Picture of How to Build Up a Bike
This is a guide to building up a bike from parts. It should help you get the parts and tools you need to get you pedalling along in no time. It assumes that you have tinkered with your bike, but are not an expert. Hope it helps!

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Step 1: Parts

Picture of Parts
Here is a list of parts you'll need:
Rear derailleur
Front derailleur (optional)
Brake Levers
Cable guide
2 x derailleur cables
2 x brake brakes
4' derailleur housing
4' brake housing
bottom bracket
seat post
seat clamp
brake hangers front / rear if you use cantilever brakes

I got most of this from Redstone Cyclery

Step 2: Tools

Picture of tools
chain tool
allen keys
wire cutters
pedal wrench
nuts/bolts (or headset press)
adjustable wrench
bottom bracket tool
screw driver

Step 3: Seat post.

Picture of Seat post.
Insert the seat clamp, then the post. Grease the heck out of the part of the post that will be in the frame to keep it from rusting together. Then put the seat on.

I then clamp it in the bike stand using the post, but thats up to you...

Step 4: Install headset

Picture of Install headset
Install the headset first. I install the cups using a large bolt, some washers and a nut. The presses it in to place. There is also another instructable I put on here that details the exact process for this step if you are not familiar.

Grease the cups up, then press the race on. I bang it on with a adjustable wrench.

Step 5: Fork

Picture of fork
Ok put the headset together, grease the bearings, put your stem and any spacers you are going to use on the fork and make a mark with a marker. This is where you are going to cut the steerere tube. NOTE If you have a threaded stem, then just try not to cut it, make it easier, just use some spacers.

Step 6: Cut it loose

Picture of cut it loose
So now you take that fork out and cut it about 3mm below the mark you just made.

I used a steerer tube cutting guide, but you can use a zip tie to mark the spot and cut it with a hack saw. Remeber measure twice cut once, cause you can't stretch a steerer tube.

GeorgeL61 month ago

Great! Very helpful

YellowRex3 years ago
Sweet ride!

Thanks for the guide. I'm considering building up my own bike using a Velo Orange Polyvalent frame and internal gearing. I was worried about the headset and bottom bracket installation, but you made it look not too bad in your pictures.

Have you considered bash guards or a chain guard? I have a single chainring commuter too, and I'm about to try to install a VO chain guard after work today. I think it should work fine, since it mounts to the chain stay in the rear. I'm also considering bash guards on either side of the chainring to keep the chain on. I've had some problems with losing my chain after hitting a nasty bump or shifting too much.
joe (author)  YellowRex3 years ago
I use a chain gaurd on almost all of my bikes. I like the Spot Brand.

I also have used a Paul's Chain Keeper:

I use the Paul's on my 1x9 mtn bike. It works nicely.

I actually tried a VO chain gaurd about 5 years ago on a bike, but I had not luck with getting it to work. However it was just a NOS one from the 60s that VO was selling. I imagine their newer ones are very nice.

wouldn't greasing it make it want to slide around in the frame?
Bobby, if you don't grease it, it will eventually rust and seize up in the frame. Then both the frame and the seat post will be ruined. No one other than you (including potentially you in the future, if you gain or lose weight) will be able to adjust the bicycle to fit them properly.

The seat post is held in place by appropriate tension on the clamp, not friction inside the seat tube.
bowmaster3 years ago
How would this vary for a combo street/mountain bike?
mark1454 years ago
the pictures look very and the instructions to build the cycle look easy enough i have just joined the web site and still cannot print the instructions so i'll look elswhere for a better user friendly website where it doesn't take as much time to print the instrutions as it does to build the bike
I'm pretty sure that you have to be a member to print instructions, but I think it would be worth it.
gmanguy 113 years ago
i get my parts from but thats not for mountain bikesits BMX bikes
Arlys4 years ago
WARNING! If you are installing an aluminum alloy crank on a tapered steel axle bottom bracket you should never ever "tighten the hell out of the crank" or lubricate the tapered joint since excessive tightening/torque will distort the aluminum crank arm taper and create noticeable play in the crank arm joint which will produce annoying crank arm slip on every rotation of the crank arms under load in high gear. If you've already damaged the tapered joint by over tightening the crank arm bolts, a temporary fix is to shim the tapered joint with thin tempered aluminum alloy sheet (not aluminum foil) to eliminate play. Ultimately, you may need to replace the crank arms since the damaged tapered joints will continue to distort under load over time. (Note: This is not an issue if you have a crank that does not have a tapered steel axle or have an inexpensive crank with steel crank arms.)
According to Park Tool and FSA, a traditional aluminum crankarm with and M8 bolt will need about 350 N-m of torque, which is essentially tighening the hell out of them. Besides, how often do you need to take off an alu crank?
sharlston5 years ago
what thread size is the star flanged bolt in the steerer tube thing becuse ive lost my screw and need a new one but i cant find the right size

The difference between presta and schrader valves: Schrader has a spring enclosed inside the valve which closes off the flow of air automatically whenever the plunger is not depressed. Presta valves do not close automatically. The plunger needs to be screwed down manually to keep air from escaping at low pressure. In all my experience, I have never seen any substantial difference between the two valves. Schrader valves are often thought of as "mountain-only" and presta as "road-only." I have presta valves on all my bikes, even the mountain bike. If you're interested in switching any presta-drilled rim into a schrader-drilled rim, all that is required is a 5/16" drill bit (and a drill, presumably).
not true because a schrader is used o cars,bmxs and fixies not just mtbs
Metrokillah8 years ago
Totally agree with the locking skewers! I once went to pickup my girlfriends bike from a friends house where she had left it. I cycled about half a mile across a links style golf course here in Edinburgh and when I arrived at the pub and lifted the bike on to the railings/fence to lock it, both wheels comedically fell off! Some prankster had removed the skewers and left the wheels. I am pretty sure that some deity was smiling on me that night because I usually take every opportunity to catch some air off a bunker or slope. I now do quick bike checks everytime i get on one.
it would of been hard for the back wheel to fall of becuse of the chain
LOL. I'm gonna do this to my mate. every ten weeks i do something to his bike. Also stealing someones seat can be fun...
i did that to a jerk at school, it sucks when it happens but i had a good reason.
i'm just glad the wheels weren't stolen! most people that steal components would revel in the idea of a free wheelset. nut those things up!
trebuchet038 years ago
Nice write up... I wish I had the money to buy the parts I wanted :P But if I had the money, I'd probably just save for a 'bent :D
just go to the scrapyrd thats what i do
haruspex5 years ago
Had this problem this morning before heading out on my ride. I wasn't sure the proper way to fix it, but remembered it being mentioned in this article. In a few minutes my headset was as good as new. Thanks!
why does your chain lock have about 8 that not very smart :(
nice lol i am in school reading this laughing...
that is pretty good i agree with 52? . . . but anyways is there a way you could upload a bike to where it was automatic but yet children under 16 could still drive it????? thanks, get back at meeee...
i dont think it will work out i would get one a tid bit smaller that ones a little large but nice work so far

=] thanks,
thanks for all the help and support i have been working on my 7 bikes and my lasted one i haven't been able to get it just right i first put it on backwards then i lost apiece so anyways thanks for all the moral support do you know if you would put a weedeater motor on a bike and adjusted it and threw on some better breaks do you think it would work?
Nice snot mark! (my sleeves always look like that too)
525 years ago
that is y u do good the frist time
frogmeetcog6 years ago
This occurred to me a while ago when a friend had her wheel skewers stolen (wheels were locked and intact): I now keep two lengths of copper housing wire wrapped around my toptube. The plastic insulation makes the stuff just fit through my hollow axles, for an emergency skewer improvisation to get me home. Never had to use it, but if I had to I would put one length per wheel and wrap the remaining wire around the forkblades/seatstays, and ride carefully. Coathanger would work too, though the bare steel would rust quicklike.
zzpza7 years ago
i use a pipe cutter (the clamp type). cheap and effective. also, there's no swarf created in the process. :)
jwbtravel7 years ago
To save some dough, some pedals dont need a pedal wrench. I had some shimano SPD pedals that took an allen wrench on the back side and a pedal wrench where most pedals do, negating the need for a pedal wrench. My crank brothers candy-c pedals arent designed to work with a pedal wrench at all; they only work w/ allen wrench.
machula8 years ago
hah nice, crankbrothers' eggbeaters :) one of the best somebody was asking about the presta and schrader valves, well, the presta is often called french valve and it is thinner than the schrader, to pump it, you must loose the tiny top "nut", tiping it to the side releases air. the schrader valve is thicker, and used only with mtb tires, it has a tiny bolt inside that is pressed inside the valve when air is pumped. thus the two require different pump extensions. so that's basically it
jongscx8 years ago
Just a friendly reminder...

I found that out the hard way while I sailed through the air after needing to use a flower-patch as a brake assist. Brake cable housing is kinda like a slinky and is basically a wire that is wound in a spring-like manner, then coated with plastic. The wires in a Deraileur housing are parallel. If you put the same amount of stress that is required to stop a bike on a deraileur housing... it will fail and you will have no brakes.

Just a friendly warning.

Also, anyone want to say something about the difference between presta and schraeder valves?
Coolness at it's best! I'm not exactly sure what standard shop practice is, but I have always used a pipe cutter to cut the steerer tube (and handlebars, and seat posts when necessary). The cut end is sooo much neater, and cleaner. They're relatively cheap, a lot less effort to use, and guarantee a perfectly square, smooth cut.
kiteracer8 years ago
Here's a great springtime garage project. Thanks for lowering instructions to the lowest common denominator, a.k.a. my brain.
sportcrazy8 years ago
Great write up! Like trebuchet it's too expensive for me - those darn shops just get great dealer prices on stuff.

I priced a self-built Surly Cross Check with Shimano 105 components _and tools_ at about € 1,600 (USD $2000). It's prohibitively expensive, the same from the LBS is a lot less.

If you want to compare components and costing details they're broken down further at:

For me going 105 would be crazy when Ultegra is so little more!


parsnip23418 years ago
Small world. I was admiring this very bike when it was parked outside the CIC at CMU today.....
joe (author)  parsnip23418 years ago
Hah, thats cool, I'm up on the third floor... every day. Now that it's been raining I have been sneaking it in the building. -Joe
very cool I've always thought about geting a ton of curbside,college,bike parts ect. and building them into one custome ride