How to Build a Bicycle

by Brian Stegall

I will teach you the basics to building a bicycle from purchased parts.


  • bike parts
  • grease
  • chain lube
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • rubber hammer
  • metal saw
  • large adjustable wrench
  • bottom bracket installer bit
  • allen wrench set
  • tire levers
  • smaller adjustable wrenches
  • needle nose plyers
  • wire cutters
  • headset installation tool
  • Instructions

    Step 1

    note... I made this guide with photos I already had from various bike builds. in some steps the photos may not be from the same build. you can also do these steps in pretty much any order.

    Step 2

    start by gathering tools

    Step 3

    choose a frame that suits your needs. for this demo I am building a touring bicycle out of a surly long haul trucker.

    Step 4

    first you will install the crown race on to your fork. it comes with your headset. slide it on the fork.

    Step 5

    pound the crown race on with a pipe and a rubber hammer. you can also use a screw driver and a hammer if you want to be super DIY.

    Step 6

    next we will install our headset

    Step 7

    it is best to do this with a headset installation tool. I don't have one, and they are not cheap. I typically use a long threaded rod with washers and bolts on either end to tighten the cups in place.

    Step 8

    next we will place the headset bearings in the cups.

    Step 9

    BOOM (switched bikes on you). the bearings are in the top and bottom cups.

    Step 10

    slide the stem & desired spacers on to the uncut fork to figure out where to cut your fork. there are many ways to figure out correct spacer height, i will not get in to this.

    Step 11

    after you have figured out, and marked, where to cut your fork. grab a saw and start sawing.

    Step 12

    install your star nut. this also typically comes with your headset. I use a rubber hammer and a screw driver to pound this in to place.

    Step 13

    make sure to pound this in nice and straight. it should look like this.

    Step 14

    you can now put your stem and spacers back on and tighten them down with the stem cap. see my guide on adjust a thread less stem to do this properly.

    Step 15

    grab your bottom bracket

    Step 16

    grease the threads and screw in by hand nice and straight on both sides, then tighten with a wrench and bottom bracket adapter tool.

    Step 17

    dig up your cranks.

    Step 18

    slide the chain ring crank arm on to the right side and the plain arm side on the left, then tighten the bolts in to the bottom bracket.

    Step 19

    find your seat post. grease this bad boy liberally down the shaft. an ungreased seat post can sieze up in your frame.

    Step 20

    slide it in to the seat tube and tighten it a bit to stay in place for now.

    Step 21

    grab your shifters. I am using simple down tube shifters for this build.

    Step 22

    plop em on and tighten them.

    Step 23

    grab your front deraillieur.

    Step 24

    install it on your seat tube. I am not going to get in to specifics on deraillieur adjustments in this guide.

    Step 25

    now let's build some wheels! find your desired rims and hubs. use a spoke calculator to get the right length spokes.

    Step 26

    grab a hub

    Step 27

    slide spokes in on one side skipping a hole between each.

    Step 28

    put them in the holes on your rims skipping 3 holes between each spoke. (I am not going to get that detailed on this process for this guide)

    Step 29

    flip the wheel over. plop more spokes in the same way on the other side

    Step 30

    do the same as before. it will look like this.

    Step 31

    ummm presto! I skipped some steps... but eventually you make wheels. maybe I will do a wheel builder guide at some point.

    Step 32

    do the same process and make your front wheel

    Step 33

    get some tubes, tires, and rim tape.

    Step 34

    start with your rim tape. I like velox.

    Step 35

    install it all the way around your rim. make sure to line up the valve hole with the hole in the tape.

    Step 36

    put on your tubes and tires. see my guide on changing a bike tire for more info on this.

    Step 37

    grab your cassette

    Step 38

    find where it slides on to your rear hub

    Step 39

    pop it on. tighten it down with a cassette installation adapter and a wrench.

    Step 40

    find your handlebars. I am using some bullhorns.

    Step 41

    get some brake levers. I am using bar end levers.

    Step 42

    install the levers on to your bars.

    Step 43

    grab a saddle

    Step 44

    put that bad boy on. (oh yeah, you can put your wheels on too).

    Step 45

    get some break cables and cable housing

    Step 46

    run the cable housing from your levers and tape them along the bars with electrical tape.

    Step 47

    after your cables are secured to your bars, install your bar tape.

    Step 48

    grab some pedals

    Step 49

    install them on your cranks. remember, the right side is righty tighty. the left side is lefty tighty.

    Step 50

    install your rear deraillieur.

    Step 51

    grab a chain

    Step 52

    put it on. (I am not going to get in to establishing chain length for this demo).

    Step 53

    run your shifter cables from your shifters to your deraillieurs.

    Step 54

    get some brakes!

    Step 55

    install your brakes (I am not getting in to adjusting, or installation of brakes in this guide)

    Step 56

    you like fenders? go get some.

    Step 57

    and put them on!

    Step 58

    toe clips? I highly suggest them.

    Step 59

    put them on!

    Step 60

    you want to carry things on your bike do you? get a rack!

    Step 61

    install it!

    Step 62

    get some panniers and put them on

    Step 63

    pick out some sort of skull and affix it to your rear fender.

    Step 64

    YOUR DONE! ride your bike to the desert

    Step 65

    ride your bike in the mountains

    Step 66

    ride your bike to the ocean!