How to Build a Mountain Bike? It’s Easy If You Do It Smart!

How to Build a Mountain Bike

A lot of cyclers are torn between buying and building a mountain bike. Each presents its own pros and cons. However, building gives you an option to engage in craftsmanship to build a bike customized to your needs.

It is worth noting that creating a bike is often more expensive than buying a ready made one. However with keen research, you can find parts that are at discounted prices to make building affordable.

The other factor to consider is compatibility of the parts. While most bike parts are standardized, at times issues of compatibility can rise. If possible stick to the same brand of parts otherwise explore to find what works.

Building a mountain bike is not as complicated as many people think. It is however advisable to work with an experienced rider or a bike shop mechanic as you build especially on your first build.

Having said that, below is a simplified guide on how to build a mountain bike. You will need various tools and parts to build your bike. Here is a list of the tools you require.

  1. Allen Keys
  2. Pedal Wrench
  3. Bike Grease
  4. Bicycle Tire Pump
  5. Phillips Head and Flathead Screwdriver
  6. Box Cutter or Strong Scissors
  7. Needle Nose Pliers
  8. Cable Cutters
  9. Shock Pump

And, here is a list of the parts that will be assembled

  • Frame
  • Fork
  • Handlebar stem
  • Wheels
  • Bottom Bracket
  • Derailleurs
  • Crankset
  • Pedals
  • Brakes (both)
  • Chain
  • Saddle
  • Adjustment of brakes,

Now let’s delve into the actual building process.

1. Frame

The frame is the backbone of the bike. There are numerous frame sizes and designs to choose from to suit your riding style and the size of the bike. Once you have found the right frame, the next step is to fill the main wholes with the right parts.

2. Install the Headset

To install the headset, bang the cups on the headset on the head tube with a mallet.

3. Install the Front Wheel and Back Wheel

The front fork will hold the front wheel and also host the shock absorbers. Set the crown race in the headset on the fork steerer tube on the fork crown. If the fork steerer is not cut to required length, cut to the ideal length. Use a starnut to join the parts.

4. Wheels Come in Different Sizes and Shapes

The ideal design of mountain bike wheels is thick and tough to be able to maneuver rough terrains. The wheel comes put together with the different parts: rim, hubs and spokes.

5. Now, Attach the Tires

The tires and the disc brake rotors should be attached on the fork’s rear dropout and attach it to the frames rear dropout. Lock the fork on the head tube using a top capbolt. Do the same to install the back wheel. Finish installing the wheel with installing the cassette.

6. Install the Cockpit

The cockpit entails the handler and control components. The control components are shifters, brakes and both grips. Attach the handlebar to the stem. Then, attach the grips.

7. Set up the Drivetrain

Once the headset and cockpit are in place, it is time to install the crank-set and the Front Derailleur on the frames of the seat tube. Next, attach the rear derailleur on the hanger at the rear dropout. Wrap the chain around the chain ring through the front derailleur, through the cassette into the rear derailleur jockey wheels.

8. Install your Brake Calipers

The brake calipers should be installed on the front fork and the rare seat post. It is crucial that the correct caliper-mounting bracket that matches the rotor is installed.

9. Take Hold of Your Cable Cutter.

Cut the derailleur hose and cables to the right length needed for your front and back derailleurs. Proceed to attach the cable and hose to the derailleur. You can begin with either of the rear or front derailleur.

10. Installing the Saddle and Pedals

Install the saddle and pedals and tune the derailleurs and the disc brake calipers to ensure that the pads are not rubbing the rotors. Lightly grease the seat post to the insert line and slide the seat post then tighten it or close the seat post clamp.

11. For the pedals, grease them and thread them in as far in as possible. Use your Allen wrench to tighten your pedals firmly. Congratulations, you have completed building your mountain bike.

12. Do a Pre-ride Check

Before riding, it is important to do a check to ensure that your bike is functioning well. Below is a pre-ride checklist:

  • Tires: squeeze the tires firmly and look out for a squishy sound.
  • Front shifting. Ensure that the front derailleur shifts seamlessly up and down on the front chain rings.
  • Check rear shifting. Pedal the bike to ensure that the rear derailleur-shifted smoothly up and down the rear cog.
  • · Check the brakes. Compress the brake lever to ensure that the brakes are not making contact with the wheels neither are their rubbing into the wheel or the discs.
  • Check that all bolts are tight and secure

In case there are defects, do not ride before they have been fully reconciled.


You do not have to wonder about how to build a mountain bike. The above step-by step guide enables you to assemble the necessary tools and parts to build your own mountain bike to your specifications. Work with a bike shop mechanic to help you build a highly functional bike.

Casey Ames

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