Should I build my own bike?

by Dan Ellis @

Should I build my bike?  

The task sounds daunting.  So many parts, tools, and torque specs.  Not to mention the time:  I barely keep up on oiling my chain why should I even consider building a bike?  There is a lot to consider.  And in some cases it may be better to let your LBS build up your bike for you.  But if you are like me and like to see with your own eyes what each bolt was torqued to and how each bearing was seated,,,,,  And if you take satisfaction when crossing that finish line on something you built.....  Then building is for you.

How do I get started?

Start researching from 10,000' down to the exact components you will be using.  Reading is a great start.  There are these things called books, they are printed on paper, and they are a wealth of information.  Start there.  You can't go wrong with the big blue book by Park Tool. Then there is always Google and of course Youtube all day long.  We love this short inspirational build by Alexey Vermeulen.  Join a co-op or bike club and help wrench on the fleet of bikes they repurpose to the public.  We are lucky to have Norte and Don Cunkle to keep TC spinning.  Lastly, buy your bike components and frames from your LBS.  In doing so you they will be your resource and help you when in a bind!  Not so much if you drop of a pile of parts you purchased from Ebay and ask them for help.

What do I need?

Here is where you need to make some hard decisions.  Do you want to set up an efficient shop with the proper tools to complete a successful build in less than eight hours?  Or, do you want to piece together parts and store what you have in 5 gallon buckets so that you are always searching for something you may not have?   ----- The later approach will take you over two weeks to build a bike.  Trust me, I have been there.  Constantly ordering tools, just to find out you ordered the wrong tool, just to find out you have the wrong bottom bracket.  And all of this with a race approaching.  Don't be this guy, this is the guy that runs to the LBS last minute to get some help (see above).

1.  Space - find a well lit space with some elbow room.  It can be as simple as a corner of the garage or a full blown workshop.

2.  Bike stand - there are many to choose from for all budgets.  For simple maintenance our Bike Station is great.  For full blown builds you will need something you can get a full 360 access to your bike.

3.  Bench - We love what you can easily purchase at Home Depot.  Husky products are sweet.  A little more budget friendly would be to utilize our Top/Shelf Brackets and make whatever size top you want.  Also nice about this option is the ability to fold the table down when not in use if confined space is an issue.  Combo this up with some of our trays makes great use of space as well.

4.  Tools - There are so many brands.  And all are great and get the job done.  Just don't skimp on quantity.  Purchasing a full set from the start is going to save you so many headaches and so much cash from multiple orders in the long run.  Bottom bracket tools are one of those that you never seem to have correct.  We love our BB Tool quiver.  You know you will have what you need.  And if you don't, we will make it for you!

Be efficient!

Now back to that time crunch issue.  We are all busy.  Every time you are looking for something you are wasting time.  We here at are really into production efficiencies.  We see the gains in both time and satisfaction when tools are where you need them, vertical, and visual.  It just feels good to turn around and know exactly where that T25 is.  So if there is ONE thing we recommend, make the investment now and purchase our Tool Organizer. Or better yet kill a couple birds and purchase the Pitcrew Package!

Happy Bike Building!