|Fully Built Up - Click Photo to Enlarge|
Having started looking around, there aren't that many decent winter bikes around to buy off the peg. A good winter bike has to have all the right lugs and bits on to mount full mudguards, I'd pretty much got the shortlist down to the Kinesis Racelight TK02, having reviewed Ribble and Dolan as potential candiates. As usual, I got to thinking about how I could create something a little more personal with the money.
|Specialized Short Drop bars with Deda Stem|
The Racelight TK02 has had great reviews, I really liked the colour scheme and - as my luck would have it - a 60cm frameset with carbon forks, mudguards and some Specialized bars had just gone onto eBay, hardly used.
|Tiagra 9 Speed Groupset|
Having successfully won the auction, I picked up a Tiagra groupset (hardly used) off of e-Bay, Fulcrum 7 wheels, Continental Gatorskin 25mm tyres, Deda stem and seatpost from Onix bikes and all the other bits I had hanging around in the garage or just picked up on-line. Within a couple of weeks, my pile of bits in the conservatory was starting to look complete and ready for building up.
|SRAM 11-32 Rear Cassette|
One thing I did do was buy one of those SRAM 11-32 rear cassettes, which I thought would come in really handy for some of those harder days out in the hills, when you just need to keep spinning. I spotted an on-line store doing a deal on one and picked one up for about £15, they're normally nearer £40-£50. This gives me a gear ratio of 34/32 (1.06), which is basically about the same as a 28 tooth cassette on a triple (marginally better). More about gear ratios here.
|Picked up some Shimano Long Reach Callipers Cheap|
Only thing I plan to change is the bar tape. The Specialized bars I picked up on eBay, came with the tape and levers already mounted, so I'll run this until it needs replacing, then stick some black tape on.
After a super-fast and quality build mechanic mate Mike Jackson, I picked the bike up yesterday. The bike looks stunning, it's exactly what I wanted. Distinctive, with the right gear ratios, dedicated mudguards, a nice aluminium frame and equipped for whatever the winter wants to throw my way. It also means my other bikes can be put into storage, reducing the need for a post-winter service.
It's been really interesting and at times exciting, doing a self-build. Choosing components, watching auctions, ticking off the shopping list. Yes, it takes a little longer, however you bag some pretty good bargains if you're prepared to be patient. I'm very fortunate knowing a great mechanic, so bits in boxes dropped off in a box one night, came back as my new winter steed two days later. Happy days and bring on the winter.
|Love the Deep Burgundy Colour|
|Ready for Winter|