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  1. #1
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    building from scratch

    Hey all I have recently decided to take on a project of building a fixie or single speed from scratch. I dont know much about where to start with this project. If anyone could point me in the right direction it would be a great help. The prices of the parts is not my biggest concern, but getting quality parts is. first thing i have done is looking into frames. i am interested in a light frame 54cm but i have no idea what brands are good/reliable or even where to find these kinds of things. Thanks!

  2. #2
    ¡Senor Member! time bandit's Avatar
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    If you're sincerely that clueless, just get a prebuilt and experiment with switching out some of the less desireable parts, unless you have a grand to spend on all the parts and another few hundred dollars to spend on the neccessary tools, you are gonna get frustrated and stop half way through.

  3. #3
    i smell bacon yummygooey's Avatar
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    You should do some research on your own instead of asking us to give you all the information. You'll learn more. Do some searching, and then come back with specific questions.

    Hint: There is a sticky in this forum for beginners. I would check there.
    // yummygooey

  4. #4
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by time bandit View Post
    If you're sincerely that clueless, just get a prebuilt and experiment with switching out some of the less desireable parts, unless you have a grand to spend on all the parts and another few hundred dollars to spend on the neccessary tools, you are gonna get frustrated and stop half way through.
    +1

    Building from scratch only benefits those who know exactly what they want. If you don't know, start with a pre-built that's really nice and modify that. This has several benefits those being that whoever designed the bike knew a lot about what works (assuming it's a better than average bike) and you get to ride immediately as opposed to waiting weeks/months to get the project bike on the road. Also, you won't have to pay for labor and/or tools up front.

    So, find a sweet bike that's off the shelf and get rolling. Upgrade when the need arises.

  5. #5
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    +1

    Building from scratch only benefits those who know exactly what they want. If you don't know, start with a pre-built that's really nice and modify that. This has several benefits those being that whoever designed the bike knew a lot about what works (assuming it's a better than average bike) and you get to ride immediately as opposed to waiting weeks/months to get the project bike on the road. Also, you won't have to pay for labor and/or tools up front.

    So, find a sweet bike that's off the shelf and get rolling. Upgrade when the need arises.
    +2

    Get a bike you can ride. Learn to work on it. Once you know about bikes, and what you want, you'll be able to build yourself a good one.

    Starting a project like this now will leave you with a pile of parts of various qualities that may or may not work together.
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

  6. #6
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    Well i ride an '89 raleigh that has been treating me very well, and i know that building this one will take a while and I'm not in any sort of rush. So the reason i ask is because many people on here have experience with many different brands and bikes. I have only ridden one brand, and everything i know about this brand is limited due to the age of the bike (how does this brand compare today?). I was just hoping some could pass down their knowledge of bikes they have ridden (pros, cons and things like that). I am not posting this to be lazy i have done research but there are so many aspects to look at when buying. thanks for reading and hope to hear some opinions!

  7. #7
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    In order to better suit your needs, you should tell us what this new build will be primarily used for.

  8. #8
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    it's hard to go from zero--> custom because there are too many parts options out there.

    what i would do, if i were you, is buy a complete that has parts that you would want to upgrade (ex. a Kilo TT). then take the bike apart. then put it back together.

    you will need: frame, headset, stem, fork, handlebars, handlebar tape, wheels, tires, brake levers, brakes & cables, saddle, seatpost, pedals, cranks, chain, and a rear cog.
    you can break each part into a series of decisions (should the fork be carbon or steel? threaded or threadless? etc)
    then shop for each individual part.
    figure out what the parts cost, and then figure out your budget for each part.
    make a parts list, and make sure they're all compatible where they need to be.
    then search ebay for the parts.
    buy them as you can, install them.

  9. #9
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by achtron View Post
    Well i ride an '89 raleigh that has been treating me very well, and i know that building this one will take a while and I'm not in any sort of rush. So the reason i ask is because many people on here have experience with many different brands and bikes. I have only ridden one brand, and everything i know about this brand is limited due to the age of the bike (how does this brand compare today?). I was just hoping some could pass down their knowledge of bikes they have ridden (pros, cons and things like that). I am not posting this to be lazy i have done research but there are so many aspects to look at when buying. thanks for reading and hope to hear some opinions!
    Dude, you are asking a lot. What's a perfect bike for me won't be for you. Also, a great bike is not the sum of best-of-breed parts. I had a Teschner road bike that had all kinds of "best" everything that I built from the frame up. It was OK. Then I rode a Specialized Tarmac (off the shelf) and was blown away. That's just one story.

    The Tarmac didn't have a King headset, Thomson seatpost, Campy Record, Dura Ace, Sram Red, Fizik Saddle, but it was awesome. I made some upgrades since then. But, if I had bought a Tarmac frame then built from the ground up, I would have spent 3x as much and it would have taken a couple of months probably.

    You probably need to ride and own a few more bikes before you go custom or build from the frame up.

    Are you into cars, guitars, dress shoes, suits, or anything else that has custom options? The same applies there too. You probably wouldn't suggest a guy own a custom suit till he's tried on or owned several quality off the shelf suits to know what's important to him, right?

    Custom does not mean better.
    Last edited by carleton; 01-28-11 at 04:07 PM.

  10. #10
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    I was just where you were a few months ago. Find a friend who rides fixed and ask him a bunch of questions for sure, and ride as many bikes as you can.

    Local bike shops are good because they can explain everything to you, will set up your bike perfectly to fit you, are close, etc.

    I ended up with a Kilo TT and really like it. You can take a look at them on bikesdirect.com I've swapped out a couple parts on mine and am slowly learning more and making it into the bike I want.

    Also pick a budget so you don't go crazy

  11. #11
    Fueled by Tigers Blood avner's Avatar
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    Carleton is completely right.

    There is no way we can pass down months or years of research into parts, quality and comfort within a few simple posts. if you gave us a budget and a purpose we could likely pick out a set of parts that would meet the budget and fit the purpose but they would be our own opinion of whats aesthetic, a good value and good performance. So basically, we could give you a list of parts, but you need to do months of research if you want a truly custom build.

    I'm doing one, but I've been lurking on this forum from months before I actually joined and actively participated since, I've done tons of research on parts, their value vs performance and what I actually think is attractive aesthetically. So, basically, we can give you a list of every part you need, we can tell you what parts we think a good but it still wont be a custom bike.
    Quote Originally Posted by Leukybear View Post
    Genius.
    Quote Originally Posted by xkillemallx16 View Post
    Save your dignity and go back to hopping curbs on your langster.
    Quote Originally Posted by jdgesus View Post
    only thing cars are good for is hitting me

  12. #12
    Rhythm is rhythm max5480's Avatar
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    Hi.
    I think building a bike up yourself is a good idea, because you have a stronger connection with each part of your bike. Building a fixed gear/ single speed is a lot easier than a geared bike, and you can pretty much put it all together yourself with a multi tool except for the headset, bottom bracket, and lacing the wheels. If you haven't trued/ laced wheels before, you should buy a complete wheelset. Velocity and Mavic make nice wheels, and there are several threads on the first couple pages of these forums discussing wheels in the $150 range (formula hub to mavic or velocity rims). Headset and BB you can have a shop put on your frame for 20-50, or you can go to a community shop and they have the tools and will teach you.

    As far as parts go, I really like Pake frames because they are cheap and good looking. They have a steel track bike, $300, and an alloy version which will be lighter and I think is $500. IRD makes a really classy crankset, while Pake and origin8 make cheap ones. Sugino makes a bunch in varying price range that are super nice. Stem, seatpost, and handlebar, you could buy used off of ebay or something - there are a ton out there made by Ritchey, FSA, titec, bla bla bla. Or you could buy some nice handlebars from Nitto, or Soma. San Marco Concor saddle is super classy but around $100, Brooks also classy but over $100, sometimes you can find used for $40-60. KMC chains seem to be popular, but any 1/8" chain will be great. Oury makes cool handlebar grips, and Cinelli makes a lot of different color tape. If you're putting a brake on it, don't buy a cheap one because they stick and make noise and micro-scrape up your rim - shimano Tiagra or something.

    You can get a lot of other component ideas by browsing bicycle websites like velomine.com or iminusd.bigcartel.com. However, you should try to buy as many parts as possible from your LBS (local bike shop) because it gives jobs to cool people. Also, it helps to browse a lot of bike blogs because they feature products sometimes and link to other blogs with cool looking bikes and other online stores with more products and more and more and capitalism-seizure!!!! but seriously, buy local and used.

  13. #13
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    thanks for all the replies! and thanks Max5480 for all the info. This bike i hope to use as a means to get to school and work which are 6 miles and 12 miles ,respectively, round trip. The rides mostly on flat land and on the street, there are only a few places i will end up on the either on the sidewalk or riding up/down a small hill. If i had to set a budget i am thinking that i would probably like to keep it at $1000 or less, only because i wouldn't be spending it all at once... just buying parts as i save. so i guess so far what i have in mind is a lightweight durable frame (colors don't matter because if i don't like them i can always paint), and i think the frame is so far the most important thing to me just because i feel like that if i have a problem with the frame then I'm really in trouble, and having a problem with a part may be a bit easier to swap out. I think in the end I'm hoping for parts that wont fall apart as i ride. so maybe i should be asking what, if anything, i should stay away from. again thanks for all the help!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by achtron View Post
    so maybe i should be asking what, if anything, i should stay away from. again thanks for all the help!
    Maybe building it from scratch is not the thing for you as other have stated.

    Go with a complete bike like the IRO Angus and change parts as you please.

  15. #15
    Fueled by Tigers Blood avner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vixtor View Post
    Maybe building it from scratch is not the thing for you as other have stated.

    Go with a complete bike like the IRO Angus and change parts as you please.
    Solid frame, 631 Reynolds steel, good times.
    It will be nice and light. From there upgrade Pedals/Cages/Brake/saddle
    Go do your research so by the time your Angus prebuilt arrives you can put on your custom parts. From there swap the fork for a full carbon, the stem, the handle bars and then finally the wheelset and cranks. Remove any labels. Congratulations, you now have a fully custom bike.
    Quote Originally Posted by Leukybear View Post
    Genius.
    Quote Originally Posted by xkillemallx16 View Post
    Save your dignity and go back to hopping curbs on your langster.
    Quote Originally Posted by jdgesus View Post
    only thing cars are good for is hitting me

  16. #16
    i smell bacon yummygooey's Avatar
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    It's hard for us to pick something from scratch for you without knowing what you like. Have you found anything that you like? If so, post it here and ask us about it. I'm sure we'll have plenty to say once you give us something to work off of. Even a picture of what you think looks cool would help us give you some good suggestions.

    Again, check out that IRO. It's well within your budget and is a lot of bike for the money.
    // yummygooey

  17. #17
    Junior Member am90's Avatar
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    Go with a complete bike like the IRO Angus and change parts as you please.[/QUOTE]

    +1
    Thats where I'm at. I'm on my 2nd bike in a year(2010), but by upgrading, asking questions, and installing parts myself I learned alot. After researching frames vs. budget compulsively for 2 months I decided on the IRO angus, which I plan to swap out a few parts, but as a whole it's what I wanted as a complete. P.S. I just got a buyer from cl today on my previous bike,(which I bought and upgraded impulsively) trying to sell for 350. I spent 800+ learning what I wanted, and how to fix up. If I had to do again, I'd get as much info as possible before buying and maybe I'd be a little richer. Anyways good luck

  18. #18
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by am90 View Post
    I just got a buyer from cl today on my previous bike,(which I bought and upgraded impulsively) trying to sell for 350. I spent 800+
    This is another thing to consider. There's no way any custom bike you build will ever be worth anything close to what you put into it. If/when you sell it you'll take a huge loss.

    Quote Originally Posted by achtron View Post
    I think in the end I'm hoping for parts that wont fall apart as i ride.
    Any good quality bike will provide this.

    Don't get me wrong, I admire your attitude. You seem very gung ho about building a bike. But honestly I think you'll be disappointed with it about six months after you finish building it because you realize it isn't what you want.

    (Story time.) I bought a new bike two years ago before I knew anything about bikes. I did all my research and came up with the one I decided would fit my needs perfectly. At first it was great. A couple months later I rode my first drop bar road bike. Suddenly the bike I thought was so great had no purpose. I'm currently attempting to sell it. I haven't bought a new bike since. I've owned about a dozen used bikes, fixing them up and deciding what I like/dislike about them. You might not be as ADD as me, but it's just an example of what can happen.
    Last edited by FastJake; 01-28-11 at 09:00 PM.
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

  19. #19
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    I like the Surly Steamroller Complete.

    A quality frame and fork with good geometry for the street, it will accept fenders (if you want them) and fat tires (if you want them).

    The Steamroller comes with brakes and lower than average gearing (good for learning).

    As you gain experience with this bike you will develop your own ideas about what you like and don't like, and you can gradually change the components as you learn what works for you.

  20. #20
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    Cool thanks everyone, and i had been looking into the IRO Angus and also the Raleigh rush hour. with everything everyone has said about the IRO it seems like it would be a great thing to get. Anyone have feedback on reynolds 520 steel vs reynold 631 steel as well as the two frames, any one prefer one over the other?

  21. #21
    モㄥ工匕モ 爪モ爪乃モ尺 evilcryalotmore's Avatar
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    +1 on the iro angus.

    Or you can get a wabi for 600-800

  22. #22
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    First off, you need to draw up a list of each component needed to assemble a full bike, all the tools you'll need (can't forget those), what jobs you can bs and what jobs you'd rather let the LBS handle, and then you set up a rough budget. You can put all this in a spreadsheet if you're that type of person.

    Then you use the search function. Start by looking up, say, "lightweight durable frame." At this point you have to decide what "lightweight" means, like in kilograms, whether you want steel or aluminum, what are the differences between steels, et cetera. "Durable" is a whole nother can of worms. And "frame" is so much more complicated than you think. Do you want a new frame? A conversion? One with more track geometry, with more road geometry, a cross frame, a hybrid frame, a mountain frame?

    Then you go to headsets. Sealed or no? Or cranks? 144 bcd or 130 bcd? Which crank is sufficiently 'stiff'? What the hell is stiffness? Does it even matter? Would my crank give me a near perfect chainline with the frame you had? What the hell is chainline? What chain should you use? What cog? What chain should you use with my cog and my crank? Will you need a chain tensioner? What size bottom bracket do you use with my chain and my cog and my crank? What type of spindle do your cranks take? What chainring is compatible with your cranks? Can you use WD-40 to lube your chain (no)? What's the difference between wax and penetrating oil? What tools do you need to put the drivetrain together?

    Imagine doing this for stems, bars, bar tape, brake pads, brake calipers, brake cables, brake levers, tires, tubes, wheelsets, hubs, spokes, seatposts, seats, pedals, straps, shoes, clothes, bags, lights, reflectors, bells, and what have you.

    I'm not trying to discourage you from building your bike from scratch. In fact, i think it's f-in great that you want to! What i'm trying to say is it is entirely possible to build your bike from scratch. Don't listen to the haters who tell you to just buy a kit bike--you can totally do this. But you're going about it all wrong. There are countless threads asking, "What chrome seat tube that's cheap and ultra strong should i get," which all end up in folks telling the op to just find something they like.

    It takes time. There's no way you can summarize all this in one post, or even one thread, because for each component, you will get wildly varying answers, based largely on someone's "personal experience" with component x versus component y, which may be completely different for you and entirely something else for another person. Even if you could, why would you want such a resource? At that point it stops being your bike, and becomes a frankenbike made of the hopes and dreams of legions of lonely hipsters who'll abuse your desires like a Filipino stripper on a webcam. Look up specific components, then see what make & model is popular / what strikes your fancy, then look up that make & model. Compare to others. Decide. Move on. Do it til its done.

    Before i even started posting here, i had decided to build a ss/fg without really having any idea of what i wanted, or even what parts to look for. Since i don't personally know anyone who builds bikes, this forum (and Sheldon Brown) pretty much taught me how to build a bike. I did this without ever asking a soul whether part a or part b would be "better." It was hellish and frustrating and cost so much more than i thought it would, but i learned more in that one month about bicycles than most riders learn in their entire lives.

    One last thing: your budget. Lower it, because you are absolutely going to overrun it. Totally fine. Unless it puts you on a street corner i guarantee you'll be happier in the end.

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