How to Build a Bike: A Step by Step Guide

Building a bike is not as difficult as it may seem! It does take time and patience, but the end result is worth it.

In this step-by-step guide, we will show you how to build a bike from scratch. This process can be done without any special tools or skills.

Before we jump into the process of building a bike, let’s discuss some basic things that are necessary to know before you build the bike.

Table of Contents

Why Build Your Own Bike?

You will find good preassembled bikes in the stores. Then why do the hard job of building it?

Well, there are some good reasons behind that.

  • Building your own bike gives you an opportunity to be creative. You will know the parts that are used in building it, and can customize or tweak it however you want. It is also a great way for your kids to have some creativity and learn about bikes at the same time.
  • Bikes bought from stores may not be the perfect fit for you. Building your own bike ensures that it is sized and equipped to accommodate you.
  • Building one from scratch might save you some money in the long run.
  • Building a bike can be a perfect family weekend project. If you have kids, this is a great way for them to get involved and learn.
  • Building your own bike also helps you understand how the whole process works, which will make you feel more confident when buying bikes in the future.
  • It will help you in the future maintenance and troubleshooting of your bike.

Things to Consider Before Building Your Own Bike

What Type of Bike Do You Need?

There are many types of bikes out there – so choosing one can be tricky.

The most important thing when deciding on which kind to purchase is how you intend to use it.  You may use it as a commuter bicycle or fitness machine.

You also have to decide whether you will ride off-road or primarily stay on the pavement; what body shape best suits your needs such as height requirements depending on stem length and seat post height; determining safe braking distances while riding.

These things will dictate what type of parts you need to buy for it.

For example, the frame size and type (mountain, road), handlebars, tires, brakes, etc. should be determined before buying any other part if this is a custom build kit.

Does it Really Worth for You Building a Bike?

When you buy bike parts separately, the cost for the parts will add up. This is why buying a pre-built bicycle can be an attractive option, however, it may not offer you all of the features that are important to you.

Building your own bike provides a lot more flexibility in terms of what type and style of a ride (comforts) you want for your budget with no limitations on frame size or geometry.

You know exactly what kind of equipment goes into building your bike so there aren’t any surprises when it arrives at its final destination.

Will You Have the Patience?

We have told you that building your own bikes isn’t difficult. But it doesn’t mean that this process goes without any hiccups. It’s possible that you may get a little frustrated during the process even if it is easy.

Building your own bike will take some time, patience, and creativity to make sure all of the pieces are put together correctly.

You have to be willing to dedicate yourself at least four hours for this task or longer on occasion!

Tools You Will Need

The tools required for building different types of bikes vary, but there are some universal tools that you will need:

  • Allen Wrenches
  • Torx Wrench
  • Pedal Wrench
  • Torque Wrench
  • Cutting Tools Like Scissors
  • Hand Air Pump or Compressor
  • Grease and Lube
  • Bike Stand
  • Wire Cutter
  • Screwdriver
  • Bottom Bracket Tool
  • Chain Tool
  • Tire Levers

List of Bike Parts You Will Need

If you buy a bike from a store then it will come with all the parts you need. However, if you want to build one yourself then you will need these common items:

  • Frame
  • Handlebars
  • Stem
  • Fork
  • Headset
  • Brake and Brake Housing
  • Brake Lever Assembly
  • Seat
  • Seat Post and Clamp
  • Shifters
  • Derailleur
  • Derailleur Cable and Housing
  • Cable Guide
  • Cassette
  • Chain
  • Cranks
  • Pedals
  • Stem
  • Tires

Building the Bike

Get Prepared and Unbox Parts

First, make sure you have the tools that are needed to build your bike in one place.

Then unbox all of the bicycle parts and lay them out on a clean workspace. While unboxing, make sure to look for any missing parts or broken parts.

Next, it’s time to get prepared and make sure you have everything that is needed before starting the assembly process.

Install the Seatpost on the Frame

Start by installing the Seatpost. Slide it into the seat tube made into the frame and then tighten it either with an Allen wrench or a torque rod that comes with most bicycle seats.

Make sure the seat post doesn’t move because this will cause discomfort while riding.

Don’t worry about the height, you can adjust the height later.

Install Handlebars and Stem on the Frame

First, remove the faceplate of the stem by loosening the bolt on top of it.

Then, slide in the handlebars with one end going into a gap on either side and tighten them together using an Allen key or torque rod that came with your bike.

Next, install the Stem onto the Handlebar stem by tightening up bolts at the faceplate.

Installing the Rear Derailleur

To install it first find the hanger that is located on the rear triangle of the frame of your bike.

Place it in the appropriate place and tighten it enough so that it doesn’t move around or come off.

Next, find the cable housing on your frame and cut a hole in it to insert the rear derailleur’s wire.

Pull out enough so you can run the wire through to expose about an inch of metal at each end then tighten up.

Check the chain and gear movement to ensure that they move freely.

Install the Rear Wheel

First, place the wheel in line with the frame and clamp it on. Make sure the brake rotor is on the left and aligned with the caliper.

Next, insert a cassette into your rear derailleur’s position and tighten all bolts to secure it down.

Lastly, install the chain onto the sprocket at one end of your bike that came with your bike kit.

Installing the Front Brake

Place the brake pads over the caliper and secure it by screwing on bolts.

Now install your front wheel onto your bike’s frame, making sure that screws are facing down so you can tighten them later.

Install the Front Wheel

First, place the wheel in line with the frame and clamp it on.  Make sure the brake rotor is on the left side and face to face with the caliper.

If your front wheel has a QR, then open the lever and spin it clockwise to tighten, and then close the lever.

Now check the front brakes to see if they work properly.

Check and Setup the Shock Absorber

Turn the air pressure knob on your shock absorber until it reaches desired pressure.

Now, place the spring in between the two parts of your bike frame and then insert the bolts from top to bottom into both sides of your shock absorber.

To tighten them up, you’ll need a 15mm wrench or socket. Now check if the shock absorber works properly by pressing the bike and lifting it up.

Always use pressure recommended by the manufacturer.

Tighten the Bottom Bracket and Put the Cranks

To tighten the bracket, tight the drive side first and the non-drive side later.

Now put the crank in the drive side. Use as much torque as you can as it needs to be pretty tight.

Install the Pedals

The pedals will need to be done next. To install them, simply place the pedal over the spindle and pull on it until it’s snugged tight in place.

Make sure you apply some grease to the pedal spindle.

Now do a test spin of your bike to make sure that everything is working properly.  Ideally, you’ll want all parts to function correctly before moving on any further steps.

Check Gear Shifting

Your bike almost ready, now it is time to check if the gear works properly.

Turn your pedals and try to shift gears from low to high. Again, try to shift from high gear to low gear.

If everything works properly, move on to the next step. If you find any problem, then check the derailleurs and cables.

Attach the Fender

You may or may not have fenders on your bike. However, if you plan to ride on rainy days, you will need them to protect yourself from water and mud.

Fenders should be installed before the wheels. They will most probably have two screws in them. Place the fender in the right place and turn the screws clockwise to tighten them in place.

Fill the Tire with Air

You can use an air compressor or shock pump to fill up the tires of your bike.

You will have an instruction on how much pressure should be within the tires of your bike from the manufacturer’s manual or even posted right on the side of them.

If not, just make sure they are inflated enough that it does not feel like there is any air leaking out when pressed hard but also doesn’t feel too firm where you can’t press down at all.

The tire pressure will depend on different factors like rider weight, terrain, and tire size.

Check The suspension

The suspension of your bike is the last thing you want to check before riding it.

If your bike is a mountain bike, then make sure that there’s enough air in the shock and that it rebounds fast when going up or down an incline. If this does not happen, add more pressure to the suspension.

For road bikes, the suspension is not as important, but it is still good to check that the air in the shocks is at a decent level.

Give Your Bike a Test Ride

After you have tightened all the bolts and checked your suspension, it’s time to give your bike a test ride.

You should be able to stand up with one foot on either pedal without falling over or wobbling back and forth. If this is not possible then there might be something wrong with the frame alignment which can’t be detected until cycling has started.

If everything feels right when riding, congratulations. You’ve built yourself a brand-new bike that will provide hours of fun for you and your friends no matter where you go off-roading next.

Tune Your Bike

If you hear a clicking or grinding sound when pedaling the bike, it is not right.

This means that your gears are not tuned correctly and will need to be fixed by an expert in this field.

You should also check if there are any other loose parts on your bike like handlebars or pedals so they don’t fall off during use.

Are There Any Disadvantage Or Risk Or Building A Bike?

Building your own bike is fun, but it can also have some drawbacks.

The first time you assemble a bike, you might not find the right parts to fit together perfectly and this will lead to problems that are more difficult than they should have been if you found them in the first place.

You could also end up with extra pieces left over. These may need to be recycled or thrown out at your own discretion.

When you buy an assembled bike from a store, you may have a guarantee for it, but when you build it yourself, there is no guarantee because it is your responsibility.

However, the most important thing is that a custom-built bike will cost you some extra bucks compared to an assembled one.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bike Building?

What Does Bike Build Means?

This is the process of building up a bike from the frame and other parts.

It’s not as complicated as it sounds, you’ll only need to follow some simple instructions as we have presented in this article.

Is Building Your Own Bike Cheaper?

Many people think that building their bikes is cheaper than buying one off the shelf.

However, most people aren’t aware of all the costs that go into a custom-made bike and it’s not always easy to afford them. When you buy parts separately, the cost will definitely go up.

How Much Does It Cost to Build A Bike?

The cost to build a bike varies significantly and is not the same for each person. You can easily build an everyday bike without breaking the bank.

But if you want to have a premium custom-built bike, that can sometimes cost as much as a motorcycle.

How Much Time Do I Need to Build A Bike?

Normally it will take an average person 4 hours to assemble a bike. But this depends upon different factors like the complexity of the bike, experience of the assembler, assistance from others, etc.

Is Bike Building Hard?

It is not as hard to build a bike from scratch as it may seem.

The process can be frustrating at times but in the end, it’s worth all the effort that goes into making your own bike.

Can You Assemble Your Own Bike?

Yes, you can assemble your own bike.

If you have some basic tools and familiar with how to operate them, assembling your bike is a matter of a couple of hours only.

If you apply some tricks, you won’t need anybody’s help while assembling it.

Are BMX Bikes Cheaper to Build?

BMX bikes are relatively cheap when compared to other types of bikes.

It will cost you around $250-300 for a complete BMX bike kit that includes everything like the frame, handlebars, wheelset, and fork while an average hybrid bike can be anywhere between $500-$1500.

The assembly process is much simpler as well.

How Much Time Does Bike Shop Take to Build A Bike?

Bike shops have experienced assemblers to do the job for you. It will roughly take around an hour to build a bike for them when they have all the components you have asked for in their shop.