Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking - To build, or not to build, that is the question...
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At least that is one of the questions.
I'm a commuter, not into racing or mountain biking, but sometimes I want to go out on a high paced 40+ mile ride, and sometimes I want to hit the singtrack at the park. Plus my commute sometimes takes me into dirt/gravel paths.
Currently I have a hybrid built for commuting but have recently started thinking about getting a CX bike because it seems to be the all-in-one bike for my needs.
Now, is it a viable solution to buy pieces and parts and build it up from scratch, with the held of the wrenchers at the LBS of course, would is buying a new one the route to take.
Keep in mind:
- I commute 25 miles a day
- I'm a broke bastard
- I can replace the crank in a small block chevey but still haven't been able to adjust my bikes brakes properly
- I'm a big fella, 305lbs down from 330 a month ago and will probably be around 275 when I get my CX
any input from you guys would surely be appreciated, as you seem to know your **** pretty well
If you are broke you may prefer going with a stock bike. They tend to be cheaper and give you more for the money you'd put on a bike. When you will have worn out this one you cant think of building one up knowing your needs a bit better...
One bike I know that will probably fit your need is the Kona Jake (not JTS) as it has 3 chainrings (better road gearing and granny may help in trails) and a geometry that will get you near everywhere you want.
Good luck in your research
I've done both. I bought myself a Lemond Poprad and I am nearly finished building a bike for my wife. My wife's bike only turned out marginally cheaper than mine even though I had the shifters/brake levers already and got a couple of components used off ebay. Her bike does have mostly Ultegra and Durace components, whereas mine are mostly 105.
I think that unless you have a lot of parts already lying around, you get better value buying a complete bike, especially at the "lower" end. Having said that, I had a lot of fun sourcing all the components and building up the bike. I am like you in that I do a lot of auto repair work but have never done much with bikes - but building this bike has taught me a lot and has given me confidence to do more maintenace work in the future.
I was hoping the smae would happen with me, that building a bike would give me or insight in repairing one, that way I can save the money I'd usually be dropping at the LBS for wrenchwork and get better parts :D
05-13-05, 11:50 PM
It's cheaper to build one if you find good deals on used bikes and strip 'em of parts. Another way is USED parts on ebay.
05-15-05, 08:40 AM
If you can take an engine apart and put it back together, you can most certainly build a bike from scratch. Buying parts on sale from Supergo/Nashbar/Performance over a 3 month period would likely get you a good assortment of excellent components fairly cheaply.
You get the frame of your choice if you build from scratch. At the top of my list would be a Soma Double Cross at about $400 shipped with fork. Steel, light. Second (because of price), though pricey is a Habanero titanium cyclocross frame. $789 shipped.
One thing you could do is buy a used road bike on Ebay, Craigslist that has many usable components on it for cheap. Just about everything from a road bike is usable except the frame and fork. There are a few things to look out for when going this route. Get good wheels. I have a 2003 Trek 2000 I'm going to use as a parts bike. It is mostly 105 with a triple (I know, not a pure cyclocross bike) and has a Bontrager Aurora wheelset on it which was also used on the Lemond Poprad. Then, all that is needed is some cantilevers (work with road brake levers) and a frame/fork.
If you're near a Performance/Supergo/Nashbar and some other stores, you could take advantage of their 12 month no interest financing to get a full bike too. Just pay it off $100 a month till you own it.
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