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rebuild or surrender?

788 Views 9 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  bacchanal
well...i just tried to build my new FS bike after buying all the parts online. i guess i shouldn't say "just" as this has been a 3 week endeavour after waiting for all the parts to arrive by mail.(several parts were not the correct ones, or were never originally sent, so i've had to speak to the online store several times)

anyways, i've been a weekend rider for about 2 years and finally decided i'd rather build up my new bike rather than buy a complete bike hoping that this might make me a better mechanic. I knew it would cost more money but i was willing to spend the extra cash for the experience.

i built the the bike but couldn't get the front derailleur to work. also, the avid mechanicals don't work right either. i finally gave up and brought the bike to my LBS, and they told me that i had the wrong front derailleur and needed a completely different type, and that to fix the rest of the bike including the brakes they would basically have to take the entire bike apart and rebuild it because they saw so many problems. they wouldn't say anything more.either all or nothing.

ok...the front derailleur issue is annoying but potentially fixable. annoying because when i originally called the company who made the frame before i ordered the other components, i specifically asked, "what specific components do i need for this bike?". they never mentioned the derailleur,and i didn't have enough experience to ask.

other than writing this for the pure ranting purposes, i guess my questions are:Has anybody brought in a bike that they basically bought online to be built by their LBS?
Or, has anyone ever done a bad build, then started over and was able to make things right? should i give up and accept whatever the LBS charges and have it rebuilt or should i give it another go? (i just want to ride this thing already!!!!)
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Personally I say surrender. It's not that building up a bike from scratch is such a big deal but i'd recomend smaller starting with smaller repair projects. Besides numerous specialty tools required to do the job building a bike requires a certain knowledge base. The front derailleur*being a perfect example of this. i say take it to the LBS have it done. And dont be shy to ask how some things are done so that in the future you can do your own wrenching.

i should also mention that I know how to build up a bike and I'd still pay to have it done.

good luck
Well, you have a couple of options....

1) surrender, bite the bullet and pay the $$ to get it built correctly. If it is a good shop they'll build it well and answer your questions. If they're an arrogant shop they'll probably give you some [email protected] for buying online and then having them build it. Perhaps just a few snide comments.

2) Buy a book such as Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance and learn the correct way to build a bike piece by piece. This is also assuming you have a fair amount of basic tools and mechanical aptitude.

I'm sure neither option sounds particularly appealing. Its just a matter of how willing you are to learn versus what your desire is to just get out and ride. The only other option is if you give your location there may be someone local to you who would be willing to assist you in exchange for a case of beer or something :).

I am by no means an expert but I have built every one of my bikes by myself, except for my very first. It usually takes a few hours but have never tried to race through it. It is a time to get to know your bike.
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I'd say bite the bullet and pay to have it done right.

Not that I know anything about your shop, but I wanted to point out that many good shops (including two I've worked for) will request to tear down and rebuild an entire bike when they see a number of things wrong with the current build. In most cases, it's because a shop has a certain liability on builds/installations, and needs to make sure that you didn't make any mistakes that could lead to a catastrophic failure (which some people might then blame on the shop). I've seen more incredibly dangerous/stupid installation errors from customers then you'd ever believe (like the guy who thought he could use olive oil to bleed his disk brakes... ugh).

The point is, give it to them (assuming their not asking for a rediculous amount of money), and start smaller when it comes to learning how to wrench your bike.


He he, sorry to snicker but I can see this happening as certain parts come in different flavors specific to your frame- it does take some research and finding out your frames spec- like the top or bottom throw front derailleur. Just the same, most of this stuff is pretty straight forward these days, given you have had some experience taking apart a previously built bike as reference.

As the prev posts suggested, I think I've learned the bike repair/building craft by tackling smaller single fixes and upgrades. The biggest job I did was replace my wifes mtn bike components with all Shimano XT components (drive train, brakes and wheels). Again, her bike was previously set up so many of the components were just a replacement.
Depends on how patient you are?

or what all the problems are.
This may be a problem like , how do you eat an elephant?.... one bite at a time.

As far as the front der. goes, you have learned the hard way that there are a whole bunch of different ones. Go to the web site of the frame manufacturer and it should have a spec. page that will tell you which one you need.

What else is wrong beside the brakes and what is the problem with the brakes?

Sounds like the LBS is playing hardball with you and not wanting to "give you" any advice.

I imagine if you go back and do some homework and ask questions here you can probably do it yourself.
I'm kind of in the process of doing the same thing. I finally decided to do a frame change over from my old frame to another one I've had laying around for about a year. I was planning on doing the change over myself...but that was back when I had access to all the tools I needed and pros around who could help me out. so I just decided to take the whole mess of old and new components into the LBS. it's going to cost a fair amount in labor, but personally I don't mind the peace of mind that comes with a professionally set up bike. I just consider it a bike build plus a tune up, with no headaches or time spent on my part...well worth the money in my opinion. to me it's one thing to maintain a bike, it's another to build one from parts (ie. cutting fork, cables, housing etc.)
My experience has been mostly the opposite of those given here. At one time, I gave the LBSes around here the benefit of the doubt and paid to have "professional" work done on my bikes. Usually, the work ended up being done by the highschool apprentice-in-training or whoever wasn't the main mechanics. I frequently found minor quibbles with their work and realized that, since I'm so picky, I should just do the work myself.

Of course, there were the first few times I replaced my shifter and brake cables but ended up cutting the housings too short. Imagine your rear brakes coming on or your derailleur shifting everytime you made a tight right turn! There was quite a bit of learning and doing before I felt like I knew enough to build a complete bike. I've also learned to build wheels, but that isn't worth the time and effort for me. The most valuable part of this is that I have the knowledge to fix just about any mechanical problem that might happen out on the trail.

One of the better LBSes in my area has a weekly night class that goes over different parts of the bike and how to install, adjust, or repair them. If you have the time, I'd recommend reading some books and talking to some friendly cyclists who are more experienced and willing to share. Don't expect to get your first build perfect, so I wouldn't spend big bucks on the best parts ou there, but you should be able to do well enough to have a proper performing bike without too much trouble.

If you have the patience, you could ask questions on here. It'd usually take a few hours to a couple of days to get answers, though.
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heres my take on it

Take what doesn't fit and sell it on eBay, research your frame so the next time around you get it right, and make sure you're happy with the kind of frame you have in the first the stuff you need online or at LBS's...most important of all, be patient and don't try to rush the process, you'll squeeze the most anticipation and fun out of it doing it right and patiently...
CharT said:
My experience has been mostly the opposite of those given here. At one time, I gave the LBSes around here the benefit of the doubt and paid to have "professional" work done on my bikes. Usually, the work ended up being done by the highschool apprentice-in-training or whoever wasn't the main mechanics. I frequently found minor quibbles with their work and realized that, since I'm so picky, I should just do the work myself.
It is definitely worthwhile to go to the RIGHT LBS if you're going to spend the money. You can always ask who will be doing the wrenching. At the particular shop I go to, I pretty much deal with one guy. He is an expert racer sponsored by the shop (works/races part time), and he maintains his own bike. I trust him with my ride a lot more than I trust me.
That being said I certainly agree that if you ride a bike, you should try to learn how to take care of it, and as I aquire more tools and knowledge I do a lot more of my own work. It's pretty much a requirement to know how to fix your ride out on the trail anyway.
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