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How often do you build a bike? Why?

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How often do you build a bike? Why?

Old 07-05-21, 05:32 PM
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How often do you build a bike? Why?

I'm curious how often people here build bikes and why. By building a bike, I mean stripping it down to the frame, dealing with any rust/paint issues, replacing all the consumables, and installing the parts that I think the build needs to make it pop. I enjoy thinking my way through a bike build and finding the right parts. Obviously if a bike is all original, you may not need to track down any parts.

I find that I tend to build a bike a year that I then ride a lot and take to a few events. I always more bikes than I need in the build queue and sometimes I'll build more than a bike in a year. I don't tend to pay much for my bikes; I'll seldom pay more than $200 and often less. I have a bad tendency to pick up interesting bikes when they pop up locally.

Three years ago I built up a 70s Fuji Finest and rode it a lot. Last year I built a 1979 Trek 510. It was my pandemic build. This year I am building a 70s era Mercier 300 that I plan on doing some long rides on once the weather cools down. I recently picked up a 1973 Raleigh Grand Sport that I'll likely build next year. For me, building a bike is a lot of fun but it is also about a tool that I plan to use on some hard rides. That's why my bikes tend to have wide ranging gearing as I want to be able to ride them over 15-20% grades. For me building a bike is all about the experience of working on a fine machine that I plan on using.

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Old 07-05-21, 06:41 PM
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Only once, so far.
Finished this Raleigh in 2016, now has almost 5000 miles, including some dirt, gravel and one Eroica.

My brother in law found this frame in a pile of scrap metal

When I stripped the pea soup green paint, it exposed these beautiful Capella lugs.

I verified it as a '73 Raleigh Super Course.

I built it up "naked" to see how it rode.

The fit was almost perfect...

...so I paid a boatload of money for paint and decals, and its now one of my favorite rides.
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Old 07-05-21, 06:45 PM
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So you made me look.
2006 - 3 bikes
2009 - 2 bikes
2010 - 1 bike
2011 - 1 bike
2013 - 1 bike
2015 - 3 bikes
2016 - 1 bike
2018 - 1 bike
2021 - 2 bikes but there will be a deal for a third by the end on the month

I spend way too much, and it seems to get worse as time moves on. For why, it is pretty much I get a bug in my head and go with it. A few years later I liquidate to finance a new bug. The only one I sort wish I still had was that Viscontea pista, but in reality I don't get much opportunity to ride it. One of the 2021 bikes is too small and won't be long in the collection but it is such a unique bike I just wanted the challenge. I will be bringing much of the collection to Mike Kone's shindig in 2022.
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Old 07-05-21, 06:49 PM
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I just finished this. Rotated the bars down, and waiting for a few more test rides to finalize with blue tape.

I bought it as a complete but to the OP’s point, sold
Most of those components on eBay and then rebuilt to my taste/need. Kind of modern/ retro thing happening here.

I tend to build things when “ inspiration & opportunity intersect” if that doesn’t sound to pompous….






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Old 07-05-21, 06:53 PM
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It varies. At least one a year. I have an organized ride in May. My tradition for that ride is that I acquire a different bike, fix it up and ride it on that ride. Currently, I have 2 or 3 in que so I might not get one for a few years.
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Old 07-05-21, 06:57 PM
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Since October of last year I've done four. They are all survivors and have been taken down, overhauled with consumables being replaced as needed. None of them are restorations or anything worth painting. I do it because it gives me something constructive to do and I enjoy the results.

Some day I hope to find something classic or collectible and make a long term project taking my time to do a meticulous restoration. But for the time being, I'm happy just wrenching on them and riding them.
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Old 07-05-21, 07:01 PM
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Wasn't too long ago, I did 19 in a year. C&V was big, and I could sell a mid-level bike for $400 within a week of listing. Then the bottom fell out of that market. I can't explain it. I don't know what happened. And then the pandemic happened that completely priced me out.

For the most part, I think I got it out of my system anyway. Now, the only thing I want to work on are the pretty and unique lightweights with lots of Campy.

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Old 07-05-21, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Slightspeed View Post
Only once, so far.
Finished this Raleigh in 2016, now has almost 5000 miles, including some dirt, gravel and one Eroica.

My brother in law found this frame in a pile of scrap metal

When I stripped the pea soup green paint, it exposed these beautiful Capella lugs.

I verified it as a '73 Raleigh Super Course.

I built it up "naked" to see how it rode.

The fit was almost perfect...

...so I paid a boatload of money for paint and decals, and its now one of my favorite rides.
This bike is beautiful and it's a heck of a rebuild. Those white weinmann hoods seem to survive better than the gum ones. I wouldn't mind finding a set for the Raleigh Grand Sport I'm rebuilding.

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Old 07-05-21, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by fender1 View Post
I just finished this. Rotated the bars down, and waiting for a few more test rides to finalize with blue tape.

I bought it as a complete but to the OP’s point, sold
Most of those components on eBay and then rebuilt to my taste/need. Kind of modern/ retro thing happening here.

I tend to build things when “ inspiration & opportunity intersect” if that doesn’t sound to pompous….





Beautiful bike and a sweet build. I've never seen a Lyonsport before.
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Old 07-05-21, 07:40 PM
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I wish to invoke my 5th Amendment rights at this time..............
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Old 07-05-21, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Beautiful bike and a sweet build. I've never seen a Lyonsport before.
Thanks! Jeff Lyon is a builder in Oregon, who I think is now pretty much retired. This frame has a lightweight top tube 7/4/7 and light weight down tube. Clearance for 35mm tires w/ fenders and a provision for internal wiring in the front fork.

Here is an older YouTube interview with Jeff:
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Old 07-05-21, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by fender1 View Post
Thanks! Jeff Lyon is a builder in Oregon, who I think is now pretty much retired. This frame has a lightweight top tube 7/4/7 and light weight down tube. Clearance for 35mm tires w/ fenders and a provision for internal wiring in the front fork.
As far as I know, Jeff is still building. He was collaborating a couple of years back with Portland builder Norther Cycles on the Norther-Lyon framesets, but now Norther is no longer.

Anyway, his website is still active. He's on my short-list for a custom, so I should probably contact him to make sure he's still making 'em.
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Old 07-05-21, 10:20 PM
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...a few years back (maybe 5-6 years ago), I got into repainting frames, mostly because it was the only way I could find nicer bikes like Colnago's and Raleigh Pro's in my exact size, that I thought were affordable. It turned out to have the added advantage of making projects take much longer to accomplish. So I end up buying fewer bicycles, As a bonus, I get to play around sometimes with customizing the paint and graphics, to get something I think looks good. I can only paint here in the drier, hotter weather, because I paint outdoors in the back yard. By the time I buy stickers, paint, stripper, etc,, I think on average it costs about $100-$150 per frame. So "affordable" turns out to be a relative term.

Last winter I collected four project bikes that were mostly there, in terms of components, but had some paint issues, (Follis 172, Cinelli SC, an 80's PX-10E, and a Guerciotti). I stripped them down of parts over the winter and early spring. I just put the 2 part urethane clear coat on the fourth one, which is more or less the last step in my 2 and 3 stage painting process. Another candidate, a Moto Le Champion , popped up about four weeks ago, so that one got disassembled, stripped, primed, color coated, and stickered (finally) just yesterday. It really is a slow process, so it helps to control impulse buys. What's nice about it is there are built in stops along the way, where you have to wait for a coat to dry a couple of days, before you can do more work on it.

That's probably about it for this year. I get burned out on painting. Need to do some detailing, like lug lining, on the Moto, but I might do that post clear coat, so it's easier to repair If I slip.
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Old 07-05-21, 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
This bike is beautiful and it's a heck of a rebuild. Those white weinmann hoods seem to survive better than the gum ones. I wouldn't mind finding a set for the Raleigh Grand Sport I'm rebuilding.
Thanks. The mechanicals were mostly sourced from Ebay and local swap meets. I think the bars, brake levers, hoods and stem were found together online. There is a local shop with a back room full of vintage odds and ends at grest prices, Atomic Cycles in Van Nuys, CA. The white hoods were in good shspe and just needed cleaning. I have a Legnano with Universal gummed hoods, on their third set, since I got the bike new in 1964 (two repro sets since 2015). They almost rot before your eyes.
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Old 07-05-21, 10:52 PM
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As seldom as possible. I just wanna ride.

But I've overhauled my early '90s Univega Via Carisma once, in 2018, I think, from bottom bracket to hubs to headset, and changed handlebars twice, shifters two or three times. It's done. No more.

Ditto my '89 Ironman, although I don't remember whether I overhauled the headset. I need to check that this year.

In January 2020 I took my '93 Trek 5900 OCLV out of service for an overhaul after the headset went bad. And I never finished it. I figured I'd have the entire pandemic year to finish, but... nope. All I wanted to do was ride, so I mostly rode the Ironman. But the Trek is on the workstand now so it'll be in riding shape soon. Not a full overhaul, though. The bottom bracket feels okay so I don't want to mess with it when it still feels smooth.

Not C&V, but... in late summer or early autumn 2020 I did a trial build of a 2014 Diamondback Podium, just slapping on the same components from the Trek 5900. Wasn't sure whether the Diamondback frame would fit so I didn't want to put too much work into it until I rode it for awhile. Took months of tweaking to get the fit more or less right, and the 175 cranks don't suit me anymore. And I'm gonna try that frame with a Dura Ace 10-speed setup stripped from a time trial bike with cracked frame.

I might make an exception for another C&V build if I find the right frame. I have a hankering to install a sweet set of Shimano L-422 Light Action downtube friction shifters full time on a bike. I tried those shifters on my Ironman last summer and liked 'em, although I switched the Ironman back to the original Suntour GPX Accushift setup after a month or so. But I have a Shimano 6-speed RD and FD to go with it.
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Old 07-05-21, 11:01 PM
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I have been volunteering with the Silicon Valley Bicycle Exchange here in Palo Alto Ca. for about 10 years, learned how to repair bikes and then started restoring some of the nicer ones for us to sell to finance our operation. I started painting some of the sale bikes, and now do around 50 restorations a year. on almost all of them I completely strip the bike down to the frame. I deep clean the paint with white polishing compound, and depending on the condition I wax, clear coat, or completely strip and re paint. My projects run the gamut from an old huffy beach cruiser, to a Schwinn Suburban( currently being reassembled) to Bianchi's, Atala's, Raleigh 3 speeds, and lots of Specialized Rock hoppers.

I spend 10 - 20 hours on a bike and use probably $20 - $50 worth of new materials which the bike Exchange provides plus used parts from the bins in the shop.

I love rummaging around in the stacks of old bikes waiting to be repaired looking for something interesting to work on then customizing it to make it unique.
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Old 07-06-21, 12:10 AM
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I would assume most people on this forum are tinkerers by nature, if not bikes, probably cars, motorcycles you name it.
If a build turns out boring or if I consider it not worth messing with for different reasons, it gets sold or parted.
The PH12 and the gold Giant come to mind.
I'm not a collector so if it's collectable it gets sold to fund other builds.

With my current commuter, which is a fairly rare 54cm Peugeot Puymorens 531 frame (idiotically stripped off half chromed chainstays, seatstays and powdercoated in this sparkly brick looking colour by previous owner, at least he didn't turn it into a fixie) I am messsing around with a high rake fork and by my calculations, should become a lightweight plush low trail bike at the end. Might even end up as a rando build. If I don't like it it gets moved on and another build will most likely creep in somehow.
I'm really intrigued by a custom Di2 setup on a steel frame in the near future, cable stops removed and all that. Just need to find the right frame or maybe just use the Peugeot.
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Old 07-06-21, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Slightspeed View Post
I have a Legnano with Universal gummed hoods, on their third set, since I got the bike new in 1964 (two repro sets since 2015). They almost rot before your eyes.
....I just discovered this stuff. It works much better at preservation (and restoration) of gum rubber hoods than Armor All, which is what I was using before.

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Old 07-06-21, 12:17 AM
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The sun never sets on my building / rebuilding 'empire.'
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Old 07-06-21, 03:05 AM
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I was averaging about one bike a year but I only buy bikes that don't have paint issues. That's the one thing I don't want to deal with. My problem is I don't like to sell my bikes and I have so many that it's been a couple of years since I bought one. I've disciplined myself to not live on craigslist every day.
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Old 07-06-21, 04:39 AM
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I haven't been at this for long but I do a bike or 2 a year. Since the end of the world, I still haven't had any signifigant shop time, but I have spent an inordinate amount of time on the internet, and have stocked up every little bit needed for the the next half dozen projects. I'm also coming to terms with being at N-30 with maybe 30 years left to work with, so the urge to take every stray home is cooling.
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Old 07-06-21, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by bark_eater View Post
... I'm also coming to terms with being at N-30 with maybe 30 years left to work with, so the urge to take every stray home is cooling.
^ I feel the same way. We're planning a move to Texas post-retirement, and are consumed with downsizing as much as possible.

EDIT: To answer the original question, I'm a lot like iab , I guess. Two or three some years and only one in other years. Almost all get sold.

Last edited by Phil_gretz; 07-06-21 at 06:52 AM. Reason: answer the original question
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Old 07-06-21, 06:07 AM
  #23  
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At least one a year for the Lung Association charity ride; then it depends what shows up at the dump, dumpster behind the LBS, or how many frame and fork combos I can't resist.

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Old 07-06-21, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by top506 View Post
At least one a year for the Lung Association charity ride; then it depends what shows up at the dump, dumpster behind the LBS, or how many frame and fork combos I can't resist.

Top
You got me motivated with some of the French bikes you've built for that ride.
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Old 07-06-21, 06:13 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
I was averaging about one bike a year but I only buy bikes that don't have paint issues. That's the one thing I don't want to deal with. My problem is I don't like to sell my bikes and I have so many that it's been a couple of years since I bought one. I've disciplined myself to not live on craigslist every day.
I have the same problem. I don't like to sell them. But not spending time on CL is hard. There is something addictive about picking up a cool old bike.
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