Bike Building — My Story

One thing I recommend to all enthusiasts of a sport is to get down into the details of their equipment. In my case that means bike building. I can not claim to be a bike builder, but I think it is fair to say I am a bike producer or contractor.

The story starts in late summer or early fall of 2012. I was determined to obtain a carbon fiber bike and and when I was looking at the prices of said bikes I did not much care for dropping that kind of cash at once. So, I started looking at component pricing and did some googling on bike building. It seemed to me I could build a boss bike for less.

Bike Building — The Start

2012

  • The frame a Trek Madone 5.9 in 60 cm
  • The frame was found online and at the bike shop where I am on a first name basis with the staff.

Bike Building Project

Before

Yeah, that was it for 2012. The rest of 2012 was spent in planning and analysis of what to do next. I determined the following:

  • Ultegra Drive
  • 3×10 drive train

Since Ginger is not a light bike I did not count grams with this bike, but instead looked to put together a lighter, a more comfortable bike, and a more responsive bike than Ginger. Plus the obvious source of weight reduction is not on the bike but the engine.

Bike Building — Procuring Parts

The hunt for parts involved talking and working with local cycle shops, cruising the Internet (EBay, Craig’s List, and bike ETailers), and just hunting. The first acquisition was the frame. I found the frame online and fortunately it was at one of my local bike shops (and the one where I am on a first name basis with the staff there) and so I was able to pick it up. I had missed out on a few other frames that were my size and the level I was looking for. In the end I picked up a 60 cm Trek Madone 5.9 frame which is reported as old but unused (in fact, I just found out it appears to be a 2005 frame), and that was the state it stood in through that first fall and winter, just a frame.

Then the net summer (Summer 2013) I began to procure other parts. The first parts were the bottom bracket, and the fork, stem, and handlebars and then I started to purchase the parts for the drive train, buying a chain, a 10 ring cassette, and the crankset (3 ring 175mm Ultegra). Drew advised me to put the parts in a box and eventually I mounted the crankset and put all the parts into a box which I lost. Eventually I picked up a pair of Easton wheels. At the end of 2013 and start of 2014 I also purchased brakes, a seatpost, and a saddle (Selle Anatomica Titanico X).

2013

  • the fork
  • The headset
  • The crankset
  • the wheelset
  • the seatpost
  • the stem
  • the handlebars
  • A chain & cassette both of which I can not locate in my house

dire-wolf-looks-like-a-bike!

Dire Wolf at the Start of 2014

This year, part procurement started earlier in fact it started off right at the border of 2013 & 2014. Parts obtained:

2014

  • saddle
  • peddles
  • brakes
  • rear deraileur
  • front deraileur
  • cassette
  • chain
  • brake levers
  • bottle cages
  • cable, tape, various small bits and pieces
  • Bike Building — Did I Save Money

    I am convinced I did. I waited patiently and when I was able to afford or find inexpensive components I pounced. There is an old saying you can have something quickly, you can have quality, or you can have it on the cheap; but you can only have two of the three, I chose cheap and quality. I waited, more miles on Ginger makes me tougher and stronger.

    I will have to sit down and go over my records, but I did some googling on 2005 Madone 5.9 and found some pricing on the bike and I know I came in under that pricepoint.

    Bike Building — Putting it Together

    Given the fact I have never done this before I relied heavily on Wheel and Sprocket in Appleton to put things together for me. Given the cost of the components I did not want to break them due to inadequate tools, skills, or knowledge. I put on a few things but nothing major. I do want to take this on at some point, but will do so on a less expensive project.

    the new bike dire wolf

    AFTER!

    Bike Building — Good Experience

    All in all I enjoyed the experience of building the bike and the process of becoming more familiar with this sport and I look forward to a next time. How about you, have you built a bike?