And it's done! Shifter arrived yesterday (ordered new from Germany on Monday evening), fitted and bars taped up this evening. Had a very brief spin down the street and all is working as it should. Proper ride and report at the weekend, and tweaking it to get lever/bar/saddle position correct. Off out now but really excited to get to ride it properly soon!
Hell yes! Looks ace!
Made it out for a proper first ride this evening after it had cooled down. SO GOOD. It's a real joy to ride something you've built yourself, even (perhaps because?) though it's not perfect.
I was aiming for a high stack, shortish reach frame with clearance for 2.2 29" and loads of braze ons. To be used mainly for bikepacking and long gravel rides. The geometry was taken mostly from a large Salsa Fargo, with a few tweaks (slightly shorter chainstays/slacker head angle/shorter reach). I've had trouble in the past with hand numbness on long rides (5/6hrs+ multi day) due to a head injury, so I'm hoping that the high front end will help take weight off my hands.
The good: it's really stable, tracks really nicely but without being too slow to turn. Weight seems reasonable at 2250g for the frame including headset and rear axle. Alignment of the frame is close enough for me (it tracks straight with no hands). I was aiming for 68° head/73° seat and ended up within 0.5° with both which I'm happy with considering the lack of proper jig. Tyre clearance is ample for 2.2 at the rear and the fork will probably take 2.6. I'm a big fan of how it looks raw so it'll just be clear coated when I get a chance. Compressionless brake outer is a big improvement over non, the brakes feel really good, no sponginess in the rear.
The bad: still need to source a new chain (currently too short) and new pads for the front (contaminated). I wish I'd taken the time to bother with internal routing for the rear cables.
The ugly: in a fit of enthusiasm for getting it finished I didn't notice the drive side seatstay had twisted when I tacked it and the two sides aren't symmetrical, it doesn't affect the frame functional but it definitely looks amateurish. The TT/ST/seatstay brazing is on the messy side too. And I forgot to drill the BB where the other tubes meet it, meaning there aren't vent holes between the tubes.
All things considered, for a first attempt at a frame with no prior metal work experience and made in the back yard I'm well happy. Probably spent about 20hrs planning and 25hrs building (inc the jig). Plenty of lessons learnt on this frame though to take forward to the next one. Thanks for all the encouraging words from everyone who's followed this and commented too, it's really helped spur me on!
25hrs. of building? (including a jig?) I can easily spend 25hrs. thinking about how I`ll set up my jig...
The bike looks rad! And you've learned loads. That's a successful project. Keep it up.
That bike looks ace!
I have le tonkinois on a raw frame. It's some kind of linseed oil for boats and I am very happy with three layers.
Makes the steel look green though.
Sorry if I’ve missed this but where are the forks from?
Haha yeah i think it took me months to build my jig, and its still kinda crap!
I think he just said they were Chinese.
Edit: Ali-express Tideace to be exact.
In retrospect those numbers are probably an underestimation! Planning hours are considerably longer if you count all the time sat at work thinking things over and designing bits in my head. It's been a steep learning curve, but an interesting one (no illusions about the quality of my jig too - definitely on the crap side!). Looking forward to the next frame now.
Yep, exactly those ones, they also look identical to Tooseek ones from Ali. £70 plus £19 for the faster postage, they got through customs without any extras fees and I think it was about 8 days from ordering to arrival. Well packaged and the quality seems good, no visible defects/marks/anything to worry me. Time will tell how they hold up though as I know it's a risk with cheap Chinese carbon. They also seem to do a boost 15mm version too.
Cheers, good to know that too. I'll hunt some out, probably easier than stripping it back down to spray.
Do you have any ideas on your final costs? (frame materials, jig, brazing kit etc... included). Just interested to see how much the first frame is compared to the next one (given you won't have to buy all the kit again).
Not sure you'd get away with no stripping, its quite thin/runny if I remember correctly.
Did 3 layers with brush after a very thorough degrease.
Compared to my diy spraying experience its great to work with. Also holds up surprisingly well after 2 years.
Probably more than I'd like to add up, but something like:
Plus a bit extra for various small tools/postage/odds and ends. Already had a decent battery grinder and driver as well as a vice. Getting on for £1000 all in which is a bit sobering, but each additional frame should be about £200/250 in tubes and consumables depending on how fancy the tubes are.
Looks very nice, I'd be well happy with a finish like that. I've had done some crap rattle can jobs in the past so it's good to have an alternative.
Thanks. Thats useful to know. About in line with what I thought. I have a few of those items too so won't be expensive when I get round to it.
Although I've had my tubes for around 10 years so far so don't expect any sudden developments :)
It was about the figure I had in mind before I'd started, and it's a lot more palatable now that each new frame will be a couple of hundred.
Had my first longer ride on it, 80km of back lanes and bridleways out from York around the Howardian Hills with a visiting friend. Used heaps of acetone to de-grease the frame and then gave it three coats of Halfords clear coat, as well as a Columbus decal and a new patch for the framebag. Order with the new chain/pads/axle has yet to arrive, hopefully they'll be here soon before doing the Trans Cambrian next weekend.
You need to build your visiting friend a gravel bike.
He's tempted by a road frame, it'd be nice to play with some lugs soon..
2/3rds of the way along the Trans Cambrian Way right now. New frame is rolling along faultlessly and I've gained a lot more confidence that it's not going to fold in half on me over every small bump. Good to have it loaded up and covered in dust too. More to follow when I'm home.
Going to call frame N°1 finished, put a new chain/rear mech (old XT was knackered)/longer rear axle/new pads on it over the weekend. All fully working and functional now.
Not much else in the way of framebuilding progress as I'm in the process of moving back home to Shropshire from York and into a new job. Next frame will either be a rim brake/lugged road or a cargo bike (still undecided between full size and mini cargo-truck). New house has a shed and lots more outdoor space though which is a nice bonus. Hopefully get started in September on N°2.
Rest of the Trans-Cambrian went well. Off to ride the Adriatic Crest Trail in Croatia in the first week of October, currently trying to decide between this bike and the Solaris.
looks awesome, are you planning to paint it?
Probably not, it's got a clear coat on it now. The fillets are really agricultural both in look and shape so I think it'd end up looking really rough with paint. Better to see it for what it is, a first go, and appreciate it for that.
Next frame will have the fillets fully filed down and be painted
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