Building a new MTB **First Time**

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  • Building a new MTB **First Time**
  • Premier Icon goldengus

    Hi All

    Thinking of building a MTB from scratch for the first time.

    Got a Specialized Rockhopper Comp at the min, so tempted for something different, a SS Rigid 29er crossed my mind as A) Its different to what ive got and B) Easier to build due to lack of gears etc.

    Any advice would be great!


    genesis fortitude. great bike. available as a frame/fork only.


    Rubber mallet…Essential!


    I’d recommend getting a maintenance book. When I built my chameleon I got zinn and the art of mountain bikes maintenance. … invaluable even if you are an old hand at bike fettling. Maybe even look at something with changeable drop outs (if it exists? ?) just I case you want to go back to gears. Best bet (imo) is give Charlie the bikemonger a look (or an email/call)… top chap for all things ss.


    There’s plenty of resources online. Sheldons site and the park tools site immediately spring to mind. I have a book but have never used it. All the info you need is freely available on the web.

    Premier Icon goldengus

    Cheers for the info, those web sites look useful.


    I’ll agree with look on the web. There are loads of park tools videos too if memory serves. But I like books more… and it has been most useful in the garage when you don’t have computer or phone to hand and need to check something.
    Velo solo is another good site too


    I was having a little trouble with my rear deraileur,
    And put it off until attention was unavoidable through fear of not understanding how it works.
    But using park tools online guide I properly set and indexed both mechs and now it shifts silky smooth.

    Turned out to be very simple and not complicated at all.

    Premier Icon garage-dweller

    Patience, persistence and the right tools.

    The vast majority is common sense and component compatibility!


    I did my first (apart from forks) late last year but I cheated and used a frame and parts I didn’t mind messing up a few times. Turned out to be great fun and a wonderful way to while away the winter evenings. Good luck and take your tablet/laptop into the garage and embrace YouTube for building tips.

    Premier Icon goldengus

    Think i need a few more tools for the job, seen this on CRC

    Look good value, never used x tools before though.

    Any good websites to pick up a frame/fork sets secondhand (other than ebay)?

    Premier Icon garage-dweller

    I have some x-tools amongst my selection and while not up to Park’s standards they work well and are good value normally.

    The chainring bolt tool is the only disappointment as it seems to only fit 50% of bolts well.


    the x tools set. does the job fine. Contains 90% of the tools I need


    +1 for the right tools.

    I started off learning maintenance because I didn’t want to pay bike shop rates. There were a lot of bodges along the way but the right tools make it all so much easier.

    And I’ve learned so much along the way…

    I’ve built a few bikes now. That Icetools set looks good for a starter – but @mangatank is right, get a good rubber mallet. Essentially what you also need is:

    * A good set of allens (for most things)
    * A pedal spanner (makes life so much easier than adjustable wrench)
    * Good padded gloves – so you don’t cut your knuckles open when removing pedals, cassette or BB
    * Cable cutters (gear cables and housing – you need a clean cut)
    * Screwdrivers
    * Chain tool
    * Tweezers (used these many times when things get dropped inside tubes, or when pads need replacing)
    * Appropriate cassette tools (lock ring tool + chain whip + large adjustable spanner for leverage)
    * Appropriate BB tools (external BB wrench for example)
    * Chainring bolt spanner (or something that works for holding them while you use an allen key – I’ve had success with a chisel before)
    * Tyre levers, spoke key, etc
    * A star nutter setter is useful and hard to bodge one
    * Crown race setter (easily made from old plastic pipe)
    * Headset press (easily made from bolts and washers – see Youtube or Ebay)
    * Pipe cutter (for cutting fork steerers, seat tubes, handle bars – makes a much neater job than hack saw)
    * Hack saw – sometimes need this to finish the job
    * Acres of grease (worth getting a gun)
    * Degreasers and cleaners
    * Teflon lubes and regular lubes
    * A large parts bin and an endless supply of rags
    * Lots of cable ties – get long thick ones as well as short, thin ones.
    * Finally, get a bike stand, makes life soooo much easier. I got a good folding one off Ebay for £40.

    Some of that may not apply if you are doing SS of course. As you’ll probably know, you’ll need SS compatible frame dropouts and you may need cassette spacers to get the chainline right, or use a chain tension device. If using a rigid fork, I’d get one that compensates for the suspension travel so your frame geometry is correct.

    As people have mentioned, the biggest issue when building bikes is compatibility of components – so look into that before you buy anything. So many different sizes and standards. For example, Shimano shifters not working with Sram rear mechs, or BB/ crankset compatibility. Plan out the bike before you buy, basically. Books are useful, but Youtube is defo your friend.

    It’s a lot of fun though 🙂

    Premier Icon takisawa2

    Buy a bike stand. Best investment you’ll make. Just makes it so darned more enjoyable.

    Some basic tools. Allen keys, get a decent set. I always grind the nicely radiused ends back so they have full hex engagement too.

    Track pump. Can spend lots, but Asda do a Bell one that lasts fine. Mines 10yrs old now, possibly older.

    A pedal spanner, I have the Ice Toolz one. It’s so much better than normal spanners for freeing tight pedals.

    Superstar do some decent tools, the most useful being a socket for HT2 cranks. Much better than them god awful pressed steel things, plus you can use them with a torque wrench.

    A cassette lockring tool & Chain whip. Again, Ice Toolz stuff here, seems well made.

    And last but not least…a wooden mallet for headsets.

    Premier Icon rhayter

    I just finished my first build-it-yourself a couple of weeks ago. Starfanglednutter’s list is very good but I agree with takisawa2; a bike stand is essential. A pipe cutter for your steerer will set you back less than a good hacksaw and cutting guide and it’ll cut totally cleanly.

    What I learned:
    1. Routing cables is much harder than it looks (less of a problem for a single speed).
    2. A headset with a split crown race is very easy to fit… As long as you don’t get the bottom bearing upside down. Took me ages to figure out why there was play in the headset…
    3. KMC chains are very easy to fit.
    4. Seating tubeless tyres with a track pump is hard work. But the dual ‘pop’ of the beads moving into place is very satisfying.
    5. Good bottom bracket tools make life a joy.

    Have fun.


    Have fun 😀

    Premier Icon tuskaloosa

    borrow tools if you can
    visit forums for advice
    keep you tube handy
    biccies and tea essential or a single malt handy
    research, order parts that can be returned
    keep sense of humour

    with the help of the guys out here you’ll be fine

    have fun and enjoy the moment

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