My gravel bike build step by step

Seeing as I’ve read and or commented on various threads I thought I’d photograph each step of my bike build to show it’s really quite easy.

I started off picking up a Space Chicken frame at a massive discount from PlanetX in their warehouse clearance and went from there.
I was building to a budget so no fancy carbon wheels so don’t expect loads of bicycle porn.

Here’s the frame and fork

I next bagged some wheels and disks in another sale and put those together.

I had some non-tubeless Schwalbe G ones so stuck them on for now, I’ll ride them for a while and then setup tubeless, like my other bikes.

image image image image image

One thing I was lucky to get away with was the disc fitting, they are centrelock but the wheels and discs each had different lock rings, one uses a bottom bracket spanner and the other a cassette tool.
I didn’t want an adapter on the back so I went for a 140mm disc and 160mm upfront.

I only needed to go to my LBS for one issue and that was setting the fork race, I didn’t have the proper tool and wasn’t go to make one, it’s a one minute job the shop did for me for free.

Okay I did end up buying another bike whilst I was in there but at least it was only a child’s bike for Christmas.

image image image
With the fork race fitted I could fit the headset.
It took me ages to workout what headset but scratching around online revealed what all the requirements are and this was a simple drop in setup, with grease everywhere.
I live in a very corrosive area so where metal meets carbon there is lithium grease to avoid galvanic corrosion.
I also decided to add some colour seeing as the frame isn’t exactly subtle!

The frame is 1x only so I went for GRX because it was cheaper than SRAM and I can slot on my crank power meter.

The frame came with guides already routed through the frame but to accommodate my braking setup (normal British right hand front brake) I needed to swap the front exit hole.
image image image image image

Adding the various parts was easy, I did refer to the online Shimano dealer manuals for each component just to check beforehand.

Making sure you don’t miss little things like this into the brake bolt

Thank goodness for a threaded bottom bracket, couldn’t be easier, oh and more grease
image image image image image

The cables come fitted to the Caliper and filled with fluid, under the end cap the end of the hose has a film covering the opening.
I’ve never installed hydraulic brakes before and typically Shimano specifies special tools to cut the cable and install the end fitting, I managed with the blocks, a clamp and a sharp knife.
I will bleed the brakes as there’s a little too much lever travel so must be a bit of air in the pipes.

image image image

The frame was routed for a dropped seatpost but I doubt I’ll use it so didn’t bother, I still haven’t put one on my mtb.
The saddle I had already, taken off another bike purely because it looked a little worn.
image image

Handlebars I had too, I have another more basic gravel bike and never ride in the drops so I just put some ergo bars on.

I can fit 650b wheels so I’ll add a set of those for rougher trails but for now I haven’t even had a chance to ride it yet, roll on the weekend.
Total build cost was just over £1300


Awesome looking bike! I just got into gravel riding last fall and it is a lot of fun!

Nice. Hows the quality of the frame and paint? Have you gotten a chance to ride it yet?

The paint job is awesome, I thought I was getting the plainer, mostly black version (as it was a clearance frame) but was thrilled with this.
There is a chip in the paint on the bridge between the seat stays but more than made up for by the discount on the frame.
I had no issues fitting anything to the frame, even dry fitting the headset I could see it was nicely machined.

I report back when I’ve ridden it, big storm hitting here on the weekend though

Kudos on the working mans build. :+1:

Thanks, I’m really happy with a carbon frame and spec for what it cost me.

1 Like

Just curious, what did the total weight come out to be? I’m not overly concerned with weight, but my current gravel build is around 26 lbs, so I feel like I could shed a little bit for comfort’s sake. : )

9.7kg with mudguard and saddle bag so around 21 lbs.

The extra weight is a little noticeable on the hills but otherwise it rides like a nimble, comfortable road bike.
And its super quiet, eerily so, no freehub noise, no drive chain noise and I couldn’t even hear the tyres on the tar (the wind was really blowing though).

Hope you manage to get a ride in soon and report back as I was thinking of doing a similar build. What wheels did you end up getting out if interest? :thinking:
Know what you mean about the storm - thankfully that’s gone though I think theres some snow forecast for some parts of the UK.
Its a downer wanting to play out on a new toy and unable to… :confused:

I went for a ride on Saturday, it was a “bit” breezy. See the post above yours for a brief summary.

I didn’t have any real complaints with the 1x setup and cadences but its only one ride. I just found where I was changing 2 gears for a corner/hill I only needed one. I didn’t use the 42 tooth rear but there is a seriously steep tar hill I’ll attempt at some point.

Can’t comment on trails and off road yet, conditions were too wet for the G-Ones to even bother attempting it.

I have Fulcrum Racing 5 (700c), the depth of the rim/tyre combo made them a bit twitchy in the wind but with 40mph gusts anything would have been.
I’ll add some 650b at some point and shim the discs so alignment and swapping wheels is easy.

Chef’s Kiss, that is a lovely bike you’ve built there. Going to try my own project soon; just pulled the trigger on a Mason Bokeh frameset but it’ll start out purely as a road bike, then I’ll stick something knobblier on come autumn.

I’m done! Well, this was taken after my second ride, since then I’ve moved the mudguards around a little to accommodate a rack and my club mate was selling off some Hunt 4-Seasons for a steal, so it’s a little different already :smiley:

I had a whale of a time with Di2 and the brakes. I needed a very specific (and expensive!) bolt length to fit the brakes and ended up doing the same as you to cut the hoses except that I had a little hose cutter. The Di2 I set up perfectly until I took the seatpost out to put assembly paste on it, somehow forgot that the battery was in there and yanked it out to see the cable disconnect and go racing down the seat tube. After I had put the BB and chainset on :rage: One partial disassembly later…

Needed all sorts of random parts. A 160mm adapter for the back, hose inserts, a seat tube battery holder, a Di2 stem mount (still waiting for that bad boy!) that’s less gross than the rubber strap, etc.

That’s a lush looking frame!
Nice job, and then there’s the satisfaction of riding something you’ve built from scratch.

Great job with the build! Got a quick tip: you can set the crown race with a piece of PVC pipe approx the diameter of the race, usually a 2" pipe, a PVC cap and a mallet. Don’t put the fork dropouts on the ground, hold it in your hand by the crown, and hit the pipe that you have put over the steerer tube. Very easy and only costs a few bucks. I know you got the LBS to do it for free, just a PSA!

1 Like

Oh yeah, I just pressed my fork race on with my hands. Seemed to fit perfectly. I guess other forks must be manufactured to different tolerances making it tougher, or maybe they are prepared differently?

Hi, just bought a Space Chicken frame but dont understand the gear cable routing. Does the gear cable need an outer running internally from the BB to the rear mech? If not will not rub directly on the chainstay? Or does it have an outer running all the way. I’m a bit new to internal routing!

It should come with some fittings where it exits the frame. Those should help you decide… The few frames I’ve looked at that have internal cabling only have outers once the cable has exited the frame and ferrule with a long nose that fits into the frame fitting.
They usually run through a much thinner gear cable inner sleeve around the outside of the bottom bracket…

Have a look at this and see if it helps any…

And the old classic gcn video

Nice. I use the Bush Bash Bosh.