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Building a bike up from the frame

Foz72Foz72 Posts: 81
edited July 2008 in Road beginners
How hard is it?
My experience with bike mechanics really amounts to fairly basic servicing, adjusment and repalcement of some of the simpler components. I'm guessing that bottom bracket and headset are the trickiest bits.

Any advice on whether to start a 'project' v welcome. Thanks.


  • Smokin JoeSmokin Joe Posts: 5,669
    edited June 2008
    It is only fairly basic spannering. If you can change the spark plugs on a car you can assemble a bike.

    There are plenty of maintenance books that will show you everything. The Park Tools website will also give you a comprehensive guide to how everything fits together and what tools you need.
  • Barrie_GBarrie_G Posts: 479
    Plus if you have any problems or it's a part where you want to make sure it's done right i.e. headset then just pop along to your LBS and they will usually fit it for a small charge.
  • AmbermileAmbermile Posts: 117
    I have just gone through this... old bike had a crack in the frame so I thought I'd just get a new frame and transfer the bits - boy was I wrong! Found a decent (cheapish) aluminium frame and went for it without checking basic dimensions. Ended up getting *everything* new for the frame, cost me nearly £400 but I do have a bike that nobody else does and it has all the bits *I* wanted rather than what was cheap to make when it was being assembled/specced.

    I'd say do it but don't expect it to be a cheaper route than an off-the-shelf option. As for the complexity then yes, if you can change plugs or even just a wheel on your car then you're good to go.

    The Beastie

    Sic itur ad astra
  • System_1System_1 Posts: 513
    It's dead easy. I built mine up a while back with nothing more than info from the Park Tools site. Obviously the right tools are needed. A cassette tool, chain whip and BB tool are musts. Everything else depends on what groupset/headset you will be using. Older square taper cranks will need a crank extractor, but things like hollowtech you just need the BB tool. Integrated headests don't need tools, they are just push fit. I spent maybe £40 on tools and the only thind I had to get the LBS to do was cut the steerer, and they did that for nowt.
  • dealdeal Posts: 857
    very easy and is a great learning process, i built a bike about a month ago using a £20 tool kit from lidl or aldi cant recall which, in addition to these i only needed a few other tools which cost no more than £10 combined

    the only step that might be worth visiting the lbs for is cutting a carbon steerer tube as previously mentioned, but many people just cut them with a hacksaw themselves, i got my brother to cut mine to size using a chop saw with perfect results.
    Correctly aligning the front deraileur is the only part i found tricky, bearing in mind this was the first time i had done anything more than fix a puncture...
  • sloboysloboy Posts: 1,139
    I've just done my first complete build - as mentioned above, the drop in headsets remove one somewhat specialist task that I've avoided previously. The only outside assistance I had for this one was getting the BB faced and chased.
  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    easy enough and very satisfying too!

    it won't be cheap though - unless you are very lucky with ebay - cos you will end up putting the bits you really want on it - a little upgrade here, a bit more there.. before you know you have spent a fortune - but you will have a great bike for it!
  • igaiga Posts: 155
    I think the most daunting thing is ensuring compatibility between bits rather attaching them to the bike but as others have said there's plenty of info online.
    FCN 7
    Aravis Audax, Moulton TSR
  • i just finished building mine this weekend.

    frame sizes were the same but the things ive noticed were.

    due to frame geometry differing some of my cables were shortened and they only just attached to the derailers bolts.

    the crown race is a censored to get off your old forks and the new one has to be installed with some force.

    i bought a headset press thinking id need it but i didnt! doh! waste of £35

    the new frames head tube was longer than my old one, so even with no spacers under the stem, it only just goes on, the steerer could do with being an inch longer but that means new forks!

    my seat clamp will not hold the seat tube and it keeps slipping down, gonna need a new clamp.

    & I sliced open my finger, blood everywhere :oops:

    appart from all that it went very well and all the parts migrated over easily.
  • AmbermileAmbermile Posts: 117
    the new frames head tube was longer than my old one, so even with no spacers under the stem, it only just goes on, the steerer could do with being an inch longer but that means new forks!

    Mine too actually... I used one of these to extend the head tube - and the sleeve that came with it was a perfect fit for the stem.

    Then, since I was not *really* confident on the strength, I used one of theseas well, just in case! It meant using the long bolt to hold both the extension and the headlock but now I *know* it's not going anywhere and I could do away with that stupid star nut thing 8)

    The Beastie

    Sic itur ad astra
  • giant_mangiant_man Posts: 6,890
    What about cabling guys? Dead easy or a right censored ? This is probably the only thing I would be cautious about.
  • MystiqueMystique Posts: 342
    Cabling: Piece of cake...
  • unless they fall short then youd have to replace them.

    they thread through easily.
    most time consuming bit is resetting your derailers up.
  • MystiqueMystique Posts: 342
    Never tried re-using cables - A new build is a great excuse to replace all the bits that wear/ stretch/ fray...
  • schlepcyclingschlepcycling Posts: 1,578
    Go on give it a go, I'm on about my 4th self build (1 was for a friend), check the 'my best bike' I built that myself :D. As others have said use the park tools website or this one and there's loads of tutorials on you tube. Just remember 1 thing 'measure twice and cut once'.
    'Hello to Jason Isaacs'
  • Matt-BMatt-B Posts: 112
    I'm building a bike up as a kind of side project (I had enough bits in the shed, and thought...why not!) and I'm completely mechanically inept. I would echo what has been mentioned before though - make sure you have the right tools, and the fitting itself is basically a piece of cake. However, it's a bit of a pain ensuring that everything is compatible, especially gearing/chainset wise! I have made a couple of mistakes, but that is the reason I wanted to do it - as a learning experience.

    Mind you, I probably shouldn't talk about it properly until it's done, I've ridden it, and I haven't died and it hasn't fallen apart.
  • Foz72Foz72 Posts: 81
    Thanks for all the advice and encouragement - v helpful. I actually had two projects in mind. Firstly an MTB which I bought after too short a test ride and which is simply too big for me & becomes quite unpleasant on longer rides. Possible solution - get hold of another frame, prob off eBay, and transfer everying else over - lock, stock and headset.

    Based on the advice given I'm inclined to go for it but if I can't get a smaller size of the exact same model, am I going to struggle horribly with compatibility isses??

    If that works out then everything I learn can be applied to the (obviously more important :) ) road bike project......
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