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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, probably a lame question, but just how hard is it to put a bike together and DIY as opposed to LBS?? Thinking of building up a KM for my new fattybike, I mean clydesdale worthy bike. Only twist would be Reba and avid mechanicals.
 

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bigdummy said:
OK, probably a lame question, but just how hard is it to put a bike together and DIY as opposed to LBS?? Thinking of building up a KM for my new fattybike, I mean clydesdale worthy bike. Only twist would be Reba and avid mechanicals.
It's not hard at all. Even cutting a fork can be DIY. Certain tools help in that operation as well as other things (BB installation, cassette installation, cable/housing cutter, pedal wrench, headset installation tools, etc...). You could always leave some of the more advanced things like headset installation and cutting/installing the fork to the LBS.

If you go slow, take your time, read all directions, have a book like Zinn's Mt. Bike maintenance book and or follow the Park Tools website for each item of installation - you should be okay. Once you do it - you'll always build up your own bike. However, the first time always creates a tad bit of apprehension.

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bigdummy said:
OK, probably a lame question, but just how hard is it to put a bike together and DIY as opposed to LBS?? Thinking of building up a KM for my new fattybike, I mean clydesdale worthy bike. Only twist would be Reba and avid mechanicals.
It's not really any harder than a 26" bike :p , so you should be able to find all the help you need in the Tooltime forum. It'll take you awhile if it's your first build, but anyone coordinated enough to ride a mountain bike should be able to put one together if they have the right tools and take the time to learn the right way to do it.

The biggest hurdle is the expense of some of the tools (namely headset press, crown race setter, etc), but if you are dedicated rider then they are well worth it. Try it, you'll like it.

PS: the Avids are a snap. Easier to set up than a V brake.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
JMKM said:
It will save you time and potentially money. That is if you wreck some part. I would think that someone you ride with would be able to help you out. Probably only cost you a six pack.
Most of it I am pretty comfortable with and I have a torque wrench. The part that I am a little concerned about is "facing" and "chasing" the bottom bracket and some of the other areas where there could be paint. I hate to take business from the LBS, but the "goat" pricing on a put together bike is pretty hard to beat.
 

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Doh! Coordination helps?

miles e said:
............anyone coordinated enough to ride a mountain bike should be able to put one together.................
I'm un-coordinated and I've succesfully built several SS bikes ;) It's pretty easy really, but having the right tools helps. I used to have the shop cut the fork install the star nut, press the headset and install the BB, gradually I've accumulated the tools to do all that at home saving time, gas and money.
 

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bigdummy said:
I hate to take business from the LBS, but the "goat" pricing on a put together bike is pretty hard to beat.
I'm not sure if you're referring to Speedgoat or what, but if you are then they would surely chase and face the bottom bracket and headtube, respectively. It would be nice if other mail order outfits did the same, but they're not all on the same level as Speedgoat.
 

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bigdummy said:
Most of it I am pretty comfortable with and I have a torque wrench. The part that I am a little concerned about is "facing" and "chasing" the bottom bracket and some of the other areas where there could be paint. I hate to take business from the LBS, but the "goat" pricing on a put together bike is pretty hard to beat.
You could have an LBS with the proper tools do the facing and chasing as well. I paid either $10 or $15 to have them do that along with the headset installation. By the way, here in Des Moines - not too many places had the facing and chasing tools which sounds odd, but it is true. If you found an LBS - or Speedgoat as you mention - who can build it up with the parts you want for a good price and are happy with that choice, then it sounds like leaning in that direction might be the way to go for you.

I think for a lot of us rather than the price of assembling the build at an LBS, it is the sheer joy of doing it ourselves (or at least doing most of it ourselves) that we cherish. It's hard to put a price on that for the challenge and reward of assembling your own build. The hands on tinkering - for those that have experienced it - is simply worth it for us. As they say - "Time is money." For me to spend a few hours tinkering around for 2 or 3 days in a row getting all the housing and cables installed, the derailleurs adjusted, the correct chainline and length of chain, fork installed, etc....certainly makes the price the LBS or Speedgoat would charge to assemble the bike worthwhile if your income producing hours are being eaten up. However, sometimes it just isn't about the money.

I would personally, rather tinker around for a few days after spending many days/weeks selecting each component, thinking it all through and of course having the Brown Santa drop off each item on a daily basis as the excitement builds for what I am about to do.

Speaking of that, the Brown Santa just dropped off a 100mm travel silver REBA from Speedgoat last night. This fork I am going to cut myself now that I have the tools required. I've got work to do this weekend. Ooops. Not work, but rather "fun tinkering" to do this weekend....

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be creative

You can use several household things in bike-building. For example, instead of "facing" your headtube, just get some 100 grit sandpaper and sand the stupid paint off. If you're worried about "chasing threads" I've had at least a dozen mail order bikes, and that's never been an issue - just screw in the stinkin' bb. Next headsets are really easy. Just measure your ht length plus hs, go to hardware store and buy a bolt that's long enough to go through the ht with an inch to spare. Buy the matching bolt and four washers that are bigger than the outer diameter of your hs. Put the top or bottom of the hs in place with your hand and torque on the nut until it seats. Repeat with other cup. See diagram.
 

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Yunkie said:
You can use several household things in bike-building. For example, instead of "facing" your headtube, just get some 100 grit sandpaper and sand the stupid paint off. If you're worried about "chasing threads" I've had at least a dozen mail order bikes, and that's never been an issue - just screw in the stinkin' bb. Next headsets are really easy. Just measure your ht length plus hs, go to hardware store and buy a bolt that's long enough to go through the ht with an inch to spare. Buy the matching bolt and four washers that are bigger than the outer diameter of your hs. Put the top or bottom of the hs in place with your hand and torque on the nut until it seats. Repeat with other cup. See diagram.
Bingo!

Or go to Mt.Bike Review forum member Mike T's FAQ to read up on how to install headsets and cut forks on your own without owning expensive Park Tools:

http://www.execulink.com/~dtierney/wmc/faq.htm

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cutting forks

There's a tool used in plumbing that is perfect for cuting fork tubes. It's a mix between a c-clamp and a pizza cutter. There's a threaded adjustable shaft with a pizza cutter blade on the end that cuts the steer tube. The inner wall of the clamp keeps the blade perfectly perpendicular to the tube. Here's a pic.
 

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Yunkie said:
There's a tool used in plumbing that is perfect for cuting fork tubes. It's a mix between a c-clamp and a pizza cutter. There's a threaded adjustable shaft with a pizza cutter blade on the end that cuts the steer tube. The inner wall of the clamp keeps the blade perfectly perpendicular to the tube. Here's a pic.
The pipe cutter does work, but it also flares the end of the tube. You may need to file on the flare for a while before the upper headset race will fit over the end. This why a shop will use a hacksaw with a guide that ensures a clean 90 degree cut.
 

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Fattirewilly said:
The pipe cutter does work, but it also flares the end of the tube. You may need to file on the flare for a while before the upper headset race will fit over the end. This why a shop will use a hacksaw with a guide that ensures a clean 90 degree cut.
Right. You should file the end anyway - whether you use a hacksaw or a pipe cutter - once the cut is made. Both methods work just fine. I think the pipe cutters sell for about $10 (or you can go to the local hardware store and use their demo model for $0), a hacksaw can be had for $8 - 10 (as well as various other prices) and the hacksaw guide made by Park Tools is around $35 - $40. I prefer a hacksaw with a simple piece of tape wrapped around the steerer tube as a guideline (Mike T recommends a hose clamp). Just eye it up and cut straight. A piece of PVC pipe (1 1/4") is all you need to slam the crown race on that final 1/4". Or a 1 1/4" PVC pipe joint works as well and can be had for about 99 cents.

Setting the star nut is a little more problematic when it comes to "home made" tools or methods. The proper tool costs about $14 - 15 and a wooden dowel can be the layman's approach. Both require eyeing things up to get the nut straight.

Whether you have the "proper" tools are use a makeshift "laymen's toolkit" work - the process of installation is all the same and requires care and patience. It's all worth it and is quite far removed from rocket science.

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Since we're talking about how to use a tool incorrectly on your bike...

I've found that a cassette removal tool with the guide pin works well for setting the star nut on 1-1/8 steerers. Support the crown with a block of wood, put the guide pin thru the threaded portion of the star nut and a couple of hits with the hammer sets it in place...

but of course, you never heard this from me, right? ;)

BruceBrown said:
Right. You should file the end anyway - whether you use a hacksaw or a pipe cutter - once the cut is made. Both methods work just fine. I think the pipe cutters sell for about $10 (or you can go to the local hardware store and use their demo model for $0), a hacksaw can be had for $8 - 10 (as well as various other prices) and the hacksaw guide made by Park Tools is around $35 - $40. I prefer a hacksaw with a simple piece of tape wrapped around the steerer tube as a guideline (Mike T recommends a hose clamp). Just eye it up and cut straight. A piece of PVC pipe (1 1/4") is all you need to slam the crown race on that final 1/4". Or a 1 1/4" PVC pipe joint works as well and can be had for about 99 cents.

Setting the star nut is a little more problematic when it comes to "home made" tools or methods. The proper tool costs about $14 - 15 and a wooden dowel can be the layman's approach. Both require eyeing things up to get the nut straight.

Whether you have the "proper" tools are use a makeshift "laymen's toolkit" work - the process of installation is all the same and requires care and patience. It's all worth it and is quite far removed from rocket science.

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funboarder1971 said:
Since we're talking about how to use a tool incorrectly on your bike...

I've found that a cassette removal tool with the guide pin works well for setting the star nut on 1-1/8 steerers. Support the crown with a block of wood, put the guide pin thru the threaded portion of the star nut and a couple of hits with the hammer sets it in place...

but of course, you never heard this from me, right? ;)
Sounds good, funboarder1971. I splurged for the setting tool (it's not a Park Tools unit) last year for $12.99 at my local LBS. The LBS charges $3 to set a star nut. So far I have only set 2 of them (my REBA being one today) using the DIY method which means I will still have to set 3 more to "break even" with the local LBS. At my rate of purchase and upgrading, it will take another year or two to justify the expense of the tool. I did have the cassette removal tools (3 of them) and wished I had known your trick prior to splurging for the proper tool....

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Its that easy

BruceBrown said:
Sounds good, funboarder1971. I splurged for the setting tool (it's not a Park Tools unit) last year for $12.99 at my local LBS. The LBS charges $3 to set a star nut. So far I have only set 2 of them (my REBA being one today) using the DIY method which means I will still have to set 3 more to "break even" with the local LBS. At my rate of purchase and upgrading, it will take another year or two to justify the expense of the tool. I did have the cassette removal tools (3 of them) and wished I had known your trick prior to splurging for the proper tool....

[email protected]
Doesn't sound any more difficult than adjusting the valves on my KTM, or changing out the shock and fork springs on the same bike. Hate to take bidness away from LBS guys, but unless they can get close, I'll be mailordering and building myself. Thanks for the replies.
 

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Be Carefull!!

I mounted many headsets with DIY methods but came close to ruining frames. With the bolt and washer method above , you could destroy expensive headsets because you are not suposed to put pressure on that part of the cup. Use fitting sockets and a threated rod instead. screwing your BB in wrong, can ruin your frame as well. Using the pipe method on a race without the exact fit will ruin your bearings.
If your inexperienced , have them press the headset for you, and seat the race. The rest you can do yourself. Bearings is high tech stuff, the rest low tech IMO.
 

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Diy

HS installer - thread all, big washers, big nuts. Never a single problem. Takes a steady hand, that's all.

Crown race setter - a plastic mallet and good aim. Never a single problem. Reverse is achieve with big flat head screwdriver and the same mallet and aim (working around race gradually).

Star nut setter - rag, vise, pin, hammer and good aim. Never a single problem.

These all work well assuming the frame is properly prepped. Surly tells us to have their frames faced and chased. Facing sometimes goes beyond just paint to actually remove metal to ensure square contact surfaces so sandpaper alone might not get the job done.

The BB and HS areas are highly stressed. Being off-kilter even a little can lead to unnecessarily rapid degradation of components. The shop you're buying your frame from should face/chase as a default - even if you're buying nothing else.

Ask them specifically to do it. If you get any pushback or they throw out high pricing you are dealing with the wrong shop.

FWIW - Speedgoat is wicked good.

Sean
 
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