Resources for understanding bike frame charts and dimensions for a self-assembled gravel-bike?

katonda

Regular
I'm fairly new to biking, but after fixing two used bikes bought in Amsterdam over the past year, I think I've got the bug. So much so, that I would like to attempt to assemble my own in the coming year. However, being a novice I was hoping that their might be some good resources on how to read bike frame charts. And what about AutoCAD for designing custom frames? Are there any online courses I could take? I am not in a hurry. I'd rather spend 6-12 months learning and picking parts than jump in spending four figures only to find out it isn't for me.

There's a local workshop here in Amsterdam that rents out benches to the public and also offers courses in 'fietsmaking' - bikemaking as well as welding. I'm not sure what the bikemaking course entails, but hopefully it's more than just adjusting and replacing wires. I will inquire about this. I'm afraid that welding will only cover steel and I think I would like to have my frame and fork made of titanium.

I think I'd like to go for something along the lines of a gravel-bike. Comfortable on cobblestone, decent on long distances with the possibility to dismount everything for a fast ride and mount a bunch of bags for a camping trip. In addition, I have fond memories from my adolescence of biking through the forests and crossing creeks with my bike on my shoulder, something I think I could do with a gravel bike.

Practically speaking, one obvious choice would be to go to a specialist bikeshop and try out different bikes. However, going in there with the firm intention to not buy anything, I would feel bad for wasting their time. That is exacerbated by the looming viral threat that has defined 2020.
 

Cycleops

Legendary Member
Location
Accra, Ghana
I have to tell you that steel bike frames are brazed not welded so it’s a very different technique.As for titanium don’t even go there! Its possible you might find classes but why don’t you start off with something a bit more DIY friendly like making a bamboo framed bike? Rather more unique than steel. There was a thread on here about a member who made one if you search.

https://bamboobee.net/products/biy-bamboo-bike-frame-kit?variant=15543499391049

View: https://youtu.be/joNSt1UtEsA
 
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DRM

Veteran
Location
West Yorks
I think you're going to have to bite the bullet & go look at some commercially available bikes, you'll have to think long & hard about how you're going to use the bike, for example if touring do you want mud guards, how will you pack your kit, with panniers or the large saddle/bar/frame bags, what size tyres do you envisage using (650B & Wide or 700C thinner), disc brakes or rim brakes, gearing for climbing when laden as no disrespect but riding round Amsterdam wont be like the lumpy bits of the world, 1x 2x or even 3x setups or will a front derailleur get in the way due to tyre width or frame bags, it sounds like a gravel type bike would be ideal, but will be an interesting project if you get the spec right.
 

CXRAndy

Guru
Location
Lincs
Why don't you find a premade frame or bike and learn the relationship between stack, reach, tube angles. This will put you in the right direction to which size. From there what you need, groupset, racks, tyre size, mudguards, internal, or external cables. There is a lot to research for the the perfect bike.

I personally like gravel touring bike frames. I bought a Kinesis Tripster V2 in Ti. It has everything I need, a true all-rounder
 
OP
K

katonda

Regular
I have to tell you that steel bike frames are brazed not welded so it’s a very different technique.As for titanium don’t even go there! Its possible you might find classes but why don’t you start off with something a bit more DIY friendly like making a bamboo framed bike? Rather more unique than steel. There was a thread on here about a member who made one if you search.
Thanks for the advice, @Cycleops. Since posting, I've watched some videos and read some articles on steel and titanium frame construction and realize that doing that myself would not be feasible. I will check out the bamboo frame, but I'm fundamentally interested in owning a bike that will last a long time and whose parts I know in and out so I can fix and upgrade it myself.

I think you're going to have to bite the bullet & go look at some commercially available bikes, you'll have to think long & hard about how you're going to use the bike, for example if touring do you want mud guards, how will you pack your kit, with panniers or the large saddle/bar/frame bags, what size tyres do you envisage using (650B & Wide or 700C thinner), disc brakes or rim brakes, gearing for climbing when laden as no disrespect but riding round Amsterdam wont be like the lumpy bits of the world, 1x 2x or even 3x setups or will a front derailleur get in the way due to tyre width or frame bags, it sounds like a gravel type bike would be ideal, but will be an interesting project if you get the spec right.
Thanks for the input, @DRM. I think you're right. The price of Western-built Ti frames is high though and the name Waltly has been dropped positively around the internet. I'm thinking of asking them to build me a Ti frame, fork and bars once I've answered all of the above points you mentioned and more.

Here's a video I came across that first piqued my interest in this option:


  • I will want a bike that has mounts on the front and rear for mudguards, probably full ones for when I'm commuting so I don't spray everyone else. I would then exchange them for sportier ones or remove them ad hoc.
  • For kit, I'm thinking mounts on the rear for a rack and on the front fork for bags. Three places to mount things on the frame and possibly something custom on the bars. However, I want to be able to remove the racks easily for when I am commuting and add them again when I like.
  • I think I will want to go with wider 700C wheels (35-40mm) in a gravel bike style. I'll always have the option to go smaller if I like, right? At the cost of aero and unnecessary weight? I'm not too bothered about speed, if I was I think I'd get a motorcycle. I'm looking for a sturdy, comfortable allrounder that can go most places. I don't want to own more than one bike.
  • I'm in the Alps and Jura mountains three times a year as I have family who lives in the area. I may also want to take the bike to other destinations, so I'm building a bike to handle more than just the flat, windy swamps and plains of the lowlands.
  • That means that I will want a wide range for gearing. If you have any good resources to learn about the different options like ratios and what the measurements mean, I'd be appreciative.

Why don't you find a premade frame or bike and learn the relationship between stack, reach, tube angles. This will put you in the right direction to which size. From there what you need, groupset, racks, tyre size, mudguards, internal, or external cables. There is a lot to research for the the perfect bike.

I personally like gravel touring bike frames. I bought a Kinesis Tripster V2 in Ti. It has everything I need, a true all-rounder
@CXRAndy, that's exactly the kind of frame I would be interested in! However, rather than buying something and learning from it, I'd rather learn as much as I can before buying. Hopefully that way, I won't be unhappy with my choice and will be able to pick all of my requirements w.r.t. racks, gears, tire sizes, brake styles, cables etc beforehand.

Most of the resources I have come across go through the builds of their perfect bikes, rather than a breakdown of individual choices they made and the pertaining reasoning. If you have any links to share, I would very much appreciate them!
 

CXRAndy

Guru
Location
Lincs
@CXRAndy, that's exactly the kind of frame I would be interested in! However, rather than buying something and learning from it, I'd rather learn as much as I can before buying. Hopefully that way, I won't be unhappy with my choice and will be able to pick all of my requirements w.r.t. racks, gears, tire sizes, brake styles, cables etc beforehand.

Most of the resources I have come across go through the builds of their perfect bikes, rather than a breakdown of individual choices they made and the pertaining reasoning. If you have any links to share, I would very much appreciat
I found after I bought my first bike( Boardman cyclocross), what I needed on a bike, but I didn't know that until I had ridden my first bike for a period of time.

Its only when you have the sensation of a certain position and then have the geometry numbers do you begin to understand the relationship of reach, stack etc. You could gather all the information before hand but not learn from it possibly.

Good luck in your quest :okay:
 
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