How to Build a Full Suspension Mountain Bike

Full suspension mountain bikes are the best choice if you want to get the best trail riding experience. These are very comfortable to ride and can go through any terrain. You don’t even have to worry about crossing huge rock gardens or doing gap jumps or drops.

These keep you safe because its rear shock absorbs all the bumps. Although they’re more expensive than hardtail bikes. Every penny counts and is totally worth it!

In this article, we’ll help you learn how to build a full suspension mountain bike. We’ll also tell you the tools to prepare and the parts to consider.

Tools You Need to Build a Full Suspension Mountain Bike

  • Bike stand workstation
  • Allen keys
  • Pedal wrench
  • Torque wrench
  • Bike grease
  • Floor pump
  • Shock pump
  • Sealant
  • Cloth

Related: What Mountain Bike Tools Do I Need

Parts of a Full Suspension Mountain Bike

Frame

The frame is the core of your full-suspension mountain bike. This is where all your parts and components are attached to.

Go for carbon frames if you’ve got the money. But you can settle for alloy frames if you’re on a budget. Note that carbon frames are lighter and stronger than its alloy counterparts.

Suspension

This comprises your fork and shock. Hardtail bikes don’t have any rear shock that’s why they’re not called full-suspension. The best forks and shocks are from Fox Shox and RockShox. Their price ranges from $600 to even $1,200 for the high-end ones.

Cockpit

Your cockpit is made up of your handlebar, stem, grips, saddle, seat post, and pedal. These are important to consider because they’re the parts where you have direct contact.

Drivetrain

This is the engine of your bike. It comprises your shifters, cogs, cranks, and chain ring. SRAM and Shimano are the best drivetrain brands you can choose from. We recommend you choose 12-speed drivetrains for maximum gear ratio.

Brake set

This slows down your bike and makes it stop. Again, SRAM and Shimano dominate this area. Choose SRAM if you want modulation. You can then go for Shimano if you’d want sudden stopping power.

Wheel set

The wheel set comprises your rims, hubs, tires, and spokes. Go for 29ers or 27.5-inch wheels. Just snob the 26ers because they’re too small and are already phased out.

Related: The Parts of a Mountain Bike Explained

Step-by-step Guide on How to Build a Full Suspension Mountain Bike

Step-by-step Guide on How to Build a Full Suspension Mountain Bike

Step 1

The first thing to do is to set up your workplace. Prepare all the tools and components you’ll build. Also, set up your bike workstation stand. Park Tool is your best bet if you’re looking for one. Position your bike on the work stand and secure it in place.

Step 2

Put light grease on your frame’s top tube and then install the headset. The headset is a bearing that lets your bike steer and rotate in your frame. Cane Creek is one of the best brands that manufacture headsets.

Step 3

Install your fork and connect it to the headset. Take note that you need to apply grease on all metal parts that rub with each other. This ensures it stays smooth and works well. You can also cut the fork’s steerer tube if it’s too long for you.

Step 4

Then align your wheels and install both the front and rear wheel to the frame. It’s best if you have a tubeless set up so there’s less risk of punctures.

Do this by using tubeless-ready rims. Wrap your tire around it and then inject the sealant using a syringe into the tubeless valve. Set the tire pressure to 50 PSI, then decrease it to 25 upfront and 30 at the rear afterward.

Attach the disc brake rotors to the fork’s dropout upfront and frame drop out at the back. Then lock the fork to the head tube with a top cap. Place the cogs, bottom bracket, and crank set in their respective position on the lower frame.

Related: How to Change a Tubeless Mountain Bike Tire

Step 5

It’s now time to install your cockpit. Start with your handlebar and stem. Combine them together and then install them on your headset. Put your shifters, brake levers, and grips in place. Also, place the seat post.

It’s best if you have a dropper post because it’s very useful for maintaining balance and momentum. Install your pedals onto your cranks. Then use your shock pump to set your fork’s sag to 30% and rear shock sag to 20% of your body weight.

Step 6

Attach the rear derailleur to your frame’s dropout. Then put the chain in place. Make sure to align them with your cogs. Install your brake calipers on the left side of your bike’s lower section.

Step 7

Cut your shifter cables and brake hose to your desired length. Then tune your derailleur so you can shift accurately and easily.

Check for loose parts using your torque wrench. Park Tool has one of the best torque wrenches around. We recommend you go for 5 Nm for your cockpit and around 10 Nm to 13 Nm for parts attached to your frame. Wipe your bike clean.

Conclusion

Learning how to build a full-suspension mountain bike isn’t difficult. In fact, it’s simple and easy as long as you know the right steps. You also need to have access to the correct tools and parts to stay safe and maximize your bike.

Don’t hold your budget back too much because mountain biking is an expensive sport. You might get expensive parts. But they’re totally worth it because they’re durable, perform well, and downright cool-looking!

Just follow the steps on how to build a full suspension mountain bike that we’ve mentioned. And you’ll be on your way to building your full-suspension mountain bike in no time.

Related: How Do You Jump a Full Suspension Mountain Bike

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AUTHOR
Jomar Teves
A writer by day, a tech enthusiast by night, and a mountain biker at the weekends. After four years in business school and working for multinational clients, Jomar believes he can improve the world through his writings. Jomar has six years of experience as a writer and has a degree in entrepreneurial marketing. Some of his works have been published on Blokt, Clutch Points, and iTech.