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Old 01-19-08, 12:53 PM   #1
efranko
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bike build

I'm starting to think about building the best road bike I can for the least amount of money (very original, I know) but my question is: which components would be worth buying top of the line (dura ace, ultegra, etc.) and which components aren't really going to effect the performance too much by throwing on some Sora or Tiagra.
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Old 01-19-08, 02:40 PM   #2
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Your question leaves room for a lot of opinion.

I suspect that most people will put wheelsets near the top of the list. After that my order would be shifters and derailleurs, brakes, cranks and lastly the hidden things like cassette, chain, bottom bracket and headset. That's probably more of a "bling for buck" list than a "bang for buck" list but it'll at least get you going.
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Old 01-19-08, 03:20 PM   #3
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One thing to consider is that you will have to try very hard to come close to building a bike for the same price as you could buy a similar bike. Unless you got hold of a frame for very cheap, have very specific wants, or want a frame that cannot be purchased as a complete bike, it seems to me that one would be better off buying a complete bike and changing out the unwanted bits.

FWIW, I've built two bikes myself. The Trek 400 was purchased as a complete bike off Ebay for $40. I bought all new components (Sora 8 speed) for it except for the crank which I reused from the original. I added a wheelset and tires that I already had and I still ended up spending close to $300. If I had to buy new wheels and tires too, I probably would have been better off buying a $500 stock bike. My Look 386 could only be purchased as a frameset and I wanted a very specific build that no online store offered. I spent much more on it than I should have but I really like the finished bike.
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Old 01-21-08, 04:06 PM   #4
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I have a few parts from my other bike that I'm willing to strip too cut the cost down. My question is what parts should I make sure to invest the most in?
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Old 01-21-08, 04:32 PM   #5
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I think that wheels and drivetrain are the most imoportant (chainrings, cranks, bottom bracket). If you are going for the most bang for the buck, AND want to build, then I would suggest hitting the local attic sales, and buying a few bikes and merging the best parts from each. You have to read up and know what you are looking for, but that is the way to do it. Try to find bikes from the same basic time-range, and that use similar drive-trains, so that you can take the best parts from each bike.

Having said that, it is going to be a lot more work than you think. If you are not REALLY into piddling around with things for weeks and weeks, while looking for the right parts to show up, etc., then I would also suggest that you find an almost complete bike somewhere, and spend money to fix what needs fixing (say...frame, bottom bracket, crank, and headset are great), instead of building from the ground-up.
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Old 01-21-08, 04:43 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by efranko View Post
I'm starting to think about building the best road bike I can for the least amount of money
Why don't you just buy a good fitting bike with 105 components? That will give you what you are asking for, except for the part about building it.

Al
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Old 01-21-08, 06:24 PM   #7
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Why don't you just buy a good fitting bike with 105 components? That will give you what you are asking for, except for the part about building it.

Al
imo, the part about building it is worth a lot
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Old 01-21-08, 11:53 PM   #8
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Rereading what I wrote, it comes off as if I'm in this for the cheapest route to a good bike, but I'm really interested in the building process, I just don't have endless amounts of money to invest in it. I'm definitely prepared to spend weeks and months looking for good parts at good prices, I was just curious what parts were worth spending a little extra.

I've read a few places that a good wheelset is essential; why is that? What difference would an expensive set of wheels make?
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Old 01-22-08, 08:02 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by efranko View Post
I've read a few places that a good wheelset is essential; why is that? What difference would an expensive set of wheels make?
Expensive and good aren't simultaneous requirements. I assume you want daily use wheels, not racing or triathalon wheels. For daily use good wheels don't have to cost a fortune and most of the absurdly expensive wheelsets are specialty items that stress extreme light weight or extreme aerodynamics over durability. Some are just very expensive fashion statements.

Good wheels have quality hubs, light but durable rims, high quality spokes and are properly laced, tensioned and trued. A typical example would include Shimano or Campy or SRAM hubs (whatever group you wish, they are all good), Mavic Open Pro or CXP-33 rims and DT or Wheelsmith 14/15 db spokes 32 hole laced 3X. You can get wheels just like these from Colorado Cyclists or others for $400 or less depending on the hub you choose.

It so happens that I have this exact wheelset I got as part of a build kit from Colorado Cyclist about 18 months ago. They are Campy Chorus hubs, Mavic CXP-33 rims and DT 14/15 spokes, 32 hole, 3X. They have 6000 absolutely trouble free miles on them and have never needed the slightest additional truing. By themselves they would have cost about $350.

I also had an earlier set built by Wheelsmith on Dura Ace hubs with the same rims and Wheelsmith spokes that were in service for 29,000 miles and were retired only because the rims were getting worn at the brake tracks. These cost $300.
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