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Old 03-25-14, 08:08 PM   #1
Ickes
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Newbie: building a custom bike. Help?

Hello,

Great forum. I am an endurance athlete that is new to the biking world and have lots of questions. Can you help?

Two main questions right now
1) building a custom bike. Bike will be used to bike ten miles a day to work on roads. It will also be used to trailer my son on mixed limestone / asphalt trails. Is there anything in particular I should look for in a frame to provide easy cycling?

2) found two cheap frames - Firenze gl3000 and Bridgestone kabuki. Are either of these worth constructing a good bike on? I plan on getting top notch gear - derailers, shifters, brakes, etc. looking to balance comfort and efficient pedaling.

Thanks in advance. Any other information is greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-25-14, 08:42 PM   #2
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You hiring a custom builder to make the frame in question? which builder have you chosen?

actually it sounds like you are just assembling various parts on a mass produced frame..


the Bridgestone is better , but if the place is bike theft city.

the 20 year old 'get a bike free when you buy a TV or fridge' one is less precious.
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Old 03-26-14, 05:15 AM   #3
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Sorry, I used the wrong terminology. Building a "Frankenstein-bike" using an existing frame from an older bike. I am looking to create something comfortable and efficient at pedaling as there are a good amount of hills nearby.

is a Bridgestone kabuki a good enough frame? Or should I look for a different one?

Can I make the bike a hybrid or a road bike regardless of frame but depending on which components I add? Is there a type I should prefer?

thanks. Just learning...
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Old 03-26-14, 07:00 AM   #4
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Consider tyre clearance, accessory eyelets and size, esp reach.
A fast utility bike would use long drop caliper rakes and 28/32mm tyres with rack and fenders.
Components better than Shimano 105 are not going to improve your riding performance.
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Old 03-26-14, 10:03 AM   #5
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While either of those frames could be used to build a functional bike for the purposes you describe, neither is likely worth "top-notch gear." The Firenze is department-store quality, often given away for free with the purchase of a television or microwave. The Bridgestone is better, depending on model could be an entry-level frame or something somewhat better.
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Old 03-26-14, 10:46 AM   #6
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In my opinion, unless you have the components, it is probably a better idea to go to the LBS (Local Bike Shop) and see what they have in your price range. A complete bike isn't much more expensive than what you can get the components for at retail... and you also get a brand new frame with a warranty on everything. Since you seem to have an idea about components, you may be up to the task of buying a complete used bike as well. In either of these cases, you would be able to test ride the bike to see whether you like it... building from scratch you will have invested your time and money without a test ride...

Also, the high end components will each save you some weight, but when you figure frame + rider + components + (trailer + child) it is going to be a very small percentage of weight savings. Mid-level, and some lower-level, components are fine for most people, reliable and functional... but it is your money. Also note, the manufacturers emphasis on high end gear is weight, so there is a feeling that sometimes the durability isn't quite as good as at the mid-range. I don't necessarily believe this, but do believe that high end doesn't buy extra durability or functionality.

With your stated needs, I would focus on a hybrid bike that has a wide gear range rather than being concerned about level of components. I ride a Trek 7.3 FX that would do the job admirably, as would the bikes lower in the FX line. Other manufacturers have similar bikes that would do just as well. For example, Giant has the Cypress and Sedona lines (I have a Sedona)...
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Old 03-26-14, 08:42 PM   #7
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Thanks. This is some great advice. For the record, I have most of the components.

How do I determine a good frame vs a bad frame assuming fit is ok and the frame is not carbon fiber. What else am I looking for?

Will be ridden on road, asphalt and crushed limestone.
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Old 03-29-14, 04:33 PM   #8
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A lot of "what frame" is going to be predicated on what "I have most of the components" means.
English or Italian threaded bottom bracket, crank axle length and arm length, rear wheel spacing, derailler mount type, brake reach, seatpost diameter, threaded or threadless fork stems, nutted or recessed brake mounts. All of these things will come into play as to whether you can install your "I have most of the components" on any given frame.
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Old 03-29-14, 04:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
You hiring a custom builder to make the frame in question? which builder have you chosen?

actually it sounds like you are just assembling various parts on a mass produced frame..


the Bridgestone is better , but if the place is bike theft city.
I was perplexed when 'building a bike' started coming into common use with the real meaning of 'putting parts on a bike frame'.
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Old 03-29-14, 04:48 PM   #10
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Yea The LBS is full of Bikes "Built" there. or at least partially stripped and rebuilt , since they come in a box
and they need all sorts of parts double checked ..

Ickes a lot of decent frames are at the center of bikes sold in Bike Shops .

take the time to learn about the whole bike industry and that question will answer it self

in particular learn to tell the difference between the Wheat and the Chaff

'Firenze gl3000' came free when you bought appliances from a store in Daily City in the 80's

the name is just the Italian name for the city of Florence .. but it was 100% low end China.

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Old 03-29-14, 05:32 PM   #11
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i suppose it is somewhat arbitrary what to call it when one: buys an old bike, strips everything off, has it repainted, or buys a new pre-painted frame, then buys the new to him (or her) parts that fit together properly and assembles it. that's, as i have described it, is quite a mouthful, and if discussing it with a non-bike enthusiast would probably end up talking to the wall as the listener walked away shaking their head.

so i guess "building a custom bike" is as good as anything...
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Old 03-30-14, 08:55 AM   #12
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"assembling a bike" might be more apt term in most cases.
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Old 03-30-14, 08:59 AM   #13
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Quote:
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A lot of "what frame" is going to be predicated on what "I have most of the components" means.
English or Italian threaded bottom bracket, crank axle length and arm length, rear wheel spacing, derailler mount type, brake reach, seatpost diameter, threaded or threadless fork stems, nutted or recessed brake mounts. All of these things will come into play as to whether you can install your "I have most of the components" on any given frame.
Combine that with: " ... I plan on getting top notch gear - derailers, shifters, brakes, etc. ..."

adds to the confusion. Maybe if the OP took goo pictures of everything on hand, useful advice could begin. As-is, I don't see the advantage over buying a used hybrid off Craigslist for $40, unless it's for the learning experience.
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Old 03-30-14, 09:42 AM   #14
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+ Just buying a whole new bike and changing a few parts to suit your individual desires
can be done at your favorite local shop. .. rather than retail for everything

wholesale parts cost less than retail & a lot less if you are a factory
putting a million bikes together and shipping them to the west.

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Old 03-30-14, 11:19 AM   #15
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I was perplexed when 'building a bike' started coming into common use with the real meaning of 'putting parts on a bike frame'.
I've never built a frame, but I still claim to have built lots of bikes. Of course, many of those builds included building the wheels, so does that make my claim more legitimate?
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Old 03-30-14, 08:21 PM   #16
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While I've never built a frame, I did "unbuild" my old Trek with a cracked top tube just yesterday. Why, well because I could.
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Old 03-30-14, 09:26 PM   #17
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While I've never built a frame, I did "unbuild" my old Trek with a cracked top tube just yesterday. Why, well because I could.
you planning on reassembling with a new toptube, or just need a new set of matching billy-clubs for the family outings?
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Old 03-30-14, 09:36 PM   #18
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While I've never built a frame, I did "unbuild" my old Trek with a cracked top tube just yesterday. Why, well because I could.
If you'd just unbuilt it to the rear triangles, you'd've had a nice workseat. Now you have an excess of cheater bars.
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Old 03-31-14, 08:01 AM   #19
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I say, shop for an old chromoly steel bicycle frame from either the 80's or 90's. It could be from a rigid mtb, a hybrid, or a road bike. Both Craigslist and Ebay should serve as really good sources, if you don't have a bicycle co-op nearby.
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Old 03-31-14, 02:34 PM   #20
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While I've never built a frame, I did "unbuild" my old Trek with a cracked top tube just yesterday. Why, well because I could.
Seems a shame. Why didn't you just pull the top tube and stick in a new one?
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Old 03-31-14, 06:38 PM   #21
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I've never built a frame, but I still claim to have built lots of bikes. Of course, many of those builds included building the wheels, so does that make my claim more legitimate?
Yes, you get points for wheel building.
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Old 03-31-14, 06:55 PM   #22
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Lugged frames do lend themselves to replacing damaged tubes if needed ..
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Old 03-31-14, 07:24 PM   #23
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you just need to find a soulmate that crashed and damaged every tube BUT the top tube. you can swap, reassemble and both have a decent frame.
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Old 04-01-14, 09:27 AM   #24
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Seems a bit snippy in here considering the advise asked was by a newbie and may not know, or need to know proper terminology. I found it pretty obvious what his intention was.

To the OP...
You are going to put a lot of needless effort and money into a bike that you will probably decide, after a couple months, either doesn't fit or isn't right for how you want to ride. I "custom built" my first road bike after spending a year on a rigid 29er. I read this forum and many others, researched for months, read every sizing article ever written and I ended up with a $1500 bike that cost me $3500 to build and didn't fit me. You will be far better off buying a used bike (or a couple used bikes) and deciding what you like. The late 80s bikes are about the best value. After you ride a few used bikes for a year or three most of your questions will answer themselves. You will also probably discover that you prefer riding the simpler classics as I have, although I do like my Vaya which I purchased new
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Old 04-01-14, 05:31 PM   #25
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Seems a bit snippy in here considering the advise asked was by a newbie and may not know, or need to know proper terminology. I found it pretty obvious what his intention was.

To the OP...
You are going to put a lot of needless effort and money into a bike that you will probably decide, after a couple months, either doesn't fit or isn't right for how you want to ride. I "custom built" my first road bike after spending a year on a rigid 29er. I read this forum and many others, researched for months, read every sizing article ever written and I ended up with a $1500 bike that cost me $3500 to build and didn't fit me. You will be far better off buying a used bike (or a couple used bikes) and deciding what you like. The late 80s bikes are about the best value. After you ride a few used bikes for a year or three most of your questions will answer themselves. You will also probably discover that you prefer riding the simpler classics as I have, although I do like my Vaya which I purchased new
Another vote for the above.

I lucked out when I went that route back in the early 80's. I bought my first bike as an adult, (I didn't know thing one about bicycles, except how to ride one) kind of on a whim, from a pawn shop. The lucky part was that it fit me like it was made for me. I was also lucky in that there was a good LBS in town. The owner was retired military, and operated the shop because he liked bikes. He was willing to teach me about bikes. I rode that bike for almost 4 years.

When I started riding again in '08 I knew what I wanted. I also had decided that I wanted a Xtracycle. I actually had ordered the Free Radical before I bought the bike.

BTW, I consider my my bike to be a custom bike. Granted, all the parts are mass produced, but I am certain that there is not another one with all the same parts and accessories. It is also a mix of vintage and current parts. The 80's stem shifters didn't want to mount on the 2008 stem---Gotta love the dremel and drill point screws.
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