Buying a Bike or Putting One Together Yourself?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Edudbor, Sep 17, 2007.

  1. Edudbor

    Edudbor New Member

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    If I were to order all the parts and assembly my bicycle (I'd learn a lot; and I've got a local expert / former bicycle shop owner to help when I'm in a jam) how would the cost compare?

    I'd be willing to pay a little more for the experience, but not if it's going to be significantly more.

    Or is this just a generally bad idea?
     
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  2. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    It's great fun, a tremendous learning experience, and if your helper really knows his stuff(and has the appropriate bike-specific tools) nor real dangers involved. It will make future upkeep of the bike a breeze and it's an excellent prep course if you're ever considering bike touring "outside civilization".
    However, unless you have parts already stocked or is really good at bargain hunting it will be considerably more expensive than buying a complete bike.
     
  3. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    The price really depends upon what you are willing to put on your bike. There are all kinds of parts, used and new on eBay that are reasonably priced. If you must have new parts, it will cost you almost double the price of a pre-assembled bike right now when all of the sales are going on.

    There are many great things about building your own bike though. You will get the things on the bike that you want, not just what happens to be on it when it was sold to you. You will know every little nut, bolt, and washer that is on the bike, no surprises. With the help of your freind, you will know that the bike is put together right.You will gain a wealth of knowledge doing it yourself, and you will have the pride in knowing that you put it together. It is a lot of fun.

    The down sides are that it is more expensive and there is no warranty.

    I started collecting a lot of Shimano 600 Parts from eBay and ended up with a beautiful group. I then found a chrome moly steel frame that was a little on the small side for me but perfect for my lady freind. I put the whole thing together and it is really nice. Everything except for the waterbottles and cages, tires, saddle, and handlebar tape was used but completely refurbushed by yours truly. The total cost came out to be a little less than $500.00. If this had been a brand new bike, it would have run in the range of $750.00, but I was willing to buy used parts and knew how to refurbish them.
     
  4. Lama

    Lama New Member

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    I beg to differ!

    have built 2 bikes myself; a roadie (currently being finished) and my hardtail (earlier this year)

    The roadie i am putting together is an avanti giro ('07) with a full 105 group & mavik aksiums. Sure its an entry level bike, but the bill has come in at around AUD600 under the retail price (some 30% saving). ALL the parts were new

    My MTB is a BMC hardtail - i went absolutley stupid with high end gear, everything SRAM X0, Ritchey WCS carbon everything, fox F100 RCL's, Avid carbon hydraulics etc and the bill came in at around AUD3000. Sure its an expensive hardtail, but have since looked at similar spec'ed hardtails (admittedly with carbon frames) retailing for AUD4000-4500. ALL the parts were new.

    I dont think i will buy a complete new bike from a shop again.... simply because i picked all the parts that i wanted to go into a bike.

    The trick is to do your homework & do a lot of searching on the Bay of E and find some good online retailers.

    I find building your own rig is VERY rewarding, like kdelong said - you will know every single nut, bolt & washer that went into the thing. And if you have enough nouce, you will never find yourself taking your bike back to an LBS for a service again.

    Good luck with the build.

     
  5. Powerful Pete

    Powerful Pete New Member

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    Fair enough. But it sounds like the OP is new to all of this. Chances are he/she has not developed a very refined taste in components and doodads yet. So additional choice is probably not going to make things that much more appealing.

    And let us not forget that he will have to factor in the price of the tools to put things together. Not much, but if you are on a budget, it all hurts.

    If budget is a major issue, buy the bike. If you have a bit more flexibility money wise and want to do a really nice job and learn a thing or two, do it yourself. It will cost more in the short run (of course, chances are you will save on maintenance in the medium to longer haul).
     
  6. Edudbor

    Edudbor New Member

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    Thanks for the replies all...

    I've given it some thought and even though I'd be willing to spend a little more money and a lot more time putting together a bicycle; I think I'm going to hold off.

    The tools are a bit more expensive than I had thought and I don't have quite as much room as I'd probably want (no garage/work area/patio or anything).

    Instead I'm buying a lower-end road bike that I'll maintain/repair and upgrade over time. In a few months, I should have a lot more room and all that jazz.

    Thanks again all.
     
  7. capwater

    capwater New Member

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    The best part of building a bike yourself is you won't have to ask all those "how come my bikes does this" type questions in online forums.

    Education is power. Plus, you'll wow your pals when you slide up to a group ride and shrug "Oh this? Just something I slapped together."
     
  8. bh3733

    bh3733 New Member

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    i have built all 8 bike in my fleet myself never really paying attention to the costs. some are high end carbon bikes others are pure mutts, but they all ride great. i'm a former bike mechanic and take great pride in doing things myself. also i'm very picky when it comes to my bikes and what goes into to them. the thing i like the best is i'm able to pick and choose what goes into a bike and not have to change things from what the factory set up. plus i like to learn as i go! good luck to you if you change your mind.
     
  9. JohnO

    JohnO New Member

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    For just starting out, buying rather than building is probably the way to go. Cheaper, less to go wrong.

    The real advantage of building your own is you get exactly what you want - assuming you know exactly what you want.

    You're doing the right thing. Get started with a known good bike. In a year or two, after you've tinkered and upgraded a bit, after you've seen what works and what doesn't, build your next bike.

    Let's face it - a bicycle is a very personal item. You spend a lot of time and sweat on it, so it may as well be an extension of your mind as well as your legs. I had a ball building up mine, from selecting the frameset and group, to finding the occasional bargain on ebay. And it wasn't that hard to do, although it helped that I worked as a bicycle mechanic in college. I'm surprised at the number of people who look at me as some sort of wizard when I tell them I built my bike from a bare frame. Hardest part was installing the BB without crossing the threads.

    Now, if I can just resist the temptation to spring for a Campy carbon crankset. Waste of money, I know, but it looks so beautiful.
     
  10. cheapie

    cheapie New Member

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    you don't really need that many tools. maybe something for setting the headset and BB, and perhaps putting the rear cassette on the wheel but the vast majority of items are attached using an allen wrench.
     
  11. Soderskungen

    Soderskungen New Member

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    Why don't you buy the bike complete, get your mate to take it apart, and then leave you with all the bits to assemble together again yourself? I include in this, of course, the removal of all the spokes from the wheels. It will be a truly memorable experience for you, I'm sure.
     
  12. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    This would truly be an educational experience, and a frustrating one unless the OP wanted to spend all winter learning how to build wheels!
     
  13. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    Depends on how the head tube and BB shell are prepped. I've never had any trouble myself, but I have come across several recommendations stating that they should be reamed/faced/have the threads chased prior to assembly. A headset press can be easily improvised, the splined tool bits needed for cassette and BB can be had rather cheaply but cutting tools are pricey.
     
  14. capwater

    capwater New Member

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    Headsets: integrated needs no special tools. Traditional you can do many ways, but I just take it to the shop I ride for and get the cups pressed in for $10. Pretty cheap and saves the hassle factor.

    Other than that you'll need a bottom bracket socket and probably a cassette tool. Everything else you need is standard tools (hex wrenches/sockets, screwdrivers, etc.)
     
  15. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    Probably should add a chain tool, chain whip (to get cassette lockring off), and crank puller. Maybe a lock ring spanner if there is one on the BB.
     
  16. threaded

    threaded New Member

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    If you're anything like me it'll end up more expensive, but only because you'll fit better components than what the factory bike has on it.
     
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