My First Bike Building Project

Its nothing special. Then, why does it feel so special? It did not actually cost me a bomb. Then, why is it so precious? It is nothing but a hodgepodge of old parts. Then, why does it feel like I am holding a new born baby? Well, I guess, because I built it!! And, its mine!! 🙂

Me with my the bike that I built from frame up..

Hyderabad’s weather allows me to be on my saddle all year long. The company, the guys on HBC provided is unparalleled. When I came to know that I had to travel to Vermont, I knew these are the too things that I would miss most besides my family. So, the first thing I wanted to know was if I could continue my cycling. What is the cycling scene in Montpelier? Where can I buy a bicycle? Is there a biking club there? Etc., etc.

The two prominent things that Google threw up were Onion River Sports that houses all things related to sports and Freeride Montpelier, a community bike shop. I read up about it and loved the idea behind Freeride

The first day I landed in Montpelier, I went out to find where Freeride was located. Fortunately, it is on the same street as where I am put up. The second day, I visited the community shop and during the operating hours and started to volunteer there. According to its policy, we are eligible for building a bike for ourselves, from the available used parts there, after eight hours of volunteer work. I worked learning stuff like truing wheels, repacking bottom brackets etc, to complete the eight hours of volunteering. Collin and Matt are the two head mechanics (volunteers) that mainly run the shop shifts and guide others. With in two weeks of landing in VT, I was ready to build a bike for myself.

I was advised that an MTB is the right way to go to handle the snowy winter months of Vermont. I loved and chose an old GIANT Sedona Chromoly frame. Although it was old, I think it was never used and was still wrapped in the original packing material. With it, began my first bike building project.

The Giant Sedona frame hanging in the shop..

Like, one discovers the existence of new muscles and tendons in the body after one hits the gym for the first time, the existence of so many tiny parts on the bike became a reality for me. I found out that while building a bike is not rocket science, its not child’s play either. Especially so, when all you previously did was to deal with patching up tubes on early morning and weekend rides.


The first thing that went on the frame was headset and fork. I ended up putting on a 27” fork on the frame and realized the folly only when I wanted to put on the brakes much later. I had to then order a 26” fork with 1” tube diameter on Amazon as it was not available in the shop. That added to the delay and dashed my hopes of getting the bike ready before the first snow of the season.
The frame with the initial 27″ fork(wrong sized fork)

I worked nearly four hours a week for the initial couple of weeks and then when winter kicked in, two hours a week during the shop operating hours. Week after week passed and part after part made it on to the frame one by one. At last the fenders to handle the winter sludge went on it yesterday along with racks and my baby was ready for the first ride.

I requested Matt to honor me with the first ride on the bike, because if it were not for his and Collin’s constant help and guidance, the bike would not have taken shape at all. Thanks a ton guys!!

Collin and Matt with my completed bike

My first MTB!! I rode it home yesterday and fixed head and tail lamps. Rode it to work this morning!! It was snowing lightly and it was not easy riding uphill in snow. But my baby handled it alright and I am proud of it!!
Stats: Approximately 28 man hours of effort and $75 (for fork, fenders and racks which are new)

9 thoughts on “My First Bike Building Project

  1. Heyyyyyy Venky

    Congratulations on the new bike. I am positively jealous of you that you got to build a bike of your own and more importantly got to ride it on snow as well. Enjoy 🙂

  2. Yes, of course, it’s a great feeling. I did not build the wheel set. They were used wheels available in the shop. I just trued them a bit. I intend to learn wheel building in the coming days though!

  3. Hi Venkat, I am too keen on DIY projects, as far as possible I try to do the fine tuning of my bike myself (I changed a gear shifter recently, that's just a first step though).

    What are the possibilities of getting bike parts in India? I don't see much like these happening in India. Your thoughts?

  4. Ram, while the availability of a few spares has increased in recent times, we still are at a stage where need to procure a majority of them from online retailers abroad or get traveling friends to get them for us. I think, looking at the current trend, we'll get there soon.

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