Building a wheel from scratch is a science for itself. Further, I will assume that you have some wheels that are already built (or get them) instead of starting from hub/rims/spokes/nipples. This will describe shortly how to place a cassette on the rear hub and assemble the wheels.
Ingredients and tools:
- wheels, 26 inch for MTB
- a MTB cassette, 9 speed in this case
- a cassette tool (necessary)
- tubes and tires, the kind you want/need
- rim tape (if there is none on the rims)
- a pump and some tire levers
- some rags or toilet paper for cleaning
- some bike grease (optional)
Time and cost:
About 30 minutes. Cost, as always, depends on what you have handy.
1. Take the rear wheel, the cassette and some grease. You will also need a cassette lockring tool. When choosing a cassette, keep in mind that your rear derailleur, your shifter, cassette and the chain have to MATCH (as in 9-speed, 8-speed etc.). First of all, clean the rear hub of all the dirt and grease. Re-grease the hub from the outside. You can also place a small amount of grease on the place where the cassette sits. The hub and the cassette have a special profile to make sure you can only place the cassette in the proper position. Place the cassette, either part by part, on in a single piece, on the hub. After placing all the parts, put the last, smallest part, called the lockring. It is used to lock the cassette in place. It should be tightened to 40Nm with a special tool (again, depending on which cassette you have).
3. Take the wheels, the tubes and the tires. In this step, all you need is a pair of hands and some tire levers. If there is no rim tape on your rims, place it there now. Choose the tire width depending on what you intend to use the bike for. I plan only to use it for low-profile cycling, so I am taking some narrower (26×1.5) tires. Place one side of the tire on the rim. Make sure it fits completely. Place the tube on the rim, in the tire. Finally, place the other side of the tire on the rim. For this, you might need some tire levers. When it is on, start pumping the tube. Pump slowly and make sure the tire sits well on the rim at all points.
4. Place the wheels on the bike using the quick releases. That’s it!