The DIY mountain bike has been finished for a couple of weeks now and I’ve managed to tweak it here and there. So was it all worth it? In short, yes.
The gear cables have settled now, the front mech had to be lowered and straightened on the seat tube, but that’s in the correct position now. All of the upper and lower limits on the derailleurs are set and I haven’t had the chain drop off either end. The brakes are wearing through the first layer of pad (although the bite isn’t consistent on the front – might need to check the disc is flat and the bolts are evenly tightened). That said, although they’re cable rather than hydraulic – more for ease of maintenance and installation than cost – they have absolutely no problem at all stopping it from a decent speed despite having my fat ass to deal with. The Rockshox forks are good for the price – even if they are a little heavy, as expected. The headset has been re-tightened after the initial couple of rides and the riding position is comfortable. The tires have got a lot of air in them, so I don’t really notice the lack of rear suspension (although I certainly notice the lack of the weight of rear suspension – it is a bit tail happy compared to the full-sus rig I have).
Just as important as all of that is the fact that I love how it looks. I love the seat clamp (that you can poke your finger through). I love the red wheel hubs and QR skewers, I stupidly love the blue cable outers. I love the way it sits. It’s a nice looking bike. And it’s red, white and blue, so it’s patriotic too!
I’d call all of that a victory.
In the end this has cost me less than £80 as most of the cost was financed through eBay sales. Cycle assembly is relatively easy – providing of course that you have the technical and mechanical know-how and the right tools. Try doing it without the bottom bracket spanner or the cassette spanner and you’ll come unstuck fairly quickly.
The set-up just takes a little bit of time but isn’t difficult. It’s something anyone who rides semi-regularly should be able to do. And let’s not forget that it could all be done a lot cheaper than this. If you can buy a halfway decent second hand bike and replace the bits you want (potentially with second hand kit as well), you could still end up with something that rides a lot better than it would have done to begin with and looks pretty smart as well.