Here she is; isn't she a beauty? After much Allen key wielding and dirt on the fingernails and just a little bit of sweat, I've finally got the Cannondale SuperSix Evo finished.
It’s been a while since I last built a bike and, to be honest, I forget just how much fun the whole process is. From carefully sourcing all the right components to then seeing the bike slowly (very slowing, in this case) take shape, gives you such a good deal of satisfaction.
And, I’ve realised, an odd emotional attachment. Because you've built the bike up yourself from a pile of bits, you develop a stronger relationship with it. Even the nicest complete bike bought from a bike shop can't match the feeling you get when you build your own bike.
Which is probably part of the reason so many people do it. It's also because you've handled every part with your own fingers, oil and grease staining your hands as you carefully and lovingly fit every part in its right place. From fixing the rear derailleur in place, fitting the chain, threading the cables, cutting the outers to just the right length, wrapping the bar tape, you know your bike inside and out.
The Evo was an mostly an easy build, and is an example of how wonderfully simple modern road bikes have become. Bottom brackets are now so easy to install, the SRAM Press-Fit30 bottom bracket on the Evo comprises cartridge bearings encased in a resin shell. A headset press is used to slide them smoothly into the carbon bottom bracket. Most people won't have a headset press - I didn't - but I borrowed one from a friend (thanks Jon!).
This, and fitting the lower bearing race to the forks, are the only part in the bike build that require workshop tools that most (even not so well-equipped) home mechanics won't have. Most friendly bike shops will usually do the task in return for a small payment (donuts or cookies sometimes work).
As for the rest of the bike, the only tools I needed were a selection of Allen keys and a cable cutter. I used an old Park Tool set I bought yonks ago. I'd recommend investing in a set of quality cable cutters, it's a tool you'll get lots of use out of over the years (well, less so if you go electronic I suppose).
With the Evo built, all I need to do is actually ride it. I'll let you know how I get on. Oh, I should mention that the build as you see it in the photos isn't the final – I've pinched the wheels and tyres from another bike for now. And I'm not sure about the bottle cage.
The build in full:
- Frame/fork: Cannondale Supersix Evo 56cm
- Groupset: SRAM Force
- Wheels: Shimano RS80
- Tyres: Michelin PRO4 Endurance
- Handlebars: Ritchey WCS Logic II handlebar
- Stem: Ritchey WCS C260
- Bar tape: Pro white tape
- Seatpost: USE Alien carbon
- Saddle: Prologo Scratch Nack
- Pedals: Speedplay
So, what do you think?
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.