• This topic has 38 replies, 33 voices, and was last updated 1 week ago by twonks.
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  • N+1 bike building – is it an obsession?
  • Premier Icon twonks
    Subscriber

    Think I’m addicted to building the things nearly as much as I am riding.

    After many years of riding my way through bikes and builds I am finding myself getting nearly as much enjoyment deciding what to do next and putting the thoughts into practice.

    Having decided (after the last build) that I am now very happy with the two mountain bikes I own, yesterday I bought frame and forks to make a rigid relatively low weight carbon thing to thrash around and give a different feel to the bikes I currently own.

    Not sure if I’m doing this just to build a bike or to build something I’ll ride.

    Anybody else the same – why can’t I just be content with what I have and spend the time riding not building !

    Onzadog
    Member

    Totally. In fact, I just opened the forum to pose a pretty similar question.

    I’ve got an Ibis Mojo HD3, a bike that I appreciate, many would give their left but for. For some reason, I’ve just started looking at the Ripmo V2.

    I’m currently trying to ask myself if it would honestly be a better bike for what I do or if I just want to build a new one.

    After all, is the media led version of mountain biking really what I do? The Ripmo V2 is longer, lower, slacker – better for that enduro shreddy gnarrr stuff.

    But given that 90% of my time on the bike is probably going up or along, should I really focus so heavily on that 10% downhill time?

    Will a Ripmo V2 do a 30 mile Peak District loop any better than the HD3?

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    I resemble the OP.

    Not being able to ride anything like as often as I’d like due to recurring injury has not helped.

    Premier Icon tthew
    Subscriber

    Just a different sort of hobby, especially with the current weather making it difficult to find the motivation to ride. I built a racing quad-copter once just to learn about the things, didn’t fly it once before I sold it. Cost me a few quid but what past time doesn’t?

    What you should do though is find a way to monitise it. Start a YouTube channel about your builds, and maybe take commissions to build custom bikes for other people, with their money.

    nickjb
    Member

    I love building up a bike. I enjoy perusing the classifieds and visiting bike jumbles, finding great bits at good prices. Its a different hobby to riding (do people still bother doing that?) but still fun

    I’ve never been the sort of person that really likes building up bikes, I’d rather ride them – but conversely I’m totally intolerant of them not being built and set up perfectly. But I do like browsing and reading reviews and all the tech and used to get very curious and want new bikes quite frequently.

    Then I got an ebike and because it’s so good but also so expensive and because I use it for commuting and MTBing (I never use it turned off for a whole ride but frequently use it turned off when with a group but then max power when on my own getting to and from the group ride – via the trails), it means that any other bike just won’t be used enough.

    So I have the Levo and I have my old-ish Zero AM hardtail, which is a great hardtail but I wouldn’t say I love it (ideally the chainstays would be longer, the BB a bit less low and the wheels bigger – head angle slacker too but I solved that with a -2 deg headset). I’m tempted to take the Zero for my next group away trip because then I won’t be on my own at all (and that’s when the Levo’s motor gets used) and having no rear suspension and smaller wheels slows things down a bit downhill whilst being very effective uphill, so possibly better for fun and possibly safer – it’s super slack (63.7 deg), has a 150mm Pike and a Magic Mary so you can trust to front end to track safely whilst the back end goes wild.

    I do think that with gearcentric hobbies like mountain biking or electric guitar there are multiple elements to the pastime. With guitar it’s so easy to get sucked into the gear – so many guitars, pedals, amps, speaker cabs. I used to be quite derogatory about the hobby being more buyer than player but nowadays I tend to think “each to their own”. Some people who like buying the gear end up designing and building new gear – where would mountain biking be without them?

    kerley
    Member

    I only have one bike but am always building new wheels, swapping the frame, changing parts pretty much for the sake of it so have the same problem but manage to just have one bike.

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    I have four functional bikes, plus one fixie that just needs a front wheel, a couple of spare frames and half the parts necessary to build them up.

    The trouble starts normally when you spot a fork or a seatpost that will fit one of the spare frames and before you know it you’re off on another fantasy build.

    Right now I’m in a bit of a sweet spot I have four bikes that I actually use and am able to maintain within the spare time and budget I have, much beyond that and things like actual riding and talking to my family start to suffer…

    Sooner or later you have to evaluate your available time and funds against your addiction to assembling bicycles and make some harder rationalisations…

    Premier Icon twonks
    Subscriber

    Nice to see the posts above, all made in the time it took me to go to the garage and dig out some bits for the new build.

    Onzadog, I went from a Ibis Mojo SLR to Ripmo mk1 (with a NS Snabb in the middle) and the Ripmo is a great bike. For me (being old and fat), it is places like the peak where it comes into its own. Riding around local trails and rolling open moorland etc it is a little unwieldy and dare I say it a bit of a chore, but when the going gets tough up and down it is a real blast. Just how much compared to a HD3 I don’t know, but it is worth a demo for sure.

    Not really into the YouTube DIY video type thing. Love watching some of them but tbh can’t be bothered doing it myself and don’t need the hassle of building for others – can see the value in it though.

    I wonder just how much I (we) have been almost suckered into buying new bits. Subconsciously or otherwise, I’ll probably have 3 bikes which all fit relatively new ways of thinking towards mountain biking. There was nothing wrong with the previous bikes and builds and although I keep telling myself that the new bikes do ride better – I sometimes wonder if that’s true!

    I’ll keep convincing myself I’m doing it for the love of all things biking but, it does make one stop and think when the end results are compared with ‘modern trends’ – for example, one of my bikes is a Ripmo. Sure I love it and can’t see me changing it any time soon – but is it really so much better than the last bike…hmmmm.

    Ultimately the way I look at it is that bikes are my main hobby. Riding is just one aspect of the big picture. And as said above, the weather has been rubbish so I have to indulge in my passion by other means.

    Weather is so crap, I’m now going into the spare room to climb Alpe de Zwift instead of going out and getting wet. It’s still cycling, just… ;o)

    Edit, sorry Chief I missed out a comment on your findings with e-biking. I half wish I’d have gone down that route instead of the Ripmo. Only because I can see the benefit in assisted riding to allow you to have fun over a longer ride. I don’t necessarily prefer hooning down techy trails, more enjoy being in the middle of nowhere with nobody and no cars to disturb the tranquillity. An e-bike would allow me to push this to new levels of solitary. Right now they are a little expensive to get into (after buying the bikes I have) and not the sort of thing that can be built from bits, so maybe in a few years when it has settled down a bit.

    Premier Icon joebristol
    Subscriber

    Can’t help myself also doing something to bikes. Bought a cheapie hybrid for kid seat duties (Carrera Subway 1 – secondhand for £82) and its now wearing Xt / Slx / Deore 2×10 setup with hydraulic discs (bargain Sram levels) and it’ll shortly be getting a 35mm / 780mm spare riser bar I have and spare Raceface Turbine R stem. Also spds. Oops!

    Premier Icon AlasdairMc
    Subscriber

    Yes, I’m a victim of that too. I’m also very quick to work out how to reconfigure my existing bikes when things change. It’s trickle down economics for bikes.

    I’m picking up a full suss today, then stripping down one frame to sell, making another singlespeed using parts from the one being sold, and then the drivetrain from the newly-converted singlespeed bike is going on the fat bike.

    Premier Icon djflexure
    Subscriber

    Love building bikes – having 3 kids has given me plenty of excuses.
    Sourcing high end parts for a bargin and putting together a top spec bike relatively frugally is my USP.
    Over winter I first swapped my Kinesis 4S frame (winter bike) for a carbon Domane to have a winter bike that more resembled my summer ride. I put an all in one carbon bar/stem combo on my summer bike and then entered Dirty reiver so naturally needed a gravel bike. Oh my wife liked the idea too so one for her as well. Thats in about 3 months. Last year as worse. Do I win :)?

    Premier Icon kelvin
    Subscriber

    You are safe here amongst fellow obsessives Twonks.

    Premier Icon colournoise
    Subscriber

    Given my latest thread as an OP, I think I’m probably somewhere on this spectrum too…

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    It is and I’ve beaten the habit myself (I was VERY bad).

    Now I really dislike bike building.

    Premier Icon jamj1974
    Subscriber

    I like building and maintaining bikes. Right now I can’t ride, so it keeps me doing something related too.

    I am often the first point of call for friends with some mechanical issue or who want to fit upgrades.

    My most satisfying builds are not so much about the money involved, but the challenge. It can be bikes built for a budget, restoring an old bike to original spec or re-purposing and recycling bikes.  All great fun.

    Premier Icon cynic-al
    Subscriber

    It’s just another form of consumption imo

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Subscriber

    Err, yes.

    Any unused bike component is just an excuse to buy all the bits to accommodate it in another bike 🙂

    Over the course of my riding ‘career’ I’ve gone from being completely clueless and using a shop for everything to being good enough to spanner in a bike shop. That process was driven by the workshop prices, and poor quality workmanship in the early days from multiple shops.

    These days I just want to ride. I do all my own work except for rear shock dampers, but frankly, I’d rather not. The full susser needs a new dropper cable, saddle swap and pivot bearings done, but I just look at it and groan and find something else to do.

    philjunior
    Member

    For me it doesn’t have to be building, it can be the next modification etc. It happens far more when I’m off the bike though (broken wrist and babies have both caused this).

    Premier Icon jameso
    Subscriber

    I can see how it can be..

    I got to the point where distinguishing between something being interesting due to just feeling different vs something being actually better was useful. How we react to changes or get set in ways and take a ‘shock’ out of it to adapt to what may be better once adapted. It takes tinkering to get there but it’s also about realising that nothing is ever perfect for everything I do. Just that the compromises can be right. This was easier to get right on simpler bikes, once you’re into full suss it’s whole world of tinkering faff and service needs, downtime risks etc (or general expense) that tbh I’m happier leaving behind. Fun to borrow one but ownership’s not for me right now. That could change if I moved to live somewhere steep and rocky though.

    I’ve had a couple of bikes for 8+ years now with hardly anything changing apart from the bits that wear out. There’s newer ones alongside them but having a bike where there’s nothing I’d change for a long time to come is a great thing, lets me focus on riding rather than product. I do have one tinker-project bike that’s been fun, it’s almost got to that settled stage now though and it’s better for it. Having an end result in mind from the start, I think that’s the important bit for me.

    Premier Icon tomaso
    Subscriber

    Just bought a Stanton Sherpa frame and heading down the same rabbit hole!

    Premier Icon Dickyboy
    Subscriber

    Guilty as charged m’lud – doesn’t help that my wife likes riding too, so 9 bikes and two tandems between us to tinker with, keep trying to parr it down and then end up building more & usually giving the trickle down results away to friends and family..

    Premier Icon Mugboo
    Subscriber

    Yes, ace isn’t it 🙂

    bm0p700f
    Member

    With 26 bikes now yes it’s an obsession. I have built my wife three and she doesn’t ride. Thinking about the next two for my daughter.

    N+1 anonymous helpline. Do you have a bicycle problem? We here to help. Do it.

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    26 bikes

    Current bikes??! Where do you keep them all?

    hooli
    Member

    I like the idea of building up bikes but the reality (for me anyway) is different.

    Stuff always costs more than I think it should, buying everything brand new from Wiggle and putting it together is fine but costs more the just buying a bike.

    Buying stuff 2nd hand is hard work, peoples descriptions of stuff varies massively. My “good condition” is somebody else’s “been ridden up and down the beach for 5 years and left outside”. Little things are often missing when it arrives like barrel adjusters or ispec screws and these are a faff to source.

    My garage it too cold, dark and cramped to work properly. A winters evening spent building a bike seems great but in reality it is too dark to really see what I am doing, there isn’t really space to work properly, my fingers are cold and my nose runs.

    I have come to the conclusion that I am better off buying a bike I want/like and spending my time riding it.

    Premier Icon Paceman
    Subscriber

    If I had the money and the time, I would have a new build on the go pretty much constantly. I don’t love it as much as riding, but it’s not far behind.

    Premier Icon Andy R
    Subscriber

    I do think that with gearcentric hobbies like mountain biking or electric guitar there are multiple elements to the pastime. With guitar it’s so easy to get sucked into the gear – so many guitars, pedals, amps, speaker cabs. I used to be quite derogatory about the hobby being more buyer than player but nowadays I tend to think “each to their own”.

    I’ve found that liking to experiment with equipment is inversely proportional to the amount of time that you spend actually using the gear.
    For example, when I was gigging regularly, several times a week, I had a couple of basses (one fretted, one fretless) that I’d set-up to be as good as they could be for me, plus a bullet-proof preamp and 1000 watt power amp with a couple of 4×10 cabs.
    This rig didn’t change for years because it didn’t need to – I knew what I needed, which was stuff that just worked night in, night out and that I knew like the back of my hand….
    Now that I’m not working nearly as much I find myself thinking “Mmm – I always fancied a Gibson EB-1, just like Felix Pappalardi used – wonder if I can find one?” Or I play around with different drivers and enclosures and port tuning…..it can go on and on.
    Same with bikes – when I used to race I just wanted something that worked for me and kept working, almost to the point where I could forget about it.
    I am back now to just having a couple of bikes and I’m trying not to modify them any further…

    Premier Icon twonks
    Subscriber

    Well, started building my latest bike, a new On One Whippet frame and carbon fork with used kit from previous escapades.

    Wheels are virtually brand new so no problem there but 90% of the other stuff needed/needs fettling and playing with. Brake hoses too short, gear cable too frayed, dropper post wrong diameter.

    Also forgot to order bottom bracket as I never like to re-use them.

    Maybe I should re-think things. Bike building is great if you have new stuff. Old bits are not used for a reason and will likely cause annoyance when you try and re-use them 😀

    Premier Icon dirkpitt74
    Subscriber

    I enjoyed building the last 5 bikes we have (3 for me and 2 for the kids).

    Half of the fun is tracking down the bits and speccing the build.

    I have a few spreadsheets knocking around with various ‘Dream Builds’ etc. kicking around.

    What you should do though is find a way to monitise it. Start a YouTube channel about your builds, and maybe take commissions to build custom bikes for other people, with their money.

    If I could make decent money doing the above I’d be all over it.
    Have a look at Gee Milner’s YouTube channel – some really good ones there.

    I have similar musings about myself.

    Hard to say at the minute too, as the weather is so shit for actual riding.

    MrTricky
    Member

    Am hankering after another Stooge, but need to get rid of a CrossCheck (I’m not a roadie or drop bar fan), a 1×1 that has ‘fattened’ wheels, a Bike Friday, and even a BFe frame. All are just sitting there, hardly used, but still get tinkered with when I ‘have a plan’. Would probably have sold them on the old classifieds but the new setup is just too much hassle and have been let down on it.

    I once started a new build because I had a lovely, polished Kore stem…..

    I’m also a serial wheel builder….

    Lionheart
    Member

    I identify way too much with a few on here. Rarely do we get a new bike but if we do, even that is stripped down and rebuilt. Too many bikes to mention, just missing a Penny Farthing and a Windcheetah.. one day my life will be complete, one day.

    Premier Icon mick_r
    Subscriber

    It goes from obsession to madness once you start making the actual frames…..

    Bored so off to the shed to start on an adjustable length and offset rigid fork based around an old RST bolted fork crown and some 1 1/8″ steel tube. I’ve a number of frame ideas that are all stalled as I don’t know what fork geo will work best.

    Onzadog
    Member

    Today I’ve realised that it’s not just building bikes. I’ve been pricing up the tools to service a Fox X2. The cost is enough to cover an annual service for the life of the bike. I just want to get inside it for a tinker – even down to playing with the shim stack.

    I currently own (and most of them were self-builds)

    fat bike
    160mm FS
    120mm FS

    Ti rim braked road bike
    carbon disc road bike
    alloy winter bike
    TT bike

    carbon CX ‘A’ race bike
    alloy CX ‘B’ race bike
    alloy CX/gravel/hack bike

    I’ve got enough parts that I could build another 2 bikes if I bought frames – currently shopping for something to build into a singlespeed CX, and I fancy a steel road frame so I can have a road bike of every material.

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    I fancy a steel road frame so I can have a road bike of every material.

    No bamboo? Amateur…

    Premier Icon twonks
    Subscriber

    Not sure if it will stay singlespeed but, for now the simplicity is good.

    Seems to be very light and not really too harsh. Rides very well as is although I think it will be better for me personally with a light (ish) 1×10 setup.

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