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  1. #1
    NitroPye
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    Building a fixed gear bike made me more mechanically inclined

    There has been a lot of strife on the boards as of late so I thought I would share what I was thinking about earlier today.

    I guess I could have built any bike, but a couple months back I was looking at buying a replacement mountain bike and none of the bikes had the proper component group / frame combo I was looking for so I thought "heck I'll build a bike". I am SO bad with tools so I decided to build the simplest cheapest bike possible to learn from. I ended up doing tons of research, learning a bunch about bikes and eventually building a fixed gear conversion from an old Bridgestone frame. I was determined to do everything including the headset myself.

    Fast forward a couple months and I ride my conversion every day, am completely obsessed with biking, have rebuilt an old road bike, rebuilt my existing mountain bike and removed and installed yet another headset (which for some reason feels like an accomplishment to me), want to build a road bike / fix one up for road riding which is kinda calling me now . Now every time I go to a hardware store I am less daunted and more "I wonder what I can do with this". Building that first bike really helped that side of my brain I guess and now I have a tool box and my first power drill and am constantly tinkering with my bikes and other projects. I'm only 23 but I always just assumed doing anything with my hands other then typing was a lost cause but now there is hope yet!

    Thanks biking!

  2. #2
    Senior Member mavimao's Avatar
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    Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. I am building up my own bike right now, and I'm learning so much from it. The internet and these forums have been great source of information, and there's a definite pride that arises from tinkering with mechanical things yourself.

    My Dad is a contractor and I've always admired how skilled he was with carpentry, plumbing, automotive repair: I sometimes feel that I should know as much as he does, and I feel kinda bummed that I don't. Getting into this biking stuff has given me that sense of pride. I feel like I'm learning a useful skill, you know?

  3. #3
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    I second everything you guys are saying. Now I just gotta learn to build a wheel...

  4. #4
    Bilsko
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    +1 on putting the good old technical skills to use by learning how to build/rebuild a bike. Next step is the headset for me, gonna wait till summer to tackle that one though.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Charlesbian's Avatar
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    getting grease on your clothes makes me feel like a man in a deep primal sense. makes me want to go eat a steak and start smashing stuff
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  6. #6
    ass hatchet slopvehicle's Avatar
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    building a fixed gear bike gave me DIABEETUS

  7. #7
    Senior Member themstrkrft's Avatar
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    Agreed. I never liked biking till I found a Schwinn Sport and converted it myself. Now I spend way too much time on changing parts, putting stuff together, etc.

  8. #8
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    You found something in yourself that you didn't know was there. This can lead you off to bigger and better things. Gas ins't getting any cheaper.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member pirate's Avatar
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    cosigned.

    I used to suck ass at anything that required mechanical prowess, but now I have an overflowing toolbox and seem to enjoy building/working on bikes more than actually riding them.
    “When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark,
    When work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having,
    Just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road,
    Without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.”
    -Arthur Conan Doyle


  10. #10
    ThumperChump. ThunderChunky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slopvehicle View Post
    building a fixed gear bike gave me DIABEETUS


    call me

  11. #11
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    Owning a bicycle and an old VW made me a "mechanic".

    If by mechanic you mean one who fixes problems by hitting them with mallets.
    trued 'till death

  12. #12
    gz_
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    FREE DEATHHARE gz_'s Avatar
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    What headset tools did you need to get? I'd like to do threadless headset stuff as well but don't want to drop 100$ on a headset press. Are you doing wheel building too?

  13. #13
    Works BrooklynMachine's Avatar
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    teach a man to fish...

  14. #14
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Years of tinkering with bikes and playing with rector sets as a child naturally turned me into an awesome bike mechanic.

  15. #15
    NitroPye
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    Quote Originally Posted by gz_ View Post
    What headset tools did you need to get? I'd like to do threadless headset stuff as well but don't want to drop 100$ on a headset press. Are you doing wheel building too?
    I've had incredible luck with just a bolt and washers for the headset press. For removing it I measured the proper diameter PVC pipe cut it down and just whacked it with a mallet.

    As per wheels, I plan on taking a course sometime in the future. I think performance has a $50 tuning stand which seems pretty cheap to me, might pick it up.

  16. #16
    I can haz? TheScientist's Avatar
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Klink's Avatar
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    To build wheels, you need to do the following:
    1) Go by your trusty local bike shop. Take in your rim, your hubs and have them figure out what length spokes you need. If you don't purchase the spokes from them, tip very nicely.

    2) On your way home with rims, hubs and your sparkly new spokes, stop by the store and pick up a 6-pack. This will come in handy later.

    3) At home, hop onto Sheldon Brown's site. If you don't have the internet easily accessible, go some place you can print out the necessary pages.

    4) Build your front wheel first. You don't need a truing stand. Just use your fork and attach a zip tie to one of the blades. Lace it up as directed. If something seems wrong, don't be afraid to take it apart and try again. Once you have it properly laced, get all the nipples to the ends of the threads on the spokes. If some spokes are tighter, don't feel obligated to loosen them. This goes the same for loose spokes. Just do an equal amount of turns each time. I think Sheldon recommends the best number of times to turn each way around.

    5) As you true the first wheel, turn the zip tie from a more outward position, inward closer to the rim. I'm a fan of just tensioning the spokes on the side opposite of the segment of rim out of true. After you ride the thing will need general re-tensioning for safe measure so don't worry too much about counter tension to true it. (Come to think of it, you could probably do the same with the rear dropouts, but I've either just taken it to a lbs and asked to use one of their stands or just gone to a buddy's house.)

    6) Make sure to continously drink. My experience at the start proved to be extremely frustrating and being sober didn't help. Also make sure to pick up a good spokewrench. Get an appropriately sized Park Tool one. Don't scimp on a multi-sized one. It'll end in more heartache. After you get it once, just rinse repeat. Do it over and over to get the feel for it. There's a certain "Aha!" point where things click and the whole process makes sense.

    Good luck.

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