I am planning to build a road bike for 5-10km transportation purposes and I want to build it part by part because I only earn $30 to $60 per semi-month (monthly bills are included, that's what I earn exactly). This is my first time to build a bike. I used a BMX-type bike, given by my uncle, before but it was used by my cousin.

I also want it to have a disc brake. I heard it costs higher price but low maintenance.

Drive terrains are asphalt, with 50meter 30-40 degrees slope (highest possible).

Any suggestions where do I start?

  • I would imagine building a "road" bike out of a BMX frame might be difficult! they are 2 very completely different types of bicycles. – Max Nov 24 '14 at 20:06
  • That BMX can be used for that 5-10km long trip but I might use the new road bike for longer travel, maybe 35km would be the farthest. I'm still studying how long the time will consume going that far. Also, if I can do it. I live in a tropical country so riding around 10am-3pm will be difficult due to extreme temperature. – pvzkch Nov 25 '14 at 1:30

A decent disc system is quite expensive - you need disc ready hubs, disc ready fork+frame and the actual disc brakes. A cheap/medium cost set of rim brakes (V-brakes) will typically perform as well if not better than cheaper disc brakes (and the maintenance is not hard). Thus, budget minded people should avoid disc brakes.

As for building a bike piece by piece, you'll typically end up spending more than buying a bike whole. Also, if you don't have experience with bicycles, you won't know which parts will fit together to give a suitable geometry for you (thus, buying a pre-built bike is a good idea) -- you need to know about standover, effective top tube length, all the angles involved, the Q factor you get with the choice of bb+cranks, etc which is hard to spec without experience or having a bike which is similar to what you intend to buy. Generally though, at the end of the day, you're going to pick parts based on your measurements and goals and then matching standards for each part. Park tool and Sheldon Brown are good places to start for looking on how to build a bike. Note that assembling a bike also requires some special tools (cassette tools, etc.), so you will be spending money there too. Thus, I do not recommend you build a bike part by part. (*)

If you're on a budget, you're better off buying a used bike (plus, you can test the fit and everything). For high slopes, you want low gearing (big cogs in the back and not too big things in the front). A used mountain bike with slick tires may be a good option (you don't need suspension on the road either, and this would make a good commuter and be cheaper than most road bikes -- think 80s Specialized Hardrock or similar). Also, your slope estimate is probably quite a bit off (20 degrees is quite extreme and rare to begin with!).

(*) If you live near a bike co-op, they might be able to give you access to the tools and people who can help you there, but it will take time and generally requires some experience anyway. Thus, I still stand by the idea that you should buy a used bike.

  • I planned to build because I don't trust second hand bikes. I don't know if there will be a problem that will came up. I have tools, my dad owns a motor cycle and a van so I can borrow from him. As for the slope I mentioned, I used this image to estimate it. I think I should probably earn money to buy whole instead of part by part. Great explanation, thanks! – pvzkch Nov 23 '14 at 23:56
  • 2
    There are some bicycle specific tools you need more than for a motorcycle or car - chain tool, cassette/freewheel remover, etc. There are plenty of reputable people who sell used bikes (even bike shops which specialize in used bikes (quite common in college towns)) and you get a lot more for your money used than new (esp. since so many bikes just sit in garages for years and then are sold at yard sales - bit of air and good to go). Indeed though, unless you need something specialized and you've got plenty of cash, going with an already built bike and modding is the way to go. – Batman Nov 24 '14 at 0:01

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