Build your own single speed bike, we tell you how to do!

Posted by tan xiao yan on

The one-speed revolution has continued for years, it actually involves two different styles of bikes, the single speed one, and the fixed gear one. Many people are confused by these two types of bicycles, thinking that they are the same thing. Although they have many aspects in common and look identical, they are different. A single-speed bicycle is a type of bicycle with a single gear ratio. Nowadays, single speed bike has been a new fashionable trend among cyclists for its simplicity and light weight. Have you ever considered of building your single speed bike but have no idea how to get a start? Would you like to take a try to build your single speed bicycle from scratch? Well, if your answer is yes, this article is here for you. Let’s get the start!

Decide your price range
Why do you want to build your own single speed bike? Some say for minimizing costs, some for combining high-end or vintage components into their ultimate riding machine, and some may for fun. No matter what purposes lead to your decision-making, you must take your budget into consideration before starting for the common sense of building the best single bicycle at the lowest cost. If you already have an old bike, or other abandoned bicycle components, congratulations! It is of great possibilities that you can limit your budgets within $100. However, if you don’t have any access to those used bicycle components, it is advisable for you to go shopping on some specialty sites or at your local bike store. The most important thing is that you have a clear idea in mind what your plans are. Generally speaking, for a bike built out of brand new, mind-range components will end up $800 to $1200, which is an acceptable price range that will make your life easy when it comes to gathering all of the parts, and you will end up with a solid bike that is still sexier than 90% of all bikes out there.

Look for inspiration
For many people, building an own single speed bicycle may be just a sudden and impulsive thought, especially for beginners, you were still in a great exciting when this idea struck you. However, when you calm down and give it a second thought, you lose your head. Don’t give up easily, what you need is to search for inspiration. If you live in an urban area, college campus, or anywhere with lots of bikes, start with observing what people are riding, what people’s general favor and common tendency for bikes is nowadays. You may be utterly ignorant of bikes at the first beginning. But gradually, you will start out noticing things like color scheme and the presence or absence of a derailleur. Before long, you will be scoping out stem angle, chain tension, and the presence and absence of a lugged frame. You will be surprised that you notice so many details you even couldn’t image before. Thus you will have a clear idea of what kind of bikes you would like to build your own.

However, if you are not in a bikes-surrounding circumstance, you had better ask for websites help. The Internet is our undoubted man Friday for its collection of various services and resources. With the help of the Internet, you will have an easy access to the user-submitted bike photos for its endless supply. No matter what kind of bike you are trying to create, you will be able to find something similar on the Internet. You can list the complete parts for the bike you have seen on the Internet, in the comparison, you will get a better sense of what brands are common for different styles of buildings.

Gather your components
Once you have an idea of what kind of bikes you would like to build, it is time to gather your components. There are numerous components you need to prepare and make a careful selection of, for they are what to make up of your dreamed bike.

♦The frame

The frame is the first thing you should pay attention to when it comes to bicycle components for it will have the greatest influence on the overall look of your bike. Unless you know how to weld and have all the jigs for bike building, the frame is something you need to prepare in advance. You can try to get an abandoned one or buy a new or second-hand one. Anyway, make sure the one you choose has horizontal dropouts. If you are starting with a used frame, you will want to use a set of calipers to measure various dimensions such as the head tube, seat tube, and bottom bracket width. The right frame geometry matters a lot too. Make a choice on what kind of bike you want to build and choose a high-quality frame accordingly.

♦The fork

As the supplement of the frame, you need to have clear idea in mind that what kind of fork you want. First of all, it should match the type of your bike. Moreover, the fork you choose should not only be best for how you want to ride but also need to fix your tires as perfectly as possible. Last but not least, taking frame materials into consideration when choosing your fork. It is critical that you find a fork that is compatible.


Wheels are made up of hubs, spokes, rim tape, tubes, and tires. Frankly speaking, it is highly recommended that you should go to buy a prebuilt wheelset from a manufacturer. Otherwise, you will need special tools and training to build your wheels from scratch. However, if you insist, you can take a try boldly, it is also a skill you need to grasp in case you will have to change a flat wheel. The standard road bike wheel size is 700c, you should stick to that unless you have something better to take the place of.

♦Bottom bracket

Believe it or not, bottom bracket plays an indispensable role in your bike, it determines your riding enjoyment to the largest extent. And what is vital in the bottom bracket is the thread pitch which must be the same so as to get your bike work smoothly. There are tremendous various and complex standard for the choosing the bottom bracket. Therefore, what you need to do is get rid of them and choose a compatible one as you like.


When it comes to pedals for your single speed bike building, platform pedals, sometimes with toe clips are always in a high position of professional cyclists’ recommendation. Toe clips are always connected with toe straps which are considered as the duct tape of the cyclists. They can use for more than just keeping your feet in safety.

♦Headset, stem, handlebars, grips

There is no doubt that these things are of a great importance to help you be able to maneuver your bike. However, here comes to the question, how we should choose to build our single speed bike? Actually, it is pretty easy. The headset needs to fix the size of your head tube, the stem needs to fix the type of the headset, the handlebars need to match your stem, and grips depend on your own preference.


If you still not prepare for the car up ahead that unexpectedly blows a stop sign, or you don’t want to ride into a car door because that person who opens his door into the bike lane without looking over her shoulder. You had better install the brake for your beloved single speed bike. Both of front and rear brakes are the best your bikes.

♦Seat post and saddle

The seat post and saddle are also essential. Don’t forget them. Of cause, it will be better if you single speed bike can be equipped with a seat post clamp.


Standard double cranks will have no problem running a single chain ring. It is easy to convert the standard road cranksets for your single speed bike.

Get accessories
After getting all above things done, you may think you have made your work done perfectly and would like to take a break. No! There are still some tiny things you are easy to forget, but they are crucial. If you have had accessories like lights, a lock, and a helmet, you can relax from thinking about them too much, but if not, don’t forget to get them.

Final assembly
For the one who builds his single speed bike from scratch, there are some special tools you must prepare in advance when you come to your final step.

A headset press is needed to attach the frame to the fork via the headset.

Bottom bracket tool is used for the final tightening of the bottom bracket.

The chain whip is required for installing the drive train and a chain tool for any style of bike.

A decent pair of wire cutters is for installing your brakes.

Anti-seize is used for the bottom bracket and waterproof grease on the rear cog.

A tire lever is of cause needed to put on and remove your tires.

Relevant knowledge preparation
For a beginner, building your own single speed bike from scratch without any experience, everything will not be easy. However, if you have made up your mind to do it, you must make a full preparation. You need specific skills and knowledge which you can neither borrow from a friend nor buy from your local bike store. Therefore, before starting, read some relevant books, browse the Internet or ask some professional friends for advice to get yourself ready for building your own single speed bike.

Prepare yourself
Building a bike in some way is also a dangerous work. No matter how careful you are, when you are fixing or installing something, you may get yourself hurt. Safety should always be put in the first place. Wearing protective glasses to prevent your eyes getting hurt, try not to expose yourself to those implements, and do not forget to prepare enough band aid or some emergency medicine in case of accidents.

To recap

Ever since you have made your choice to build your own single speed bike, then don’t give up easily. With all the procedures and tops I have introduced to you, building a single speed bike may have been a small case for you now. Anyway, this will be an unforgettable, interesting and meaningful experience in your whole life.