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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 11-08-07, 10:59 PM   #1
sneekyjesus
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bike build and hennessy hammocks

I have two questions (with subquestions)-
1. How good or bad of an idea is it to attempt to build a touring bike when you've never built a bike before and don't know a thing about it?
a) could it be done for less than 800 dollars?
b) will a bike shop fit someone so they can find their ideal frame geometry?
2. Can you use a hennessy hammock if you can't sleep on your back?
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Old 11-09-07, 06:02 AM   #2
becnal
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Yes, you can use a Hennessy Hammock if you can't sleep on your back. I sleep on my sides and even on my stomach in my HH.
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Old 11-09-07, 04:21 PM   #3
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I also found sleeping in my HH every bit as comfortable on my side as on my back. Never tried on the stomach, though.
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Old 11-09-07, 04:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sneekyjesus View Post
I have two questions (with subquestions)-
1. How good or bad of an idea is it to attempt to build a touring bike when you've never built a bike before and don't know a thing about it?
a) could it be done for less than 800 dollars?
b) will a bike shop fit someone so they can find their ideal frame geometry?
I think it's an excellent idea to build a bike. I've built a few. The first one, I had zero experience and learned a lot while doing. I spent a lot of time at my LBS talking to the wrenches and sales people. Speaking of LBS, I don't know about yours, but mine would help me or someone out when it comes to fitting.
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Old 11-09-07, 11:12 PM   #5
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does building a bike require a lot of tools? any links for bike build info?
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Old 11-10-07, 02:33 AM   #6
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Do you have any mechanical knowledge? (and I mean that question in a nice, not sarcastic way)

Refer to Paul Barnard's current thread on what he has done for under $1,000 with some astute buying choices, and he didn't have to build the bike from scratch. He has some good-quality stuff on there, and you can compromise down to your $800 budget without affecting the quality of the final product too much.

If the answer to the above question is no (which is likely because you then ask about tools), then you would be better off buying and to go touring rather than taking the time to research, ask questions, make inevitable mistakes, and have to rectify them at a cost, plus run the risk of something going awry on your first tour because the bike hasn't been built properly.

I'd put my resources into finding out which are the better choices in touring bikes, browsing through eBay or craigslist for something along those lines, as well as the accessories and touring equipment. There's another thread running in this forum about someone wanting to get rid of a Trek 520... the size might not suit you, but it contains clues as to what can be achieved by internet browsing.

And yes, the starting point is finding a bike shop that provides a fitting service FOR TOURING. It will cost you a fee if you aren't buying a bike from that shop. But if they look at you blankly when you say you want a fitting for a TOURING frame, go somewhere else. Otherwise you will be fitted up for a racing bike and all that discomfort it entails.

If and when you buy a complete bike, there is nothing to stop you from learning as you go. You can purchase the tools as you need them for maintenance (and they can likely set you back $150 to $200 if you haven't got any at all right now... so there goes a decent slice of your build-up budget).
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Old 11-10-07, 10:50 AM   #7
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Any idea how much a bike shop might charge to put together a bike?
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Old 11-10-07, 11:31 AM   #8
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Depending on shop rate, and bike build, it may cost $100+ I saw a thread somewhere and someone had 2 estimates for their build and as I recall the estimates were $200 and $300... but apparently he happened to pick the 2 most expensive shops in the city.

To build your own is not that hard. I did it when I was a teenager, and since, but there is some comfort in having it professionally done. I just got my bike built, full 105 on an old (but great condition) Schwinn Voyageur frame. Custom wheels, plus group, plus framesaver (with application), plus assembly was about the retail cost of a new entry level bike with Sora...

I would have built it myself, but I simply wanted them to build it this time. Once I get into a home and have a more reasonable shop area, then the bike shop will do less and less.

You can walk the line in between doing it yourself and having the shop do it. To avoid the need for special tools you can have a shop chase/face and install the BB and headset. After that, the need for specialty tools is pretty much done.

If you are comfortable with bolting on components, running cables and wrapping bars, there is little else to building a bike once the BB and headset are installed. Of course, the hardest part is fine tuning, and making sure you do the installation right which just takes time, and you can find the "how to" online, or ask in a forum.

So, in short... You do have options.
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