Saturday, December 15, 2012

Building My Bike: #2 The Plan

Oh my goodness, I am learning so much about bikes and I haven't even started yet. Headsets and fork rake and steerers and bottom bracket cable guides and anti-seize compound. Wow.

So, what's the plan? Here is what I need to tackle, in (planned) order:

  1. Fork and Headset
  2. Stem & Handlebar
  3. Bottom bracket
  4. Crankset & pedals
  5. Cassette & wheels
  6. Brakes
  7. Derailleurs
  8. Chain
  9. Shifters
  10. Front shifter cable
  11. Front brake cable
  12. Rear shifter cable
  13. Rear brake cable
  14. Saddle
  15. Bar tape

I don't have all the tools or parts yet. Here is my shopping list:

  • Fork
  • Wheels
  • Bottom bracket tool
  • Lube
  • Anti-seize compound
  • Cassette Lockring Tool
  • Need-nosed pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Electrical tape
  • Chain whip
  • Spacers?
  • Bottom bracket cable guide

There are three things that I won't have the tools for. One is installing the headset cups. Next is facing the head tube. The last is cutting the steerer tube (not complicated but I'm not going to buy a saw just for that).

I wish I could get everything at once and attack the job in a weekend but, alas, I can't. On the other hand, I'll have time to blog about each phase. :-)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Building My Bike: #1 The Decision

The plan was simple: order a frame. Pay a bike shop to transfer everything except the wheels and cables from the old bike to the new frame. Done. "New" bike.

Except it isn't quite that simple. I was pretty sure I was going to have to buy a new fork, since the new headtube is longer than the old. Okay, so buy a new fork from Bike Island and headset from whereever and also give those to the bike shop.

Then the frame finally arrived. I unpacked it, held it up, and looked at it. Wow, it sure is just a frame. Doesn't even have the plastic cable guide thing under the bottom bracket.

Then I'm afraid I started thinking (a dangerous pastime, I know). A few months ago, Flo Cycling posted a ebook called "How to Build a Road Bike", which I downloaded. Could I put this bike together myself? I'm not the handy-est guy in the world but I do okay with my bike. I have a stand and can give my ride a rudimentary tune-up. What's the worst that could happen? My bike comes apart as I'm flying down a hill at 50 mph. Yikes! Best not think about that one too much. Okay, what's the next worse that could happen? I make a mess of things and have to take everything in a box to my LBS and have them put the bike together. What's the best that could happen? I learn a heck of a lot about my bicycle (and bikes in general), get some new skills (and tools), and I would be able to point to the bike and say, "I put that together."

The benefits are too much to resist so I have decided to put my bike together. What am I most nervous about? Bar tape. I could never get that right when I was a kid. However, these days I am armed with the Flo book, my bike repair book, and the collective wisdom and videos of the internet.

This isn't something that is going to happen overnight. I need a few more tools, the aforementioned fork, wheels, and...I think that's it. I'll document each project as I go, thinking that maybe it will help somebody else do the same thing. I'll also document why I chose this part instead of another one. This is bike building while trying to keep the budget down. If money wasn't an object, I wouldn't bother building it myself, you know?