Building my own cross bike: The inaugural ride and conclusion

01. Introduction: Building my own cross bike
02. Assembly: Part 1
03. Assembly: Part 2
04. The inaugural ride and conclusion

Now that my cross bike build is finished, I took it out for the inaugural ride this morning! I wasn’t sure if it was going to be very comfortable or not, but it’s pretty good. I had to make some adjustments less than a mile into the ride (glad I brought tools with me), but overall it felt great right from the start. The biggest problem was that I didn’t bother getting the front derailleur dialed in, so I was stuck in the big ring. That wasn’t fun, and it’s going to have to be fixed asap because I really need the small ring for the hills here in San Diego. The bad part about that is that it will involve shortening the chain in order for it to work correctly and I really don’t feel like messing with that right now. I’ll do it next weekend.

finished bike build

The bike turned out pretty well – I’m happy with it.

custom bike build from the front

The front end sits a bit high, but I think (hope) I’ll get used to it

custom bike build geometry

The riding position is completely different than my Specialized Allez Comp road bike

flat black custom bike build

I definitely like the all-black color scheme. It’s totally the look I was going after.

my custom bike build

The view from the back is the best IMHO

custom bike build details

All the components seem to work well together, though there is still a lot of fine tuning to do

disc brakes custom bike build

The decision to use disc brakes was the right one – they work really well!

rear disc brakes custom bike build

The rear brakes are in dire need of tweaking though – there isn’t much stopping power at the moment.

Front view

Front view

brand new custom bike build

Only 6.1 miles so far!

custom bike build cranks and pedals

The only “big” thing left to do is get the front derailleur working. It’s stuck in the big ring at the moment.

The 29er wheels and tires that I used on this build make this bike feel really tall. I’m not totally sure that I like that feeling or not, as it kind of feels like riding a Penny Farthing or something. It’s a completely different feeling than my Specialized Allez road bike. The difference between the two is difficult to describe, but that road bike feels like a sports car, while this cross bike feels like a lifted truck. They really are different.

The only other issue is that the rear brakes are pretty much worthless due to the fact that I cut the cable too short during assembly. They will need to be dialed in a bit more.

Despite the minor issues, I’m really proud of what I accomplished! I never thought that I’d be able to build my own bike from scratch, so it makes me really happy that I was able to learn some new skills and put this bike together. Of course I blew my budget by a long shot (by $1300 to be exact), but I’m not discouraged. This bike is exactly what I wanted – and I learned some really good lessons that I can apply to my next build (whenever that may be). I’ve also got a lot of new bike building tools that would be a shame to never use ever again!

Parts list for this bike build:

Frame
Nashbar X Aluminum Cyclocross (Medium)

Fork
Cro-moly disc-compatible road

Headset
Cane Creek S-3 1 1/8″ Threadless

Stem
Nahsbar Carbon Oversize — 110mm

Seatpost
Nashbar Carbon – 31.8mm

Seatpost Collar
Nashbar Deluxe 31.8mm

Saddle
Nashbar F1

Handlebars
Nashbar Oversize – 40cm

Bottom Bracket
Shimano 105 SM-FC5600

Crankset
Shimano 105 FC5600 175mm

Front Derailleur
Shimano Dura Ace FD7803 31.8 clamp

Rear Derailleur
Shimano Dura Ace 7800

Skewers
Nashbar Quick Release
Nashbar Bolt-on

Brakes
Avid BB7 Mechanical Disc

Shift/Brake Levers
Shimano Ultegra

In conclusion, I would like to say this to anyone who is looking to build their own bike in order to save a little bit of money: don’t do it to save a buck! Do it for the love of the build instead. Buying all new parts and assembling them together is always going to cost more than buying a pre-built bike from a pro bike shop.

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