With gravel bikes more and more popular, wanted to build a budget gravel bike by choosing your liked components. Well, most beginner riders may not familiar with how to build a gravel bike from scratch. Like which type of freehub will compatible with cassette and which kind of drivetrain suit for gravel bikes etc… Here below in this guide, I will break down each step for beginners to learn how to build a gravel bike from start to finish.
The first thing you need to take into consideration like your budget, and how much money you plan to invest in this bike, since different bike frames, components, and drivetrains the price was different. This part will influence your bike parts level, if your budget was enough then you will have more parts to choose from. Also, your total bike weight will be even lighter, since for most of the components the lighter the price was even higher. For the budget recommended you can set up 2500~3500 USD for the customized build of your gravel bike.
After you have decided on the budget, the next step is to choose the bike frame, and which kind of gravel frame you want, Currently, you can choose carbon fiber gravel bike frames, steel bike frames, titanium frames, and also aluminum frames. The different material of bike frames the price was different, normally the most expensive frame is a carbon fiber frame since it was normally produced by a handle made, having a long production process and labor cost. For the gravel bike frame, you can buy from brands frame, but normally brands frame prices was higher than non-brand gravel frames, however, some Chinese non-brand gravel frames were of good quality, and if you do the homework you can find good Chinese carbon gravel frame at a good price.
For the Cockpit, you can use the separate handlebar and integrated. A separate handlebar was more flexible to install and route the cables and easy for maintenance. The Integrated handle can make the bike loos clean and aerodynamic, routing all cables through the stem to the head tube.
The drivetrain was the core part of the gravel bike, you need to use it to specify the groupset design for gravel riding, we recommended using Shimano GRX groupset. It has a single 1x system or a 2x system. Shimano groupsets have good quality and durability. Also, you have an alternative brand Sram Force groupset.
Wheelsets and Tyre
For wheelsets, you also have two types of material to choose from, carbon fiber gravel wheels or aluminum gravel wheels. For the hub of the wheels, you need to consider if use the center lock disc brake interface or the 6-bolt disc brake interface, for most the gravel bike normally will use the center lock disc brake interface. Check below you will see the center lock hubs and center lock disc rotor, for the rotor, has 140 mm and 160 mm sizes. For gravel tire recommended WTB tire, tubeless-ready Tubeless tapes, and tubeless valves, for valves it has Schrader and Presta valve two types, normally for narrow rims will use the Presta valves, also when you buy the wheels, you need to confirm the valve holes was Schrader or Presta holes. The Presta valve holes were small and the Schrader hole was more significant. Check below two types of tubeless valves.
Bottom Bracket (BB)
After you have placed a gravel frame order, you need to know which type of bottom bracket shell you frame to use, normally use type have BB86, Thread BSA, BB386, Sram DUB, and Sram GXP, etc… You can according to your frame BB shell to prepare the components. Also, the BB will influence which type of crankset you can use since different brand crankset spindle the diameter was different, Normally Shimano crankset spindle was 24mm and SRAM has 22/24 needs to use a Sram GXP bottom bracket.
After you review the above parts you will know the basics of how to set up your own gravel bike. Leave a comment below for the best components you want to use on your gravel bike.