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Hey Guys,

I've got my 29er SS frame at home and the parts and fork are all coming next Wednesday. I'm still trying to decide on a bottom bracket and crankset but should have that at the same time as well.

I love supporting my LBS but I'm trying not to spend more on building up the used bike than it would have cost new. I got a quote today on building up my GT Peace 9er and they quoted $180 and 5 days to build it and that's if all the parts I bought would work correctly. Does that seem high to you? I'm sure that it will be a perfect build and all but the bike sold for $600 on sale new and I'm already $300 in on the frame, fork, and parts and not even counting the crankset.

So my question is if I can build this up myself. I don't mind buying some tools as needed (BB tool, etc.) but the main problems I see are with seating the headset, installing the BB, and shortening the chain to the right length.

Thoughts?
 

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building a bike at home is simple if you have the right tools. There are many ways to "mcguyver" up some tools too. Check the tooltime forum for hints but with a set of allen wrenches, a BB tool and a chain tool you should be able to assemble it yourself. If worse comes to worse you can always take it to the shop and have them fix it up if you reach a loggerheads with it and can not go forward anymore.

Also look at the park tool website for helpful tutorials on everything you need to know and FWIW for years I installed my King headsets with a 2x4 and a hammer. 3-4 of them and never had a problem with them after installation and never missed and hit my frame with a hammer. The most complex part to install is the lower crown race on the headset which requires it to be hammered on with a pipe down the steerer but again there are plenty of homemade tools that can handle this.
 

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If you think you have the ability to build it yourself, do it.

It's not worth buying a headset press if you are only going to use it once every few years. I do almost everything on my bikes and have helped friends build bikes but I'm not shy taking a frame to the LBS and asking them do things like press in a headset, cut a fork steerer, remove and replace a crown race, or face brake mounts. Anything like that requiring expensive, infrequently used tools. You don't have to get them to build the whole bike. You're the customer pay for what you can't do.

Ronnie.
 

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I have almost as much fun building as I do riding - and it requires a LOT less energy... I can't build wheels (just haven't taken the time to try) but everything else is all on me. Even my buddies bring their bikes to me. It's VERY easy and quite rewarding. There are videos on YouTube that show you how to do everything (if you don't know how) and tons of information in this forum and on the Internet. A SS is like working on your old BMX when you were a kid.

For a relative small amount of money you could easily get the tools you need. Strip your bike to the frame and take it up to the LBS and have them knock out the old headset cups and put in the new ones. Probably should take your fork and the crown too. Shouldn't cost more than $20 and should take them no more than 5 minutes if they aren't busy. That's probably the hardest thing to do with a SS mainly because it can be a PITA but overall it's VERY easy to do. Other than that, the chain and BB are EASY and the tools are pretty cheap!

If you want to support the LBS just ask them to replace your cups and sale you the BB tool and a link remover. Win-Win for all !!! Especially for your pocket book...
 

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Always Learning
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calbear81 said:
Hey Guys,

I've got my 29er SS frame at home and the parts and fork are all coming next Wednesday. I'm still trying to decide on a bottom bracket and crankset but should have that at the same time as well.

I love supporting my LBS but I'm trying not to spend more on building up the used bike than it would have cost new. I got a quote today on building up my GT Peace 9er and they quoted $180 and 5 days to build it and that's if all the parts I bought would work correctly. Does that seem high to you? I'm sure that it will be a perfect build and all but the bike sold for $600 on sale new and I'm already $300 in on the frame, fork, and parts and not even counting the crankset.

So my question is if I can build this up myself. I don't mind buying some tools as needed (BB tool, etc.) but the main problems I see are with seating the headset, installing the BB, and shortening the chain to the right length.

Thoughts?
Here's you headset installation tip: (let the pictures load and watch the action....)

http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=480664

Personally, I enjoy doing my own bulds. The learning curve is not too difficult. Read all instructions twice - or thrice - install once.

BB
 

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building yourself is pretty easy. you do need -some- specific tools, but can get by without most of them. i'm currently in the process of doing my second bike and find it really enjoyable. oh, and on headset installation - also used a 2x4 and a hammer with no issues. on the most recent build, i used just the 2x4 as a hammer. no issues whatsoever. you can also make a headset press with a long bolt, some large washers and nuts.

having said that, 180 bucks doesn't seem to be a bad price to me...but i'd say give it a shot.

and don't forget - if you get stuck somewhere, you can always go to the LBS. For instance: i don't have a crown race installer and the crane creek 110 uses a race that isn't split...so it was hella hard to get on. went to my LBS and they hooked me up - i don't even think they were going to charge me - we bs'd a bit about my bike build, etc, but i insisted on throwing them some money for helping me out.
 

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DIY Buillding is 1/2 the fun

Can't beat Nate's DIY tools he comes up with :thumbsup: I only have my DIY headset tool which I have used to install 8=10 headsets with anf it works every time, just take your time and it'll be fine.

Also as said visit Park Tools web site for loads of fantastic instructions, they also have a book. Also check out a copy of "Zinn and The Art of Mountain Bike Maintanance" by Lenard Zinn.
BruceBrown said:
Here's you headset installation tip: (let the pictures load and watch the action....)

http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=480664

Personally, I enjoy doing my own bulds. The learning curve is not too difficult. Read all instructions twice - or thrice - install once.

BB
 

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Happy Trails
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I'm building one from scratch now also, and as long as you get the right tools, you'll be fine. You probably won't save enough $$ to make a difference if you need to buy tools, but it's rewarding to do it yourself. And for $180 worth of bike specific tools, you can be good to go for most any repair. I also agree with Jcaino, the one thing you might want to have the LBS do is install your headset ... you can use a threaded rod (from Home Depot) with big flat washers to compress the upper and lower bearing cups into the frame headtube, and a pipe to set the crown race onto the fork tube, but this is much better done with the right tools. You gotta have a stand, and that will probably set you back $80 - $200. Get the best you can afford. I got a Park for $150. I would get also a bottom bracket tool ($20), a crown race installer (60), a pipe cutter from Home Depot ($30 .... turn the screw slooooooowwwwlllly), a casette ring installer / Shimano CenterLock ring installer ($5), and the rest of the tools other than the headset press you probably already have. And then there is the question of torque... You really need to understand what 10 inch-pounds feels like, or else really need to think about getting a torque wrench from Sears or some place like that. Here are some pics from a bottom bracket installation.

And grease ... lightly grease everything!

Shoot me (or almost anyone else in Tool Time forum) a note if you want more detail, and do your homework on Park website.
 

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Happy Trails
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.... agree, jcaino, except maybe the part about the 2X4 ... not so much... aluminum is soft stuff, and if you cock the headset off of true flat while you are banging away at it, you'll never know it, you'll just wear your headset a little sloppy.
 

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or do what i do

I install everything but have them press the headset cups, install the headset bearing race on the fork and have them run the brake and derailluer lines/cable. its considerally cheaper and i have a great LBS so i know they doing it right.
 

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Scott In MD said:
.... agree, jcaino, except maybe the part about the 2X4 ... not so much... aluminum is soft stuff, and if you cock the headset off of true flat while you are banging away at it, you'll never know it, you'll just wear your headset a little sloppy.
i'm pretty sure that a small chunk of pine 2x4 is softer than the aluminum...

and sure it'll get messed up if you rush it - you could easily do that with a press too if you don't know what you're doing.
 

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Happy Trails
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jcaino said:
i'm pretty sure that a small chunk of pine 2x4 is softer than the aluminum...and sure it'll get messed up if you rush it - you could easily do that with a press too if you don't know what you're doing.
OK, peace on that point ... taking your time and not rushing it is the key...
 

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Cutting the fork steerer

Scott In MD said:
...a pipe cutter from Home Depot ($30 .... turn the screw slooooooowwwwlllly)....
Here's the pipe cutter in action. I've always used a hacksaw in the past, but this was the perfect tool.
1. Mark the tube at the top of your stem and spacer stack, then align the tube cutter wheel-blade about 3 mm below that point.
2. Lightly compress the blade on the tube (fork steerer, handlebar, whatever) then make a few rotations then tighten the compression screw ever so slightly then make a few rotations, then keep on until you get a perfectly straight cut.
 

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Do It Yourself!!!

That isn't really a bad price. I paid that 10 years ago. Also, the shop cut the steerer too short and had to order another one. The whole process took two weeks and I missed the biggest ride of the year...

You could get a few nice tools for that much money though. Knowing how things is essential, especially if something happens on the trail.
 

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With all respect, if you are "unsure of how to shorten the chain," you may want to consider paying the shop to build your bike. You have invested too much time and effort in your project to come up short on build quality. In addition to the tools mentioned in previous posts, you will also want access to a bottom bracket facing tool, and possibly a chasing tool. What about a headset facing tool? $180 is on the higher side, and I would expect "perfect" build quality for that dollar.
 

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The Duuude, man...
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Everyone goes through this dilemma at some point in this cycling career (as they get more and more serious).

I still remember very fondly when I bought my first frame-only and made the decision to build it myself.

Installing that headset was the longest 3hrs of my life. I completely destroyed like 3 sets of screwdrivers, 2 pliers, and a 3lbs sledge hammer....good times for sure. I should have known that $1.37 at a hardware store and it would go on like butter with zero effort.

But seriously: spend 1/2 of the bike shop fee, and buy some good tools to do it yourself...you'll learn how to do all your own bike work, plus have the tools that will last a life time.

Key tools for a first time frame-up building (assumes you have a pre-laced wheels):

*Good set of Allen Tools (not a little multi tool)
*Good set of cable cutters (most indispensible tool for the builder)
*BB cup wrench
*Rear cassette lockring tool (also works on centerlocking rotors)
*Chainwhip (only needed to remove the cassette, not install it)
*good air pump (buy it once, be done with it)
*high quality grease (post, bb threads, etc)
*long bolt, matching nut, big washers (installs Headset)
*small nail (opens ends of shifter cables after cutting them)

You can pretty much build a bike up with that. There's little things like how to get grips on, and everyone will have a different method, from hair-spray to rubbing crystals. I use compressed air and put them on dry. I've seen the most success that way, instantly ready to ride, never slip.

A few watch-out areas: sliding the crown-race on (I use opened cresent wrench and a hammer), or cutting the fork. Cutting the fork, it's hard to make a straight cut with a hacksaw, so be careful.
 

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ncj01 said:
A few watch-out areas: sliding the crown-race on (I use opened cresent wrench and a hammer), or cutting the fork.
That's a great tip. I'd never read or seen that before. I usually just tap, tap, tap with a large flathead screwdriver, but I'm going to try your method next time around.:thumbsup:

I suppose we should really price out all of the tools needed to do a build. BB tools, Dremel (if cutting housing), wrenches, hose/housing cutter, chain whip, Zinn's Mtn. Bike maitenance book, etc... . It wouldn't surprise me that all the tools together (especially if you are adding in a Dremel) add up to around $100+. Add in a work stand, wheel truing stand and the all important Alpine Digital scale and now we're getting up to $300+.

But the fun is - you've got them for life and can wrench, tinker, assemble, disassemble, build, fix the neighborhood kid's bikes, etc... to your content. With the advent of all the service manuals online being available and many, many videos and how to blogs - a home wrench can really tackle overhauls and just about all things required from wheel building to fork service.

But - it's not for everybody.

BB
 

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Yea...I have some money invested in tools (and my wonderful girlfriend got me a work stand for my bday and tool chest for christmas) but it definitely comes in handy - not only can I work on my bikes (2 now) and hers, I can work on my friend's bikes and show them how to do simple maintenance too.

That helps everyone save money in the long run...and in these economic times everything helps.

Tools I have for bike work:
Various BB cup tools for different style BB's
Cassette Lockring tool
Chainwhip
Starnut setter
Chain wear tool
Cone wrenches
Cable cutter
Multibit tool set with various screwdriver/allen/torx/etc bits (was 10 bucks on sale at lowes and there isn't a bit that's left out - even has all the crazy ones - square - 3 bladed screwdriver, etc)
Plastic PVC pipe for setting the crown race
Automotive Wheel Bearing grease - its pretty much just an all-purpose grease

If I need something else, its generally just a stndard tool such as a ratchet. Whenever I'm heading far from home, the tools normally go in a bag and come with, along with some spares (crank/bb, pedals, cables/housing, brake lever, derailluer, sometimes even an extra wheelset. don't laugh - having an extra wheelset along has saved more than one ride when a friend taco'd a wheel)

When you're traveling or away from home there isn't always an LBS nearby and it really does come down to you...

I think at the very least you should know how to do basic maintenance on your bike. I mean, most people know how to change oil on their car, after all.
 

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ncj01 said:
A few watch-out areas: sliding the crown-race on (I use opened cresent wrench and a hammer),
I use a 18" section of 1 1/4" PVC pipe and a hammer to seat the crown race.
Slide the crown race onto the fork steerer tube, now the PVC pipe, then a few whacks with a hammer...all set.
 

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The Duuude, man...
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BruceBrown said:
That's a great tip. I'd never read or seen that before. I usually just tap, tap, tap with a large flathead screwdriver, but I'm going to try your method next time around.:thumbsup:

BB
Yea, it was a moment of desparation last year, couldn't find anything, nor the more acceptable large-inner-diamter pipe.....and I just saw my large cresent wrench sitting on the counter, and was like: hey, i can open that up just enough to fit around the steerer itself, but not enough to clear the Race....and then slam the heck out of it with a hammer.

My concerns were:
1) I'll scar up the Race making it gouge the lower bearing
and
2) I'll destroy the cresent wrench

I was in a hurry enough to not care about either....and it worked perfectly. Zero damage, and it went on extremely easiliy.

Bada'Bing, Bada'Boom...
 
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