Before buying your first mountain bike, consider if building one instead would be easier. This way, you can build a bike that meets your exact specifications and not just settle for a model you don’t love completely.

In recent years, professional cyclists and enthusiasts alike have been looking to have more of a hand in their bike’s creation. That’s because this allows them to modify their bikes to suit their specific ways of riding.

Today, we’ll be comparing building and buying a mountain bike not just in terms of cost but also the skills required for each venture.

Building vs. Buying a Mountain Bike

Buying a mountain bike offers fewer complications than building one. For one, all it really requires is some research and consultation from the nearest bike shop. Secondly, it doesn’t let special building skills stand in the way of getting a good bike.

The same cannot be said of building a mountain bike. Taking this route means you need to learn some excellent bike building skills (if you haven’t already). On the plus side, if everything does fall into place, you will end up with a bike like no other.

As for which costs more, that will depend mostly on the kind of bike you want to buy or build. Let’s take a closer look at these important factors.

Mountain Bike


In most cases, you will probably need to spend more building a bike than buying one. Unless you’re patient enough to wait for bike part prices to go down or can access them at wholesale prices, building a bike would be the more expensive option.

Then, there’s the skill required to actually build your own bike. Unless you build bikes for a living or have experienced putting together several bikes in the past, you’ll need to invest time and money into learning the process correctly and efficiently. This will cause the price of your bike building venture to inflate even more.

Even if you do find a way to get your hands on cheap parts, you will also need specialized tools to put them together. And, no, those in your average toolbox won’t do.

An exception to this rule would be when you’re looking to get a high-end bicycle with a humongous price tag. In this scenario, where you were planning to invest a big amount in the first place, bike building may be the more affordable choice.

Skill Requirement

YouTube tutorial videos and online articles can take you a long way in this bike-building business. After learning from some of the best at putting together bikes, you should be able to acquire the skills necessary to build your own, right?

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. First of all, you will need a ton of skills to be proficient in building bikes. Even learning about the tools needed and how they are used is a feat on its own.

Still, if you’re resolute about building a bike from this position, don’t set your expectations too high. There’s a good chance the first bike you build may not be all that perfect. There will be a period of trial and error, so take all the time you need to learn so that you don’t make as many mistakes in the future.


Where satisfaction is concerned, building a bike is likely to offer more than just buying one. That’s because the road to actually creating something you love is a tough one, and getting through that gives you a feeling of fulfillment that’s unrivaled.

That’s not to say you won’t be happy to own a high-end mountain bike you’ve had your eye on for so long. In many cases, this will give you the same kind of happiness as building your own bike initially.

Where purchasing a bike might fall short is in providing you lasting happiness. The fact of the matter is, a commercial bike can only make you happy for so long. Eventually, another batch of lighter and more streamlined bikes will make their way into the market, making you suddenly unsatisfied with the one you already have.

While high-end bikes can be modified, they aren’t as modifiable as DIY bikes, which you can alter every now and then to suit your changing riding specifications.

Mountain Bike

Ask the Experts

Experts at your local bike shop are more than capable of advising you on the matter of mountain bike building vs. buying and questions like what size bike do i need. If you’re looking to build a bike of your own, run your plan by them first.

You might know the basics of bike building, but these experienced individuals can provide the necessary info on unique components, advanced techniques, and specialized tools required to get the job done right. More importantly, they might even lend you some of the tools that contribute to the crazy high expense of bike building for free.