Need Tips On Custom Building A Road Bike?


New Member
May 9, 2015
I'm thinking about buying all the parts to assemble a road bike. I've never assembled a bicycle, and wonder how difficult it is, and where I can find some detailed, off the hook, fresh instructions on how to do this
Well, if you are talking about building a frame, I think you need to have the head for it plus lots and lots of training to do it. It is an art form. It is an art form. It is an art form. That is just the frame part, notice I'm not talking about the components.

If you are talking about purchasing an already built frame and all the components, I think you need to have the head for it plus lots and lots of training to do it. It is a less demanding art form, perhaps. But still an art form and it requires experience.

There is another thing that this is: expensive. You don't have the economies of scale that large manufacturers enjoy, so you will spend a lot of money not merely on parts, but on tools, and not just on tools, but also shop space to do the project in, too. You will bleed money in all directions of the compass.

You may want to serve as an apprentice to an established bicycle builder first.

There's little-to-no difference between the instructions to replace a part and to do the first install. Between the Park Tool repair section, and youtube, it should all be covered.

Keep in mind that bike parts are a lot more expensive bought piecemeal than when bought as an assembled bike. Unless you have the time and skill for some serious bargain hunting, expect your self-built bike to be 2-3 times the cost of a store bought bike.
I think here you can't get all of the details, but if you look up some projects online on some, you might have some idea but I wouldn't recommend to do the same. I would recommend you to build your own project planning and start from there.
blastguardgear said:
I'm thinking about buying all the parts to assemble a road bike. I've never assembled a bicycle, and wonder how difficult it is, and where I can find some detailed, off the hook, fresh instructions on how to do this
As dabac notes, the information is available on the Internet ...

While buying components a la carte is almost always more expensive unless you are a wise eBay-shopper, Shimano 11-speed Road GROUPS are currently on sale for about half their MSRP ...

You will still need a wheelset, tires/tubes, frame/fork, headset, stem, handlebars, handlebar tape, seatpost, saddle, pedals ... air pump & other tools.

IMO, the skill level that is required is about what one needs to remove-and-replace the lid from a jar of pickles ...

Of course, some people cannot do THAT!

However, the key to a successful venture is possibly in having the RIGHT tools + choosing the RIGHT frameset ...

Unlike the past, there are only a few bicycle specific tools which are needed, now -- for example, BB tool, Cassette lockring tool, chain tool, etc.

And, generic equivalents from a retailer like HARBOR FREIGHT (or equivalent if you are not in the States) which is probably 90% Chinese made stuff + 10% made elsewhere will do ...

BTW. With regard to the frameset, MY recommendation is that you try to locate-and-use a frame with an English threaded BB shell + which uses a fork with a standard (NOT tapered) 1 1/8" steerer.

If you currently have a bike, then create-a-workspace if you don't already have a dedicated space and disassemble your bike one component at a time ...

  1. loosen the front wheel quick release (nuts) & remove the front wheel

    • put it back on & adjust accordingly

  2. loosen the rear wheel quick release (nuts) & remove the rear wheel

    • put it back on & adjust accordingly

  3. loosen the seatpost bolt/clamp

    • put it back on & adjust accordingly

  4. et cetera until you have removed and replaced all the components on your current bike.
IF you can remove-and-replace (and adjust) all the components, then you can (SHOULD BE ABLE TO) assemble a new bike from scratch.

IF you cannot but still want to, then consider getting some "wood shop" and/or "metal shop" skills at your community college.

BTW2. If there is an REI near you, then attend one of their bike maintenance sessions.

BTW3. Another consideration is to update the components on your current bike (presuming you have one) with the components which you prefer, first, Then, after you have successfully retrofitted the components on your current bike, buy the frameset of your choice & move the parts (or, another set of new components) to the new frameset.
There is a lot of how dos concerning bicycles on the internet, I would simply look up each thing as you start to install to see how it's done. Then after you're done with the assembly you can always take it down to a LBS and have them go through it for you to make sure you didn't miss something or screw something up and to make final adjustments.
Yes, all the information is out there however...

Depending on the components, you may run into issues with tools. If you have to install the headset or if there is a press fit bottom bracket, you need the press to do it. Most tools that you will need are not terribly expensive. The torque wrench is about the worst. I searched and searched, the park tool one is readily available online for 85 and that's a reasonable deal. It's hard to find a click type torque wrench that has a range LOW enough. Yes, there are plenty of hardware store ones far cheaper but their range is way too high.

Also, it is one thing to see someone else do it on an Internet video, it's another to do it yourself. Honestly, I don't think there is any one task that's really difficult, but there are some that I am glad I've been shown hands on by a mechanic far more skilled than me.

Building a bike from the frame up is rewarding but SUPER expensive. It's not the frame or major components, it's all the little stuff that kills you. I just built a hardtail MTB. I love it and there is not a single part on it that I did not pick for a reason. Did all the work myself. I hand picked the headset spacers. Retail it's a 6500 hardtail. I could have bought an off-the-floor equivalent a lot cheaper. But as I said, it's rewarding and no need to upgrade the bike.

I've built a few bikes now, I strongly recommend it at some point in your cycling career. Just know that it won't save you money, and have a good relationship with a qualified wrench to help you out when you get stuck.
I would also advise buying the very latest Zinn book covering repairs and maintenance. I'm not sure that the Bicycling Magazine repair and maintenance book is as good as Zinn, but it too might be helpful. The exploded diagrams in the Zinn book alone are priceless. Check component manufacturer websites for exploded diagram drawings for your specific parts as well.

Note: I've never built a bike.

So when you are saying "custom" you mean with an already built frame and just do the assembly your self.

First of all there is no reason to do this, as most manufacturers offer their frames with a variety of components so you can just choose one spec'd with the stuff you want.

-You will save a lot of money like this for the same bike.-

If you want to just assemble the bike your self, if you are not building wheels too, all you need is allen keys and a torque wrench.

You need the torque wrench to secure stuff like seatposts, headsets, handlebars etc to the correct torque. You might also need a press for the Bottom Bracket.

There is no need to do all that... You might save some moneyz though if you buy a truing stand and start building wheels. Wheel building is kinda expensive.

But if you wanna go for custom, why get a ready frame? You can order a frame manufactured -exactly- to your dimensions and then build it up.

Do you already have any components?

$6,000 should about cover it. Yeah, you may already own a stool, but what the hell?!
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Wow, for 6 grand you don't even get a stand? I have a ridiculous amount of those tools. Still, you don't need ALL of them just to build up a bike most of the time, and there are a bunch of tools most people have around the house.
Going with less expensive brands and sticking only to the tools required to assemble a specific bike, a couple/three hundred dollar might do the job. Bearing presses can be fab'd up from a length of All-Thread, some washers and nuts and maybe some pieces of tubing or correctly sized sockets. As we learn to use tools, we learn how to become toolmakers.

Modern bikes require very little force to go together and Snap-On quality stuff, as nice as it is to hold and to use, is rarely needed to build up a bare frame.

If a guy is only to go at that job once or twice...skip most of the Park line and downgrade to Nashbar, Performance or one of the British website's lesser tool lines.

Now...I will say this after being in the bike game for 44 years: 'IF' you plan on being in this for the long haul and enjoy working with your hands...Buy once. Cry once.

Buy Campy tools. Buy Park tools. Buy those Snap-On tools. Cornwell, Matco, Mac, Wright, VAR, Cyclo, Rivoli. WIHA, FACOM...Hell, buy ALL of the good tools you see in life as you can.

Having and using tools is what separates us from the apes.
It's fun to build a bicycle. I had my frame made from chromoly tubing so it's very light and strong. My frame was made by expert frame makers and welded to precise measurements. Then it's just a matter of buying a carbon fiber fork and a Shimano groupset and some other things like the saddle, etc. I ended up with an awesome custom bike that was made to fit my body measurements. It was awesome. B)