What you did to get your perfect bike
I have worked in technical theatre since 1979 building sets, furniture, welding, lighting, sound, rigging, etc. Tools have always been a big part of my life until I closed my cabinet shop a few years ago. I work with computers now which has given me more time at home and with my wife and 13 yr old son. A friend gave me an old Cannondale racing frame. I rode a little but it sat mostly. Then I got an entry level hybrid. I rode a little more and then got my family interested and it was on. I have built 3 of 6 bikes and purchased the other 3. The only brand new bike is my son's road bike.
How I did it
Learning bikes from scratch is tough. Many options and styles, etc. I bought a Gary Fisher NAPA (comfort bike) from ebay without wheels. Got some wheels and I had two bikes. Bought an Iron Horse Maverick for $150 from Craig's List for my wife. My son had a Walmart bike. I got him a Giant ATX 890 frame for $150 off Ebay and took the components from my Fisher Tarpon. So far not bad. I take everything apart as soon as I get it and clean and lube the deraileurs, bottom bracket, headset and replace the cables and housings, etc. Then started on my road bike. It had downtube shifters and I wanted brifters. The front deraileur was beat, the rear was old Campy and the headset had brinnelling. So, I found RSX components and replaced the whole groupset and added a 105 crankset instead of the Sugino. I learned an awful lot about bikes and ordered the wrong parts more than once. Then I bought a Specialized Allez for around $450 on Ebay for my wife. Then I bought myself a Haro 5.0 frame and Rock Shox Tora fairly cheap, new brakes and Deore cranks and shifters and made myself a nice bike. I wanted a more aggressive geometry for off road trails. I put some old wheels on the NAPA and sold it on Craig's list. Bought a Motobecane hybrid/road bike for my son from an Ebay store and we're good to go. We ride 3 or 4 times a week on the trails and once or twice on the road.
What I'd Do Differently
- I wouldn't do anything differently. We have 6 bikes that we are pretty happy with. Nothing great, nothing flashy or impressive but they are totally functional and that's what really counts. It was great fun and I enjoy working on the bikes keeping them tuned up. Most importantly is the camaraderie within the family. You can't put a price on that.