Introduction: How to Build Up a Bike

About: I like to tinker with just about anything, sometimes it works out in the end. Have fun looking at the projects, try tearing something open and let me know how it goes. cheers, -Joe

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!


Step 1: 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

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

Step 3: 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

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

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

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.

Step 7: Star Fangled Nut

Now you have to drive in the star fangled nut. I thread it on the bolt. Then use a hammer and tap it in about 1cm.

Step 8: Put It Back Together

Ok, put it back together.

Tighten the top cap until its snug, but not too tight. Then tighten down the stem. You'll check it later.

Step 9: Bottom Bracket

Insert the bottom bracket.

Grease up the threads. The drive side is REVERSE threaded. Don't forget it goes backwards.

Start it by threading it in by hand. Don't use the tool yet.

Step 10: Tighten the Bb

Now its time to use the tool and tighten the bottom bracket. Tighten the drive side, then the non drive side.

The drive side will sit snug against the bottom bracket shell. The non drive side may not go all the way in. But it should go in most of the way.

Step 11: Cranks

Put the cranks on. I am a follower of the "no grease" school of thought when it comes to the cranks. But do what works for you. I tighten the hell out of the cranks, you should to.

Step 12: Pedals

to put your pedals on, grease the threads. On the pedals, the non drive side is reverse threaded. Most pedals use a 15mm wrench to install.

Step 13: Cable Guide

I needed to install a cable guide on the bottom of the bb shell.

Step 14: Derailleur

I am going with no front der because this is my commuter. So I just put on the rear. Go slow, make sure you don't cross thread it here, its just an easy spot for that...

Step 15: Brakes

i am using cantilever brakes. So I'll use the middle hole for the spring tension, its a good guess. You might have to use a different hole though. This is a thing based on preference as well as trial and error. But middle is a good choice.

Step 16: Chain

Time to put on the chain. Use the largest gear in the back, and the largest in the front, make sure you have just enough chain to spin smoothly.

Use your chain tool to drive the pin through.

Then use the inner step to loosen the link up by giving it bout 1/8 of a turn.

Step 17: Kinky

if your chain is stiff and looks like this, repeat the last step again to loosen it up.

Step 18: Cables

You need to cut the cable housing for your brakes and shifters.

The key thing here is to make sure you have enough housing so it won't bind and keep your bar from turning all the way. Also make sure it does not interfere with the brakes, thats no good.

See how I have the bars turned as far as they will go and I'm holding the housing against the cable stop? Thats the way to do it.

Step 19: Rear Cable

The rear der needs a small loop of housing, like shown here. Two short and it won't shift all of your gears.

Step 20: Tuning

So you can run your cables to your brakes and derailleur now. When setting the rear one up you want to first set the limits.

There are two screws on the back of the derailleur, the lower one is the inner (biggest) gear and the higher one is the outter, Remember this "Linner Houtter".
By setting the limits you keep the chain from going up into the spokes or down in to space between the dropout and the smallest gear.

Then you can fine tune your derailleur by using the barrell adjuster. The key is to get the teeth on the pulley to line up with the teeth of the gear you are suposed to be in.

Step 21: Knock

So at tis point you should pretty much have a built bike. But we need to make sure the headset is tight. So put the bike on the ground, grab the front brake and move the bike back and forth, do you notice any knock in the headset? If so, loosen the stem, tighten the top cap until the knock goes away, then tighten the stem back up.

Step 22: Test It

You should be ready to test ride it now. Double check everything is tight, check the brakes, the cables, the bar and the stem.

Ride it and have fun.

Step 23: Commuting

So I built this up for commuting to work on.

Some of the things I added were lights and fenders, but most importantly I added pinhead locking skewers. They use a fancy keyed removable quick release. I don't want my wheels or seat jacked...

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