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So this is what my time here has wrought...

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So this is what my time here has wrought...

Old 03-17-16, 08:08 PM
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So this is what my time here has wrought...

First off, I just want to take this opportunity to thank BF as a whole for an informative and entertaining time since I found the site last spring. I’ve sat back and read a great deal (much more than my boss ever needs to know about) and I have enjoyed the pictures and stories from all around the world. In that spirit, I am excited to begin enjoying this sport again since my build is finally finished.
Crud- I just realized I have the crank arms in the wrong position. The sun has set here, but I can add more pics tomorrow evening. The story is below but fair warning: tl;dr. The parts list will be in my next post.



A couple of years ago, as a complete newb on a fairly tight budget at the time, I bought a GMC Denali off of Amazon. It did what it is meant to do- make me want to get a better bike (though in all fairness it rode just fine for my needs at the time). I kept with it for about a year until life got busier and the bike had to be relegated to the trainer in my garage for night workouts only. I started looking around for something better (yes, at an LBS this time) but I just couldn’t get excited about modern bikes for whatever reason. Then I started thinking about building up a new frame from scratch- which was silly because all I had ever done as far as bike work at that time was change a tire. So, long story short(ish), I decided to use my Denali as a project bike and see if I could tear it down and build it up again. Which then gradually changed into “Gee, I really like this new wrenching hobby. But I don’t have any spare parts. Let me see what I can find for this bike that could also be a decent start for a spare parts bin in the future.” Oh, and “I really don’t like the color blue, let me try to do a paint job on the frame while I’m at it.”

So, I fit this project in in between a full time job and grad school, slowly doing research, comparison shopping, and buying parts from the portion of my paycheck that is allotted for entertainment (I haven’t been to the movies in a while- how was Deadpool?). No, it’s not perfect. And I don’t imagine anyone else would ever want to ride it. Once, in the middle of this flight of fancy I Googled “Custom GMC Denali bicycles” and a couple of variations of that topic. I didn’t find anything along the lines of what I was doing so yes, I am aware of just how far off the beaten path I have strayed.

I decided to brave the faceless masses and post this because I’ve read of a few people (newcomers mostly) that have popped in to ask a few questions about building up a bike or upgrading some components but then we never hear from them again. I have no way of knowing if they ever finished their projects, what the bikes end up looking or riding like, or what they learned along the way. But for those in similar positions, I went from not knowing how to change a tire to building this up almost completely by myself. I live in the back of beyond and the nearest LBS is ~1 hour round trip from me (I took the frame in once and they did remove the old headset cups and bottom bracket face plate since I did not have the appropriate tools). I’m sure there are some problems that have yet to be ironed out and perhaps these will be pointed out in the comments below, but it rides great- much better than the original, it fits me much better, and I’m not intimidated to fix anything on my bike anymore. Also, FWIW, the bike went from the stock 32 pounds down to 24.3pounds according to my luggage scale. I think my complete budget, spread over ~6 months, ended up being ~$500- including the original cost of the bike. I was trying to keep it under $450, so that didn’t work out. Actually, that doesn’t include tools. So it might really be closer to $600 with that cost factored in. I did not keep a spreadsheet. Since this post has gone on for far too long already, I would be happy to answer any questions y’all might have (with seriousness, humor, or sarcasm. Whichever you prefer.).
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Originally Posted by LAJ View Post
Everyone thinks they have had a long strange trip, until they look at other folks' journeys. Then they realize everyone has had a long strange trip, just using different modes of transportation.
"The mystery of life isn't a problem to solve, but a reality to experience."
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Old 03-17-16, 08:21 PM
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J.C. Koto
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Looks really good! Nice and clean and the red cable housing is a nice touch. Questions: What components did you choose? Did you paint it yourself or get it professionally sprayed?

edit: Just clicked over to your photobucket page, are you going to get the calendar


or the holiday greeting cards?

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Old 03-17-16, 08:31 PM
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OK, Parts List:
GMC Denali frame
NOS steel fork via the bay
Shimano RD that came with the bike (actually cleaned up and lubed it works fine, but it will be replaced in the future)
Shimano Ultegra 6700 FD
Nashbar ISIS bottom bracket
Tektro dual pivot caliper brakes
Tektro R553 brake levers
Bar-end silver shifters
New Jagwire cables
SRAM 6-7-8 sp chain
Nashbar compact crankset
Nitto Randonneur handlebars
Michelin Pro4 tires with Continental tubes
Aeromaxx wheelset
Velox rim tape
SRAM 8 speed cassette (11-28)
Origin 8 headset
Cinelli cork tape (which I ended up not liking with the color scheme, but I used it to double wrap the bars)
Newbaum's cloth tape
Sella Italia saddle
Nashbar carbon fiber stem spacers
Nashbar stem adaptor
I don't remember at the moment about the seat post and the stem. I'll find that out tomorrow.
Several cans of Rustoleum spray paint, stripper, clear coat, etc. I can't say that I was any good at this. It looks OK from a distance maybe, but there won't be any close up shots of my first attempt at pin-striping .
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Originally Posted by LAJ View Post
Everyone thinks they have had a long strange trip, until they look at other folks' journeys. Then they realize everyone has had a long strange trip, just using different modes of transportation.
"The mystery of life isn't a problem to solve, but a reality to experience."

Last edited by Jadesfire; 03-18-16 at 07:24 PM.
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Old 03-17-16, 08:34 PM
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If they offered coffee mugs, maybe.
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Originally Posted by LAJ View Post
Everyone thinks they have had a long strange trip, until they look at other folks' journeys. Then they realize everyone has had a long strange trip, just using different modes of transportation.
"The mystery of life isn't a problem to solve, but a reality to experience."
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Old 03-17-16, 08:37 PM
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I like the color choice. Forgot to ask, is that the stock Denali fork or an aftermarket job?
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Old 03-17-16, 08:38 PM
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Oh, thanks- forgot to add that to the parts list. That's aftermarket via Ebay. Edited now.
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Originally Posted by LAJ View Post
Everyone thinks they have had a long strange trip, until they look at other folks' journeys. Then they realize everyone has had a long strange trip, just using different modes of transportation.
"The mystery of life isn't a problem to solve, but a reality to experience."
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Old 03-18-16, 02:03 AM
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Brilliant. Well worth doing, in my opinion. You've learned a lot and you have a bike which is fine for pretty much all purposes at a reasonable cost.

And the fact hat you've taken 8lbs off the bike is a really good illustration of how much unnecessary weight is accounted for by crappy components. I'll bet you saved a couple of pounds on the fork alone, and probably more than that on the wheelset. Good job.
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Old 03-18-16, 06:14 AM
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Actually, its pretty impressive what you accomplished with your build. Shed a lot of weight with some careful purchases, got a poorly set up, portly, shoddy BSO turned into a nice bicycle. Kudos on your work, as Chas said, "good job".

Bill
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Old 03-18-16, 06:25 AM
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Well, you have the white garage door, the valve stems more or less at 6 o'clock, so I guess we can overlook the pedal position THIS TIME.
Nice work. You have a decent bike at a decent price.
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Old 03-18-16, 06:56 AM
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Like!
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Old 03-18-16, 07:52 AM
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Nice, good job.

If it were me, I would now come up with a cool name and have it made up here.

Like I did for this one recently:

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Old 03-18-16, 09:20 AM
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Thanks for all of the above comments. It was a fun use of my spare time, and as I seem to have caught the N+1 bug as well. I am looking forward to my next project.
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Originally Posted by LAJ View Post
Everyone thinks they have had a long strange trip, until they look at other folks' journeys. Then they realize everyone has had a long strange trip, just using different modes of transportation.
"The mystery of life isn't a problem to solve, but a reality to experience."

Last edited by Jadesfire; 03-18-16 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 03-18-16, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Jadesfire View Post
Now HTFU and post a photo in the New and Improved Hot or Not thread in the Road forum
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Old 03-18-16, 09:47 AM
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Nice job. Looks professionally done.
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Old 03-18-16, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Jadesfire View Post
Thanks for all of the above comments. It was a fun use of my spare time, and as I seem to have caught the N+1 bug as well I am looking forward to my next project.
I'd suggest you look for a nice vintage frame. You'll pick one up (probably as a complete bike, and if the components are in rough shape you'll get a nice frame really cheap) for not much money. And then you can choose whether to spread the chainstays for a modern groupset, or go with a 6-speed freewheel and downtube shifters for authenticity. Either way it'll be fun to do.
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Old 03-18-16, 11:24 AM
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You don't need a name for that bike...just let them keep asking what it is, tell them and how it got that way and smile.

Your moment of glory will repeat itself with every revolution.

Congratulations on a fine, fine build!
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Old 03-18-16, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
I'd suggest you look for a nice vintage frame. You'll pick one up (probably as a complete bike, and if the components are in rough shape you'll get a nice frame really cheap) for not much money. And then you can choose whether to spread the chainstays for a modern groupset, or go with a 6-speed freewheel and downtube shifters for authenticity. Either way it'll be fun to do.
+1, good suggestion, Chas.
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Old 03-18-16, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Now HTFU and post a photo in the New and Improved Hot or Not thread in the Road forum
Lol. I thought about it, but I'm not sure my e-skin is thick enough .
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Originally Posted by LAJ View Post
Everyone thinks they have had a long strange trip, until they look at other folks' journeys. Then they realize everyone has had a long strange trip, just using different modes of transportation.
"The mystery of life isn't a problem to solve, but a reality to experience."
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Old 03-18-16, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Doctor Morbius View Post
Nice job. Looks professionally done.
Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
I'd suggest you look for a nice vintage frame. You'll pick one up (probably as a complete bike, and if the components are in rough shape you'll get a nice frame really cheap) for not much money. And then you can choose whether to spread the chainstays for a modern groupset, or go with a 6-speed freewheel and downtube shifters for authenticity. Either way it'll be fun to do.
Originally Posted by Rollfast View Post
You don't need a name for that bike...just let them keep asking what it is, tell them and how it got that way and smile.

Your moment of glory will repeat itself with every revolution.

Congratulations on a fine, fine build!
Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
+1, good suggestion, Chas.
Thanks again all. Glad it looks good to others, too. I agree on the vintage frame idea! I've been keeping my eyes peeled for something already.
Side note: I find it amusing that I now give second looks at all the bikes people are riding in New Orleans as I drive downtown and in Mid-City. And I slow down now in front of the bike racks at school, too.
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Originally Posted by LAJ View Post
Everyone thinks they have had a long strange trip, until they look at other folks' journeys. Then they realize everyone has had a long strange trip, just using different modes of transportation.
"The mystery of life isn't a problem to solve, but a reality to experience."
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Old 03-18-16, 07:48 PM
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Great job! You now have a good all-rounder and some wrenching experience without going broke in the process.
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