Bike projects - a how to

Agree with many of the sentiments already expressed here, definitely worth the effort to learn how to build up your own bike. The knowledge and satisfaction can’t be beat. plus at a time when bike shops are swamped you can be self sufficient.

I picked up a used frame back in the spring and completed the build a few weeks ago. It didn’t hurt that it was mechanical group set, rim brake and external cables… plus, it was titanium (figured I would not break it even when changing out the bottom bracket). Beautiful in its simplicity.

Definitely watch the videos, park tools’ are a great resource, I watched some of these several times over. Understand how things work and not just following steps makes things easier.

As for tools, yes I needed some specific ones, re: bottom bracket, I already had been doing some maintenance but, just consider that the cost of tuition.

And mistakes will be made, I made my fair share, don’t sweat them… you’ll get it correct in the end.

1 Like

Probably the trickiest part of building a bike is not the actual assembly but sourcing parts correctly. It’s pretty easy doing maintenance when you’re just replacing what is already on there but if you’re looking at a new to you frame and trying to figure out what size bottom bracket fits, or whether a generic part will work or you need something proprietary etc. that could be tricky. You need to get comfortable looking up and understanding the specs for your frame and parts.

Building a bike is not a particular complicated set of tasks. If you give a skilled mechanic a frame and a pile of the correct parts they could easily assemble a bike in a couple hours. (And probably much quicker if you needed to do it before tomorrow"s race stage . . . )

If you know the difference between an allen wrench and a screw driver and have actually done some bike maintenance in the past you should be able to do it in a couple leisurely weeks!


Go for it!

For some entertainment and some good Bits of insight here is a really nice write up from a guy building up a Allez. The plastic bag trick for not leaving bite marks in bottom brackets for example is gold information!

Big thanks to that guy with way to much spare time


Good point. I’ve had that experience with headset bearings. I find the non existing standards there even more annoying than the BB.

And so it begins… with a bag of haribo :man_facepalming:t2:


I’d agree with what everyone else has said so far. Building a bike is fun and knowing how to fix your own stuff is incredibly useful, particularly at the moment as bike shops are booked up for weeks due to Covid. If you have any cycling friends/club mates to borrow tools from then all the better.

One tool I’d recommend for sure is the Park Tools cable cutter. That thing is amazing. I’m annoyed that I’ve spent so many years trying to cut gear cables cleanly using crappier tools.


Frame arriving tomorrow and then that’s it for a while. If there’s interest I’ll keep the thread going to show progress (and errors!)


Well that’ll be mistake 1 then…

Wanted direct mount. Note to self: learn to read :man_facepalming:t2:

1 Like

One tool I’d recommend for sure is the Park Tools cable cutter. That thing is amazing. I’m annoyed that I’ve spent so many years trying to cut gear cables cleanly using crappier tools.

Park Tools CN-10?

That’s the one!

1 Like

I thought you wanted to keep the cost down? Those parts look new!

The SRAM groupset is new. Less than 900 all in. And I’ve paid 400 for the frame (second hand). So I doubt I’ll quite hit my 2K figure but I really fancied the SRAM so I’ve treated myself :grimacing:


Would say avoid super cheap tools but read reviews as well.

Getting expensive cable cutters worth it, chain tool (for example) my x-tools works really well but much cheaper than Park.

So tomorrow is get bb in then fit cranks. LBS helping out with the bb.

Next job is work out what wheels I want. I Looking for sub 1500g, xdr compatible, with not awful braking in the wet on direct mount rim brakes. Ideally sourced good condition second hand, but I don’t mind buying new if there’s a great deal on (like the Etap groupset). Any suggestions welcomed.

Building your own bike is super rewarding and gives one a greater personal connection to the bike. You feel like it’s truly yours since you spec’d and built it yourself. I recently built my first road bike this summer, and did everything from the bottom bracket, to the cable routing, and bar tape myself. The best part about doing it all on my own was that now I know 99% of exactly how the bike works - whenever something needs fixing or goes wrong I don’t dread having to work on it since I know the likely fix.

Two big tips:

  1. Don’t rush. It is probably not a good idea on your first build to put yourself on a timeline and say “I want it done by this date so I can ride it as soon as possible.” That’s a recipe for disaster. Something will go wrong, and then you’ll feel compelled to fix it asap and get frustrated when you can’t. Allow the build to progress at its own pace, and when it’s ready to ride - it’s ready to ride.
  2. Read the manufacturer’s manual for all your components and any official install instructions. YouTube, Park Tool, and other online resources are great, but they sometimes will omit specific details unique to a certain brand or model. All of these things should be reviewed before the process is started.

Really great to see that you’ve decided to go for it. :grin:

I’d heartily recommend building your own bike, having done the same myself for the very first time earlier this year. I was forced into it having had an RTA and basically deciding that since I needed to replace a lot of broken parts I might as well go the whole way and replace all the worn items as well. Needed to strip the carbon frame bare to get it scanned for fractures anyway so the decision was sort of made for me.

I’d definitely echo some of the main points other have made on this thread, in particular my own ‘lessons’ I picked up song the way were:

  • YouTube is your friend for ‘how to’ guides

  • take your time (the old adage of measure twice and cut once is relevant)

  • check to make sure you have all the necessary tools beforehand - for example I needed a special tool for my Cannondale spider ring and had to then order it and wait for delivery which was frustrating mid-build

  • have fun and enjoy the learning experience; I learnt so much about various aspects of how my bike worked and it’s given me a great deal more insight and mechanical sympathy, plus I now feel far more confident to repair and service it going forward - so in the long term I will save on LBS charges for minor issues

Good luck, I can’t wait to see the end result!

1 Like

So most bits are here; everything sourced 2nd hand apart from groupset.

Still need to source stem, bars and tyres.

I’m hopeful that total spend will be c.£2250 and weight c. 6.9kg

1 Like

Progress so far. Front derailleur to go on tomorrow.

Waiting for freehub adapter before starting on the rear wheel/derailleur.


I ripped my bike apart and painted it myself this summer as a COVID project. Had very little mechanical experience prior to that but took everything down to the frame and rebuilt in order to paint it. The building and re-building parts was my favorite part of the project. Between Shimano’s replacement part PDFs, GCN, and Park Took I had all the instruction I needed and only took it to the shop to cut the steerer, pull the fork crown for the headset, and install the press-fit BB. I also rebuilt the derailleurs and rim hubs while I had everything apart. I can confidently fix anything on my bike now because of this, so certainly worth it. Granted, this is a 6 year old rim-brake frame & group, so your mileage may vary with electronic/hydraulics, but thought I’d share my experience.

PS If anyone is wondering, I highly recommend not painting your own bike if you don’t have painting experience because it’ll end up costing the same as hiring someone. Mine turned out fine, but took 3x longer than planned and the finish isn’t as durable as one might hope. Painting round tubes is a special skill - leave it to the pros.


Awesome looking bike and it is a great build. I really like the look of the Emonda and there is zero wrong with your build… but you changed your no 1 priority a bit ;). Nothing wrong with that. But the wheels in the picture (and actually the frame) plus the weight goal don’t really fit the aero bike bill.

The frame is the 2020 Emonda SL6? Including pedals it might be a tough task to stay sub 7kg. But it will be light enough, has some aero features and will be super nice to ride. And so so good looking :).

You are about to have a beautiful light good all round bike that you build yourself on a reasonable budget. Kudos to that! Yay!