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Build my First Bike - Unrealistic?

mrrodgemrrodge Posts: 3
edited June 2015 in Road beginners
Build my First Bike - Unrealistic?

Hi all,

I'm not a cyclist - the last bike I had was a heavy mountain bike from Halfords about 15 years ago.

I borrowed a MTB from a colleague to go on an introductory 10 mile ride at lunch time last week - then I swapped to another colleague's modified-for-road MTB and wow, the difference was incredible!

Everyone at work seems to be getting into cycling and I've agreed to join the works 'club' for training and a bi-annual 3-day trek over some of the UK's nicest scenery. This year was the Way of the Roses, don't know what's coming next but I want to get involved.

Initially I looked at getting a cheap hybrid or even putting new wheels and tyres on my mountain bike, but the more I think about it the more I like the prospect of building it myself (I love anything like that).

My Dad and his siblings were all incredibly keen cyclists back in the day (they all used to do hundreds of miles a day) so I've got support and experience on tap, but when they were cycling gears were very different and disc brakes etc didn't exist, so can you help?

From what I've read, I think I'd like to build a 'not so aggressive' road bike. Something more than a hybrid (most of the guys at work said they're garbage and are all swapping to road bikes after the WotR), less than a racer. I'm thinking carbon frame & forks, as light as possible, drop bars but with mid-cable brake levers for using the bar top, disc brakes for all weather and a gearset with something like an 11-36 casette for the hills with 52/36 chainrings. I'm thinking of using tyres of anything from 23-32mm for the occasional off-road on gravel or something, depending on what a route throws at us.

So, the questions! I'm sure there'll be plenty more along the way...

- First purchase = frameset. I'm 6'1" so I'm thinking sort of 58/60cm. I've seen some on ebay, at £240 brand new, total weight including forks about 1.6kg. How would I go about fitting disc brakes to this? I'm not averse to getting parts used, taking other bikes apart for the bits etc.

- Does anyone know of a good, comprehensive guide?

- Am I being unrealistic here?

Posts

  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    Anyone with a bit of mechanical aptitude can build a bike, they aren't that complicated. If buying new however, it's likely to be cheaper to buy a complete bike than separate frame, forks, wheels, groupset etc.

    If you're happy to scout Ebay for used bargains you could build up a bike for less, but then you really would need to know what you're doing.

    From your description you're wanting a sportive type bike, carbon frame and forks, with disc brakes. Something like the Cannondale Synapse disc?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GThZkn1RwyE

    Cheaper options are available from online retailers like Ribble, Planet X, or Rose and Canyon in Germany

    Or maybe a cyclocross bike fitted with road tyres?
  • mrrodgemrrodge Posts: 3
    Not really clear on the difference between sportive and cyclocross - from what I gather a cyclocross won't break if I take it off road... Does that mean a sportive will?!
  • markhewitt1978markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    Not really clear on the difference between sportive and cyclocross - from what I gather a cyclocross won't break if I take it off road... Does that mean a sportive will?!

    A cyclocross bike is basically in a road bike style but for use off road. Big fork clearances for quite wide off road tyres and often higher bottom brackets.

    A sportive bike is a road bike - not designed to be used off road - it doesn't mean it will break if you do just that more often they don't have the clearances to take the tyres required for off road grip. It's often called a sportive bike because the geometry is more relaxed with a higher headset. They are basically saying it's not for racing so doesn't have an agressive geometry.

    As for your building, you know that unless you've already got some parts or are getting them dirt cheap it'll be cheaper to buy a ready built bike? Especially as parts of the process requires special tools.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Structurally there's no difference between a road, sportive or CX bike - it's down to frame geometry and the CX bike having bigger tyre clearance, likewise with components and wheels. As for bar-top brake levers - they're useless - they're too close together to be of any use as a riding position and only make the brakes more spongy - fit wider bars if you want better control. Building a bike isn't too difficult for someone with basic technical competence (excluding wheel building) and all the info is available online - be careful with component selection as there are thing like differing BB standards. Built-up bikes benefits from the economies of scale for the cost of components.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • markhewitt1978markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    I would say if you want to have a bash at doing things yourself, perhaps a better long term plan is to buy a cheap bike, but still making sure it has reasonable components e.g. 10 speed Tiagra, and then upgrade it bit by bit yourself, possibly even a second hand one, that way your only having to deal with learning about one component at a time, and you can take your time over it. Meanwhile you can ride it too!
  • You pretty much describe a nice cyclocross bike. Plenty of those available off the shelf, although carbon will up the price to the point where I wouldn't recommend it until you've actually got some miles down on a similar bike to know that's really what you want. Boardman cx team, Pinnacle Arkose 3 are both good options for you.
  • IanRCarterIanRCarter Posts: 217
    I'd recommend going into bike shops and trying some bikes out, you might find something you really like the feel of and forget all about building one (until n+1 takes hold). As somebody else said, you can always upgrade components, it's what I've done with my first bike, upgrading bits, putting the old components on a new frame and now I'm comfortable with bike maintenance and building up a bike from scratch.

    The other reason I recommend trying bikes out is that it will help you get a feel for different bikes so if you did decide to build one, you can try and match it to the geometry of the bikes you liked. Although I wouldn't do this if you weren't open to buying a bike (or at least planning to buy components for the build) from the bike shop, it's the same as going to a sports shop and trying on trainers for size then going home and ordering them online where they're cheaper.
  • Record11TiRecord11Ti Posts: 74
    More often than not...if you are not an eBay professional...a pre-built is less costly.
  • Simon MastersonSimon Masterson Posts: 2,740
    I wouldn't recommend building your first bike, not because you couldn't, but for the simple reason that you may commit yourself to things that you may not want even a few weeks or months down the line. Unless you have a crystal clear idea of exactly what you want, you are unlikely gain anything much from doing it (except for learning how to put a bike together), a complete bike will be cheaper for obvious reasons, and the OEM parts and wheels are also useful for spares and foul weather later on.

    In general, building bikes is a lot of fun and gets you something a bit more distinctive (if not necessarily 'unique'). Doing it from eBay and the classifieds can also get you a lot of bike for your money if you know what you're doing and you're prepared to be patient. I recently finished a TT build, with a top class, pro level steel frame, handbuilt wheels, a mix of Record and Chorus bits and a Super Record Ti BB, and quality finishing kit. I (have so far) spent just under £640, and that's including tyres, cables, bar tape, a computer, everything - as well as two front wheels, a rear hub for another build in progress, and over £70 in courier and postage.
  • Record11TiRecord11Ti Posts: 74
    In general, building bikes is a lot of fun and gets you something a bit more distinctive (if not necessarily 'unique'). Doing it from eBay and the classifieds can also get you a lot of bike for your money if you know what you're doing and you're prepared to be patient. I recently finished a TT build, with a top class, pro level steel frame, handbuilt wheels, a mix of Record and Chorus bits and a Super Record Ti BB, and quality finishing kit. I (have so far) spent just under £640, and that's including tyres, cables, bar tape, a computer, everything - as well as two front wheels, a rear hub for another build in progress, and over £70 in courier and postage.


    Got pic's? I presume CSR square taper BB? (not that I for one can feel a difference between that and Ultratorque). Rebuild the rear hub?
  • Simon MastersonSimon Masterson Posts: 2,740
    In general, building bikes is a lot of fun and gets you something a bit more distinctive (if not necessarily 'unique'). Doing it from eBay and the classifieds can also get you a lot of bike for your money if you know what you're doing and you're prepared to be patient. I recently finished a TT build, with a top class, pro level steel frame, handbuilt wheels, a mix of Record and Chorus bits and a Super Record Ti BB, and quality finishing kit. I (have so far) spent just under £640, and that's including tyres, cables, bar tape, a computer, everything - as well as two front wheels, a rear hub for another build in progress, and over £70 in courier and postage.


    Got pic's? I presume CSR square taper BB? (not that I for one can feel a difference between that and Ultratorque). Rebuild the rear hub?

    Just took this:

    DSCF7665.jpg

    It is indeed a square taper, I like them, they're cheap, they work really well, and there has to be a reason why Cliff Polton from Royce still swears by them. The rear wheel you see there I really intended as a turbo wheel; as mentioned I do have another hub (Athena) which I will soon build up and then buy wheel covers for (I would love a Ghibli or Comete, but sadly funds do not allow!). The drivetrain is Campag 8 speed, which I'm a fan of as you get good sprockets that last a while and are cheap. I buy up unused cassettes whenever I spot them at decent prices, the one I've got on is an NOS 12-19, which gives me all the gears I need anyway...
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