Published on November 16th, 2015 | by admin0
Building Your Own Road Bike
Is it really worth the time and effort? Surely we all would be better off simply buying off the shelf wouldn’t we? Well don’t be too hasty coming to that conclusion. First let’s take a look at the pros and cons of building our own road bike.
- Pride of building it yourself
- You can specify exactly what components you use
- After the build you have a complete knowledge of every working part
- You end up with a complete tool kit to maintain and service your bike
- You can actually save money
- Takes time to acquire all the components & tools
- You will be on a steep learning curve
- Any mistakes will cost you time & money
- You have to spend part of your budget on tools
- Chances are high you will underestimate costs and time required
Why Build Your Own Bike?
Well in my case I really did catch the cycling bug. I found I was riding 4 or more times a week riding up to 300K per ride training for long distance events. When you start to rack up the miles you must of cause take the time to keep your bike in good order with regular services. I have never been mechanically minded so did not even have the skills to complete even a basic service. So I built my first bike simply to teach myself about the components and how they actually worked. The tools I purchased to build the bike I use regularly to service the bike so with every service I’m actually saving money. With all the research I did in regards to buying components for my first build I learned so much about bikes which has actually helped me with future builds.
Learning How to Build Your Own Road Bike
I did purchase a few books but in all honesty I gained most of the knowledge I needed from YouTube videos and online bike forums. If you search YouTube you will find great tutorials for bike builders that will teach you everything from sizing a chain to fitting a bottom bracket.
Most major bike component manufacturers also have install and servicing videos on their websites. Take a look at the SRAM Service website.
Building Your Own Road Bike N+1
Once you have built your first road bike then with your new found knowledge I can virtually guarantee you will build another. My first build was a Cervelo R3 with SRAM Red groupset which did indeed prove to be a great bike. AS I rode more, plus as I learnt more, a year or so later I was starting to think about building another. I was lucky enough to try out a Titanium road bike which amazed me with the smoothness of the ride. I had already realised riding a carbon bike for London Edinburgh London was going to be an ordeal due to the harshness of the stiffness of carbon. So after my “Titanium Experience” I started to research Titanium frames in great detail. I did seek quotes from custom specialised Titanium road bike builders but was quoted more than £5k for the components I specified. I was in no hurry to build my next bike so simply took my time snapping up the components on my list when I found them at bargain prices online. I actually built my Titanium bike for around £2K, although this figure did not include the wheelset which I took off one of my other bikes.
For me though, building my own bikes is not done to save money. If I had paid one of the custom builders to build my Titanium bike then I would have had to make sacrifices as some of the components I wanted were very hard to source. For example the latest version of the Litespeed Titanium frame I’m riding has a Press Fit 30 bottom bracket whilst I prefer the very easy to service BSA bottom bracket. Likewise the new version of the frameset comes with a 3T fork whilst I prefer the lighter ENVE version. If you are not in a hurry to buy your components then you can indeed take your time and cherry pick your exact requirements sometimes at bargain prices, that is of course if you are prepared to be patient.
So I would say to anybody thinking about building their own road bike, by all means give it a go. Yes you are going to make at least a few mistakes in the process. Yes at some time it is going to be very frustrating. If you get really stuck then you can of course seek guidance from the local bike shop. At the end of the day though you will learn so much plus there is nothing better than riding your very own build.