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Is It Cheaper To Build a Mountain Bike?

Is It Cheaper To Build a Mountain Bike?

Let’s face it: mountain biking is an expensive sport.

You have to buy the right gear, clothing, and shoes, and frequently replace bike parts, like the brake pads and tires.

And, of course, you have to make sure you have a high-quality mountain bike that will be sturdy and reliable so you don’t have to continuously pay for repairs and replacements.

But, mountain bikes can cost thousands of dollars. Would it just make more sense to build your own?

Is it cheaper to build a mountain bike? If not, what can you do instead?

Keep reading to find out!


Is It Cheaper To Build a Mountain Bike?

not cheap to build a mountain bike

No, it is rarely cheaper to build a mountain bike.

When building a bike you have to carefully consider each component and to make it worth your while, ensure you buy only the finest parts.

You may find you’re spending most of your budget on the frame and suspension fork which, together, could cost over a thousand dollars.

mountain bike frame type

Meanwhile, you can buy a pre-built mountain bike for 400 to 800 dollars, however, you will have less control over each component’s quality and it won’t be customized to your build and riding preferences.

Let’s go over the three main expenses you’ll encounter when building a mountain bike yourself.


MTB parts

Why can two bike parts cost more than one entire pre-built bike?

When you’re buying parts, be it online or at a specialty bike shop, you’re paying a lot more for them than the manufacturers are.

While you may be able to find much higher-quality parts that you wouldn’t be able to have as part of your bike otherwise, they will be much pricier.

While you can buy cheaper rims, tires, and transmissions, (especially if you’re on a budget) you cannot skimp out on the bike frame and suspension fork.

You can change the suspension fork in the future, but you’ll most likely lose even more money since you’ll only be able to sell it for a fraction of the original price before splurging on a decent model.

MTB suspension fork

Not to mention, you might end up spending a fortune on shipping if you have to pay for international shipping or live in a rural area.


Pre-built mountain bikes come with a warranty that, naturally, covers all of the bike’s original components.

a pre-built MTB

Lifetime warranties, for instance, often cover the cost of replacement for broken components. This can be invaluable as you’ll be able to send your bike to the manufacturer to be fixed, saving you hundreds of dollars in repairs.

While individual parts may have warranties, you will be paying extra for each component’s warranty.

You’ll also be taking a risk in dealing with several manufacturers’ warranties, instead of just dealing with one like you would with a pre-built bike.

This means it’s more likely you’ll have to spend extra money on any repairs, which makes building a mountain bike even more expensive.


MTB tools

If you’re a seasoned MTB fanatic, then you may already have all of the necessary tools for building your own bike. However, if you’ve never built or serviced your bike yourself before, you should consider the cost of supplies.

You will need to buy a center lock tool, a lockring tool, several Allen wrenches in different sizes, and Torx wrenches, to name a few.

This can increase the overall cost of building a bike, especially if you want to buy tools from decent brands.

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Mountain Bike?

cost to build a mountain bike

It usually costs between 1,000 to 3,000 dollars to build a mountain bike. 

Building a mountain bike can be much more expensive than buying one, and even be triple the price of a new high-quality MTB.

It’s not impossible to build a mountain bike for less, but you will probably need to use some used parts and borrow a few tools to lower the costs.

That said, if you want a completely new bike made of only the best components, you’re most likely going to spend upwards of a thousand dollars. You may also want to consider repair costs, especially if none of your components come with a decent warranty policy.

Trail Talk MTB on YouTube has a fantastic video where he tries to build his own mountain bike on a $2000 budget and discusses how much different components cost. Watch it below!

Should You Build Or Buy Your Mountain Bike? | $2000 Hardtail Build Challenge MTB

What are the Benefits of Building Your Own Mountain Bike?

There are several pros to building a mountain bike yourself! 

Building a mountain bike can be expensive, but many avid mountain bikers swear by it and say the experience is worth every penny.

Let’s go over some of the reasons why you should consider spending a little extra cash to build your own bike.

You Can Use Used Parts 

One great thing about building bikes yourself is that you can get crafty and buy used parts.

You can buy the components at a discounted price or even find them free at a bike shop. Bear in mind that free parts will usually need to be cleaned and serviced.

buy the components at a discounted price

While we don’t recommend getting used rotors, brakes, or tires, it’s completely fine to buy a used frame and suspension fork as long as they’re in good condition.

It’s a Great Learning Experience

to understand a MTB components

Riding a bike is one thing, but nothing compares to building a bike from scratch, and understanding every component and how it works.

The experience of building your own bike will also help you in the future in case you need to make repairs or service your bike yourself. Additionally, if anything breaks, you’ll know what part you need to buy to replace it and how to install it.

You Can Build a Completely Custom Bike

Are you an especially tall or short individual? Do you require a special kind of seat or pedals for your anatomy or riding style?

to make a perfectly suited MTB

If so, then building a bike could be a great opportunity to make sure your MTB is perfectly suited to your needs and preferences.

Pre-built bikes get the job done, but they’re not built to your specific physique and it’s unlikely you’ll find one that has everything you need.

GMBN Tech on YouTube has a great video outlining the benefits of building your own mountain bike. Watch it below!

Is It Cheaper To Build Your Own Mountain Bike? | Ask GMBN Tech

What Can I Do Instead of Building a Mountain Bike? 

You can customize a pre-built bike instead of building one from scratch. 

If you can’t afford to build your own bike, a great alternative is to buy a reasonably priced MTB and customize certain parts of it.

You can switch out the wheels, pedals, and even suspension fork. However, it would be quite complicated to switch out the frame, so choose it wisely.

switch out the wheels

This means you will still have a bike for your weekend excursions, while also being able to customize it at your own pace. You can take your time to find the best deals and won’t be rushed into purchasing over-priced or poor-quality parts.

Wrapping Things Up

Building your own bike is a great experience, but it will cost you several times more than just buying an MTB off the rack.

You’ll need to pay for all the parts and tools, as well as most repairs out of pocket since you may not have a warranty policy.

However, it’s a great learning experience and you’ll end up with a bike that was built for you by you, which is a feat in itself.

If building a bike is a little out of your budget, consider buying a budget bike and customizing it. You can take your time so you know you’ll end up with an amazing final result.

What’s your experience building a mountain bike? How much did it cost you?

Let us know in the comments below!

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