Building your own bike is highly rewarding. Not only do you get a bike where every part has your own individual stamp on it, but you get the personal satisfaction of knowing you made it work.
However, you will run into some truly idiotic situations if you mix parts. Of course mixing parts is the whole point of building a custom bike.
So here’s the most recent bit of ridiculousness that I’ve had to deal with;
I haven’t talked about anything new in the world of bikes for some time, so, let’s talk cranks, because I’ve realized they’ve gone through some interesting changes recently.
1996 Shimano XTR group
The Gold Standard in cranks has almost always been Shimano’s XTR. There might be lighter, or cheaper options than XTR, but historically, XTR has given buyers the best compromise of weight, performance, and price.
And generally, they’ve been the best looking too – but I’m not sure that’s the case anymore.
You may be familiar with the term “you can’t polish a turd,” which simply means that something inherently bad can’t be made good, no matter how much time or money you throw at it.
The Mythbusters though, proved this to be untrue. I won’t go into the details, but they were able to take actual poop, and turn it into somthing that shines. Here’s how they did it.
Now it’s my turn to see if I can do the same with a bicycle.
I’ve always said that a mechanic becomes a Master Mechanic when he or she makes his own tools. Some bike repair scenarios require very specific tools, and it’s impossible to press others into duty. In the brilliant Hard on Equipment, Corb Lund sings;
Well it’s vise grips for pliers /
And pliers for a wrench /
A wrench for a hammer /
Hammers everything else.
That’s just not going to cut it when you need to replace a headset. Which you actually would use a hammer for…
Seriously though, if you want to do it right, and not destroy the frame, you need a headset presses. Similarly, you need starnut setting tools, bottom bracket facing tools, cone wrenches, and truing stands.
Though some brave souls will take matters into their own hands.