Aug
10
2011

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Building Road Bikes

by Tara

When Tyler started talking about getting road bikes, I was dubious. We already have nice bicycles, I pointed out, unsure why exactly we needed two more. Undeterred by my doubt, he promised that we most certainly did need them, and after just one ride, I'd understand why. So, just like last time, he spent untold hours in research, and amassed quite the collection of parts and pieces along the way.

A few weeks ago, the frames were painted and the last of the bits arrived. Finally, everything was ready to assemble. A pair of sleeker, less tank-like bicycles were laying in a pile of parts, waiting to replace our car for most trips around town.

Blue Road Bike in Construction

As it turns out, the actual building of our new machines has been fraught with more complications than we anticipated (what isn't?), but we've both learned a lot while bungling various parts of the installation. For example, brake cables (at least, the ones included in our build kit) come in two sizes, one long to reach the rear brake, one short for the front. We realized this about two minutes after we cut the longer one to fit the front brake. Whoops!

Tyler Working on Tara's New Road Bike

Thankfully, SRAM (the company that makes the grouppo Tyler picked) has plenty of great instructional videos on youtube. They've been immensely helpful as we've pieced everything together.


I have to admit, working on bicycles is not my idea of a good time. On our trip, I was happy to let Tyler deal with maintenance, but this time around, he insisted that I build my own bike. I've likened the process to piecing together bits of some ancient Mesopotamian map: exciting, but a little incomprehensible, and certainly not playing to my strengths. It's important to know how things work, though.

Tara Adjusting Rear Derailleur Tara Setting Limit Screws on Rear Derailleur

After much longer than we anticipated, our bicycles are finished, and I now posses a whole swath of bike-building and repair knowledge that I didn't have when we started. I can't wait to try out my sleek road machine—I foresee many morning rides in our future!


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    9 comments

    So glad you're still enjoying cycling. Tara I cannot believe you've built your own bike. I am in awe!! So glad you were 'encouraged' to give it a go :)
    Posted by Caro on September 26th, 2011 at 11:19 PM
    Thanks, Caro! It wasn't so bad, really. I am now convinced that anyone with the time and a little patience to learn could build their own bicycles. ;-)
    Posted by Tara on September 27th, 2011 at 9:20 AM
    Great post and wonderful pictures! Could you give some more details on this build? Frame, wheels, powder coating process? Thanks!
    Posted by Paul on November 18th, 2012 at 1:12 PM
    Hey Paul,

    Thanks for the kind words about our entry :)

    Both bikes are built around the Nashbar Integrated Alloy/Carbon Fiber frame with SRAM Rival components. I originally wanted to have the frames powder coated, but it would have been expensive/tricky with the carbon fiber, so I had a friend paint them instead. I can't report much on that--it's automotive paint with a clear coat. Not the most durable thing in the world, but pretty! Both wheelsets are Mavic Aksiums with Continental Grand Prix 4000S tires. We have eggbeater pedals and cheapo nashbar handlebars.

    Hmm. I think that pretty much covers it. Was there anything in particular you were curious about? Are you in the middle of a build yourself?
    Posted by Tyler on November 19th, 2012 at 2:22 AM
    Thanks! Just admiring your build, nice to see such a clean bike, devoid of company logos, etc. You happy with the build?
    Posted by Paul on November 22nd, 2012 at 3:48 PM
    :) my sentiments exactly (no logos), and yes, we love 'em.
    Posted by Tyler on November 23rd, 2012 at 3:31 PM
    I just wander around again, waiting to go, and I remembered that we've talked about those road bikes.
    I'm amazed at the rhythm you two can learn new stuff. I've people working for me since a year and they still can't adjust a rear derailleur properly. You went on the net to find how to and taa-daa! you now can do it. The world need more clever people like you two. No sh*t that you manage to build a house! :)
    Posted by Carl on February 16th, 2015 at 8:43 AM
    But Tara... Paint over carbon!!! That's a MAJOR offence to the cycling bible! (read that with an old Italian man voice)
    Posted by Carl on February 16th, 2015 at 8:46 AM
    Hey Tara,

    I came across this blog post from searching on Google. I'm a bit late but great job building your road bike. There is a distinct feeling of accomplishment when you ride a bike you've built yourself, not to mention the priceless knowledge you've acquired, Great Job!
    Posted by Griffen on April 4th, 2016 at 11:57 AM
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