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?

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