Build your own - Part 2 - Bike Magic

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Build your own – Part 2

Last week we gave you a brief run-down on the possible pitfalls that you may encounter when embarking upon building up your own bike from a bare frame. This time around we’re looking at all the clusters of components and pointing you in the direction of the relevant how-to’s – we’ve already covered fitting and adjusting most things so there’s no point repeating ourselves. We’ve also got a couple of handy hints and tips to make the whole project go swimmingly…

As with so many things in life, preparation is everything. A bit of effort up front pays dividends. To that end, it’s a splendid idea to get hold of everything you’ll need first – there are few things more irritating than almost finishing your new bike late one evening but being stymied by the lack of nine inches of cable housing or something.

In most cases the frame itself will need some preparation before you start bolting bits to it. Some are better than others, but generally you’ll want to have the bottom bracket threads chased and the ends of the shell and headtube faced. If you’re going to fit discs, having the disc mounts faced will make life a lot easier too. All of these things need expensive tools that you’ll rarely need, so pop to your friendly local shop. We’d suggest getting them to fit the headset while they’ve got the bike, too – you can certainly fit it yourself but they should make a better job of it.

If you don’t already have one, a good workstand is a must-have for bike building projects. Well, OK, you can get away without one but it’s about a thousand million billion times easier with one. Some frames don’t like having their thin-walled tubes clamped, so fit the seatpost before anything else and put the post in the stand. Then work from there.

If you’re following the well-trodden path of putting stuff of your old bike onto a new frame, then you’ll have wheels already. If you’re genuinely building from the ground up you’ve got a couple of choices. You can get your wheels built, either by buying prebuilt wheel packages from the likes of Mavic or Shimano or by getting your choice of parts assembled by a wheel builder. Or if you’re feeling brave you can build you own. Of course, you’ll need to fit tyres too. And it’s always nice to use nice new inner tubes on a new bike. Sticking old patched ones in just doesn’t feel right, somehow.

The order in which you attach things is pretty much up to you, really. We like to fit the forks first, followed by the bar and stem and then the wheels so it looks like a bike quicker. Then it’s bottom bracket and cranks, front and rear mechs, chain, shifters and brakes . Finish off with all the little finishing touches – cable end caps, bottle boss bolts, handlebar plugs – and you’re ready to go. Have a shake-down run before venturing out on a proper ride, as something’s bound to come loose or need tweaking…


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