Friday, September 18, 2009

The Mountain Bike Built via Ebay, Yahoo and YouTube

There are little things that we have in our lives that can bring a smile to our faces. One of those for me today is the completion of my mountain bike. After having my previous bike stolen a few months ago, it was time to stop swearing about the loss and go get another one.

So, instead of just going out and just buying one,I decided to build one from scratch. The up-to-date bike scene hasn't been on the radar for 10 years, so I really needed to find out what was going on. Bring up a search engine and start looking for bikes, start reading the specifications, the reviews, and find out who the competition is for each component or brand I was looking for.

The first item that took my interest was the Groupset. The groupset is the cranks, dérailleurs, brakes, shifters, chain etc. The Shimano XT was the way to go, so jumping around the net looking for one ended up on Ebay.

You might be asking, why on earth anyone would be looking to buy the groupset first. Basically, I found a decent price on one. Whether you the frame first or the handle bars, you can't ride the bike until it's all finished. It was certainly unconventional, no doubt about that.

Once that was received, the search was on for a frame.

This was the difficult part. Finding the right frame without knowing much about them. Again, more searching and reading about the different types of frames from steel to aluminum to carbon fibre. Each has it's benefits and weaknesses so making a decision is not a cut and dry process.

Since this bike will be mainly used for road use with some cross country trekking, the decision to pick up a carbon fibre frame was made. The frame that was eventually settled on weighs in at just 1.25 kgs. It's important to make sure that if buying from Ebay, you do so from reputable dealers. DO YOUR HOMEWORK.

The frame is very strong, and austhetically, looks sensational.

The frame has been married up with carbon fibre forks and seat pole, a pro headset and stem, light weight alloy wheels and hybrid durable tires. Other bits and pieces complete the setup.

So after doing the Ebay thing with all the separate components, putting the bike together required frequent visits to YouTube. It's highly recommended to have a look at a few different videos when building something you're not sure of. You'll get slightly different ideas from each video.

I'll take a moment here to say I GREATLY appreciate the time and effort these guys take to make the videos. They've been invaluable with this project.

The whole bike now weighs in at about 10kgs. A little heavier than was original plan, but I'm certainly happy with the final product.

There is a schedule in the calendar for a mountain bike photography tour in Sydney in October 2009. It's a great way to intermingle photography, bike riding and a bit of socializing while we're at it. The D300 with a couple of flashes, a small reflector and the Tamron 90mm macro.

I highly recommend people do their own little bike tours. Pick out a place that will have some scenic views, pack a picnic, and take the camera. Do some planning if you do this and keep safety in the forefront of your planning. It may sound crazy, but just taking a little time to think before you do, can make a difference.

Most of all, have fun with it all.