Building a bike

3 minute read


This is a blog post to log the progress and process of building a bike. My first real bicycle had its frame bent while it was locked in Porter Square, and I’m going to revive it by putting the old parts on a new frame. This is the log of my first ground-up bike build.

The parts


  • handlebars / bar-end shifters
  • brakes
  • cranks
  • chain rings
  • rear derailleur
  • headset spacers
  • stem
  • wheels
  • cassette


  • Bike Nashbar carbon road frame + fork (
  • Shimano 105 5700 front derailleur (34.9mm diameter, 2x10 speed)
  • Shimano Ultegra 6701 10 speed chain
  • Cinelli Vai seat post (31.6mm diameter)
  • tires (28mm, TBD)

The tools

I have a basic bike tool kit from Nashbar, and a torque wrench. For the tool kit, any brand will do, they seem to be mostly the same. Key tools to have are a set of hex wrenches, a larger hex for removing the cranks, a chain tool, and a set of wire cutters. The torque wrench is needed for the headset. Although it can be done by hand, there are torque values written on the stem that specify tightness.

The process

Stripping the old components

I started by breaking the chain on the old bike. It’s around 7 or 8 years old, and although it’s in good conditions (or seems like it), I’m taking the opportunity to get a new one. With the chain removed I can also remove the rear derailleur. I cut the cables and housings; these are old and are also due to be replaced.

Next up is the front derailleur. After successfully removing it, I discovered the clamp is the wrong size for the new frame and I’ll need to get one that fits. From here, I decide to completely dismantle the old bike and create a complete shopping list for this project. See The parts section for the shopping list.

Next is the saddle and seatpost. I realize the seatpost is also the wrong size. I will keep the old saddle, though, I love that thing.

The stem and handlebars prove to be a bit of a pain with old, cemented-on tape. However, they pop right off of the stem. I’ll be able to salvage the handlebars, stem, and steerer tube spacers. For style, I could even keep the Masi top-cap.

Work for a bike shop

The frame came with a bottom bracket. Instead of buying an expensive tool, I went to my local hardware store and picked up a tap screw, a nut, and a couple of fender washers to make my on shoddy press. In the end, this failed by applying force to the bearings instead of the cups and destroying them. So, I add a bottom bracket to the shopping list. I called my favorite bike shop and they said they could install the bottom bracket (BB) for $20. Because I don’t forsee myself building bikes very often, it is worth it to pay for the service instead of the tool which could cost 3-6 times that amount. I’d rather them do it right then destroy another set of $30-50 bearings.

Assembling the bike