How To Build Your Own Bike Frame Part 1 | Maintenance Monday
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How To Build Your Own Bike Frame Part 1 | Maintenance Monday

August 25, 2019


– We’ve covered many,
many different aspects of maintaining your bike here on GCN, but have you ever thought about actually making one? Now I don’t just mean
assembling it together from all the different component parts. I mean actually welding or braising together your very own frame. Well, this is the Bicycle
Academy in Frome, in the UK, and it exists to help people do just that. So, with their assistance,
we are gonna take you through the process. This is how to build a bike frame. Now, Andrew Denham,
behind me, is the founder of the Bicycle Academy and he
is gonna be our teacher today. Andrew, I am ready to do some welding. – Now, wait a minute Si. I think we’re gonna have
to back up a second. – Really? Huh. (slow rock music) – Tom, I’m pretty adept at looking at a bike manufacturer’s website and seeing a geometry chart
and knowing whether or not a bike is going to fit me. But the idea of looking
at a blank sheet of paper or a blank whiteboard and actually starting from scratch, actually makes me a little bit nervous. So how do you do it? How do you get the geometry right? – Sure, so it is quite a
tricky part of the process. And the first thing
we’ve got to consider is the rider’s position.
– Okay. – We’ve got to make sure that their body is in a suitable position to allow
them to use the bike properly and that will depend slightly
on what type of bike it is. So, if we think about the rough shape of your
contact points with the bike, so we’ve got a bottom bracket to which cranks will be attached, a saddle, – [Simon] Yeah. – A stem with some handlebars attached. What we’re looking to
define first and foremost is some boundaries about
where we might be able to put the saddle and where
we might be able to put the handlebars, in
order to suit that rider but also what type of bike it is. So where we might aim
for would be different depending on the type of bike. And then from that, we’ll take some key measurements. – Yeah, so far, so familiar. I know all of those numbers
and I’m pretty confident, but how do we join that bit to that bit to that bit and know that the bike is gonna handle brilliantly at the end of the day? – There is no quick answer to that, so it does take quite a lot of iterations. But there are a few things that we want to consider
first and foremost. So thinking about how we
want the bike to handle out on the roads, specifically
how it’s gonna respond to any dynamic rider input. We need to think about the most important dimensions, and those are wheel base
and the mechanical trail, which are defining the sort
of straight line stability and also the cornering stability. – Okay, so we’ve got our fit points here. I’m still really concerned,
Tom, ’bout how I’m actually gonna join it all up and make a frame out of it. – Sure, so once we’ve got everything sorted and we’re
happy with the rider position, then we start looking at a CAD system that we use
to design the geometry and then ultimately move on
to the structure of the frame and stick some bits of metal together. – Alright. – Okay, so once we’ve got
the fit information from the fit session that we did, we can put that into the model in such a way that it fixes the rider’s position and that frees us up to design
the geometry of the bike for the specifics of
what we’re looking to do. So, we can set the wheel base and we can do that and then manipulate
the chain stay length, for example. – To know what those numbers should be is that, is that artistry or, you know, could you copy them from an existing bike? – So, if you’re starting and
you don’t have any numbers in mind, then using existing bikes is a
perfectly valid way of doing it. If you might have ridden
a bike in the past that you liked how it
felt, well you can go in, as long as you’re looking
at the right size, you can look at the wheel
base and some of the other dimensions as well and get a
feel for what that bike was and that’s a pretty good
starting place, yeah. (slow rock music) – Step two of the process
and we’re now onto selecting the tubing for our frame. Now, we’re confident that the CAD drawing has spat out the right
dimensions, even down to the location of the bottle
bosses, to make sure that we can get two bottles on our frame. But now we’re presented with a huge array of different tubes. How’re we gonna select the right ones? – So there’s a few
different manufacturers. We’re working with steel
and we’re gonna be using tubes from Columbus, an Italian company. And they offer hundreds and hundreds of
different tube options, both in terms of different alloys, so actually slightly
different versions of steel. – Okay. – And also different
lengths, different diameters, different wall thicknesses
and that sort of thing. So, as well as the actual,
physical size of your bike, we have to consider the loading that it’s going to go through, things like how heavy you
are, what sort of power output you ride with and also
whether that’s power delivered through high
cadence or low cadence and whether you like, for
example, sprinting or climbing in and out of the saddle, what your preference is. – Okay, ’cause it’s a common
misconception, isn’t it, that you could get a tube set, let’s say, Columbus XCR,
which they’re stainless steel, and it would give you a a certain ride quality,
when actually you can alter the diameters of
the tubes and the shapes of the tubes and even
the lengths of the tubes, and actually that is gonna be what governs how your bike feels to ride. – Absolutely, yeah. So the different alloys do have different properties. They’re largely there to give
the designer or the builder a range of options in
terms of wall thickness, butted profile, shaping of the
tubes and that sort of thing. And combining is actually relatively common to combine
different alloys of tubes in order to get different
properties in different parts of the frame. – Columbus, on their website,
they will actually sell you a seat tube, and a chain stay,
and a, you know, head tube. And it’s that specific a use. So like this one, for example, that is gonna be a chain stay? – That one’s a fork blade. We’ve got some chain stays here, so. These are some chain stays. – I thought that was a BMX chain stay. – It would look quite
good as a chain stay. – Yeah, there you go. Can we play a little game? Could you tell me exactly
what each tube was, if you turned around and I
plucked one out of thin air? – I could have a go. (both laughing) – Right, close your eyes a minute. Hang a minute. I gotta find one. That might be easy, let’s see. What’s that? – That’s a steerer tube,
so that’s a one-inch steerer tube for making a fork. – One inch steerer tube! Man alive. What’ve you got that there for? And there’s that. A mountain bike chain stay? – That’s correct, yep. So that’s a chain stay with a
bend for big tyre clearance. – Cool. So, fork blade? – Chain stay, yeah. – Chain stay, yeah, got that one. And then one last thing, we haven’t got a down tube yet. – Here you go, here’s a down tube. – Whoa! Look at that. Here we go then. We’ve got our tubes. – Let’s go build a bike. – Let’s go build a bike. Right, we’ve got our tubes. Tom, is it time to do some welding? – Unfortunately, not yet. We’ve got a few more steps to go, so we’re going to cut these down, shape them,
so mitre them up together. Tuck them together as well, so that we can get it out of the jig, do all the braising and then
finish it up, ready for paint. – Alright. Well, at least steps one
and two of the process are now done. We have our geometry, we’ve
got our working dimensions and we have our tube set. If you want to see those
next processes, (COMING SOON) then they will be in the next two videos in this series, and you
can get through to them just by clicking down
there and down there. Now, we need a much needed tea break, but while we’re doing that,
make sure you subscribe to GCN. To do it just click on the globe. How do you take it? Milk, sugar? – Milk.
– Cool, bye.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. What type of bike would you build if you had the chance?
    Oh, and parts 2 & 3 are to follow shortly!

  2. My dream is to be able to design and build a one-off custom composite carbon frame the same way you can with steel.

  3. AWESOME VIDEO! I'm glad that you're taking your time, not trying to cram this all into one video. While I'm not ruling out a trip across the pond to do this, is there any shop that offers this in the USA?

  4. Top video series. Love watching stuff get put together and finding out how it's made. Keep them coming, boys 👍🏼

  5. Have you guys heard of the Human Powered Vehicle Challenge? It's put on every year by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers as a student design competition. Teams from university's around the globe design, manufacture, test, and compete a vehicle which is judged on design, innovation, speed, and endurance. There tends to be some pretty unique designs. This year my school's team did a 3-wheeled (tadpole) prone vehicle. We had some drive train issues we are still working on fixing but it's still a pretty cool vehicle.

  6. Best GCN video ever. Although I reckon you're only doing it in response to Tom "I designed this myself" Lasty…

  7. Hi there i have a question that i need help with.

    When i go and Change Gears on my Bike sometimes the Gear will go back to what it was on before is there anything i can do to fix this.

  8. Does anybody know what the software he is using at 3.43 is this an add on to existing software such as inventor or solidworks or is it something they have made inhouse .Thanks in advance

  9. How over-excited is Si? You can just tell he's not interested in the geo or design. "I just want to weld stuff together" is all that is running through his mind lol
    Actually I think it would have been a comedy video if he did pretty much that and then was forced to ride the result 😂

  10. I'd love to see a chromed finish rather than paint. I'm sure Mr Blyth would approve of that.
    Cool to see it getting built from the ground up. I love steel and titanium – in fact I sold off my carbon after getting my Ti. It's that good!

  11. Great video, am really looking forward to the next bit. PS: anyone from abroad looking up the company: it's based in "Frome" which is pronounced "Froome" (like himself) but spelt, er, "Frome". And is a bit chavvy, if I'm honest, LOL

    How come you didn't go to Argos in Bristol?

  12. Simon, don't build a bike before you wash your hands. otherwise, you will have to ride the bike has indelible fingerprints lol

  13. Looking at the costs to build seems a bit pricey. For the same amount of money Brits could fly to Vancouver, drive to UFV and take a 2 week course from Paul Brodie (legendary bike builder) do some evening biking on some legendary trails, get in a weekend ride at Whistler (or ski depending time of year). Guess that's the bonus of killer exchange rate lol

  14. If this series ends with a raffle of this bike to raise money for charity, count me in for a handful of tickets.

  15. Definitely interesting vid, looking forward to see the rest of it!

    Also I didn't know that steel down tubes could be acquired in "egg-shape" as well. I've seen hydroformed tubes ages and ages in alloy frames, but never in steel frames.

  16. As a welder I can not scream this loud enough… WEAR YOUR FUCKING GLOVES WHEN WELDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Even if your welding with Oxy-Acetylene wear gloves and a leather jacket!

  17. Is there a possibility of gcn american version? Its really difficult to get good info on cycling in America.

  18. this is too academic, you don’y need to explain tube thickness amd tube length and manufactures, right after you just glazed over the fixed positions portion. it feels more like an infomertial than a ground zero how to

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