Building A Bike From Scratch


New Member
Aug 4, 2013
I've been thinking of building a bike from scratch. I know it's not necessarily the most cost effective thing to do, but will be a fun experience. Was wondering if anyone had a recommendation on what to look for in buying a frame. What brand and whatnot? Thanks in advance.
Unless you're really skilled at bargain hunting, or have a considerable parts stash, expect a full build to be 2-3 times as expensive as buying a bike complete.
Exactly what to buy is near impossible to advise on, there is so much available. But your odds of arriving at a pleasant ride are hugely improved if you can start with a bike you like, and with a known geometry. Then go shopping for a frame with the same geometry.
Everything hangs off of the frame. It is critical to find the correct frame geometry - without that the bike cannot be made comfortable. Good sources for inexpensive frames that I have had personal experience with are: bikeisland, nashbar and ebay.
wmorrison818 said:
Was wondering if anyone had a recommendation on what to look for in buying a frame. What brand and whatnot? Thanks in advance.
One that fits.

Don't know what you're planning to spend on this project, but regardless of that, be flexible about brands but firm about the fit and the level of quality/performance you're looking for.
Over here, that word "assemble" was popular some decades back. Bike shops are ready with their suggestions on the frame, wheels, saddle and all other parts that would be required in assembling a complete bike. But one dealer said that assembling a bike is not a good idea if you don't know much about it since there is a symmetry to be observed with the parts. I know of one who had a bike with an overly big wheels on a small frame and long handlebars (they call it easy rider). It turned out to be difficult to use - the handlebars are shaky.
Good luck ;-)

I have built up plenty of bikes from parts over the years. Its fun but I have lots of parts and shop around for more a lot of the time.
I physically assemble them too - apart from the bits I don't have the tools for or struggle with then I have an excellent bike mech on tap :D

Do it for a challenge, bargain hunting, getting exactly what you want, colour coordinating, quizzing people on it etc :)
I've never built my own bike as I don't think I'm technically proficient. I have a friend that used to put his own bikes together but he always experienced problems with them. I won't dissuade you from building your own bike as I'm sure it will be an excellent learning experience. Just stick to a reasonable but fixed budget as this can be expensive in the long run. As other commentators have already mentioned, you will need to find the right frame and there are many good brands out there.
And note again that buying your own parts individually will cost a lot more than if you buy a factory built bicycle. So a "reasonable budget" would probably be twice to triple what a factory bike will cost. Plus you need tools and try, try, try again patience.

Why, prices on Campagnolo parts make me gasp in shock.


I am very interested in this too. Mainly because i got my stolen and i really like to build things with my hands so i would like to combine my need with my creativity. I was googling for parts that are matchable only to find that is not an easy task to do. The frame you can buy by buying an old and non functional bicycle. It will come cheap but the frame is not a mechanical part so it is important only to have all holes and places for wheels. You get the point. i think that the gear part is removable so you can buy separately. It is very important you have the tools because i tried to remove the main middle axis without proper tools. I could not do it. All part that are pure metal and 'hardware' you can make look nice, put some make up, so to say. The mechanical parts are crucial and you would want to invest in that and you should go and ask or just google for some quality parts matching your frame. Of course that stands for the wheels and tyres. It does sound as a great and fun job. And i think i will try to make my own bike.
I did this once when I was a kid, with my father. Well, actually I was just helping him with the tools because I was 9 and had no idea what was going on. Dad was pretty cool about it, he was building me a bike, so he explained a lot of stuff that he was doing, why he was doing them, how he's going to do something that might look complicated and so on. Really great experience, and a really great memory I have.
Definitely more expensive but in my opinion, it's worth it and much fun. Very gratifying. Check out Milwaukee Bicycle for frames (although I saw someone recently who had found a neglected Bianchi and restored the frame, nice!) Think about a shimano groupset.
Building a custom bike is something I've sadly never been able to afford to do, not right from scratch anyway as it is very expensive when compared to buying one from off the shelf.

What I have done is just customise the parts I use, as I'm sure most other people have, with seats, wheels and handlebars being the most common I'd suspect.
BobCochran said:

Why, prices on Campagnolo parts make me gasp in shock.


Yes, but many (including myself) find them to be worth every penny!

As for the question the OP had, I cannot advise you without knowing what your requirements are. Are you building a road bike? A touring bike? A hybrid? Cyclocross? And that is just for a start!