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How easy/difficult is it to assemble your own bike?
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Author:  kojtl1000 [ Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:51 pm ]
Post subject:  How easy/difficult is it to assemble your own bike?

Hello,

I live in a region where there are no bike shops that really sell high end bikes. I currently own a Storck Scenario 1.0 and am in the market for a new bike.
I am thinking of buying all parts over the internet and assemble the bike myself, but I have never done this before. I am no specialist by any means, but I am kinda handy in DIY. I own all the regular tools and a torque wrench, but no speciality bike tools.
So the question is, if I take it one step at a time and take my time for every step, do you guys think it is possible to assemble my own bike from the frame up? I am also thinking of getting the Campagnolo Record EPS group on it?
And if so, what are the extra tools I would need to perform this assembly? I am really looking forward to doing this, so no lack of enthusiasm ;-)

Thank you very much for your feedback.

Author:  Weenie [ Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:51 pm ]
Post subject:  How easy/difficult is it to assemble your own bike?


Author:  bikerjulio [ Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How easy/difficult is it to assemble your own bike?

It's definitely very possible. I've been building all my bikes up from parts sourced online for 10 years now.

You'll need a few specialized tools, for instance for BB and cassette installation, cable cutters, allen keys. Park tool provide some lists I think. Basic mechanical skills and the ability to follow instructions.

There is so much info online now that makes it easier than when I started. YouTube vids for instance, Park Tool site and Sheldon Brown's site.

I worked my way gradually through bike assembly, wheelbuilding to the pinnacle of bike repair - a Campy lever rebuild!

Do it.

Author:  sigismond0 [ Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How easy/difficult is it to assemble your own bike?

Agree, do it. As long as you're smart and mechanically adept you shouldn't have much trouble. I did my very first (non-kid) bike from parts and have been doing it since.

Author:  headwind816 [ Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How easy/difficult is it to assemble your own bike?

It takes time and patience but very doable. I suggest making small goals and accomplishing them before moving on (e.g., install shifters and run cables). Also, Park Tools have a great website to aide you.

Author:  bikewithnoname [ Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How easy/difficult is it to assemble your own bike?

EPS will make the installation easier, no need to spend time fannying about with derailleur adjustment.

As long as you have torque wrench, appropriate chain tool, a cable cutter, a splined cassette tool and BB tool you’re golden.

The only thing I find (on Campag) is that torquing the BB and cassette requires a larger than normal torque wrench that you’d not typically use on all the other bits of the bike (luckily my dad has one)

I built my peg up in about 2hrs including wrapping the bars (which I'm still useless at after 20yrs of wrapping)

Author:  N.T [ Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How easy/difficult is it to assemble your own bike?

I feel that if I haven assembled the bike I ride it isn`t mine.

Author:  sigismond0 [ Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How easy/difficult is it to assemble your own bike?

Heck, I even fully disassemble and reassemble any new bike I get. (Often replacing most of the parts...) Don't trust anyone else to do it. Well, not many people.

Author:  FIJIGabe [ Mon Apr 08, 2013 3:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How easy/difficult is it to assemble your own bike?

Before moving a year ago, I had never worked on my bike, beyond washing and lubing it up. However, I moved to an area where there is only one bike shop, and after my wife suffered a crash, they charged me $60 for bar tape. Needless to say, I have never been back! The startup cost for tools is higher than taking the bike into a shop and having them do the work for you. However, once you start working on your own bike, you realize that it isn't THAT hard, and you become much more aware of what is actually happening to your bike, than you would if you just took it in.

Some things I would recommend:

First, a book. Park Tools makes one, and so does Bicycling Magazine. I have the Bicycling Mag version, because I usually have my iPhone or iPad with me in the garage, and don't want to have to thumb through a book.

Second, get a good set of tools. It doesn't have to be the professional level tool box, but the mid-level tool box from Park (or any of their competitors) should have most of what you need. Also, get a good stand.

Third, patience. The first time you set up a rear derailleur, you will get angry. The second time, will be easier. Bar tape is another story.

Fourth, certain bikes will require special tools. Get an Amazon Prime account. It's nice to say "damn, I need that tool", and know that you'll have it in two days.

Fifth, a camera to appreciate your handy work. Have a bad day at the office, pull out your phone and take a look at the stem you installed last night, or the brakes you tuned perfectly, etc.

Author:  sigismond0 [ Mon Apr 08, 2013 3:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How easy/difficult is it to assemble your own bike?

The bare minimum you need for general tinkering is a nice set of allen keys, preferably ball head. That'll do 90% of anything you need. I imagine you already have a Phillips head screwdriver for adjusting the derailleurs. The rest I'll list below in order of general inportance:

Must-have:
Heavy grease
-Needs to be used on EVERY bolt, seatpost, etc. Anything that has metal-on-metal contact and has a chance of getting stuck or creaking needs grease.
Allen keys
-Will do damn near everything.
#1 Phillips scewdriver
-For derailleur adjustment.
Chain tool, lube
-For chains. Obviously.
Wire cutters/needle nose pliers
-Cutters for cables/housing, pliers for crimping cable tips. Also pliers are generally handy, for bending spokes to fish out internal cables and the like. Don't actually use the pliers as a tool on the bike unless there's a really good reason. I have a nice set of needles with a cutter built in and don't even touch my regular cutters.
Old credit card for toeing in brakes nicely.
Scissors for cutting tape.

More specialized stuff:
Bent Spoke if you have internal cable routing.
BB Tool if you're changing your BB. You may need a few if you have different BB types. Most regular bottom brackets use one tool, while external cups use another.
Cassette Tool/chain whip if you're swapping cassettes, lockring tool if you're doing fixed gears.
15mm wrench if you have bolt on wheels.
Torx if you have disc brakes.

And with that, you're more or less set. You might want to invest in a bike stand too. The Blackburn Workhorse is good enough and will only cost about $50 on Craigslist. It'll serve you well until you feel like dropping $200+ on a quality stand. Is also nice if you have a small apartment and no room for a large stand. (Moving soon, so stoked. Heck you can have my Workhorse once I get a real stand if you pay the shipping.)

Author:  FIJIGabe [ Mon Apr 08, 2013 3:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How easy/difficult is it to assemble your own bike?

That's a great list. The only things I would add are:

(1) Pedal wrench
(2) Cassette Whip & adjustable wrench to pull the cassette (along with the appropriate adapter)
(3) Scale - this is weight weenies, after all!

Author:  sigismond0 [ Mon Apr 08, 2013 4:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How easy/difficult is it to assemble your own bike?

Oh yeah--forgot the GIANT adjustable wrench for BB and cassette tools. Also a torque wrench if you're working on carbon.

Pedal wrench can be handy, but I've honestly never owned one. Then again all of my pedals have allen slots and I have the GIANT adjustable wrench for anything else.

(That's not giant as in the bikes, but giant as in the big one in this picture: http://www.ridgid.com/ASSETS/6F2A472925C546359E4B04FF80234694/Adjustable_Wrenches_3C.jpg. You want one that big to make sure you can get your BB or cassette off. 15 inches is great for me, but you could probably get by with a 10 inch one. [That's what she said. {Sorry, had to do it.}])

Author:  kojtl1000 [ Mon Apr 08, 2013 4:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How easy/difficult is it to assemble your own bike?

Thank you guys! This is really valuable information. I feel now that I am ready/confident to start my own project here.

Just one more important question: we recently moved from Belgium to the US so I am not too familiar with the online bike stores here and their reputation. Can you guys recommend any good/cheap online stores that sell all the high-end goodies like the frame (f.i. Colnago C59, Look 695, Pinarello Dogma, ...), the group, all the other carbon fibre components, .... at reasonable prices?

Author:  sigismond0 [ Mon Apr 08, 2013 4:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How easy/difficult is it to assemble your own bike?

Honestly? As long as you're careful, just do eBay. I probably do 95% of my online bike shopping there and have never been let down. Ever once in a while I have a problem, but I make a point of only buying things that have buyer protection and that always works out fine for me.

Author:  FIJIGabe [ Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How easy/difficult is it to assemble your own bike?

For frames like those, you are looking at getting it at a retail store. You can find Fuji, GT and some other brands at online retailers, but as far as I know, no one sells Look, much less Colnago or Pinarello online (as OEM), and if they do, they're probably knock-offs. As far as online sellers go, I frequent a couple, but when I shop them against Amazon, Amazon usually wins.

Regarding the GIANT wrench, I never had much luck that way, I guess I'm just too thick (you opened the door to puns)!

Author:  andrewh8877 [ Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How easy/difficult is it to assemble your own bike?

Definately go for it.
Partly because it actually quite a lot of fun, butmostly because if you are out riding and have a mechanical problem you will have a much better understanding of what is wrong and how to fix it to get you home.
If swapping from one frame to another there will alsways be stuff which will be a pain though! Check seatpost diameter, BB thread, headset size etc. My record is about 90 minutes to swap a frame, but that was singlespeed which does speed the process up rather. Broke it on the ride, had to ride to work the next day, luckily had a spare frame in the garage and everthing fitted it.

Author:  Weenie [ Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How easy/difficult is it to assemble your own bike?


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