs. and capable of any riding I'm going to do. It's not a downhill or freeride bike, but it wasn't built to be either. For a few hundred bucks more, I could have bought a Jamis FS frame, taking the total to something around $1400 for an XT equiped full suspension bike. Pretty competitive with the factory builds. What you miss with this is the support of your LBS if you have issues. I have a good relationship with one of the local shops. They very happily handle repairs on my bikes when needed whether I bought from them or not. However, I don't get the free tune ups, wheel truing, etc. that come with a new bike. YMMV
    Last edited by tcmers; 07-04-07 at 09:06 AM.

  16. #16
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by fireworks
    I currently weigh 180 lbs, buck naked.

    Really? There is absolutely no difference between them other than weight?
    Really. Don't let anyone else convince you otherwise either. This is a commuter bike, not 8lb racer going up alpe d'huez.

    False! No market syndrome. Short of going to suspension carbon seemed to be the way to go for shock absorption. Selected it for a practical reason. So your saying that there is no advantage with regard to shock absorption by going with a carbon fork over steel?
    You're fooling yourself. Yes the ride is a little smoother with a carbon fork over steel. Marginally. People buy it for weight savings. Want a cushier ride? Buy better tires, or slightly wider ones at and run lower pressure. But hey, if you're deadset on getting a carbon fork just make sure you set aside around 1/3 of your budget for a quality one. (Cheap carbon forks on a cheap bike are one of two things: not worth riding, or carbon blades on a cr-mo steerer. Which equates to absolutely jack **** besides the aesthetics of seeing carbon "forks".)

    Again, carbon has _no_ advantage over steel? And yes I meant seatpost.
    This is probably the most worthless carbon component you could buy.

    P.S All this advice is worthless if you really don't mind riding something really nice to commute. And/or decide your budget increased to $2k +
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  17. #17
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas
    ^^^^

    The advantage of carbon over steel is weight. As you are not racing, and will be using the bike as a daily tooling around bike, the disadvantages of carbon far outweigh the advantages for you.
    Couldn't have said it better myself.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  18. #18
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    You can buy a new Jamis Aurora or Surly Cross check for less than your build budget. They have msrp's os $850 and $950 U.S. I'm not sure how that converts to Canadian. You just need to decide if you prefer bar end shifters or brifters.

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