Bike building

by lisseman   April 24, 2014  

Hi,

I have always wanted to build myself a bike but as a complete novice would be glad of any advice, including 'how to' manuals. With a budget of £3000 what frame would you recommend as a starting point. Many thanks in advance

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This is a daft question (no insult intended).

What bike do you want to build? Road/MTB/CX/SS/...?

The aim of building your own bike is to select the components that YOU like - not some arbitrary people on the internet. Do some research, pull the components together and then ask people their opinion of those components. Then be prepared to listen to as many opinions as there are people.

Or just go to Evans and buy one off the floor...

Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

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posted by jmaccelari [144 posts]
24th April 2014 - 15:34

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sorry I should have said its a road bike. I have more than a few bikes I have bought off the floor and had one purpose made for me. The +1 I was looking for was a self build road bike. I can see how it is difficult but maybe someone who has already done it could offer some pointers?

posted by lisseman [9 posts]
24th April 2014 - 15:52

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You can pretty much find all the information you need to build a bike on youtube. Bike manuals, if they exist at all, will become obsolete and outdated very quickly.

I recently built a bike, and thoroughly enjoyed it and its highly rewarding. I had very little experience with bike maintenance before but found it fairly straight forward. Just make sure you buy the right components to fit your frame. Tube sizes vary.

As for bike components, i bought most of my stuff very cheaply from Ribble cycles. But shop around with the likes of Merlin Cycles and planet X for the best deals.

posted by Scoob_84 [184 posts]
24th April 2014 - 16:05

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Thank you

posted by lisseman [9 posts]
24th April 2014 - 16:12

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Zinn's book on road bikes is a decent technical manual. Prepare to buy yourself lots of tools.

posted by Nick T [763 posts]
24th April 2014 - 16:13

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Go for it,mbut to differentiate from the shop floor stuff, pick a Campag Gruppo and perhaps Cinelli or other finishing kit you don't often see on assembled cycles.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [490 posts]
24th April 2014 - 16:54

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Just done the same: went titanium (frame), campag (gruppo), then mix & match bars, saddle etc, based on what I've enjoyed on other bikes.

Fitting BB, headset etc pretty simple (integrated headset & no paint to worry about simplified things), just watched youtube videos & web how-tos. Scariest thing was cutting the fork steerer: measure twice, cut once.

Don't rush it, dry-fit everything, and keep checking it over (easy to miss tightening a bolt). Torque wrench is a godsend, especially with carbon bars etc. You can always get a LBS to do any bits you're scared / not sure of.

Overall, it was easier than I thought & I'm a lot more comfortable to do any repairs now. Plus I have everything specced as I wanted it, no compromise.

posted by gavben [26 posts]
24th April 2014 - 17:37

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thanks I will have a look at it.

posted by lisseman [9 posts]
24th April 2014 - 18:04

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great food for thought thanks

posted by lisseman [9 posts]
24th April 2014 - 18:05

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very useful info thanks and getting a bit more confident about doing it now

posted by lisseman [9 posts]
24th April 2014 - 18:07

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Make sure you have all the tools you need, and a workstand. Both make it a fairly easy job. Have your laptop nearby to watch tutorial vids, and make sure you understand the vids before you attempt the task.
Take your time.

Make a list of all the parts you need - and it's a lot. In fact, I'll try to help, but doubtless I'll leave something off...

Frame
Forks
Headset - can be very tricky, esp with tapered forks. There's about a billion different types.
Groupset - Shimano, Campag, or SRAM? Do you want all matching components or do you want to e.g. use some FSA cranks with a Shimano group? Is your front deraillieur braze on or band on?
Bottom bracket - will come with your groupset if you buy it complete, but is ithe frame GXP or BB30?
Cables - both brake and gears
Wheels! Factory or handbuilt? Carbon or alloy?
Tyres!
Stem, bars, bar tape. Carbon bars or alloy?
Saddle, seatpost.
Speed/cadence monitor and garmin holder.
Extra bling? shiny Jockey wheels, QR skewers, chain

For assembly - anti seize, grease, lube, carbon grip paste.

Now, as for what you buy - the world is your oyster. With your current fleet of bikes, you should already have an idea of what you want, what you don't, and what you really need. Shiny things.

posted by bashthebox [625 posts]
24th April 2014 - 22:27

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wow! that's a great list! Thanks very much. Looks a bit daunting though Smile

posted by lisseman [9 posts]
25th April 2014 - 10:12

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bashthebox wrote:
For assembly - anti seize, grease, lube, carbon grip paste.

Speaking of which - mind if I ask folk here what the general feeling is about dedicated anti-seize (in particular metal additive ones, issues with metal types etc) and if positive, any recommendations for a specific type or make ? Cheers.

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posted by fukawitribe [296 posts]
25th April 2014 - 11:09

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Cooper slip is not really needed or a good idea, if you feel like splashing out on an posh anti seize then a small tub of teflon impregnated will do

White lithium grease is my pet hate as it bonds ally seat posts to steel frames if left in place

For cage bolts, stem bolts and the like vasiline has always been cheap/works, plain old brown moly grease for seat posts and BB's.

You can walk into the LBS and drop the best part of £50 on enough "special" lube for a year when most of it's available commercially through trade suppliers for much less, most of it's not even really required for a bike and is massive overkill

The one thing you will want to but that no one thinks of is a spray tin of silicone spray for the inside of shifters and a small squeezy tube of the thicker silicone lubricant. Shifters consist mostly of plastic on plastic moving parts and silicone works best.

posted by MKultra [197 posts]
25th April 2014 - 11:48

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MKultra wrote:
Cooper slip is not really needed or a good idea,

Good to know, the idea of it never really felt right to me.

MKultra wrote:
if you feel like splashing out on an posh anti seize then a small tub of teflon impregnated will do

White lithium grease is my pet hate as it bonds ally seat posts to steel frames if left in place

Ah - that's interesting, tah.

MKultra wrote:
For cage bolts, stem bolts and the like vasiline has always been cheap/works, plain old brown moly grease for seat posts and BB's.

You can walk into the LBS and drop the best part of £50 on enough "special" lube for a year when most of it's available commercially through trade suppliers for much less, most of it's not even really required for a bike and is massive overkill

I normally buy that sort of general stuff from trade counters or marine shops anyway, can't normally stomach the price hike for anything bike related.

MKultra wrote:
The one thing you will want to but that no one thinks of is a spray tin of silicone spray for the inside of shifters and a small squeezy tube of the thicker silicone lubricant. Shifters consist mostly of plastic on plastic moving parts and silicone works best.

Cheers - thanks for the pointers.

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posted by fukawitribe [296 posts]
25th April 2014 - 12:11

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I've always used copaslip on my bikes and motorcycle, a habit inherited from my home - mechanic and engineer father, who used motorcycles on his daily commute in all weathers. I used the Finish Line equivalent in my time at the bike shop too.

I'd say a light coat of it on all metal on metal threads and mating surfaces (fnarr) is the way to go - it seemed to cure creaky handlebars and square taper cranks perfectly.

If you have left over, you can smear it on the steps of the local police station too.

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
25th April 2014 - 12:12

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A bike stand to hold the frame off the floor as you bolt on the shiny bits.

If you do the usual maintenance on a bike, building it from scratch itsn't that much more, especially as headsets just drop in and BB are a bit more straight-forward.

I built my bike about a year ago and the hardest part was cutting the steerer tube, due to fear. An old headset taped in place as a cutting guide helped. Don't cut the steerer as short as needed immediately but instead run some spacer above the stem so you can change the height. After a few rides, when it's all dialed in you can cut off the excess. Oh, and sizing the chain length can be harder as you don's simply match the old one.

An once you've built it, no one else will have one exactly the same, and you can mend any part of it.

£3K is a healthy budget to have.

posted by hennahairgel [17 posts]
25th April 2014 - 12:34

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Thank you for your tips

posted by lisseman [9 posts]
25th April 2014 - 12:48

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