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  1. #1
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    Carbon fat bike building. ..

    I have been reading a lot this forum about bike building. As I have questions concerning bike building. I've looked at carbon bikes that includes a fork. But as building goes I found no definite answers and parts and prices too complete this build. Can some forum members give insight on this topic.. I have searched but still have questions. Thank you

  2. #2
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    I'm sure you can get insight if you have some specific questions.

    Post the frame/fork combo(s) you're looking at, with the relevant specs, and what are your specific questions?

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    ^^NICE response. I have seen frame and fork together from as low as $550 as high as $1200 just for frame.. what crankset works best with carbon? With no particular question to build but what are some do's and don't s?.for example can I have a carbon frame but an aluminum fork and handle bar? Im 6ft 4inches.210 lbs.my wingspan is almost 80inches..So long and slim I am.

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    You are asking impossible questions. It's like asking what tires should I put on my car. Without knowing more detail there is no answer. As to your first "specific" question, it still doesn't cut it. There is no specific crank that is best on carbon frames because the frames and bottom brackets are different, just like there is no specific crank for steel or aluminum frames.
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    There are a lot of things you can do and a lot you cannot. They depend more on the specifications of each component than on their materials or construction.

    So the answers to your questions are yes and no...for all of them.

    It sounds to me like you are a good candidate to either buy a complete bike or have a shop help you decide on a build.

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    See..some of these things I didnt know..buying a complete is there but I was dancing with the idea of building a carbon bike.

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    Not to be a jerk, but if you have these questions and don't know if you can use carbon with aluminum you should probably stick to buying a complete. You need the right tools for building as well as prior knowledge. Don't get me wrong, you can do it, but carbon is a whole different beast.
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    Im going to judge that you've never built a bike before. This sounds like quite the undertaking. You may be better off picking up a complete from your lbs, then changing it piece by piece. This way you can learn while you get to ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by belikemike View Post
    ...but I was dancing with the idea of building a carbon bike.
    Okay - but why?

    (Not trying to rain on your parade here)

    Are you:

    □ Simply curious, and want to learn something unfamiliar?
    □ Trying to get one of your terrible coworkers to STFU by building a cooler bike than he is always going on about?
    □ Trying to go as super fast as you can?
    □ Lusting after the best and brightest because you hey you can afford it and you've been working doubles?

    Carbon is - or, has been, at least - the domain of picky / aggressive (or picky + aggressive) people.

    Usually people build a bike because the ones they've been riding are unsatisfying. A helpful thing to try is to - exactly that, just try a stock fat bike and see what you think. EDIT - I want to emphasize this part, fat bikes throw a lot of logic out the window, you just have to try it once.

    If it feels like you are in some kind of Millenium Falcon through hyperspace sorta zone what with the vast array of fat bike products now available... it's because yes, things have gotten cray cray.

    Yes. Two whole crays.

    You should take stock of what you're trying to achieve with a custom build, because even a cheap bike with modest components can end up being an expensive bike after you've swapped out every single component twice.

    Customization should be motivated by experiential dissatisfaction. Or just raw curiosity.

    Or it something else?
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    This is not bashing on the Chi frames but they do seem to attract newbies and anyone but a newbie should be building them. Seem like good frames but the parts can be very confusing even for someone who has dabbled in fatness for some time.

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    I would assume you have some sort of bike right now, so if you go look at it, you will need everything it has on it except the frame and fork. Over half of the major parts are fat bike specific (hubs, rims, tires, crank) and the other drive train and control parts are somewhat "standard", and even these parts have a huge variety of sizes and fitments. There are even some specialty tools you will need to assemble a bike from parts. As others have mentioned, if you lack the knowledge as to what all these specific components are, you would be far better off buying a complete bike first. There are lots of budget complete bikes available these days if money is a concern, because you won't really save a lot by building a bike from parts. Good luck on your journey in to fat-dom.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    This is not bashing on the Chi frames but they do seem to attract newbies and anyone but a newbie should be building them. Seem like good frames but the parts can be very confusing even for someone who has dabbled in fatness for some time.
    Yes, I've been building bikes for a long time and got caught out by the odd "Gotcha!" while building up my Chinese carbon frame.

    For general fatbike use, a metal one is better IMO. Carbon has the advantage of lighter weight, so that is useful if you race your bike or have to lift it over high fences a lot (as I do), otherwise the slight weight advantage is outweighed by carbon's disadvantages.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    This is not bashing on the Chi frames but they do seem to attract newbies and anyone but a newbie should be building them. Seem like good frames but the parts can be very confusing even for someone who has dabbled in fatness for some time.
    this +∞.

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    You guy are not jerks and parades continues in the rain..I have never built a bike but I would not mind on a carbon frame. Learning as I go is the fun part after riding.but do to an overwhelming array of products at hand for this type of build, I ask for inputs .I appreciate all opinions given. .if frame and fork is together is that half the build and source out the remaining parts or do I still have a lonnngggg way to go??.I have patience as to order and build as I go.or order complete bike and ride but not learning build is no fun..

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    If you think you have to do it, my 1st advice is to buy the frame, fork, headset and hubs together, same source. that will give you a good starting point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by belikemike View Post
    You guy are not jerks and parades continues in the rain..I have never built a bike but I would not mind on a carbon frame. Learning as I go is the fun part after riding.but do to an overwhelming array of products at hand for this type of build, I ask for inputs .I appreciate all opinions given. .if frame and fork is together is that half the build and source out the remaining parts or do I still have a lonnngggg way to go??.I have patience as to order and build as I go.or order complete bike and ride but not learning build is no fun..
    You have a rather long way to go still after you choose a frame and fork.

    EVERY part on a bicycle (speaking in generalities here) has options. For a given bike build, most of those options are going to be the incorrect ones, for a variety of reasons.

    Choosing and purchasing a frame and fork are fairly easy. Assuming you even know what size frame you need. But that's where the real work begins. Because for EVERY SINGLE COMPONENT you purchase, you need to know or decide what your goals are for the complete bike. You need a vision for what the bike will be when it's complete. And you need to have an idea what each component will bring to that big picture vision of the complete bike.

    Starting from where you are, I can pretty much guarantee that you would buy some incompatible parts throughout a build process. Simply because you don't know. You might even install something incorrectly, or break something. Bike shop mechanics see this sort of thing ALL the time. They love home mechanics. Job security.

    I built a fatbike a few months ago. My first fatbike, but not my first build. Not by a long shot. I had to pre-order the frame, and it ended up being the LAST part I had in my hands. Therefore, when choosing the components, all I had was the manufacturer's specifications chart for the frame. Every single frame SHOULD have such a comprehensive chart, but the cheap Chinese ones are oftentimes vague on certain details. Not only do you need to be able to understand this chart, but you need to know how to find out a given specification for a frame if it's not given. I had to research some of these specifications extensively before ordering a part. Particularly the bottom bracket. And I'm no stranger to bikes, or building, like I said.

    There's a thread elsewhere on the forum about building bikes from the frame vs. buying a complete. My first three mt bikes were bought as completes. My third one was when I started making extensive component swaps. I've owned it 11 years, so I basically waited until I wore something out or broke it, to spread out the cost. That kept me busy learning. After I got that bike, I got a job in a shop, where I started building bikes that were partially assembled. Mostly cruisers and hybrids, but also the occasional mtb and road bike. A few years ago, I built my own first bike from the frame. It was a learning process, for sure. The frame was a pretty inexpensive one, and it was quirky and weird. I got fed up with the weirdness of it and swapped the parts to another frame that was not weird. That bike has been solid and reliable. Right there was a learning curve that cost me an entire frame. It's my commuter bike, and made use of far fewer unique standards than fatbikes do.

    My recommendation is to pace yourself. Don't dive into the shark tank headfirst. Buy a complete bike, and start the learning process by learning to service the bike yourself. Buy tools as you need them to service a given part. Before too long, you will have most of what you need to build a bike from the frame. That learning process will be a lot more approachable and less intimidating if you spread it out.

    Some tools are rather expensive for the small amount of use a home mechanic will put them through. For that stuff, shops are always there and it's cheaper for you to just pay them to do it right than to break something by doing it wrong (and then needing to buy the part again).

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    ^^^^^pretty nice straight forward advice..I really thought about buying complete bike and when I up grade parts I learn as I go....but I didnt know carbon was a beast all in itself. Really..

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    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Harold again.
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    Quote Originally Posted by belikemike View Post
    ^^^^^pretty nice straight forward advice..I really thought about buying complete bike and when I up grade parts I learn as I go....but I didnt know carbon was a beast all in itself. Really..
    It doesn't matter if the frame is carbon. This applies to ANY frame and bicycle build.

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    I built my first complete bike from a frameset in about 1996. I recently built my first fat bike and the new "standards" are confusing, even to someone who has been around the block and worked in a bike shop as a tech. Take Harolds advice and get a complete - even if it is a shiny carbon complete like a Beargrease or Echo. Learn to service it and buy the tools required to do so. Then you can build a bike if you still feel the need, because we all know that the number of bikes you need is X+1.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    Yes, I've been building bikes for a long time and got caught out by the odd "Gotcha!" while building up my Chinese carbon frame.
    The gotcha

    My gotcha came AFTER I got my carbon built. Realized my Thule Criterium would no longer work because you aren't suppose to clamp around carbon (it holds the downtube). Had to buy one new rack. The joys of unforeseen expenses!
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    The only actual trick is hub size and bottom bracket size. Everything else is interchangeable. There is no magic formula. If the fork u buy is a 135 or 150 then you have to buy hubs/wheels with hubs of that size. Same goes for the rear. Most frames will be 190 or 197. Nice thing here is a lot of hubs can use end caps to accommodate the different sizes. The frame will list this when you buy or you can choose it on some of them. It will also list if it a thru axle or a quick release. Again just buy accordingly.

    As for all the other components it is up to you. You can run whatever fork you want. There is no restriction of running a carbon fork in carbon frame. If you want to run a aluminum fork like the Bluto, go for it. The drive train is also up to you. You can run whatever you want. The only difference with a carbon frame is what it is made of.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jefflinde View Post
    The only actual trick is hub size and bottom bracket size. Everything else is interchangeable. There is no magic formula.
    What about axles and chips when they come sans both front and back, get's a little tricky as well. I just helped a shop somewhat piece on together and it was a pita. The seatpost clamp ended up being some weird huge size as well. This was a cool frame but no info could be had or at least wasn't ask before they received it and it built up stinking light.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jefflinde View Post
    The only actual trick is hub size and bottom bracket size. Everything else is interchangeable. There is no magic formula. If the fork u buy is a 135 or 150 then you have to buy hubs/wheels with hubs of that size. Same goes for the rear. Most frames will be 190 or 197. Nice thing here is a lot of hubs can use end caps to accommodate the different sizes. The frame will list this when you buy or you can choose it on some of them. It will also list if it a thru axle or a quick release. Again just buy accordingly.

    As for all the other components it is up to you. You can run whatever fork you want. There is no restriction of running a carbon fork in carbon frame. If you want to run a aluminum fork like the Bluto, go for it. The drive train is also up to you. You can run whatever you want. The only difference with a carbon frame is what it is made of.
    Oversimplification. "Most" are not 190 or 197. Fat bike rear end spacing can be anywhere from 135mm (least common), to 170/177, or 190/197 depending on the purpose of the bike. A lot of very popular bikes are 170/177 still. A lot of hubs do offer swappable end caps, but that's not so much for accommodating different "sizes" as it is for moving between attachment types (QR vs. thru axle). What that means, is that pretty much, you can only swap a 170mm QR hub to a 177mm thru axle with different end caps. There are some exceptions to that generality, but someone who has never built a bike before should not be considering it them.

    ALL the other components are also not entirely interchangeable. In some cases, technically so, but you'll run into problems with fitment. For example, a triple crankset on a fatbike frequently creates problems. Fatbikes are increasingly coming without any accommodation for a front derailleur. And as for all bikes, ALL drivetrain components are not interchangeable. You can't just go bolting on whatever SRAM and Shimano bits you feel like. Some things are interchangeable, but some are not. Rotor size is another thing to look at. Frames and forks all have upper and lower limits on what you can use. Sometimes, those limits don't make a practical difference. Sometimes they do. Just depends.

    It is very true that there's no magic formula. But my earlier statement about having a complete vision for the bike and examining every component and deciding what that component will do for that overall vision still stands. Sometimes a decision on one part leads you towards another specific part for something else.

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    Let me preface this with i am not trying to be rude but people make this out to be way more challenging than it is.

    so lets say you want to use this frame:
    SN03 fat bike 100mm BB sheels 190mm rear spacing - Shenzhen ICAN Sports Equipment Co., Ltd.


    it tells you everything you need to know.
    Seat post size? 31.6 listed.
    BB size and standard? 100mm BSA listed.
    Axle size? says 190mm and by looking at it, it is clearly a thru ale.
    The only thing not listed out for you is the fork axle width. you can tell it is a thru axle and when you un pack it you could measure or assume that is it a 150mm since that is the most common size now.

    All the other components are just bolt on. you have to make sure that the stem is the right size but there are only two main options so that should not be hard. then you need to get a bar that fits the stem you just bought. again, not a lot of options in size but just read and match the numbers. Buy a crank that has the same 100mm spacing, drive train is what ever you want as long as you match the hub to the # of gears. hubs will be listed as 10 spd or whatever.

    I guess i would make sure i had the frame specs before i bought it but even after the fact the info is out there or measurable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Oversimplification. "Most" are not 190 or 197. Fat bike rear end spacing can be anywhere from 135mm (least common), to 170/177, or 190/197 depending on the purpose of the bike. A lot of very popular bikes are 170/177 still. A lot of hubs do offer swappable end caps, but that's not so much for accommodating different "sizes" as it is for moving between attachment types (QR vs. thru axle). What that means, is that pretty much, you can only swap a 170mm QR hub to a 177mm thru axle with different end caps. There are some exceptions to that generality, but someone who has never built a bike before should not be considering it them.

    ALL the other components are also not entirely interchangeable. In some cases, technically so, but you'll run into problems with fitment. For example, a triple crankset on a fatbike frequently creates problems. Fatbikes are increasingly coming without any accommodation for a front derailleur. And as for all bikes, ALL drivetrain components are not interchangeable. You can't just go bolting on whatever SRAM and Shimano bits you feel like. Some things are interchangeable, but some are not. Rotor size is another thing to look at. Frames and forks all have upper and lower limits on what you can use. Sometimes, those limits don't make a practical difference. Sometimes they do. Just depends.

    It is very true that there's no magic formula. But my earlier statement about having a complete vision for the bike and examining every component and deciding what that component will do for that overall vision still stands. Sometimes a decision on one part leads you towards another specific part for something else.
    Harold

    You make great points. I am just trying to point out that with a little research anyone can build up a bike. you don't have to be a master builder or have been in the industry for ages. A lot of the unknowns are given for any specific frame. like spacing, attachment type and BB sizes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jefflinde View Post
    Let me preface this with i am not trying to be rude but people make this out to be way more challenging than it is.

    so lets say you want to use this frame:
    SN03 fat bike 100mm BB sheels 190mm rear spacing - Shenzhen ICAN Sports Equipment Co., Ltd.


    it tells you everything you need to know.
    Seat post size? 31.6 listed.
    BB size and standard? 100mm BSA listed.
    Axle size? says 190mm and by looking at it, it is clearly a thru ale.
    The only thing not listed out for you is the fork axle width. you can tell it is a thru axle and when you un pack it you could measure or assume that is it a 150mm since that is the most common size now.

    All the other components are just bolt on. you have to make sure that the stem is the right size but there are only two main options so that should not be hard. then you need to get a bar that fits the stem you just bought. again, not a lot of options in size but just read and match the numbers. Buy a crank that has the same 100mm spacing, drive train is what ever you want as long as you match the hub to the # of gears. hubs will be listed as 10 spd or whatever.

    I guess i would make sure i had the frame specs before i bought it but even after the fact the info is out there or measurable.
    I can tell you from communicating with Ican and reading other info on that specific bike, it ships with a 135 spaced fork....there is a 150 available, but you need to ask for it.

    That's just one example of "assuming" potentially costing you money.

    What if you order the frameset "assuming" it's 150, you order 150 spaced front wheel, and when your frameset shows up, it's 135...oh, and you decided to spring for custom painting?

    Costly assumption.

    Ican is one of the better ones for info. Their website is OK, communication is OK....some of the other sites...not so much.

    I'm strongly considering buying one so i have visited many sites.

    I agree with an earlier poster who suggested at least buying frame, fork, hubs (if not wheels) and axles from the same vendor rather than trying to mix and match
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jefflinde View Post
    Let me preface this with i am not trying to be rude but people make this out to be way more challenging than it is.

    it tells you everything you need to know.
    Seat post size? 31.6 listed.
    BB size and standard? 100mm BSA listed.
    Axle size? says 190mm and by looking at it, it is clearly a thru ale.
    The only thing not listed out for you is the fork axle width. you can tell it is a thru axle and when you un pack it you could measure or assume that is it a 150mm since that is the most common size now.


    But is doesn't tell you everything you need to know and if you want to get your parts ready and in order before hand good luck. So wait 2 months to get a frame then order hubs and have the wheelset built, sounds like a long process. Then get the frame and try to figure out it doesn't come with axles in some cases? I have followed many of a new fat bikers building these and let's just say many didn't go that smooth and I'm pretty sure it wouldn't go as smooth for me as I would like it too. My perfect world, order frame, get all parts, and when frame comes in put it together that day and ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swerny View Post
    I can tell you from communicating with Ican and reading other info on that specific bike, it ships with a 135 spaced fork....there is a 150 available, but you need to ask for it.

    That's just one example of "assuming" potentially costing you money.

    What if you order the frameset "assuming" it's 150, you order 150 spaced front wheel, and wehn your frameset shows up, it's 135...oh, and you decided to spring for custom painting.

    Costly assumption.

    I think i said measure when you unpack but i could be wrong. Also if you are springing for custom painting and you don't wait and see or make sure then you deserve the additional cost.

    there are variables but none that can not be researched or measured when you have the parts.

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    Do you like numbers? There are many "standards" to wade through. This is a few of the options out there.

    Front hub spacing
    100mm
    135mm
    147mm
    150mm
    rear hub spacing
    135mm
    135mm offset
    160mm
    165mm
    170mm
    177mm
    180mm
    190mm
    197mm
    bb
    73mm
    82mm
    100mm
    120mm
    120mm press fit
    124mm press fit
    132mm press fit

    setpost
    27.2
    30.8
    30.9
    31.6
    seatpost clamp
    34mm
    35mm
    38mm
    drive train
    1x9
    1x10
    1x11
    2x9
    2x10
    2x11
    3x9
    3x10
    3x11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jefflinde View Post
    I think i said measure when you unpack but i could be wrong. Also if you are springing for custom painting and you don't wait and see or make sure then you deserve the additional cost.

    there are variables but none that can not be researched or measured when you have the parts.
    Sure...and what if you are ordering wheels from the same place? You would order at the same time.

    I agree it's likely not rocket science but you do need to be careful. This isn't like walking into your LBS and returns would be a huge PITA.

    From reading older posts, some of the factories were making changes on the fly, there were issues with rear spacing etc.
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    Guess the world should just buy complete bikes. It amazes me how all these people have successfully built bikes from frames. they must be geniuses. (sarcasm)

    I think i said the OP needs to read and by reading all those numbers would be confirmed and the OP would be able to purchase the correct things. either way best of luck to belikemike. looks like there is a wealth of info from these lovely members. not sure if they will share it but it is there.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jefflinde View Post
    Harold

    You make great points. I am just trying to point out that with a little research anyone can build up a bike. you don't have to be a master builder or have been in the industry for ages. A lot of the unknowns are given for any specific frame. like spacing, attachment type and BB sizes.
    OP clearly came into this thread with NO CLUE what was involved. Do you think his eyes have glazed over by now with the numbers spouting in this thread now? I do.

    No, you don't need to be a master builder or an industry old timer to build a bike. But it important to have some basis to start from. At least enough experience, say, that you know the difference between a top pull or a bottom pull front derailleur, the difference between IS and post disc brake mounting, and so on.

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    Anybody can build a bike, it just takes research and patience like you said. My point was not intended to scare or criticize. I should have added a few words with it. It seemed the op was really new and my point was that with fatbikes there are lots of options. Sorry if it came off a snarky.

    When I read through the Chinese Carbon Build thread it seems that it is not always as simple as it appears when dealing with translations and a constantly evolving market.

    When putting together a bike my thought is to decide what I want the bike to do and work backwards. The desired end result should is a deciding factor. Is cost the main concern? Is light weight a goal? Would I like to use spare parts I have lying around? Do I want to have a sweet looking bike? Do I like to do puzzles. There are many questions and even more answers.

    I like to assemble bikes from scratch. I enjoy it, for me it is a hobby like riding.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jefflinde View Post
    Guess the world should just buy complete bikes. It amazes me how all these people have successfully built bikes from frames. they must be geniuses. (sarcasm)

    I think i said the OP needs to read and by reading all those numbers would be confirmed and the OP would be able to purchase the correct things. either way best of luck to belikemike. looks like there is a wealth of info from these lovely members. not sure if they will share it but it is there.
    Lucky neighbor of Maryland's Patapsco Valley State Park, 39.23,-76.76 Flickr

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    OP clearly came into this thread with NO CLUE .......
    You're not alone in this assessment. You can tell within a couple of posts how it is going to go down.
    You see it here and in Frame Building. The few that are green, but soaking up info and asking the right questions. Others, well........

    My $0.02:
    I bought 5 completes through the years and worked on/replaced everything except pressing in a headset and a from scratch wheel build before I built my first frame-up bike. There is something to be said from taking it apart and getting it back together, to understand the process. But of course now there is the interwebz and you can find a how-to video of anything.

    Not saying he can't, but he needs to commit and this thread ain't going to cut it.

  36. #36
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    Exactly^^^^.you guys are giving answers to question I didn't ask yet....harold , jeff and others hit the nail on the head...get a carbon frame and building on it seems fun..im bound to make mistakes, some costly but im willing.with the ican website this is the info I need to get a good idea of what im instore for..so please guys keep discussing and giving data

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    You have a good open mind. You will have a blast, the satisfaction you feel when done is awesome. You just want to double and triple check all of the contact points between frame and hardware. Many of the Chinese companies can build the frame and fork to meet different standards so you need to know witch ones you want. If your not specific you may not get compatible items.

    Cheers.


    Quote Originally Posted by belikemike View Post
    Exactly^^^^.you guys are giving answers to question I didn't ask yet....harold , jeff and others hit the nail on the head...get a carbon frame and building on it seems fun..im bound to make mistakes, some costly but im willing.with the ican website this is the info I need to get a good idea of what im instore for..so please guys keep discussing and giving data
    Lucky neighbor of Maryland's Patapsco Valley State Park, 39.23,-76.76 Flickr

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jefflinde View Post
    Guess the world should just buy complete bikes. It amazes me how all these people have successfully built bikes from frames. they must be geniuses. (sarcasm)

    I think i said the OP needs to read and by reading all those numbers would be confirmed and the OP would be able to purchase the correct things. either way best of luck to belikemike. looks like there is a wealth of info from these lovely members. not sure if they will share it but it is there.
    Op came in and asked what cranks are best for a carbon bike...
    When someone asks that I assume they don't know much about bikes and parts. I think it would be best to buy complete and change parts as needed. Then he can ride right away and also just learn piece by piece over time.
    You may disagree, but drop the high horse tone. You're not the only one with opinions, and nobody's 'right'.

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    Have you set up a derailleur before? Gearing also doesn't just bolt on and its good to go. Have you run internally routed cable before? Trimmed cable and bled hydros if you go that route? Do you realize you need different BB spacers for different bottom bracket widths? Do you know not aall cranks and BBs come with the correct spacers? The people that act like these just go together simply and are ready to ride are giving dreamers advice.
    ...Be careful what you're looking at because it might be looking back...

  40. #40
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    Hey man I was in the same boat as you around 1 month ago. After extensive research I made my final parts list. Check out my thread if you want an idea of what parts you may need.

    I am going for a high-end version and its costing me $5500 AUD in total - including all the tools etc.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/fat-bikes/bui...ty-947441.html

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