Saturday, December 29, 2012

Buy it or build it?

If you were looking for a new bicycle, would you just buy one or build one yourself?

I realized that most of the bikes I owned, I put together myself. The explanation is simple - there is only one thing about cycling that I would like more than riding a bike - building one! It is true that the last two bicycles I have been using recently, I purchased at the local bike store. But that happened only because at that time, I wanted to go back to riding as quickly as possible and after my move to U.S. I had no tools at all to work on a bike, not even a bike pump. That's why i decided to buy a complete bike.

But building a bike can really be lots of fun. Sure, some basic skills are needed and some tasks are better to be left for pros (such as wheel building). But the rest is simply straightforward. Once you know what you want to build, find a suitable frameset, get matching components and put everything together. Seeing your own bike emerging from a pile of random parts is an instant gratification. Then, when you realize that you have just built an unique bicycle that is truly yours and no one around will have, you will smile again.
I have just picked up some components I left behind in my parents house. I happen to own a pretty much complete Ultegra 600 groupset: road crankset (53/39T), both hubs, 8-speed rear cassette, brake levers, bar-end shifters, and both rear and front derailleurs (not shown in the picture above). I also have a 8-speed Shimano chain, threaded headset, bottom bracket, seatpost, and a stem. That's a lot of components and even though they are a bit greasy and dirty they show very little use. Now I have to figure out how to give them a new life.

This can be the beginning of a new, nice bicycle.

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