How to Build a Mountain Bike in 5 Quick Steps

When you’re considering building a mountain bike, you may find yourself overwhelmed and confused by all the steps, equipment, and parts you need. You may feel like you just don’t have the time!

I’m here to tell you that it’s easier than you think, it can be more affordable than buying a top-notch performance mountain bike, and you can do it all in your spare time!

I was terrified to build a bike myself, but I did it, and it is one of my most cherished memories. You will need to prepare some equipment and parts, and plan for what you want!

Let me show you how to build a mountain bike!

Parts and Equipment

Before we jump into the how to build a mountain bike part, you need the equipment for getting started on your project! These articles are just as important as building the bike itself.

Knowledge About Mountain Bikes

Mountain Bike Building Manual

Paper and Pen




Building Your Bike

We’re finally to the part where you will learn how to build a mountain bike and how to get yourself to that point. There’s a lot of work to put into the process of deciding and researching, but it’ll pay off when your build your mountain bike.

Step 1
Decide on the Type of Mountain Biking You Want to Do

There are three types of mountain biking you can choose to do that will affect how you build your mountain bike. You can choose XC (which is Cross-Country), All Mountain and Trail, or Downhill, and they all have various aspects to choose from.


Cross-country mountain biking is the most common type of mountain biking, and it is also the least extreme. This discipline of MTB is also an Olympic sport that focuses on defined trails to narrow singletracks that test endurance and technical skills.

This is the route to take if you are looking for a bike built for climbing and quick-handling on a hardtail suspension.

These bikes are usually fitted with knobby tires to grip the terrain and provide you with stability and balance as you focus on riding.

The front suspension fork for these bikes should have, at the very least, a travel of 80mm and up to 120mm. The longer the travel of your fork, the better your riding experience.

All Mountain and Trail MTB:

This is the adventurous form in mountain biking that involves more technical skills than XC. The trails in this part of MTB require more jumps and bigger drops that you must maneuver. This MTB gets your adrenaline racing!

This type of MTB usually involves full-suspension bikes with wider tires and longer travel for both the rear and the front. The travel usually is between 140mm to 170mm, and again the longer the travel, the smoother the ride. These bikes are made to be put to the test!

Downhill MTB:

This aspect of MTB is for the advanced extremists who love speed and adrenaline. These tracks are some of the roughest single-track descents with rocks, massive drops, and crazy nature getting in your path.

Downhill racing is very intense just to watch!These riders need excellent balance to get through the path under high speeds. These bikes usually have a unique geometry build to the frame, longer travels on the front and rear, and bigger rotors for the disc brakes.

These bikers need all the support they can get. Travel on these bikes ranges from 200mm to 203mm. These bikes are rugged!

Step 2
Select a Budget for Your Bike

You will first need to establish your budget for your mountain bike. With mountain bike prices ranging from under $200 all the way above $12,000, you need to set a budget. There are usually five categories for budgeteers, which are: The Penny Pincher, the Budget-Minded, the Mid-range, the Upper mid-range, and over $3500.

The Penny Pincher: $500 and less

If this is the category for you, you will have slim pickings when it comes to buying supplies. Hardtail aluminum and steel frames will be your cheapest bet, along with used parts.

Try finding pieces and parts on Craigslist or look for an earlier model of a bike for sale to remake as your own.

Avoid full-suspension bikes at this price point, as they will be low-quality and will cost more to repair and upgrade than it’s worth. One of the brands you should look for in a mountain bike under 500 is the Merax Finiss.

The Budget-Minded: $500-$1,000

Being in this bracket allows you to get a better hardtail bike or even an entry-level full-suspension mountain bike. You can look through your options on Craigslist or consider parts you want your bike to have to upgrade on a cheaper model.

In this price range, you can find mountain bikes under 1000, such as the Diamondback Atroz which is a full suspension bike with high-quality parts.

The Mid-Range: $1,000-$1,500

Now your options are wide open for you to explore bikes with full suspension, carbon frames, high-quality parts, and lightweight frames. You’ll want to be careful with used bikes above this price range; some people will trade out parts and pieces to make a high price off you.

A brand you might want to consider from this price bracket is Beiou. Their Beiou Carbon Fiber 650B Mountain Bike is a high-quality, high-performance bike with a lightweight carbon frame and a hardtail suspension.

The Upper Mid-Range: $1,500-$3,500

You can get a pretty great bike for this budget range, and anything you want really comes into play. With this budget, you can find high-quality, high-performance, full suspension bikes easily. You can even find top-performance hardtails and electric bikes.

You should consider Diamondback brand bikes for their performance and quality that cyclists love and enjoy.


At this price range, you can get anything you want, and you really won’t have to worry about parts and pieces being used or new. You can get the bike of your dreams, seriously.

One of the top brands for this budget is Diamondback. They have high-performance, quality, and parts that produce a top-notch mountain bike.

Step 3 
Consider the Parts You Need for Your Bike

This is the most important part of your consideration. This is where you need to break down each part and decide what brand you want to go with, the style you like, and equipment you prefer.

1. Frame

The frame you choose on has many distinct parts to choose from. First, the body style, do you want aluminum steel or carbon? Steel is the heaviest and cheapest, aluminum is the middleweight, and Carbon is the lightest and most expensive.

The second part of the frame is the suspension. Do you want a hardtail or full-suspension? Hardtail provides you with front suspension, and full suspension takes care of the impact over the whole bike.

The frame gives you the support your bike needs to handle impacts, crashes and all the riding you do. The suspension makes it easier for the frame to handle the impacts and shocks. The better the suspension, the better your bike frame.

You’ll also need to choose a frame height that fits your body. Frames come in many sizes, so you’ll want to make sure you get the proper size for your completed bike.



2. Fork

The fork provides your bike with front suspension and travel. The fork should be the second thing you decide on and should match your type of riding. This needs to be matched up with your tires to make sure you get the proper clearance.

The fork also comes in steel being the heaviest and cheapest but made to last, aluminum is light and rigid, and at the mid-price range, however, it’ll enhance the bumps in the road, and carbon is your lightest and strongest material that will soften your ride to a smooth and comfortable one.



3. Wheels and Tires

The wheels need to be known so you can make sure they are compatible with your fork. The tires you choose should also reflect your biking style. You wouldn’t put cycling tires on a downhill bike, that would get your hurt and ruin your bike.

You can usually find tires in all budget areas. Brands like Shimano, SRAM, and Kendra all have tires in various price points to fit your needs.

You also need to decide the width of your tire for the type of biking you’re doing and the fork you’re using. Decided if you need knobby tires, wide tires, fat tires, or thin tires. You will also need to decide if you want aluminum or carbon rims, or you can even choose to go tubeless!



4. Seat Post

You can’t pick any seat post you want; you need to make sure the seat post is the correct size to fit inside the seat tube on your frame. You also need to decide on whether you want steel, alloy (aluminum alloy) or carbon tubing.

Carbon is the hardest to repair and the most expensive, but it will make your ride smooth. Steel won’t break, is easy to fix, and is inexpensive, but the ride will be bumpy. Alloy provides a nice middle area to being a fair price, decent quality, and easy to work with.

If you are looking for something cushier for your ride, try a suspension seat. It adds suspension to your seat to absorb shocks and makes for a smoother ride.



5.Pedals & Crank

The crank connects the pedal to the chaining and gives you the ability to move. Cranks have a variety of sizes, so you want to make sure the fit with the chaining system and your pedals.

The cranks should be chosen based on how much you will ride, where and how you will ride since these affect your speed and power directly.

There are three types of pedals to choose from caged, platform, and clipped. If you are just starting out, the caged or platform pedals are the best option since they provide easy-release. Clipped pedals attach to your shoe, so if you are in an accident or need to jump from your bike, this doesn’t provide you an easy out.

You also should decide if you want pedals that are plastic or metal. Plastic pedals will break easily, with metal pedals will not break easily but will add weight to your bike.



6. Headset

The headset is how your front wheel moves. It’s comprised of a set of bearings, cups, and races that connect the fork to the frame of your bike. First, the races are pressed down onto the fork. The cups are put into the holes in the headtube, and the bearings go inside the cups. Modern headset bearings are sealed and of higher-quality.

Sealed bearings tend to be harder to mess with, and they add grease to your headset over time, while unsealed bearings last longer since you can care for them easier. Brands to look for in bearings are Paul Components, Cane Creek, and Chris King.



7. The Saddle

This is one of the easier purchases to make. You need to get a seat that is comfortable for extended rides fits your bike, and is something you want. You don’t want to be cheap here because you will have to sit on this for hours at a time on some days. Make sure you get what you want.



8. The Stem

The size and compatibility of the stem you chose matters a lot. The stem will have to fit around the steer tube of your bike since these usually slide over the steer tube and have an adjuster in place. The fork of your frame is cut, and a star nut is put into place before the headset bolts down on top and holds everything together.

The stem should accommodate your handlebars. You don’t have to know what handlebars you want to buy, but once you choose a stem, you’ll need to make sure they’re compatible.



9. Handlebars, Shifters, & Brake Levers

Handlebars are so imperative for your comfort while riding! You need to hold these the entire time you are riding, so they need to be comfortable and easy to use and reach. The handlebars are how you get a feel for your whole bike; it’s your control system.

You can choose between drop bars, swept-back bars, flat bars, and more depending on your riding style, your discipline of mountain biking and their comfortability.

Once you choose your handlebars, the shifters and brake levers tend to be decided to fit your handlebars. SRAM twist shifters are particularly popular for flat bars.



10. The Brakes

Brakes are crucial to your bike. Without brakes, you can’t stop, and that can be bad. Since you will be riding at high speeds, you’ll want brakes that are powerful and controlled to provide you with a secure stop.

The two main brakes are rim brakes and disc brakes. Rim brakes are cheap and light, but they wear down quickly, can skip, and don’t do well when wet. Disc brakes stop the wheel from the center, providing a better stop, but these are heavier and cost more.

Hydraulic disc brakes are the most common brakes for mountain biking since they provide precision and accuracy when coming to a stop, but these are very expensive.



11. The Bottom Bracket

This will be the trickiest part of the whole building a mountain bike. Depending on your frame, this will be even harder or easier to do. Look at the thread pitch, which is the distance between each thread in the shell. The shell is where the bottom bracket will fit into your bike, so the thread pitch must be the same.

There are over five standards of measurement, which makes this hard to do, but once you determine your thread pitch, buy a bracket that fits your frame and that you like. You’ll want high-quality and lightweight for a better pedal stroke.



Step 4
New Parts Vs. Used Parts

Building a bike from scratch can be cheaper than buying a bike with the parts you already want or desire. This alone cuts hundreds of dollars just by building your own bike. If you want to save more, try buying used parts.

Buying used can make some people uneasy. My sister doesn’t like buying used things because she thinks they’re given away because they don’t work. This isn’t true at all!

Using used parts can help you stay under budget on your bike building.

When buying used, look at the shape a part is in, how often it was used, and how long since they first purchased it. Try to haggle and even see if you can get free bonuses of other parts or supplies.

Buying new can save you the hassle of having to track down parts, invest time and research into what you’re looking for and how to tell good from bad, and having to reach a price you’re happy about.

Step 5 
Experienced Guidance

There are a lot of experienced mountain bikers who have built their own bikes and have given advice for new bikers.

You can find help, resources, and valuable information from forums and websites. Many mountain bikers from all over give you useful information to reach your destination, whether on skills, how to build a mountain bike, and so much more.

Build Your Bike

You are now ready to buy your parts, find your space and build your bike. With all the information I gave you, I hope you can find all the parts you want, know what to invest in, and compare your options for your maximum benefit.

Have you started building your mountain bike? What do you like about the information provided? Do you have any suggestions? I’m glad I could help you learn how to build a mountain bike.

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Hi my name is Dale Obrien. I started Mountain biking 8 years ago. I also worked as a manager in a local mountain bike shop for 5 years. I love helping beginners getting their first mountain bike. Welcome to our blog. Enjoy!

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