if you are a mountain biker you must have thought of building a bike yourself, The idea is great and at first, glance looks possible as well you have to build a bike put tires on it add brakes and everything is good to go off you go, but things are not that simple it involves a lot of things and I decided to write an article to shed some light on would it better to build a mountain bike than buying one.
Before we move on to the process buying a mountain bike is much more viable than building one yourself, unlike a normal cycle a lot goes into mountain bike geometry, material and the real-life application of the produced model here I will be explaining all of it.
Certainly, you must have thought how hard could it be to make a mountain bike yourself at home it could be cheaper and you could install whatever you wanted on it and it will be the bike of anyone’s dream, sadly things don’t work that way lets take a look at what it would be like to actually make one yourself what you would need and if it even a good idea to try to build one yourself.
So let’s see if is it better to build a mountain bike yourself than to buy one
Let me be clear here I will not be teaching you how to build a mountain bike yourself but I will be going on if it is even doable and if it is then would it be better and cheaper.
Mountain bikes range from 500$ to 5000$ and even more so would it be possible to make the bike of your dreams at this price. now your ideal bike would have.
- a working prototype
- does run like a mountain bike
- and has the durability needed
- and stretch goal (will have decent geometry)
So where would you start on your bike? you will have to come up with geometry that is available on the internet, lets’s say you obtained a sample of a bike next thing you will need is an understanding of that geometry well you can get that from the internet as well, there are a lot of videos and pictures available to understand that right? well not quite, most people that are explaining the geometry of mountain bikes on the internet are talking about how the whole thing works even though they don’t know why the things are the way they are let’s assume you found someone who helped you understand all of it and you have a better understanding now.
If you thought that step was hard wait till you get to the next one now you know what the geometry means but you have no idea how to scale the sketch you have to get exact measurements of the different tubes and tube angles but first let’s talk about the material you can or will use.
Materials to build your bike :
now that you have the geometry worked out its time to think of the material what would you use to steal is cheaper than aluminum but it will make your bike heavier, which means you will struggle on trails but it will work fact there are some steel mountain bikes out there till today.
you have chosen your material, now you need to make your first purchase by buying some steel pipes to weld and make your bike frame, you will need to buy different pipes of different diameters for your bike that includes all the frame parts from the top tube to the bottom bracket and everything else Once you are done with that
You will have to buy a welding machine and welding rods to weld the parts and an angle ruler to measure the exact angle measurements and once you are done with that we can move to the next step.
Welding the parts together :
So here are some things you will need before you start welding.
- A ruler
- angular ruler
- grinder to cut pipes at an angle
- a welding machine
- welding rods
- special welding glass
these are the bare minimum things you will need in order to start and of course a tons of advice from an expert.
Once done with welding you would need to it the finishing touches to proceed to the next step of painting.
Finishing touches after the welding :
Check if there are no holes in the frame if there are you would need to fill them so water doesn’t get into the bike making it rust quickly when that’s done you need sandpaper to smoothen the freshly welded parts and smoothen everything out.
now that you are done with all that the next step is to paint the bike.
Painting the bike :
Assuming you successfully did all the steps painting looks easy well it is easier but not so easy at the same time, You need to wash the frame let it dry in a closed space, and buy some paint and a spray paint machine to start painting for this step you will need.
- paint that stays on metals
- paint sprayer
- a mask to protect yourself from inhaling spray
- and an apron so you don’t get your clothes dirty in the process
- a sheet to spread under the bike
- a stand on which you can mount the bike
once you get all of these things it’s time to paint the bike. Now if you painted in one go the paint will start dripping ruining the whole bike you need to be very gentle and very precise just give it a very thin coat and you need to repeat the process 2 to 3 times more the same way and wrap the frame in something to let it dry and save the frame from catching dirt or other particles.
Once the paint is dry check the surface if it’s smooth or not.
Polishing the frame :
The next step is polishing the frame for this you need a scratch remover spray a grinder with a special polish brush a clean piece of cloth or a rug and polish the bike very gently with the scratch remover it will make your bike shine and accidental scratches as well, after that let the frame dry for about half a day once done we move to the next step.
Buying all the parts and assembling :
Now that you are done with the frame and it’s ready, it’s time to buy all the parts and assemble them, here are a few of them.
- brake cables
- gearing cables and levers
- braking pads
- derailleur hanger
- brake fluid
- lube to lubricate different parts
- seat post
and more once you are done with that you need the tools to install all of the parts a lot of tools. and once you are done it’s time to check the bike.
Checking the bike if you have assembled it right and if the frameworks: Now that you are done with the bike it needs testing before you start riding it full time make sure to test it of course you don’t have a lab so you need to find a difficult trail and push the bike to its limit if the stresses in the bike frames are uneven it will bend or some parts of it will bend if it did better voila you just made yourself a bike.
So how much will it cost to make a bike: It can cost anywhere from 3000-10000$ depending on what kind of tools you already own to build a bike from scratch. you will need to buy every single tool from welding to painting and assembly and it will cost a lot more than a brand new bike.
How much time will it take to make a bike: It can take anywhere from 3 -6 months to make a bike yourself. depending on your knowledge of different things involved in making a bike.
Pros and cons of making a bike yourself :
- custom design
- knowledge about every part of the bike
- knowledge about how and why everything works
- easy maintenance
- confidence in yourself
- costly (more than a new bike)
- lower efficiency
- high risks
These are just some of the main things and if you go in-depth the list goes very long.
Buying a new bike :
- No time consumption
- delivery on doors
- No labor
- Easy assembly
- Tools Mostly provided by the company
- cheaper overall cost
- well sorted
- Low-quality accessories
- the danger of deformation on the delivery way
- high maintenance
If you buy a new bike you will probably need to assemble it which is really not hard the company provides a manual along with the tools you will need to assemble the bike. Also, make sure you check every nut and bolt after its assembly before riding the bike.
These are some of the pros and cons of the new bikes that you buy from a manufacturer.
While it is possible to make a bike yourself it takes a lot of effort and time for the first time with a no guarantee of success in the process as well it can be a great experience to learn to build a bike yourself but it’s not very productive and not very practical as well.
It may seem like a new bike from a company costs more but in fact, it costs less because they are made in batches on a large scale production at large scales tends to lose prices a lot and they have lots more experience and knowledge to support their claims as well, so it’s better to buy from a company rather than wasting 3 months on a prototype that might not work at all.