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Can't find a bike, so build my own?

Old 04-14-10, 06:25 PM
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ballistic
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Can't find a bike, so build my own?

I'm new to cycling, but it's been a difficult week trying to find the bike for me. No shops will order me a bike to try without a deposit, and no one stocks the largest frame sizes. My local Performance Bike says they carry all frame sizes, but they don't have 2010 models in yet, and don't know when they will.

I'm looking at these bikes:
Giant Rapid 0
Giant Defy 1 (lots of Shimano 105 parts, but I'm not sure I like the drop handles)
Fuji Absolute 1.0
Trek 7.6 FX

Since it's proven difficult to find a bike, can I build my own? I build my own computers, so why not try to build my own bike? I've seen people here recommend buying a bike for the frame and not components, but where can I find a frame similar to the bikes I'm interested in? I definitely want carbon for its vibration dampening. But also I need a large frame. I'm 6'5'', so 25"/60cm+.

What are the best websites for bike frames? Or is it better to ask bike shops about frames?

Advice? Recommendations? Suggestions?
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Old 04-14-10, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by ballistic View Post
I build my own computers, so why not try to build my own bike?
You will need more than a screwdriver to assemble a bike properly.

If you don't mind shelling out money for tools and just want to assemble a bike for experience and fun, it might be worth it.
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Old 04-14-10, 06:56 PM
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ballistic
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I know I'll need a bunch of tools. Between my dad and one of my brothers, I'm sure all the tools are available. If I want to buy a bike, it'll likely happen without trying it first, and I'm not comfortable with that. I really like the Rapid 0 on paper, but I've only been able to ride a small Trek 7.6 FX.
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Old 04-14-10, 07:01 PM
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Let me understand this, you're new to cycling, not sure whether you want a flat bar or drop bar bike, haven't learned how to fit to a bike, and don't have tools to build one, but you think you might want to build one.
Now add to that, it costs way more to build a bike than buy a complete one because bike manufacturers get way better prices on components than you will and I think we've got a complete picture.
Here's a thought, if you really want to build a bike, buy on-line at someone like Bikes Direct. Their bikes are less expensive than at a bike shop, you'll be able to do a little building to finish the bike. The only problem is the one advantage the bike shop offers, getting you fitted to the right frame.
If I were in your shoes, I would not try to build from scratch.
Oh, one more comment, I've done several frame-up builds. I didn't try it until I had worked on quite a few of my own bikes.
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Old 04-14-10, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ballistic View Post
I know I'll need a bunch of tools. Between my dad and one of my brothers, I'm sure all the tools are available.
The tools required to assemble a bike frame, from scratch, aren't the type of things that most people have sitting around in the garage. i.e., there are special tools required to put in bottom brackets, headsets, to install the cassette onto the wheel, to shorten the chain to the right length, cable cutters,...

Also, you'll be on your own to properly size the bike (i.e., stem length, stem height, handlebar width, etc). Replacing those can get expensive, fast. If you buy a pre-made bike from the shop, they will (or at least should) replace parts at a nominal cost.
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Old 04-14-10, 07:09 PM
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Uh good luck with you r"bike build". And tools and bike tools are not the same, you really need bike specific tools. DO yourself a favor and buy a bike
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Old 04-14-10, 07:15 PM
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Tools are expensive, and bikes need a lot of them. Take it from someone who owns far too many of them because he made the mistake you are thinking of making: Just say no!
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Old 04-14-10, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by WCroadie View Post
DO yourself a favor and buy a bike
That's the problem.
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Old 04-14-10, 08:26 PM
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You're better off starting with a factory-built bike, and learning to modify it, which will take purchasing both components and tools, and when you feel confident you can do almost everything on your own (which is to say you ride your self-mods, tweaking them, reaching the point of "I get this stuff,") before you try a build from scratch (i.e. building your own wheels from rims, spokes and tires) /semi-scratch (buying custom-built or factory-built wheels).

If I were a noob, I would go to the LBS, and test-ride bikes. (I mean go out for 3 hours up the hills, down the hills, smooth pavement, crappy pot-hole pavement...) Find one you like riding. It may be a compact snappy handler, or a "comfort bike", not as nimble, but more forgiving and mistake-correcting when you get tired. If you can get a great deal on last year's model, or you find one you like and can get a much better deal used on EB or CL, this is good, because your purchase price is going to be closer to your selling price when you want to try something else.
If you are mechanically inclined, use your bike as a "servicing trainer". Lots of good online tutorials, many in videos out there. If you really wanted to get expertise in very little time, there are bike-wrench schools in Colo Springs and Ashland OR. Not cheap, but priceless knowledge-acquisition. You could open a home-garage repair and tuning operation and recoup your school-expenses and tool-buying-costs fast. I'm not saying you could get rich, but charge $20/hour labor and fair cost-plus parts charges, with no commercial-real-estate costs in your garage, do the jobs well, and get quickly-growing word-of-mouth advertising, and then you can go to $25, $30, $35, $40 an hour labor charges fairly rapidly, as you get experience and can complete jobs more efficiently. Bear in mind tool-purchase and replacement costs will lower your-net hourly income, especially in the first 6 mos. If LBSs get wind of this, they may file some kind of complaints. Check your local situation re home businesses. In many places, as long as you are unobtrusive to your neighbors, you're okay. If you keep it on the hush-hush and do a great job for your customers, they aren't going to complain to the LBSs or local gov't. If you do get hit with complaints, you can always buy a van, buy a business license, pay business taxes, and do mobile servicing at customers' residences.

If you just want to learn about things as a recreational cyclist, buy a pre-built, comfortable bike at first, learn to service it and try some mods, get them down, expand your capabilities, and then look at buying a frame and doing your own build. For frame sizing, bikyle.com and competitivecyclist.com will fit you based on your self-reported anatomical measurements. Once you know what you're doing bikesales.com has some great deals on stock-frame-size, shop-built, customized-component bikes in some very respectable brands, any components you want. Last summer, I shopped them against cc, they blew cc out of the water on price, got their Cervelo RS build in a carton (ca. 15 pounds with training wheels and clinchers, sans saddle and pedals), I just had to install the wheels. install my saddle and cliplesses, and go, perfectamundo.
.
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Old 04-14-10, 10:56 PM
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I've never bought a brand new bike and am now quite competent as a 'bike mechanic'. There's so much resources online now, you do not really need to depend much on LBS other than the odd few parts that you may need. Do your research, gather up your questions and on your next trip on the bike shop, try to clarify em' (of course, try to buy something!)

Both my current bikes (one road and one fixed) were completely build up in my living room (I live in a small apartment!). You'll need to spend a bit on tools though (bottom bracket tools for one! large wrenches etc).

Building up your own ride can be a very gratifying experience.
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Old 04-14-10, 11:08 PM
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I think I'm going to disagree with nearly everybody on this. I had the same problem when I bought my midlife crisis bike five or six years ago. I'm 6'4", in my 50s at the time, and I had pretty specific ideas what I wanted. I don't care at all about style and not much about speed--I wanted to be comfortable and have gears low enough for 8000-foot Sierra passes.
I would have preferred to buy locally, and I tried. I've ridden here for more than 30 years and know the local shop owners, and I was prepared to spend about $2000 (that was more in 2004 than it is today). Even so, nobody wanted to go to much trouble to help me. I ride a 64cm frame (60 will be too small for you, btw. 25 inches is probably about right, but 60cm is only about 23.5), but few shops stock those. Everybody tried to convince me a 60 or 62 would work ("we'll give you a longer seat post").
I finally ordered an Atlantis from Rivendell ($950 then with fork, bottom bracket and headset installed; I think $2000 now) and built it up with a combo of parts I had and stuff I bought, mostly from Rivendell. I'd done only minor repairs on my bikes, and I had just a basic set of cheap bike tools plus normal garage stuff. I assembled the bike in a couple of short evenings with no trouble at all, took one ride, adjusted a couple of things and that was it. No trouble, no drama, and I've ridden at least 15,000 miles since with just ordinary maintenance.
I didn't have to install the BB or headset, which are a little tricky and need specialized tools, but you can have a shop do that for a few dollars (I have done those jobs since, and they're not rocket surgery).
There's no reason to be afraid of this. You may not save money (I actually did, because I had some bikes i could cannibalize--I put between $1400 and $1500 into a bike that would have cost $2000-$2200 if i'd bought it complete). But you'll learn a lot, and you can say, "Yeah, I built it."
If Rivendell's out of your price range, you might consider Surly, and there are many others. Somebody else may be able to name some--I don't pay much attention to frames anymore now that I have the perfect bike.

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Old 04-15-10, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Jabba Degrassi View Post
Tools are expensive, and bikes need a lot of them. Take it from someone who owns far too many of them because he made the mistake you are thinking of making: Just say no!
i disagree with this. compared to many other hobbies and professions, the number and expense of bicycle specific tools is fairly trivial. i've built my last three bikes from frame up, and i probably havent spent much cash at all on bike specific tools.
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Old 04-15-10, 07:32 AM
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"Since it's proven difficult to find a bike, can I build my own? I build my own computers, so why not try to build my own bike? I've seen people here recommend buying a bike for the frame and not components, but where can I find a frame similar to the bikes I'm interested in? I definitely want carbon for its vibration dampening. But also I need a large frame. I'm 6'5'', so 25"/60cm+.

What are the best websites for bike frames? Or is it better to ask bike shops about frames?

Advice? Recommendations? Suggestions? "



I need a new computer. I have built several bikes so why can't I build a computer. I have heard that you can buy the components and put them together yourself. Where can I find a nice case that will fit me. I definitely want an Intel processor for speed and vibration dampening. Where could I find one and how do you connect the wires. Where are the best websites for computer components or is it better to ask at my local computer shop?

Advice, recommendations, suggestions?
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Old 04-15-10, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by AngryScientist View Post
i disagree with this. compared to many other hobbies and professions, the number and expense of bicycle specific tools is fairly trivial. i've built my last three bikes from frame up, and i probably havent spent much cash at all on bike specific tools.
I agree, but it depends on your financial perspective. I probably have $200-250 in bike tools and that includes headset and bottom bracket tools. To some that is expensive, to others quite reasonable. Since the LBS can charge $40-50/hour in labor, it pays back pretty quick. Oh, and add another $100-150 for a decent workstand.
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Old 04-15-10, 07:46 AM
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I've built several bikes up from frames. It was fun, I learned a lot, and I got exactly the parts I wanted on each bike. However, it's quite a bit more expensive to do it that way than to buy a complete bike. I don't know of any scientific data, but I'd say I spent 125%-150% more.
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Old 04-15-10, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by ballistic View Post
I'm new to cycling, but it's been a difficult week trying to find the bike for me. No shops will order me a bike to try without a deposit, and no one stocks the largest frame sizes. My local Performance Bike says they carry all frame sizes, but they don't have 2010 models in yet, and don't know when they will.

I'm looking at these bikes:
Giant Rapid 0
Giant Defy 1 (lots of Shimano 105 parts, but I'm not sure I like the drop handles)
Fuji Absolute 1.0
Trek 7.6 FX

Since it's proven difficult to find a bike, can I build my own? I build my own computers, so why not try to build my own bike? I've seen people here recommend buying a bike for the frame and not components, but where can I find a frame similar to the bikes I'm interested in? I definitely want carbon for its vibration dampening. But also I need a large frame. I'm 6'5'', so 25"/60cm+.

What are the best websites for bike frames? Or is it better to ask bike shops about frames?

Advice? Recommendations? Suggestions?
Instead of doing it yourself, why not just contact a smaller bike builder company and ask them to do it? Try contacting companies like these - www.lynskeyperformance.com

If you do choose to build yourself, please start a new thread or keep this one alive. I would like to follow that build.

Last edited by NickDavid; 04-15-10 at 08:11 AM.
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Old 04-15-10, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by NickDavid View Post
Instead of doing it yourself, why not just contact a smaller bike builder company and ask them to do it?

If you do choose to build yourself, please start a new thread or keep this one alive. I would like to follow that build.
This makes the most sense if you need a custom bike.

Can't you leave a deposit for a bike, the LBS orders it, you try and if you don't like it get your $$ back? The 2 LBS's I go to are very accommodating. I know in my area Trek will be doing a demo day where you can try all different trek bikes. You could try taling to the local trek dealer to see if they know of any demo days coming up.
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Old 04-15-10, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by greatkeen View Post
I assemble my bike by buying from eBay website.The frameset and wheelset is 100% full carbon fiber,and is painted with my favorite colors.When I received it,I even could not change my eyes from it.It is so cool.

Wish the website will be helpful to you:
https://cgi.ebay.com/Carbon-Triathlon...item2559f5b4bc
Did that come with the dilithium crystals or were they extra? Just curious.
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Old 04-15-10, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by BigBlueToe View Post
I've built several bikes up from frames. It was fun, I learned a lot, and I got exactly the parts I wanted on each bike. However, it's quite a bit more expensive to do it that way than to buy a complete bike. I don't know of any scientific data, but I'd say I spent 125%-150% more.
if you want a campy equipped bike, i think you can almost always build it cheaper than buy it, in the US anyway. When you consider the deals on groupsets from across the pond, it almost always works that way. with shimano/sram, i can see where your point would be valid.
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Old 04-15-10, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by greatkeen View Post
I assemble my bike by buying from eBay website.The frameset and wheelset is 100% full carbon fiber,and is painted with my favorite colors.When I received it,I even could not change my eyes from it.It is so cool.

Wish the website will be helpful to you:
https://cgi.ebay.com/Carbon-Triathlon...item2559f5b4bc
ummmmmmmm..... pictures, dude?
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Old 04-15-10, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by jrobe View Post
I need a new computer. I have built several bikes so why can't I build a computer. I have heard that you can buy the components and put them together yourself. Where can I find a nice case that will fit me. I definitely want an Intel processor for speed and vibration dampening. Where could I find one and how do you connect the wires. Where are the best websites for computer components or is it better to ask at my local computer shop?

Advice, recommendations, suggestions?
If you're serious, yes.

I didn't mean building a bike is like building a computer. I build my own computers, so why not build my own bike.
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Old 04-15-10, 10:00 AM
  #22  
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Generally, the folks who say that buying a complete bike is cheaper than building one up yourself are right. However, if you are very patient, are willing to spend many hours searching eBay and Craig's List to find great deals on used parts in good condition and wait for really great sales on UK sites, and have the requisite tools, you can build a really nice bike for equal to or less than the cost of buying a complete bike. I would add that you really do need to know what dimensions you will need so that you can buy the correct size frame, stem, seat post, etc. the first time around. Otherwise, you will spend way more than on a complete bike as you purchase replacement parts to dial in the fit. However, after building 12 bikes of my own and 6 bikes for friends, I would not trade the experience of bike building for any other hobby I know.
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Old 04-15-10, 10:16 AM
  #23  
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Those of us who ride 63 or 64cm frames rarely find a bike to test ride. I think the last bike I bought off a showroom floor was in 1988.
I can't recall the last time I saw a bike my size sitting in a store. I just pick a frame by the geometry charts, it's worked for the last 5 frames.

ballistic, where are you located?

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Old 04-15-10, 02:08 PM
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Zinn cycles specialize in bikes for tall people. You can buy a frameset and build your own bike up or go with a full build.

I had a bike build for me from them - and I'm half way round the world in New Zealand. Bike fit beautifully.

https://www.zinncycles.com

Check out their Project Big bikes.
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Old 04-15-10, 02:48 PM
  #25  
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I was in the same boat as you...was planning on building then happened upon a bike that I liked, in my price range.
If you are going to piece together a bike from scratch and price isnt an issue...go for it. Just make sure you have the right tools and a friend at your LBS you can turn to in case something happens...maybe even get the components and some of the tougher stuff pay your LBS to install (internal headset...headset...)
If you are going to buy your bike complete...(ie.. buying a 2010 defy 3 ) boxed and unassembeled, then you might want to double check that if you put it together yourself the warranty isnt voided. Often times the mfg states in must be fully assembled by a pro.
I like the doing your own build idea because you really can get a customized ride....and then maybe take it to your LBS for them to do the fine tooth adjusting and fit.

Good Luck
Keep us all informed.
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