Thread: Build your own?
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Old 07-01-07, 02:44 AM
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Originally Posted by fireworks

I was wondering if anybody can help out by listing good retailers with regard to price, for assembling your own bike?

I'll accept any advice too. I don't have any experience assembling bicycles, but I'm pretty mechanically inclinded.

Basically, it's driving me nuts trying to find a out of the box bike that I'm comfortable with spec and price.

My price range is about a $1000 CDN.

I built my commuter/tourer with zero experience and only some maintenance experience, but like you I have mechanical aptitude. I also have a pretty decent collection of tools, I only needed a few bike specific tools to complete the build. A workstand and wheel building stand are nice but not necessary for one build, neither are many of the bike-specific tools listed by Operator. Not for one build, anyhow.

The only tools I had to buy were...

A spoke tool
Bottom bracket tool (to tighten shimano outboard bearings)
Cone wrenches

I already had...
Chain breaker (you should have one anyway)
Cassette tool

If you buy a new rear hub you won't need a freewheel removal tool as the freewheel/freehub is already fitted.

If you buy a pre-built wheelset the LBS will fit the cassette for you and offer one free truing service after a few hundred miles in which case you won't need the spoke or cassette tools, if they don't then go elsewhere or buy your wheels online and either pay for one truing after a few hundred miles or learn how to do it yourself (I found it dead easy).

...and I could have just asked the LBS to fit the BB bearing caps but I wanted the tool for future maintenance anyhow, and that's where the tools pay for themselves - when you do your own maintenance.

I started with a Surly Long Haul Trucker frame, and a heck of a lot of research. The most valuable source of info by far was

I had my lbs face and chase the BB, face the head tube, and press in the head bearing cones. I did everything else, including my first wheel build. I shopped around online and got good deals on all the bits over a period of time. I combined some components that several LBS's said would never work together (but they work perfectly) like the Dura-Ace barcons and the Deore LX rear derailer, sheldonbrown is the best source of info.

The finished bike cost more than just buying the equivalent bike off the shelf (although only a little more), so if you're wanting to build your own to save money then be aware that you won't. I knew this before I started but saving $$$ was not why I did it. I wanted to build purely for the satisfaction and ability to build something quite unique, the premium I paid for that experience was more than worth it in my opinion. I know my bike inside and out and do all my own maintenance, and to be perfectly honest it was a dead easy thing to do, and I have over 12,000 trouble free miles on that bike, many carrying loads and commuting in all weather.

Would I do it again? Absolutely!
May the m(dv/dt) be with you.
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