1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Beginner build a SURLY TROLL?

    Ive been biking forever of course, but only got serious 2 years ago. I bought a Novara Safari from REI, and ride everywhere, commute, groceries, etc. I have tools, manuals, and have learned the basics of bicycle mechanics (I do all my own car mechanice)
    I am interested in building a Surly Troll from the frame up. I can buy more manuals, tools, and use youtube. The LBS has a friday evening bike clinic where they help with any problems you bring to them.
    My question is, am I taking on too much to try and build this Surly Troll from the frame up? I am not in a hurry as I have another bike to ride. Part of the reason for wanting to start from frame is to learn mechanics.

  2. #2
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    You are going to lace you own wheels too, right?
    That is really the only difficult part. And it is only a little time consuming to figure out the right spoke lengths. Get the TM-1 and you will have a great time.
    Sounds like your lbs is a good resource for any small thing you have a bit of difficulty with.
    You should go forward. The info you gain is worth it.

  3. #3
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    I learned everything i need to get started off of YouTube, its a great resource and better than reading manuals. picture speaks a thousand words. BE SURE though if you are not 100% you check it out quick. On my first build i screwed up some work a few times by guessing and not being 100%. it can be a costly one too.

    Build from the frame up dude. The appreciation of your bike is so much more and its great riding a bike you built rather than some dude in china.

  4. #4
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    I'm building a bike from the frame up for my girl. Not ready to build my own wheels yet but the rest is basic. If you are half decent with tools you'll be fine.
    Keep access to public lands open.
    http://30daysofbikingerie.blogspot.com/

  5. #5
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    Beginner build a SURLY TROLL?

    Building a frame up is great. I recently did my second.

    FYI, the dropout/rear disc tab arrangement on those (namely the slotted disc tab so you can move the caliper when you adjust chain tension) is fiddly. Probably not nearly as bad as the on-one I recently sold especially if built geared with a rear derailleur doing the chain tensioning, but still somewhat fiddly and tedious.

    If there is one thing I have learned from building bikes at a shop and transferring that to building my own bikes is that I am meticulous about my bikes funtioning flawlessly and silently. I will not accept a component or aspect of the bike that is unnecessarily fiddly.

  6. #6
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    I hadnt planned to lace my own wheels, but Ill look into it. Probably Ill use Rhino lites, as that is what the LBS suggested. They are also a dealer in Surly. Im not sure what 'fiddly' means, but I have an idea. Ill get to that point eventually. I decided on the troll because of 26 in wheels (as opposed to OGRE 29in.). I travel around in Asia every winter, to avoid minus 50 in Alaska. Im in Nepal right now, and headed back to Alaska and the LBS in a few months. Looking foreward to this surly bike project. I come to Asia every winter (More than 20 now) and of course a bike trip is a possibility. I have read many blogs and have settled on a 20 in. troll, with 26 wheels. I have all summer to put it together, one slow step at a time. Yes, I have used youtube so far for all my bike mechanics, and basically dont see how people did it before youtube. But obviously they did. Anyway, doing a lot of dreaming and reading about this project, and looking foreward to dumping some of my hard earned $$$ into it! All of you gave the correct answer: Go ahead and get a frame and figure out how to put it together.

  7. #7
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    I like parktool.com for clear, well-illustrated instructions for pretty much everything. Have your shop face (and maybe ream or hone) the head tube and face and chase the bottom bracket shell.

    Have fun!
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  8. #8
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    Beginner build a SURLY TROLL?

    By fiddly, I mean you have to fiddle or mess with it a lot.

  9. #9
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    Go for it...building a bike from the ground up is fun. Piece of advice, though. Make sure you have a pretty good idea of what your completed build will consist of before you start buying parts. Take into consideration parts compatibility and any specialty tools you'll have to buy (assuming you do the entire build without bike shop help).

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    I like parktool.com for clear, well-illustrated instructions for pretty much everything. Have your shop face (and maybe ream or hone) the head tube and face and chase the bottom bracket shell.

    Have fun!
    I hit on those 'park tool' instructionals, and found them excellent as well. And when possible I get park tools if only so I know it actually works. I saw a video about setting my own head tubes, and although it looks easy in the video I felt it was decieving and I should have the LBS do at least that part for me (If not more) Yes, the bottom bracket as well. Someone also mentioned making sure as I go to make sure nothing is making noise. This makes sense too, once I think of it. Make sure each component is seated correctly and operating smoothly before continuing on to the next phase. I appreciate all comments from experienced bike builders, and also see that once I get going on this project Ill have a wealth of experience to draw from on this forum. Im still planning at this point to buy some stock wheels instead of learning to make it myself--I think that might be beyond my ninja skills. since Im Still In Nepal, the bike project is a while away, but Im gathering as much info and ideas and bookmarking websites as possible before I take the plunge.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by owensjs View Post
    Go for it...building a bike from the ground up is fun. Piece of advice, though. Make sure you have a pretty good idea of what your completed build will consist of before you start buying parts. Take into consideration parts compatibility and any specialty tools you'll have to buy (assuming you do the entire build without bike shop help).
    Yes, Im trying to visualize the finished project, what I want it to do, and how it all fits together. Im looking at lots of blogs and see how other people put theirs together, and what their reasoning was for the different components. This is why I was a little apprehensive about this project. But now as I go and find that lots of people have done it it makes sense. Im looking foreward to the learning experience and being able to tell what is wrong with my bike when something doesnt work. That part will be worth it. As I said, Im not in a hurry, and it can take all summer to build if necessary. But I am considering a bike trip in Asia with it next winter. Maybe. (Im in Nepal right now)

  12. #12
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    Wheels are actually not that hard. They just take patience. Expect to spend around eight hours on your first set, though I highly recommend tackling them in stages. This is both to let the components settle a little better and because I find if I get impatient and start to rush, I don't end up with as good a wheel.

    If I was doing a bike from the ground up, I'd copy-paste a build list from somewhere and fill it in. Then I'd be relatively confident I wouldn't miss something. No guarantee, but that's one of the things having a local shop can really help with.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  13. #13
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    I looked at Sheldon B's site on wheel building. Ill read more and see if I want to tackle it. One idea I had is to first build a back wheel for my 700cc touring bike (Novara Safari REI) and see how that goes, and see if I want to build the wheels for my surly troll. I tend to carry a lot of weight on the back of that bike (Novara Safari), as well as Im pretty huge, so it might be a good start to see if I can build one for that bike first, just for the learning experience. Then if it doesnt work too well for me im not without a wheel (Havnt put all my eggs in one basket)
    NOTE: I just saw a surly TROLL here in Phokara, Nepal. The guy rode it all the way from London England to Nepal.

  14. #14
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    Congratulations on deciding to build your next bike instead of buying a complete. It's a rewarding process. You will learn a ton about working on bikes and be a better cyclist for it. Also you end up with a finished bike that is exactly what you want. That said, building up a bike from a frame requires some special tools, and if you aren't a constant tinkerer, it may not be worth it to purchase these tools. Hopefully your LBS will allow you to borrow these tools during their clinic. The main things I'm thinking of are the tools to ream and face your head tube and bottom bracket shell, a headset press, and bottom bracket tools. Outside of these, pretty much all you need is a set of metric allen wrenches, cable cutters, and maybe a torx wrench or two depending on your components. Building from a frame is much more expensive than buying a complete, but you can defray cost by being patient and finding good deals on lightly used or take off parts on E-Bay.

    Best of luck to you on your new project!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iamrockandroll13 View Post
    Congratulations on deciding to build your next bike instead of buying a complete. It's a rewarding process. You will learn a ton about working on bikes and be a better cyclist for it. Also you end up with a finished bike that is exactly what you want. That said, building up a bike from a frame requires some special tools, and if you aren't a constant tinkerer, it may not be worth it to purchase these tools. Hopefully your LBS will allow you to borrow these tools during their clinic. The main things I'm thinking of are the tools to ream and face your head tube and bottom bracket shell, a headset press, and bottom bracket tools. Outside of these, pretty much all you need is a set of metric allen wrenches, cable cutters, and maybe a torx wrench or two depending on your components. Building from a frame is much more expensive than buying a complete, but you can defray cost by being patient and finding good deals on lightly used or take off parts on E-Bay.

    Best of luck to you on your new project!
    NO, I wasnt intening to do the reaming and pressing at all. Im definatley planning on LBS to do that. I have all the other tools you mentioned, and can pick up other as I need, if they are simple tools. Im only a little bit thinking of lacing my own wheels, probably not, though, just buy some off the shelf.
    Yes, I was surprised that it is going to cost more to build as opposed to buying pre-built. I thought labor cost made it expensive. But a big part of it is learning the process, and understanding it, and having the tools to keep myself going. I have a job and make $$$, so putting a couple hundred extra into the project wont bother me.
    I backpacked around the third world for 20 winters, and kinda lookin' for something new, and maybe biking around Asia and Africa could be a new thrill. Ill want to know what makes my Troll tick, and have the hand tools to get me back on the road.

  16. #16
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    tools during their clinic. The main things I'm thinking of are the tools to ream and face your head tube and bottom bracket shell, a headset press, and bottom bracket tools.

    I am reading mixed reports on reaming the head tube and BB. Especially with the surly, many experienced bike builders do it without facing these. They also set the bearing races themselves. About half the people did, and half didnt.Many of those who didnt were experienced Surly builders or LBS staff. One price quoted was $95 to get this done. I realize I am going to throw some money into this project, but I will try and cut cost where possible. I earn my money by the sweat of my brow, and I also like to escape ant play around in Asia all winter, and so I am averse to throwing away my hard earned $$$.
    Anyway, That is one thing I am trying to figure out, if I need to do that, have those faced at the LBS. I am not going to use it for racing or something. I have a idea of riding it around the world, but in reality Ill probably just end up riding it back and forth to the library.
    Anyway, getting together a picture in my mind as to what is involved in building a Surly Troll.

  17. #17
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    I clipped this directly from the surly website. They say their frames have been faced at the factory. They say sometimes paint gets in there, and so to use a carpet knife to scrape out any paint.To cover themselves, they also suggest paying for facing to ensure best results.
    This from Surly:
    Since Surly frames are faced prior to painting, it is possible to shave the paint off the head tube and BB shell ends with a carpet knife blade. This usually results in an acceptable result, saving you money, but we still recommend having it done the proper way to ensure longest life from your components.

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