Considering building a bike up, should I?

RyanBrook
RyanBrook Posts: 195
edited October 2007 in Road beginners
I'm considering buying a frameset, and then building a decent bike myself. I have never built a bike before so I'm a little apprehensive. Can this be a cheap way to build a second hand bike or would you suggest I buy one already built up? Just this way I get to choose everything. Is it possible to do the jobs myself (will need a toolkit) or will I need to get someone to do it for me?

Comments

  • redddraggon
    redddraggon Posts: 10,862
    I'd imagine a bike with better components and better frames ie chorus and a decent carbon frame would be cheaper to build yourself. But I think on the cheaper side ie Sora and cheap Al frame, it's probably cheaper to buy a built up one from a shop.
    I like bikes...

    Twitter
    Flickr
  • Gussio
    Gussio Posts: 2,452
    The concensus from other threads seems to be that it will cost you more to build up the bike yourself. That said, it is a very rewarding thing to do and you can be sure that you end up with exactly what you set out to get. At the end of the process, you will have a full set of tools and the confidence to attend almost any future maintenance that might be required. If you do go down this route, don't underestimate the time that it will take.
  • I built up a (winter) bike for the first time last year . Have since done two more (one for the wife and another for a friend) I found it a rewarding process and enjoyed doing the actual build . I wouldn't say it's a cost cutting exercise though but as others have said it enables you to spec the bike exactly how you want it . Also afterwards I think there is the benefit is that any maintenance you need to do doesn't need a trip to the bike shop . Would thoroughly recommend it . Take your time doing the build and if you get stuck there's a mine of inormation on the web and on forums like this .
    Luke
  • What are the main compatibility issues that I need to look out for?
  • Gussio
    Gussio Posts: 2,452
    RyanBrook wrote:
    What are the main compatibility issues that I need to look out for?

    That shifters, chainset, chain, cassette, front and rear mechs all work together. Issue is avoided by buying a group set (i.e. all these items as a job lot). Bottom bracket will need to fit frame and chainset. Good LBS will be able to advise, unless you plan to buy everything online.
  • I would buy a bike second hand - it's definitely cheaper. Also, if you haven't built a bike before, starting from scratch is not the way to learn. You also need to ask yourself if you really know what parts you want. Sometimes you don't realise what you want on your bike until you realise what you don't want!

    If you buy second hand, you can learn to tinker with it, and upgrade bits and pieces as you want and as you need. This is how I started and I have since transfored a good bike into an excellent bike, which is suited to the way that I ride.
  • Zendog1
    Zendog1 Posts: 816
    I recently built a wet weather bike from the frame up. It's great to have the confidence (and tools) to tackle any job on the bike but as others have said it's not really cost effective unless like me you already have a spare groupset and pair of wheels.

    Couple of points:

    Bike specific tools are expensive. for good quality I would guess you are looking at something over £150 for a complete build - but then you've got them for life.

    The actual build is pretty straightforward - moden bikes are designed for low skill factory assemby. i found the forks (crown race and star nut) the only tricky bits.
  • I have just built a bike up for the first time. As others have said I don't think I saved any money but it was a very rewarding experience.

    Before attempting it I went on a 2 day bike maintenance course with these people:
    http://www.downlandcycles.co.uk/courses.htm
    Highly recommended, involved stripping my own bike down the frame and then rebuilding it. Without this I wouldn't have had the confidence to tackle the bike build.
    Here is the finished result:
    1433995941_28bb8d913f_m.jpg
  • If you are quite handy with the spanners, I would definately say "go for it" even if you arn't I would still do it but read what you can before hand and ask for info when you don't understand something. The general consensus is that it is dearer to build yourself, but you get exactly what you want. Have you ever seen your ideal frame, groupset, wheels, saddle,stem length, bar width on a bike for sale new from a shop. I built my first bike that I use for racing earlier this year. I bought all the parts when I saw them in a sale and saved approx £1000 on RRP's.side.jpg
  • John C.
    John C. Posts: 2,113
    If you have the urge to build then go for it. The best way to start is go and buy a very cheap bike, strip it, clean it and put it back togeather. This way if you break something it doesn't really mater and you will learn a lot.
    http://www.ripon-loiterers.org.uk/

    Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
    Hills are just a matter of pace
  • Only if you have loads of dosh - otherwise but one new or second hand - e.g. a bottom end pair of STIs alone are around £100 (sora). By the time you've bought all components new for a frame it's cost a fortune (I know I did it - never again). Best value I find is buy one second hand which has minimal need for upgrades.
    I must say goodbye to the blindfold
    And pursue the ideal
    The planet becoming the hostess
    Instead of the meal
    Roy Harper - 'Burn the World'
  • John C.
    John C. Posts: 2,113
    stevejmo7 wrote:
    Only if you have loads of dosh - otherwise but one new or second hand - e.g. a bottom end pair of STIs alone are around £100 (sora). By the time you've bought all components new for a frame it's cost a fortune (I know I did it - never again). Best value I find is buy one second hand which has minimal need for upgrades.
    A bottom end pair of STIs may cost around 100 pounds BUT you could use a set of 10 speed Campags which will run 7,8 and 9 speed Shimano and campag 10. These will set you back from about 30-40 quid. But I get the jist of the reply, the project will end up costing a lot more than you expect.
    http://www.ripon-loiterers.org.uk/

    Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
    Hills are just a matter of pace
  • bryanm
    bryanm Posts: 218
    One of the prohibitive costs for this is the proper tools for the job. That said good tools last well. I did this a few years back, and as indicated it did cost me more - although it was good project for a few weeks. The frame builder fitted the headset and forks, and the shop where I bought all the components from fitted the bottom bracket and crankset. The rest is fairly straight forward.

    My biggest problem was that having built it up I didn't like the frame geometry. That wouldn't have happened had I been trying out a fully built stock bike,
  • terongi
    terongi Posts: 318
    Go for it.

    I did my first build about 2 years ago. I have built up another 4-5 since then. I also build the wheels each time.

    it is actually very easy. Everything bolts on as long as you have the right tools. The rest is just adjustment, for which you need lots of patience.

    The only thing I would not do is cutting fork steerer and paintspraying because I don't have the right tools and workshop set up and because anything which goes wrong would be pretty hideous.

    Otherwise the only risk of breaking something expensive is if you strip the bottom bracket threads on the frame.

    I don't think there is much of a cost advantage. Even if you save money on all the parts put together, you will be spending £100-150 on specialist tools unless you have them already. The real benefit is being able to do all your own maintenance and upgrades
  • acorn_user
    acorn_user Posts: 1,137
    Nice Merckx :)
  • DavidBelcher
    DavidBelcher Posts: 2,684
    RyanBrook wrote:
    I'm considering buying a frameset, and then building a decent bike myself. I have never built a bike before so I'm a little apprehensive. Can this be a cheap way to build a second hand bike or would you suggest I buy one already built up? Just this way I get to choose everything. Is it possible to do the jobs myself (will need a toolkit) or will I need to get someone to do it for me?

    Definitely worth thinking about - nearly all of my bikes have been acquired and built this way since I was about 16 or 17. Keeping an eye on S/H adverts (a good source of frames at bargain prices) and shop/internet offers for components (the next 4-6 months are a good time for this as a fair bit of old stuff will be on offer to clear the shelves for the 2008 ranges) allows you to build up a bike above the normal spec of its price range. My own new-ish carbon road frame (Look KG241 with Time Sprint forks) cost me the princely sum of £117 thanks to scouring S/H ads! Investing in the more expensive maker-specific tools for things like BB cups and cassette lock rings seems pricey initially, but they're good long-term investments - once you've got them you can always do the job at home in future rather than foot the bill for a bike shop's labour costs.

    David
    "It is not enough merely to win; others must lose." - Gore Vidal
  • System_1
    System_1 Posts: 513
    You should do it. It might be a few quid more expensive than buying something off the shelf, but the feeling of hammering down the road on a bike you have put together yourself and know inside and out is a feeling that can't be beat.. It is much, much easier than you would think. Just take your time and you will learn as you go. You'll save money in the long term anyway as you'll never have to pay your lbs for servicing again.

    Also, don't listen to all this talk of the right tools costing £150 quid. Unless you have a fleet of bikes that you take apart every couple of weeks then there is no need to spend silly money on the likes of Park tools. There are better value, good quality tools out there that will do the same job for much less money. I built my first bike last year using a bike specific tool kit bought from Lidl for £17! Most folk already own, or at least have access to, hex keys, spanners and screwdrivers so really the only bike specific tools you will need would be a chain whip and lockring tool, a BB tool, and depending on the crankset you have, a crank puller.
  • allaction
    allaction Posts: 209
    On a similar note what groupset would folks go for. I currently have 105 and am pleased with that. I've recently bought a carbon frame and am toying with going with an equivalent Campag (maybe the Centaur which is more Ultegra) as an alternative. I had secured a second hand 105 set but the guys insurance claim just got very messy and may take months to resolve.
  • heavymental
    heavymental Posts: 2,076
    My own new-ish carbon road frame (Look KG241 with Time Sprint forks) cost me the princely sum of £117 thanks to scouring S/H ads!

    Where'd you pick that up from!? I'm feeling like I've thrown £400 away on my Scott CR1 which I thought was a good price!
  • DavidBelcher
    DavidBelcher Posts: 2,684
    My own new-ish carbon road frame (Look KG241 with Time Sprint forks) cost me the princely sum of £117 thanks to scouring S/H ads!

    Where'd you pick that up from!? I'm feeling like I've thrown £400 away on my Scott CR1 which I thought was a good price!

    Frame was acquired by extensive Googling; eventually I found a nice cheap (exactly a ton) KG241 in very good nick for sale in Croydon via the Norwood Paragon CC online newsletter. The Time forks, which pre-dated the KG241 and used to be paired with my old steel race frame, came from a clubmate who hadn't been able to shift them for ages (presumably because they're for a 1" quill set-up) and so I was offered them for just 17 quid including the P&P!

    David
    "It is not enough merely to win; others must lose." - Gore Vidal
  • heavymental
    heavymental Posts: 2,076
    Thats a bargain. I'd be chuffed with that. Did you know what you wanted and just kept looking for it? I have a number of 2nd hand sites that I check but not come accross a deal like that!
  • I'd definitely recommend it.

    I bought a frameset on Ebay from a guy who got it new for a build but never did anything with it. I then got the rest of the kit from Wiggle and various Ebay shops.
    Admittedly the frameset (an untouched Felt F80, last year's model) setting me back only £130 was a very good foundation for the build, but even with Shimano 105 kit, Mavic Aksium wheels and a great Selle Italia saddle the total spend was no more than £600 (and that included a few bits of new clothing).

    A brand new Felt F75 is comparable with mine for spec and costs £850.

    You also learn loads, will never need to use a bike shop for servicing again and will get a feeling of pride in your bike you just don't get from an off the peg model.

    Go for it!