Buy or build?

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by AsteriskMan, Mar 2, 2007.

  1. AsteriskMan

    AsteriskMan New Member

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    Hey, the seasons starting, and i got new toy fever. The question is should i buy a bike straight up or build from disparate components? I look at the bike i have and don't see a single component i'd like to keep, from the slightly-too-large frame, to the weak wheels, to the worthless fork. Would I wind up spending more buying a bike 'off the shelf'? And would matching the components together myself grant me a bike that is more what i'm looking for or would i be better off letting the pros decide what components i want?
     
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  2. alienator

    alienator New Member

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    Well, what do you value? Me? When I get a bike, I build up with what I want as opposed to buying it pre-built. Going that route can be more expensive, but with eBay it is a lot easier, now, to source parts more cheaply. Another possibility is to buy a cheap frame pre-built. You can sell the parts you don't want on eBay. A fair number of people do this. They buy a frame through BikesDirect or summat, and sell off the parts unwanted. Such deals can be had for a song.

    Also what you do depends on what frame you want.

    You need to give us more information.
     
  3. AsteriskMan

    AsteriskMan New Member

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    I guess i value value...I'm not at a level where i can justify a top level bike, but i still don't want to feel held back my what i'm riding. I'm going to Colorado come summer break and i mainly want a bike I am more comfterable on for when i get there. I haven't fallen in love with a frame yet.
     
  4. alienator

    alienator New Member

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    Then I think you'll be better off buying something that's already built up. The most important thing to do will be to test ride bikes at some LBS where you live to find what bike "feels best."
     
  5. Little Lance

    Little Lance New Member

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    Sometimes Building or buying from the Manufacturer is cheaper.
     
  6. Powerful Pete

    Powerful Pete New Member

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    If you are concerned about the best value for the buck, do your homework and buy a complete bike. Buying piece by piece will give you exactly what you want, but will most probably end up costing you a lot more...
     
  7. JohnO

    JohnO New Member

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    Depends on you the individual.

    No doubt about it - buying complete is cheaper than building yourself, if you can get what you want. And, if you're not the type who likes to tinker with their bike, and improve it, then buying complete is the most cost effective approach.

    But, if you're one of these mechanical types like me (was a bike mechanic back in college), building your own up is such a satisfying experience. I figured that I'd end up changing out half of what was on a stock bike anyway, so I started with a bare frame, new Chorus group, and went from there. I still remember going for that first ride. Gears out of alignment, crankset creaking, but my baby had come to life.

    Ended up putting over $2.5k into that bike, over the course of three years. Does it ride any better than a $1500 stocker? Don't know, probably not. Could I sell it for what I put into it? Hah! Couldn't even get close... But, it's still all mine.
     
  8. AsteriskMan

    AsteriskMan New Member

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    Thanx to everyone for the input. I kinda figured that, in general, building would be more costly for me. I think that's where i'll start.

    PS. JohnQ, who made the bike in your your avatar (realy good looking bike)? i've allways been interested in road frames with that design
     
  9. JohnO

    JohnO New Member

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    That's a Trek Y-Foil. Made in 1998 and 1999. Technically, that's called a beam frame, as the seat sits on a carbon fiber beam. Has a bit of give to it. Dampens the high frequency road vibrations. Also is around 20% more aero than a traditional diamond frame. Most beam frames went out of production after 1999, when the UCI banned them from international competition. The official line was - they were considered an 'unfair advantage'. The real reason probably was that they didn't look like a traditional bicycle.

    There are beam frames still being made, mostly by Softride, but they're kinda fugly. The Foil was probably the sharpest looking of the lot, along with the Lotus 110. Have to admit, that's one reason I got it - saw one on the road, and thought it was the sharpest looking cycle I had ever seen.

    Foil framesets still turn up on ebay from time to time. $400-$500 was what they were bringing, last time I looked. Not bad for a CF frameset. Complete bikes run around $1k or so. The gold color was only available in 1998, and it does add to the price if you can find one.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. geoinmillbrook

    geoinmillbrook New Member

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    I just built 4 bikes this winter out of mostly new parts, and loved every minute. A nice road bike for my wife, 2 'cross and a road bike for me (one of which I later pieced out and sold). I like to tinker, so it was fun. I hadn't built up a frame since the 1980's so learning about some of the new technology was fun as well. I found that I spent about, or a little more than I would had I bought a used bike on Ebay, however it was about ~30-40% less - in all 4 cases, than buying new at a shop, one bike maybe significantly less because I got a really good deal on the frame and fork.
    So - if you have the time, I'd say it's a matter of preference. I am an avid flyfisher too, and I build all my rods. I like being able to pick and choose components and end up with something customized that I both really enjoy using and had the satisfaction of building. Building up a bike will teach you about maintenance as well - or at least how to approach it. Especially if you screw a few things up and have to research and fix it :p ..
    The easiest thing to do however is buy one already assembled. Obviously used versus new is cheapest if you are selective.

    George
     
  11. Bro Deal

    Bro Deal New Member

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    That color is pimpin'.
     
  12. AsteriskMan

    AsteriskMan New Member

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    The 'beam frame' really is a pretty design, and i can see how it could lend its self to some interesting engineering flexibility and some aero advantages.



    geoinmillbrook, that's impressive... did you get your parts online, or local shops? if i may ask. cuz i don't have any clout with the local shops.
     
  13. geoinmillbrook

    geoinmillbrook New Member

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    Hi AsteriskMan:

    I got 90% of the new and slightly used parts from EBay, the rest from two local bike shops. Both shops were very helpful with technical issues, so I spent some money there on a few parts and was glad I did. It is good to build the relationship if you can (one of them pressed the fork crown race on my all carbon fork for my wifes bike for free - so I bought my first pair of clipless bike shoes, cables, a seatpost, bar top brake levers, small stuff there :eek: ... ). One hand helps the other...

    George
     
  14. AsteriskMan

    AsteriskMan New Member

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    The only shop in town has a realy high turnover rate because its all students that work there...i just don't know any of the kids there now... i've never seen them at the trails lol.
     
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