Minimum time required for a quality build

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
biwa
Posts: 148
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:39 pm

by biwa

What's the minimum number of hours/days that it takes to build a rim brake mechanical bike from the frame up by an experienced mechanic? I ask minimum because I don't want to rush it so that the work quality is affected, at the same time, it's kind of time sensitive because I need the bike quick.

Nejmann
Posts: 466
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 6:25 pm

by Nejmann

My mechanic build my Colnago C59 from scratch in 2.5 hours. With SR12 mech.

by Weenie


User avatar
TonyM
Posts: 3259
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:11 pm

by TonyM

Taking into account the unboxing of all parts, the cleaning and greasing of all parts, all settings, to be done including Di2 e-tube or mechanical etc... I need 5 hours but I am taking my time. I suppose that an experienced mechanic would need half of that, so maybe 2.5 to 3 hours maybe.

alcatraz
Posts: 2211
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:19 am

by alcatraz

Quality and time are not related. Depends on the design of things, how much is mounted in the box, how many special items there are that require certain procedures.

If you do assume a 5h minimum for adequate quality I can promise you that two builds will have very different "quality".

Also, no build is over until after a long test ride.

User avatar
Calnago
Posts: 8532
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:14 pm

by Calnago

Ah, the classic "I want the highest quality attainable and I want it now" request. For me, it takes what it takes. I'm in no rush, and I take my time. I put something on, I stare at it, I admire it. I adjust it. Stand back again. Can it be better? Always asking that. I prep each bolt with appropriate grease, or threadlocker, or retaining compound as the situation calls for. I make sure the cables are perfect, not 10mm too long, not 10mm too short, just perfect. I make sure the brakes are perfectly setup, with both pads hitting the rim at EXACTLY the same time, and that they are hitting square both horizontally and vertically with just the right amount of toe in. I test it with my fat self on a hill. The slightest noise or screech and I fine tune it till the soft sound of brake pad on rim is all that's heard. Maybe that's why I still like rim brakes so much. Perfectly set up, they are, well... perfect. I make sure the derailleurs are perfectly dialed, and shifting as they are supposed to shift, no rub, no dealy, no problems. It's a given that I will have checked and, if needed, adjusted the rear derailluer hanger before I even think about attaching anything. I'll look for areas that need facing, chasing or both... bottom brackets, headtubes, etc. I own the appropriate tools for all these things. I make sure there is no friction in the cables, and that the bends are all as smooth as possible. I use the most efficient routing possible for the given frame, to be determined with the frame and setup in hand, as each situation can be different. If stainless steel cables, I rub a fine layer of synthetic slippery AF Shimano cable grease on the sections that are within the cable housings, even though that's probably not required. I torque every nut and bolt to an appropriate torque, most always slightly less than spec, but not by enough that it will ever come loose. I test it. Is it perfect. Good. Time to tape the bars. This step often takes me more time than almost any of the actual build steps prior because depending on the tape used, the bars used and even the size of the bars, the groupset used, the tape job is something I feel really can say alot about the attention given to the entire build. Are the wraps even, side to side, Are there any unsighlty gaps around the levers where you can see the bar. Is the overlap even. Does each side finish at the same place on the bars. Is the finishing tape done nicely, and not stretched too much at the final round. You won't be able to tell at the beginning, but if there's too much stretch at those final 5 cm or so of finishing tape, it will pull back and leave that gunky adhesive mess of electrical tape. I align the mounts perfectly.
Sure I could do a build really fast if I wanted, but it probably wouldn't be "perfect". I would run the cables to an "acceptable" length, and call it good. I wouldn't spend time playing with it to get the length "just right". I wouldn't spend time cutting housing so that the "Campagnolo" branding appears at exactly the right spot. Does that affect performance, no, but it shows that someone took some special care on the build. If there's wheels to be built, the rim logos will be on the appropriate side and symmetrical with each other. The hub logos will be situated so that if you were to sight through the valve hole from the rim, you sould see that logo, and it will be facing the right way. It all counts. And down the road, when it needs an overhaul after a nasty winter of riding, the care taken to prep every nut and bolt with grease, threadlocker, antiseize, or whatever will make itself evident as everything will be easily removeable, not seized etc. So many new builds are just bolted together. Check your waterbottle cage bolts... did anyone bother to do anything other than just screw them in with no grease. Skewer threads... a little dap of grease will ensure quiet and smooth operation for a long time. And a little thin coating along the skewer itself is just nice prevention against oxidation from the elements etc. And after all that, comes the fit setup and dialing in the exact coordinates, Saddle height, saddle tilt, bar reach etc etc. And if that's non known, the fit process begins and again, it takes what it takes.
So sure, I could build a bike pretty fast if I had to. But I'm not "on the clock". It's not a race. Building it as fast as I can does not hold any degree of accomplishment for me if the build is not as good as I know I could have done if I'd just paid a bit more attention to getting the cable length and logo placement all just right. I enjoy the process and take pride in what leaves my house. And when it comes back for some regular maintenance, the care I took the first time around is evident when taking it apart.

But yes, if you're in a hurry, and getting a shop to do it, budget about 3 hours of uninterrupted time. I can do it in that time if I had to. It would be a good build. But I'd prefer to have it for several days, to mull things over, sit on it for awhile, play with things. Especially when it comes to dialing in things. Front derailleur and crank setup is just so important with todays groups. Zeroing out the electronics is easy, but still takes some care and fiddling to get it just right. The days of "If you buy a bike from us, we'll have it built in an hour for you" are long gone. And if you're talking about an integrated setup, well... just leave it for a few days and hope for the best.

I'd say you get what you pay for, but when it comes to bike builds, that is a real hit and miss statement.
Last edited by Calnago on Tue Jul 23, 2019 7:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
Colnago C64 - The Naked Build; Colnago C60 - PR99; Trek Koppenberg - Where Emonda and Domane Meet;
Unlinked Builds (searchable): Colnago C59 - 5 Years Later; Trek Emonda SL Campagnolo SR; Special Colnago EPQ

User avatar
kman
Posts: 1121
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2005 10:51 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

by kman

Wow, that's a long post - but I do those things too. I find it satisfying when hub logos line up through the valve hole. Just yesterday I repositioned a cable ferrule twice because I didn't like how the SRAM logo was positioned when I stood back and looked at the bike. My wife was shaking her head because I was unhappy with the bar tape and my wrapping, so re-wrapped a 5cm section a couple of times to make it match the first side.

Does it mean the build is "better"? Not necessarily. But if I'm building it as best I can, I want it to LOOK like it was built as best as I could too. The little touches matter, bolting stuff together isn't the same.
You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.
-- Frank Zappa

Marin
Posts: 3521
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 11:48 am
Location: Vienna Austria

by Marin

I need about 3h, more if there's internal cabling. I build 2-3 bikes per year and do my own maintenance & wheelsbuilding, and been doing so for 10+ years.

My builds are far from perfect, but they are better than what I'm seeing from factories or most shops. No gaps in the bar tape, cables as short as possible but no shorter, bolts clean or greased where applicable, friction paste used, seatpost cut, tire logos lined up, housing ground flat, liners awled, etc.

The workshop looks like a direct bomb hit afterwards though, and it's 1am and I still need to do a 10 min shakedown ride before I got to bed...

User avatar
Alexbn921
Posts: 230
Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2019 6:39 pm

by Alexbn921

Calnago wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 7:01 am
Ah, the classic "I want the highest quality attainable and I want it now" request. For me, it takes what it takes. I'm in no rush, and I take my time. I put something on, I stare at it, I admire it. I adjust it. Stand back again. Can it be better? Always asking that. I prep each bolt with appropriate grease, or threadlocker, or retaining compound as the situation calls for. I make sure the cables are perfect, not 10mm too long, not 10mm too short, just perfect. I make sure the brakes are perfectly setup, with both pads hitting the rim at EXACTLY the same time, and that they are hitting square both horizontally and vertically with just the right amount of toe in. I test it with my fat self on a hill. The slightest noise or screech and I fine tune it till the soft sound of brake pad on rim is all that's heard. Maybe that's why I still like rim brakes so much. Perfectly set up, they are, well... perfect. I make sure the derailleurs are perfectly dialed, and shifting as they are supposed to shift, no rub, no dealy, no problems. It's a given that I will have checked and, if needed, adjusted the rear derailluer hanger before I even think about attaching anything. I'll look for areas that need facing, chasing or both... bottom brackets, headtubes, etc. I own the appropriate tools for all these things. I make sure there is no friction in the cables, and that the bends are all as smooth as possible. I use the most efficient routing possible for the given frame, to be determined with the frame and setup in hand, as each situation can be different. If stainless steel cables, I rub a fine layer of synthetic slippery AF Shimano cable grease on the sections that are within the cable housings, even though that's probably not required. I torque every nut and bolt to an appropriate torque, most always slightly less than spec, but not by enough that it will ever come loose. I test it. Is it perfect. Good. Time to tape the bars. This step often takes me more time than almost any of the actual build steps prior because depending on the tape used, the bars used and even the size of the bars, the groupset used, the tape job is something I feel really can say alot about the attention given to the entire build. Are the wraps even, side to side, Are there any unsighlty gaps around the levers where you can see the bar. Is the overlap even. Does each side finish at the same place on the bars. Is the finishing tape done nicely, and not stretched too much at the final round. You won't be able to tell at the beginning, but if there's too much stretch at those final 5 cm or so of finishing tape, it will pull back and leave that gunky adhesive mess of electrical tape. I align the mounts perfectly.
Sure I could do a build really fast if I wanted, but it probably wouldn't be "perfect". I would run the cables to an "acceptable" length, and call it good. I wouldn't spend time playing with it to get the length "just right". I wouldn't spend time cutting housing so that the "Campagnolo" branding appears at exactly the right spot. Does that affect performance, no, but it shows that someone took some special care on the build. If there's wheels to be built, the rim logos will be on the appropriate side and symmetrical with each other. The hub logos will be situated so that if you were to sight through the valve hole from the rim, you sould see that logo, and it will be facing the right way. It all counts. And down the road, when it needs an overhaul after a nasty winter of riding, the care taken to prep every nut and bolt with grease, threadlocker, antiseize, or whatever will make itself evident as everything will be easily removeable, not seized etc. So many new builds are just bolted together. Check your waterbottle cage bolts... did anyone bother to do anything other than just screw them in with no grease. Skewer threads... a little dap of grease will ensure quiet and smooth operation for a long time. And a little thin coating along the skewer itself is just nice prevention against oxidation from the elements etc. And after all that, comes the fit setup and dialing in the exact coordinates, Saddle height, saddle tilt, bar reach etc etc. And if that's non known, the fit process begins and again, it takes what it takes.
So sure, I could build a bike pretty fast if I had to. But I'm not "on the clock". It's not a race. Building it as fast as I can does not hold any degree of accomplishment for me if the build is not as good as I know I could have done if I'd just paid a bit more attention to getting the cable length and logo placement all just right. I enjoy the process and take pride in what leaves my house. And when it comes back for some regular maintenance, the care I took the first time around is evident when taking it apart.

But yes, if you're in a hurry, and getting a shop to do it, budget about 3 hours of uninterrupted time. I can do it in that time if I had to. It would be a good build. But I'd prefer to have it for several days, to mull things over, sit on it for awhile, play with things. Especially when it comes to dialing in things. Front derailleur and crank setup is just so important with todays groups. Zeroing out the electronics is easy, but still takes some care and fiddling to get it just right. The days of "If you buy a bike from us, we'll have it built in an hour for you" are long gone. And if you're talking about an integrated setup, well... just leave it for a few days and hope for the best.

I'd say you get what you pay for, but when it comes to bike builds, that is a real hit and miss statement.
:thumbup:
This 1000%
I usually take several days to tinker and think. Making sure that each choice has the exact outcome that I want. Do the cable lie perfectly, how do the bearings feel....
Love the detail on bar wrapping. It shows the overall quality of a bike build. The perfect spacing makes me smile every time I look at my bike.
3-4 for a okay/good build. 10-15 for a perfect build.

moyboy
Posts: 447
Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:19 am

by moyboy

Yeah I agree, I wouldn't rush it. If they are charging by the hour? then there is a balance......
I usually like doing it myself.... gives you an excuse to buy tools!

AJS914
Posts: 3484
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

It also comes down to how many challenges you encounter along the way. Is the frame perfect? Do you have to face anything? You could come up with a defective part or something that doesn't fit quite right. Is every part new or are you recycling? A disc brake bike will take longer.

I'd say you are talking about 1/2 a day or more.

I once spent several hours sorting out cables and shifting alone. This was because of tight bends in the integrated handlebars which seemed to cause some drag. I had to redo everything perfectly and just routing cables though the bars was a struggle.

spdntrxi
Posts: 3128
Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2013 6:11 pm

by spdntrxi

I've paid as little as $250 (bike only) and$ 900 (wheel build included) and done it myself in 5-6 hours (taking lots of breaks)

I think a shop can probably pump it out in 3-4 easy... I end up wasting time looking for tools and general life getting in the way.

XCProMD
Posts: 803
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2008 10:25 am
Location: Cantabria

by XCProMD

Back in the days we were supposed to assembly Look for the ONCE team in 2,5 hours, plus another hour for each wheel ( wheels were assembled earlier in the year, before the first batch of fresh frames and groupsets would come)


Skickat från min iPhone med Tapatalk

Jugi
Posts: 540
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:10 am

by Jugi

When disassembling a mechanical drivetrain + brake road bike, doing maintenance + replacing worn out parts and then putting it back together, it would take me 2 hours to build (when all adjustments are known beforehand). When building from new components and not paying attention to details (just building a working bicycle), 3 hours is pretty close. When caring for every detail (cutting cable housing, fitting it, taking it off, cutting it to the exact millimeter etc.) it will take at least to 5 hours. If wheels have to built from scratch, that takes two hours per wheel with easy-to-build components.

GothicCastle
Posts: 234
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2016 1:52 am

by GothicCastle

These are all good comments.

Also factor in any particular difficulties that the bike presents (some are just more difficult to build). Also factor in additional time if the machanic hasn't built that specific model before; I take a lot longer building a a new model of frame for the first time, just to be sure I don't miss something. Some frames have lots of little proprietary bits that you don't want to misplace, some frames accept ferrules and others don't, etc... all these little details take time to sort out.

For a meticulous hold, at least half a day, and that assumes no interruptions.

AJS914
Posts: 3484
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

Like Calnago, I do the long and slow approach especially if it's a new to me special bike. I'll start with a bottom bracket, hang the derailleurs, let it sit, look at it. Put the crank on. Admire it. Brakes. Wheels. Cables and shifting are obviously last. Pedals. Shake down ride. Adjustments. More adjustments.

I usually end up spending quite some time on fit - adjusting spacers up and down - swapping out a stem, etc.

If the OP has some big ride coming up, I would just do it on your old bike and take your time with the new bike.

by Weenie


Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post