Every cyclist that is serious about the sport has just one thing they would love to get when it comes to their bike. Complete control. Just about every cyclist out there has this dream wish list in mind of what they would want their ideal bike to look like.
No matter how expensive and high tech it is, there is always something that is missing. Something you would like to have or at least be made better. All of this makes a great case for making your own bike.
There is fitting out a bike with aftermarket bits to suit your needs, and quite another to build it from the frame out to get it exactly the way that you want.
In this article, I will go over the basics of what it means to build your own bike and whether you think it’s worth it or not.
There are two ways of going about the frame when it comes to building your own bike. Your choices are to either buy just the basic frame already built and then add on everything else. Or to literally weld the frame from scratch based on your own design.
The first one is easily the most economic and less likely to fail. You could put a lot of work into the build-out of the frame only to find that the welds are not good or the design isn’t going to work. The problem with buying it already made is that you don’t get exactly what you want. You may find after riding it that there are things that you don’t like about it. Also, if you are doing the build for experience then you aren’t learning as much as when you do it yourself.
The second option is the most satisfying but also the more intense of the two options. You’ll need to learn the basics of welding and practice a lot before you put the frame together. The best 110v MIG welder will get the job done and is not too difficult to learn as long as you are somebody that is handy.
You may end up with several prototypes of the frame before you actually build a suitable one. This will give you plenty of practice and experience so you understand exactly what you need to accomplish the frame.
The fork is going to be more difficult to weld and build yourself. You are probably better off buying the type that you like for the type of riding you plan to do. Many forks are made tapered which would be very difficult for you to do yourself without extremely specialized tools.
So, this is the time that you need to go with a factory-made one. Of course, you can still find one that suits your needs exactly so it doesn’t lead to an inferior set of forks. In fact, you’re more likely to get what you need by buying them already fabricated.
All the rest
Now, you’ll need to go buy the individual parts. This will be at least as time-consuming as manufacturing the frame from scratch! Each part is going to be scrutinized to make sure that it is going to play well with other components. And it is also the opportunity to address the issues one often finds on a bike already made for you.
Go with the best in terms of quality and the best in terms of how you want it to work within the rest of the bike. Brakes for instance are going to be important for obvious reasons. You can choose from a disk or rim and hydraulic or mechanical.
Everything else is going to come down to preference and you’ll know what you’re looking for.
Is it worth it?
You’re going to spend far more money building your own bike than buying one on your budget. The individual parts are going to cost more. And if you are welding the frame yourself, there might be a lot of wasted material. Yet, it is still worth it to build your own.
Once you have this skill, you could even make a business out of it and build bespoke bikes for others as this is a rare talent that only comes from experience. You’ll at least be getting exactly the bike that you want even if you have no intention of building a business. There are not many people who end up regretting that they built their own bike, after all.