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  1. #1
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    How to build a bike in Seattle?

    I think I'm about a year or two away from a new touring/commuting bike. I'm budgeting about $1500, for now.

    Instead of buying a package or having a bike shop put together something for me, what I would like to do is learn how to build one of my own from scratch. I can do basic maintenance: fix flats, adjust and replace brakes, replace chain, oil/lube work. But I don't have the skills, tools or confidence to start with a blank canvas.

    That means learning how to build a wheel, choose a gear system, wire up the gears and brakes, wrap up the handlebars, and choose the right frame that can manage all of that. All the things I might otherwise pay experienced bike professionals at the local bike store to do for me, but, this time, I'd like to learn how to DIY.

    Are there courses in the Seattle metro area that walk a n00b through the process, from start to finish?

  2. #2
    This steel horse I ride Skones MickLoud's Avatar
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    Lots of LBS's offer classes in maintenance and that sort of thing. I'd start off by checking with them.

  3. #3
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    To be clear, I'm not after maintenance classes.

  4. #4
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    There are some things that you'll just want to leave to the shop, IMO. The tools are cost prohibitive for most people, and you'll rarely use them. Basic frame preparation things:
    - pressing in a headset
    - seating the crown race
    - facing/chasing the bottom bracket
    Let a shop do those things, and then the rest is pretty easy. You're not going to find any local classes (at least I haven't) on "how to build a bike." You'll find lots of maintenance courses, which although you say that's not what you're looking for, they are what you need. Advanced repair/maint courses from Cascade Bike Club cover topics brake and derailleur installation/adjustment.
    A good resource for repair work is also the Park Tools website, which has a free maintenance section.
    Another is Sheldon Brown's website. His wheelbuilding guide was the only teaching tool I used when I built my first wheel.
    Specific to Seattle, check out Bikeworks and their 4-part series called Bike Repair for Big Kids which covers everything from flats to brakes and derailleurs to hub overhauls and headset adjustment.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

  5. #5
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    Alex,

    You'd be surprised what you can learn by watching youtube videos. I'm sure there's probably a course you can take, but check out a couple of these first. If nothing else when you do take a class, you'll have a clue as to what's going on. It's really not that tough. I do all my own stuff, then take it to a shop for final tune, for safety sake.

    Best of luck,

    Lee

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkDRj1GlHig

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fs7BY4wKHTM

    http://velospace.org/user/23698 my site, I built both of these and working on a third. You can buy wheelsets cheaper/better than the hassel of building these days IMHO...

  6. #6
    This steel horse I ride Skones MickLoud's Avatar
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    "Maintenance" was perhaps a poor choice of words. Many LBSs offer classes on how to learn to DIY.

  7. #7
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    I learned everything I needed to know at Wright Brothers in Fremont. I've heard they are still around, but I don't live there myself anymore.

  8. #8
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    Second on Wright Bros.

    They've got all the frame tools you'll need (though they may demand that they do it for you, as n00bs are liable to break those expensive tools) and everything else. You buy a lifetime membership and then get to use the shop anytime they're open. I don't know how much they run these days, but mine was only $20 a few years ago.

    Charles, the proprietor, is extremely helpful, and generally won't let you do it half-assed (especially with regard to wheelbuilding)

  9. #9
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Also check out the Bikery, a new bike co-op in the Central District.

    Also, REI offers a set of classes called Bike Maintenance 201 (or something like that). It's 8 hours of instruction - you basically tear your bike apart and put it back together. It's also known as the Park Tool School.

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