Thanks to a life lived in the cycle trade I’ve lost count of the number of bicycles I’ve owned, nor can I remember how many I’ve built not just for myself, but for customers during my time working in bike shops. One thing that has never changed for me over the years is the first ride nerves…
I rode all the bikes I built when I worked in cycle shops. It was always better to find any potential problems before the customer got on the bike by taking it out for a ride myself. This was always the case whether it was a complete bike that just needed the brakes and gears tweaking, the handlebars straightened and the wheels fitted, or a ground-up custom build.
Even though it’s been a few years since I worked in a cycle shop, I still build the occasional bike up and the most recent one was for myself.
Strange though it might seem despite being able to easily get bikes for review purposes, I’ve actually gone out and spent money on a ride of my own. Of course, I couldn’t simply go and buy a bicycle off-the-peg. Oh no. I haven’t bought a complete bike for something like 15 years. No, I’m one of those people that pores over catalogues and websites endlessly comparing parts, trying to decide the ‘just so’ specification for the build. Putting it all together once I‘ve got everything is the easy part, it is the deciding what to use that causes me the sleepless nights.
The real kicker though is that moment when it’s time to go for the first ride. The first ride on a bike I’ve built for someone else doesn’t cause me any concern, that’s just a shakedown ride to make sure everything is working as it should. The first ride on a bike I’ve built for myself isn’t just to check that I’ve got the gears properly adjusted or the seat height spot on. Oh no. That first ride has to justify my component choice, and, of course, the money I’ve spent buying all those parts.
So, no pressure then…
Why do I worry? The Handsling RR1 carbon frame and fork package at the centre of my most recent build is every bit as stiff and responsive as I’d expect a race-bred chassis to be. The 11-speed Campag groupset shifted flawlessly, and the brakes were impressively powerful. All that was needed was a quick tweak of the saddle position.
Really, deep down I knew this would be the case. I’ve built enough bikes over the years to know what I’m doing when it comes to setting them up, but there was and always will be that little voice at the back of my mind questioning my choices.
Compare prices and buy road bikes from:
|Chain Reaction||Wiggle||Evans Cycles||Hargroves Cycles|
|Merlin Cycles||Rutland Cycling||Cyclestore||ProBikeKit|
|Ribble Cycles||AW Cycles||Biketart||Cycle Surgery|
|Leisure Lakes Bikes||HandslingBikes|