Author Topic: Build from Frame Up Information  (Read 2423 times)

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Offline rlc5925

Build from Frame Up Information
« on: July 07, 2011, 08:07:50 pm »
I'm going to build my first frame up bike. I'm looking for any suggestions, books, manuals, etc that would help me out with such an endevor. I do minor repair work and would consider myself not much more than a novice but you got to start somewhere. Thanks

Offline DaveB

Re: Build from Frame Up Information
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2011, 09:30:27 pm »
First the disclaimer.  A bare frame build up is a pretty aggressive place to start for someone with limited mechanical experience and without a fairly complete tool selection.  You might consider starting with a complete bike and do a tear-down/build-up on it first before tackling a new, and potentially expensive, project bike. 

That said, here are some ideas for your consideration:

Lennard Zinn's "Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Repair" is a very good start.  Other resources are Park Tool's "Blue Book" and their very useful web site.  Finally, Sheldon Brown's web site has a ton of articles on various bicycle components and their use and installation.  I recommend you study most or all of these before proceeding. 

I would also recommend you buy a complete "build kit" from QBP or a similar source.  It will be a lot less expensive than buying all of your components individually and most can be customized to get the desired crank length, bar width, stem size, cassette configuration, etc.   

Offline whittierider

Re: Build from Frame Up Information
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2011, 11:17:05 pm »
I too would recommend starting more gradually, working on an already built-up bike while reading and asking questions on the forums.  There are plenty of things you are likely to put together without realizing that you didn't do it such that it would work right or last long, or you may even damage it.  Some mistakes can be very costly, like cutting a steering tube on a fork incorrectly, so now you have to buy another fork.

I will also say that it is less expensive to buy a finished bike and make a few minor changes to customize it than it is to buy the frame and all the components individually and build it up.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2011, 11:18:36 pm by whittierider »

Offline staehpj1

Re: Build from Frame Up Information
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2011, 09:33:34 am »
I will also say that it is less expensive to buy a finished bike and make a few minor changes to customize it than it is to buy the frame and all the components individually and build it up.
+1

In my opinion...
Once you have a bike that is reasonably well suited to touring anything else you do to the bike has a minor effect on the overall touring experience.  When I think back on my tours, the bike itself just isn't what the tours were about.  My advice would be to buy a complete bike that is suited to touring and make any minor tweaks that are required.

Just me, but I don't get all the "ultimate build" threads.  My bike was $599 and once I modified the gearing to get lower gears it has served well enough that I really have no desire to change anything else.  It has taken me across the country on the Trans America and on a couple other longish tours and I have had almost no complaints.

A complete bike is usually cheaper and often has more suitable component choices (in my opinion) than what a lot of the custom builds I read about on the various forums.

Offline happyriding

Re: Build from Frame Up Information
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2011, 05:17:15 am »
I'm going to build my first frame up bike. I'm looking for any suggestions, books, manuals, etc that would help me out with such an endevor. I do minor repair work and would consider myself not much more than a novice but you got to start somewhere. Thanks

Building up a bike is simple.  All the parts come with installation manuals, and if you have any questions or get confused, you can ask questions on a forum, like this one:

http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdisplay.php/10-Bicycle-Mechanics

As long as you order the correct parts, e.g. the correct width bottom bracket for your cranks, and the correct freewheel tool for your cassette, you will do fine.  I recommend that you keep your frame covered with bubble wrap to protect it from nicks and scratches as you build up the frame.  Try to anticipate where a wrench that slips could hit your frame, and generously pad that area.

I think the hardest part of building up a frame is installing the brake and derailleur cables and cutting the housing to the correct length, and that isn't very hard to do.  Buy some 25 ft rolls of brake and derailleur housing at jensonUSA.com so that if you screw something up, you will have extra housing at hand.  Also, brake and derailleur cable/housing sets are a ripoff.

The great thing about building up your own frame is that you will know how everything fits together, and therefore you will be much better at doing on road emergency repairs.

« Last Edit: July 09, 2011, 05:26:38 am by happyriding »

Offline rcrampton

Re: Build from Frame Up Information
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2011, 02:13:51 am »
A frame-up build is a lot of fun, go for it. There are a lot of minor details that can bite you, and if you don't have a lot of expertise already then just expect to get bitten by them and spend a lot of time troubleshooting issues. But if you like doing that then you'll have a good time. if you just want to bolt parts on and have it work then it might not be so much fun.

There is plenty of help online to work through whatever issues come up.

I would start by talking with the frame maker or others that have built bikes on the same or similar frame (maybe there'sa  forum for them) for component recommendations. Frame geometries and such can impact what components you can use.

I agree than the Zinn books are good - road bike or mountain bike, whichever is appropriate for your frame.

The build kits sound like a good idea potentially as long as you can get what you want, or most of it, in one of the kits. Components are really expensive when you buy them one at a time.

Obviously start by picking the big buckets you want to be in (disc vs cantilever etc. brakes, internal geared hub vs. derailleur, grip vs. STI shifters, etc) then work down from there.

Lots of great help online, good luck!

Offline DaveB

Re: Build from Frame Up Information
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2011, 08:22:58 pm »
Building up a bike is simple......As long as you order the correct parts....
That's a BIG qualifier.  Sure building a bike is simple, if you order the right parts, have the right tools and can follow the manufacturers instructions sheets (which always presume a level of expertise well above complete novice).  For that matter brain surgery is simple if you have the right qualifications. :)

I'm not equating bike building with surgery of course but it certainly helps to have experience and practice on a more simple project before tackling the really involved stuff.

I'm a regular on the Mechanics Forum at Bikeforums.net and we are forever getting questions from novice mechanics who have purchased the wrong component and don't know what to do with it and don't even know what to ask.   

« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 08:26:43 pm by DaveB »

Offline whittierider

Re: Build from Frame Up Information
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2011, 11:22:48 pm »

Quote
That's a BIG qualifier.

+1.  I've run into several situations where there were problems of things working together quite right.  If you get a bike already built up, the manufacturer has already figured those out and given you a package that all works together.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Build from Frame Up Information
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2011, 01:13:47 pm »
Why are you so eager to start with just a frame?

It is so much cheaper to start with a fully assembled bike and then swap out the components that you don't like.  I have a hand built Waterford, and the frame came in at $2300, but it was another $2900 to turn it into a touring bicycle.  Even if you deduct $350 for Tubis racks and polymer fenders, buying components al-a-carte is really expensive.  Even when you buy a build kit, there is no way that build kit is priced even close to what a bicycle manufacturer pays for a build kit.

Tear your bike down and do a full overhaul if you want the build experience.
Danno

Offline rlc5925

Re: Build from Frame Up Information
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2011, 06:49:46 pm »
Why are you so eager to start with just a frame?
I  currently have a road bike, a touring bike and and an old stumpjumper. I  got a got a good deal on a  Rivendell  hilsen frame.

Offline DaveB

Re: Build from Frame Up Information
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2011, 07:30:42 pm »
Why are you so eager to start with just a frame?
I  currently have a road bike, a touring bike and and an old stumpjumper. I  got a got a good deal on a  Rivendell  hilsen frame.
OK, practice and develop your mechanical skills on the complete bikes you already have and read everything you can about components and what fits what.  After that building your new frame up should be relatively straightforward, even if not very cost-effective.