The obsession of a new build
As I embark on the journey that is a new build, it leads me to ponder the obsessive nature I assume till the end result is realized. It also leads me to ask, is it the journey or the destination that I obsess over?? I am finding myself consumed with a never-ending search for the right components only to question my decision moments later when I find a “better” deal. Tell me I am not alone on this ocean of indecision!
We look to friends real and virtual for the “what do you think I should do’s?” for it to only make muddy a once clear picture of the grail we seek.
My question to you my virtual friends: How do you get through the build process? Are your first impressions of what you want, what you end up with? Where do you find yourself compromising the most? Do you have the patience to piece your build out over months or does your obsession drive you to complete it before you should?
I built my last bike. Bought the frame and fork first, then spent way too much time analyzing and spec'ing components. Took 4 months to build, and this was during prime riding season. I'm glad I didn't take shortcuts to start riding it sooner, because it ended up being a really cool bike that I put a ton of miles on.
Not sure if I'd do another frame-up build...maybe the second would be easier though. Good luck with however you do it. It's really cool when everything starts coming together.
The 29er experiment proved that 26" wheels were just fine and that 650b wheels are completely unnecessary.
I have built two bikes. The first bike was a totally new thing; I asked a million questions, double checked everything, etc. With my second build, I mostly knew what I wanted and had a bin of parts to use to put it together. I slapped it together and upgraded based on my riding experiences. I'm very happy with the result, and I'm actually upgrading the original build based on what I learned from the second one (this week!).
I live for the obsession of a new build. It is both the journey, and the destination at the same time, and the pride in being able to explain exactly why you chose each part, and the amazing prices you paid for it, because you waited, searched, compared, read, till that perfect opportunity materialized, and you pounced on it. At the end, both of my builds were done for 30% less than the best sale price I could find for the complete bike with a comparable build.
Sounds like you're on the deal-motivated side, like me - What I do, is:
1) Start in the right season - Frames start going on sale Oct/Nov/Dec. Most of the deals seem to be gone by Jan, though some pop up from time to time. But, frame is obviously your first and most important decision, b/c you usually build the rest of the bike around the frame. So you probably want to look way ahead and start looking Aug, and know what you want to buy. Comp Cyclist has very good frame sales around this time.
2) LBS seem to have sales closer to end of summer, Sep/Oct, especially in areas with a snowy winter where MTBing goes into hibernation - maybe they don't like to hold inventory as long as the online shops because they just don't have the space. I like to buy my fork from LBS b/c its one of the most complex parts on the bike and most likely to have warranty issues. This is hard because you may need to make a fork purchase before your frame. So, if that's not your boat, see #3.
3) For the rest of the parts, if you're buying online, you can start in Oct/Nov/Dec, but, don't hesitate to wait until Jan/Feb to benefit from the post-holiday sales too. Look for OE parts (no box). Also, I've had success buying the mechanically simple stuff that is not likely to need warranty on Ebay, usually for very cheap (cassette, chain, seatpost, seat, pedals, grips, tires, misc parts).
For #3, there's no magic to it, I just keep checking all the major sites, for each part, till I see that super deal. Also, use those price-matches! Jenson's is usually very good.
Big Brown and FedUp have delivered almost all my components. The build can actually begin this weekend. But it actually began last fall, when I started to wonder about a new build. I spent a couple of months deciding on the frame (Vassago Bandersnatch). Add another week for choosing a custom color. (Orangey yellow). It took awhile to get the frame (no biggie, lots of snow on the ground in CT this winter), so I had months to pore over wheels, cranks, and the rest of the kit. Some items involve lots of deliberation and searching, some not so much. Then some time is spent getting the best prices, but trying not to have everything spread over too many online stores.
And I love the whole thing: endless searching, considering, reading reviews, looking for prices. It's like being a kid in the candy store with a fist full of change.
The build itself is a lot of fun, of course, and then comes the moment of truth - first ride around the driveway, getting things fitted, then on to the trails. Sure hope it is half as much fun as putting it all together!
Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.
It's good to see I am not alone in this. Even though this is not my first frame up build, it is in the Internet era. The last one I did was while I worked for Riteway Products, the distribution arm of GT, back in the early 90's. It was easy, XTR everything with a few Ti parts thrown in and Mag 21, plus huge employee discount.
I have my list of e-tailers that I regularly check and get email from. I did a drivetrain upgrade on my FS back in December. I guess that kinda got me ready for what's ahead.
The obsession of a new build
I only build bikes, and rarely get anything "stock". Even if I buy a stock bike, it's never long before I start customizing it. All my bikes are custom built.
Recently my latest and greatest have been resurrecting my old 80's frames into functional riders to keep up with modern bikes. Granted, they are rigid and fun and I ride my 1986 Rockhopper almost exclusively, even though I have 4 MTBs and a 'cross bike.
I just "modernized" my 1988 KHS Montana Pro into a SS. Again, it's weird and totally capable as a rigid SS.
My 'cross bike has a wide, flat handlebar and 1X10 MTB drivetrain. That bike has gone under many variations, from traditional to being totally outlandish (currently).
I squeezed 29" wheels with 700x35c slick tires onto a 26" Leader 510H frame, and ride it as a 36x11-30 commuter bike with On-One fleegle bars and an aluminum rigid fork.
My flatland BMX bike is a modernized 2000 GT Pro Performer that I've brought into 2013.
My bike fetish is to make things work that aren't supposed to really go together, and build them light and strong. I like building highly functional frankenbikes, and I think I enjoy building in my garage listening to podcasts as much like riding. In terms of economy, it's a waste of money compared to buying a complete and you end up with bins of parts, but it's fun, to me!
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I use the force/trust my first instincts. Whatever parts I score, I don't look back and keep on assembling. I didn't have a fork for my last build (SIR 9) until ~2 weeks after I completed it (swapped in a suspension fork until I got what I was after). Ended up going with rigid steel. Total build time as under 1 month...
I imagine if I didn't have other bikes to ride while I was building I might be more obsessed. Generally I take it in stride and try to keep some schedule about it so that it doesn't end up sitting around half-built for months. If it takes a couple of months, no big deal as it is better to get it right the first time instead of slamming a bike together IMO.
The obsession of a new build
Originally Posted by ddprocter
I would only add: 1)teaching myself how to build wheels (see resources in Wheels and Tires Forum) lowered the price of wheels and enhanced the journey destination quest. Not so hard to learn, but a long road to master (I have not).
2) make sure you have enough tools to finish the job. In over 20 years I have accumulated quite a collection, from the real items to homemade tools such as threaded rod headset press, shop vac tube crown race installer, and ground down Philips head screwdriver nipple driver.
Essential to assemble a bike: some sort of work stand to hold bike; metric ball end hex key set, from 2mm to 8mm; cable/housing cutter; philips screwdriver set; torx driver set; whatever tools manufacturer specified to install and remove your BB; torque wrench; grease regular and the kind for carbon fiber; ferrules and cable ends for shifter cables. If you need to cut and shorten hydraulic brake cables, appropriate bleed kit.
I'm sure I forgot something; but doubtless others will chime in. Such as a way to listen to podcasts, as somebody above mentioned. Also peace and quiet.
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Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.
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