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Sticking my toe in...

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Sticking my toe in...

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Old 10-27-04, 11:33 PM
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Becca
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Sticking my toe in...

Lately I've been thinking about building a bike from the frame up. What I'd want it to be is a great commuter bike, but something I've had my hand in. I'm reasonably proficient with tools - I used to do simple repairs on my car, including changing the brake pads.

Is this something I ought to attempt? Or is it more complicated than it looks?

My current ride is a hybrid that I've put 2200 miles on. I've heard of touring bikes, but not very familiar with them. Would a touring bike be a better choice than a roadie?
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Old 10-28-04, 12:10 AM
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For commuting, yes. They're designed with longer chainstays to handle panniers. They're also built heavier so they'll survive more potholes, curbs, etc. I'm building a Surly Long Haul Trucker right now for commuting/touring. http://www.surlybikes.com/longhaul.html .
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Old 10-28-04, 12:17 AM
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Cool site... bookmarking it! Thanks for a good start
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Old 10-28-04, 05:45 AM
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Look for a cyclocross bike (& cyclocross forum) as well as they are probably the best all purpose bikes available out there from daily commute, a little off raod excursion & light touring.
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Old 10-28-04, 06:38 AM
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Becca, building a bike from the frame up is really pretty fun. You'll learn a lot about the differences between cyclocross frames, mtb frames, and touring frames. Funny thing is, you will hear MANY opinions about what makes the best frame for commuting. All opinions have merit. You will be able to make your choices based on your knowledge. You will also end up with a bike that is truly yours. Good luck. Above all, have fun!

PS. I've been commuting/touring 22 years. This spring I get to start on my bike (built from frame up, piece by piece). I can't wait!
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Old 10-28-04, 10:21 PM
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Interesting what I'm finding.... a comparison of three frames: Nashbar's touring, road, and my own Schwinn hybrid. (All measurements in cm)

. . . . . . . . . . . . .. Touring - Road - Hybrid
Framesize . . . . . . 56 . . . .. 56 . . . .56
top tube length . .. 56.0 . . . 56.5 . . 56.0
wheelbase . . . . . . 104.5 . . n/a . .. 107
head tupe length .. 13.5 . .. 16.0 . . 21.0
chainstay length . . 45.5 . .. 41.0 . . 46.0
weight . . . . . . . . . 4lbs . . . 4.2lbs . >10lbs

I don't know what my whole bike weighs, but it's closer to 20 lbs than it is 5. Thoughts? Comments?
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Old 10-28-04, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by jharte
Becca, building a bike from the frame up is really pretty fun. You'll learn a lot about the differences between cyclocross frames, mtb frames, and touring frames. Funny thing is, you will hear MANY opinions about what makes the best frame for commuting. All opinions have merit. You will be able to make your choices based on your knowledge. You will also end up with a bike that is truly yours. Good luck. Above all, have fun!

PS. I've been commuting/touring 22 years. This spring I get to start on my bike (built from frame up, piece by piece). I can't wait!
That's kind of what I'm thinking, too. The more I look at my bike, and the more I work on it, the more I think I can do it. Heck, I've already taken my rear cassette apart to clean it. My next two biggest challenges would be the bottom bracket and the headset, I think.
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Old 10-28-04, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Becca
That's kind of what I'm thinking, too. The more I look at my bike, and the more I work on it, the more I think I can do it. Heck, I've already taken my rear cassette apart to clean it. My next two biggest challenges would be the bottom bracket and the headset, I think.
Bottom brackets are pretty easy. Headsets are pretty simple too, but you're better off having the cups installed by a pro. That is unless you wanna purchase a headset press. I've heard of all sorts of methods for homebrew headset presses, but my personal preference is the right tool for the job.

Alas, a Park headset press goes for somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 to $300 (Though I noticed Nashbar has theirs on sale now for $80.) so chances are you'll be making a trip to the LBS. While you're at it, if it hasn't already been done, have them face the bottom bracket (Requires another *really* expensive tool that most home mechanics aren't going to have.) and chase the threads (ditto), to get it ready for you to install the bottom bracket.

Have fun!

-Trevor
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Old 10-31-04, 01:41 AM
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I'm thinking about going with disc brakes on this bike. I see there are two kinds; mechanical and hydraulic. I get it that the hydraulics came pretty much directly from the automotive/motorcycle world. The mechanical variety does away with the hydraulic fluid.

Which do people think are better?

Are disc brakes on a touring/commuting bike overkill? The reason I am even considering disc brakes is because when my wheels are wet, the V-brakes take a lot longer to stop the bike. Sometimes this is a *very* bad thing, and my experience with disc brakes on cars is that they stop you faster.
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Old 10-31-04, 07:09 AM
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The front brake is the important one, and a disk brake will need a stiffer fork than is typical for touring; these are strong but have some flex for comfort.
Regarding the size and geometry, don't forget that the length of reach includes the top tube, the stem the bars and brake levers combined. Drop bars add an extra 6" to the length, so you may want a slightly shorter TT.
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Old 10-31-04, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by MichaelW
The front brake is the important one, and a disk brake will need a stiffer fork than is typical for touring; these are strong but have some flex for comfort.
Regarding the size and geometry, don't forget that the length of reach includes the top tube, the stem the bars and brake levers combined. Drop bars add an extra 6" to the length, so you may want a slightly shorter TT.
I'm thinking about http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename= as my handlebars, not the "ram's horn" variety.

As for the forks, I've thought of that. Nashbar's touring frame doesn't have the braze-ons for the disc brakes, so I looked and found these http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename= to replace the standard fork.
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Old 10-31-04, 09:53 AM
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I use mechanical discs, and find them pretty good. More stoppping power than v-brkaes, but they still have the cable stretch issues present in any other cable-driven brake. Hydraulic discs dont have that stretch, so you get a bit more precise braking from them, but all in all if your going to use it everyday, mechanical discs are fine...plus it lets you use standard cables, so if anyhting goes wrong, you KNOW you can just walk right into a bike shop and get the part you need, no waiting for parts to arrive.

disc brakes when wet do take a bit longer to stop, but once they bite, they bite pretty hard. If you ever had your wheels go udner water then tried to stop, you would notice they dont grab for a while either.

If you going to commute with a disc, consider a cyclocross style bike. The wider tires will make up for the stiffer frame and fork...but you pay for it in terms of efficiency, but not near as much as using a mountain bike.
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Old 10-31-04, 10:04 AM
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Hi,
I'd go with steel rather than a cheapo aluminum frame. Alu doesn't have to have a harsh ride, but a lot of cheap ones do.
Surly also makes a bike called the Pacer. You might want to take a
look at that one as well ( http://www.surlybikes.com/pacer.html )

But I am starting to wonder where you see this project going. You are looking at a steel riser bar? Let's start at the beginning here.
What sort of budget? Do you plan on other activities like touring?
Are you going to cannibalise your current ride for parts?
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Old 10-31-04, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by catatonic
If you going to commute with a disc, consider a cyclocross style bike. The wider tires will make up for the stiffer frame and fork...but you pay for it in terms of efficiency, but not near as much as using a mountain bike.
I'll look at them to make sure of what I want, but at this moment I'm pretty settled on using a touring frame. As for the wheels, I am planning on using the wider tires like I have on my hybrid now. Maybe something skinnier; I'm not certain just yet. Certainly not the ultra-skinny racing type wheels, though, because I do want to think about going bicycle camping/touring.
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Old 10-31-04, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by late
Hi,
I'd go with steel rather than a cheapo aluminum frame. Alu doesn't have to have a harsh ride, but a lot of cheap ones do.
I'm looking around at the touring frames I find. Plus I'm going to check with the LBS to test-ride some different frames. Nashbar has a pretty good rep, though.

Surly also makes a bike called the Pacer. You might want to take a
look at that one as well ( http://www.surlybikes.com/pacer.html )
Thanks, but the Pacer isn't quite up to what I'm wanting to do. Those chainstays are a good 4.5cm shorter than a touring frame, and the wheelbase is some 10cm shorter. I want a smooth + fast ride. My experience with wheeled vehicles is that a longer wheelbase gives a smoother ride. The fast part will come with a lighter bike.

But I am starting to wonder where you see this project going. You are looking at a steel riser bar? Let's start at the beginning here.
What sort of budget? Do you plan on other activities like touring?
Are you going to cannibalise your current ride for parts?
My plans are to build a bike that is perfect for me and my commute. Plus, I plan on pulling a trailer at times for both groceries and eventually doing some bicycle camping and touring.

My budget? Well, I'm going to buy a bit here, buy a bit there, spread it out over several months; I expect this bike to cost me $1,000-1,500. If I were to buy it in a store or online, I suspect it would run me over $2k easily And yes, I'm going to cannibalize some minor parts from my current ride.
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Old 10-31-04, 03:13 PM
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BTW a good example of a cyclocross bike is the surly cross-check or raleigh C700.

There are others of course, just these two are the first ones that came up in my broken little head
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Old 10-31-04, 03:51 PM
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Not too shabby! Now that I've looked a little, I think I'll stick with the Nashbar touring frame and build out from there.
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Old 10-31-04, 07:02 PM
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I tend to avoid aluminum. I wanted something that was going to be tough, light and durable. Which is why I went with the Surly LHT. The difference between that and the Crosscheck are the chainstays. I am really impressed with the quality of Surly bikes. Yes, they are made in Tiawan, but I'd guess the Nashbar is made either there, or China. Someone posted pics of the Nashbar frame, and the welds were butt ugly. You can find the LHT online for 350-375. Yes, it's a bit more than the Nashbar touring, but I think your getting a better quality frameset to start with. If this bike is going to be a workhorse, don't skimp on something that could leave you stranded. I'm not thoroughly convinced the Nashbar touring is the way to go for a Touring bike.
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Old 10-31-04, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by markw
If this bike is going to be a workhorse, don't skimp on something that could leave you stranded. I'm not thoroughly convinced the Nashbar touring is the way to go for a Touring bike.
You just convinced me. This is going to be my main transportation, and if I start with a cheap frame, it's always going to be that - cheap. And not likely a joy.

I looked online to see what prices I can find for the Surly LHT; looks like about $400. I've updated my list to use that frame instead of the Nashbar, but I'm still looking to use the Nashbar fork with the disc brake braze-ons.
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Old 10-31-04, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Becca
You just convinced me. This is going to be my main transportation, and if I start with a cheap frame, it's always going to be that - cheap. And not likely a joy.

I looked online to see what prices I can find for the Surly LHT; looks like about $400. I've updated my list to use that frame instead of the Nashbar, but I'm still looking to use the Nashbar fork with the disc brake braze-ons.
I believe Kona (www.konaworld.com) makes a steel 700c Cyclocross fork with disc tabs, for around $60.
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Old 10-31-04, 09:31 PM
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Disc brakes add weight. So do some forks. You can balance that out with a carbon fork. http://www.bikemannetwork.com/Mercha...de=COMPFKCROSS
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Old 10-31-04, 11:48 PM
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Spicer Cycles has the LHT for around $350. I bought my LHT and headset from them. They installed the headset and prepped the bottom bracket for no extra charge. They were really great to deal with.

www.spicercycles.com
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Old 11-01-04, 01:27 AM
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The LHT is setup for Canti's/V-Brakes. It does come with the fork. So you'd be replacing a good fork. FWIW, I weighed mine, 5lbs 7oz for the frame, and 2lbs 6oz fork. Not the lightest by road racer standards, but I'll probably have around a 23lb bike when I'm done. Properly setup cantis are cheaper than disk brakes. Just throw some good pads on them and you'll be fine. Oh, I forgot to mention, check out girlbike.com http://www.girlbike.com she's got a new LHT and loves it.
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Old 11-01-04, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by seely
I believe Kona (www.konaworld.com) makes a steel 700c Cyclocross fork with disc tabs, for around $60.
Looks like $70 now, but a good looking fork! http://64.78.59.47/merchant.mvc?Scre...ategory_Code=C

I'll definitely keep this in mind.
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Old 11-01-04, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by late
Disc brakes add weight. So do some forks. You can balance that out with a carbon fork. http://www.bikemannetwork.com/Mercha...de=COMPFKCROSS
I'm looking at the Kona fork, but the original idea was the Nashbar fork which is carbon.
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