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Old 01-05-10, 05:01 PM   #1
Ironpoppy
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Build A New Bike Or Purchase a fully assembled bike

Hello,
I brought a bike frame to a bike shop and asked if they can build a bike for me. I was told I am better off buying a fully assembled bike and I get a better value than building a bike for me. Your opinion is appreciated. Thank you.
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Old 01-05-10, 05:09 PM   #2
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Building a bike out of the frame will be frightfully expensive if you don't already have spare parts lying around. You don't have to have all of them, but you better have a significant fraction of them. I can't say what fraction.

Besides, you may have to make compromises because of various dimensions.

So yes, buy a complete bike.

And I'm saying this. I've built several bikes up from frames, but I'm a crazy collector, so I always have parts lying around. Or I move parts from an old bike, aka a donor bike.
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Old 01-05-10, 05:16 PM   #3
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I agree with Tom. if you are new to the sport certainly buying an "off the rack" bike is the way to go. then you a bike to ride and frame you can start building with parts you either just pick up here and there or have after you upgrade your bike.

also like Tom I can't opena closet door, dresser drawer or Kitchen cabinet without running into something bike related. *giggle*

BTW what are you trying to have built? a road bike, mountain, or a single speed or fixie?
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Old 01-05-10, 05:19 PM   #4
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Wheels-cheapo=$100
BB $20
Crankset $50
Rear Derailleur $30
Ft Derailleur 20
Shifters/Brake levers =$50
Seat Post= $20
Saddle=$25
Cables/housing = $20
Tires/tubes =$40
Chain =$15
Handlebar=$20
Stem=$20
Grips=$10
Roughly $440 for new, not fancy parts -no labor-and these aren't really nice parts-not even Shimano LX grade-OK parts, nothing fancy.

They are telling you the truth.
Charlie
PS Yes,I have built many bikes myself-but I hunted for the cheapest prices for used parts,and had many spare parts already.
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Old 01-05-10, 05:20 PM   #5
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Generally speaking you will get a much better buy with an off-the-peg fully assembled bike from the shop.
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Old 01-05-10, 05:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
also like Tom I can't opena closet door, dresser drawer or Kitchen cabinet without running into something bike related. *giggle*
Hey, speak for yourself. My hobby has spilled into my My Lovely Wife's exercise room, and she's not happy about it, but it's not all over the house.
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Old 01-05-10, 05:30 PM   #7
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As a general rule it's quite a bit cheaper to buy a bike off the rack.

It's more satisfying to piece it together yourself.

Why would you want to pay somebody else to have the fun of assembling your bike?
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Old 01-05-10, 05:46 PM   #8
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Hey, thank you all for your prompt replies. It helps. A road bike I wanted it to be built. As you can see, I am a newbie!
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Old 01-05-10, 05:47 PM   #9
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Retro Grouch, I agreed with you it will be more fun if I assemble the bike myself - only if I know how! Taking classes would be a good start! Thanks again for your input.
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Old 01-05-10, 05:48 PM   #10
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Tom Reingold - thanks for your input!
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Old 01-05-10, 06:01 PM   #11
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Here's an idea. Go buy the new bike and then use that to learn about how bikes function and are assembled. Study how the brakes are attached and adjusted, how the shifters and derailleurs work. Also read up on Sheldon Brown's site, Park Tool site, and the forums here. Once you've studies these items, you'll be ready to build the bike yourself. That will save you around $100 compared to giving all the parts to the LBS and having them do the build.
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Old 01-05-10, 06:57 PM   #12
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Building a NICE road bike from your frame would cost about twice what that list of parts in the post up higher shows. It won't be anything that will turn the eyes of the folks that buy the really expensive stuff but it'll be a nice bike to ride if your frame is decent enough.

BUT..... if you have to pay a shop to put it all together then you just added on the better part of $100 for labour.

As mentioned above by all go and buy an off the rack bike. If you want to learn THEN start shopping carefully for the stuff on the list but of a grade that is in keeping with the frame you have. Along the way invest in the tools you'll need to assemble it and study the Park Tools home mechanic help area for each part you're doing. You'll learn a lot doing it this way and you'll get to ride in the meantime on the off the rack bike.
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Old 01-05-10, 07:13 PM   #13
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If you are buying all the components from a bike shop and paying them to assemble the bike, no question, the cost will be MUCH higher than an equivalent quality bike purchased preassembled. Basically, you will get the new frame and fork for free AND save money beyond that.

If you have the knowledge and tools to build a bike up yourself, the best you can do cost wise is to buy a complete "build kit" from one of the larger mail order dealers or have your bike shop price one out from QBP. At least you will get better pricing than buying each item individually.

I've built up two bikes buying the frame/fork and a build kit from Colorado Cyclist. They give a significant discount if you buy that way. The cost was about what I would have paid for the complete preassembled bike but I was able to specify exactly what crank length, stem length, cassette, saddle, etc. I wanted and I have the needed tools and enjoyed the assembly work. I certainnly didn't do it to save money.
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Old 01-05-10, 07:26 PM   #14
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Buy a complete bike. I ended up with just over 600 in a fixie I built last summer. I could have bought many, not to my liking though, for under that or just did a $100 converson. Looking back I wish i could have about half of that back or a nice fixie for a couple hundred more. I'm really happy with my bike but it cost me. And that's nothing compared to some people out there. And that was just a fixie.

Looking to build my sisters road bike, I ended up just finding a nice built bike for half of what building was going to cost. And that was with the same componets, almost. But if you want to building a bike is very satisfying. Being able to jump on something that you wrenched on is a wonderful day after day.
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Old 01-05-10, 08:00 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
If you have the knowledge and tools to build a bike up yourself, the best you can do cost wise is to buy a complete "build kit" from one of the larger mail order dealers or have your bike shop price one out from QBP. At least you will get better pricing than buying each item individually.
I reckon you could prolly do better by buying a complete bike with (most of) the parts you want on it, swapping the bits to your old frame, and selling the new one.
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Old 01-05-10, 09:18 PM   #16
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Buy the bike. Unless you've already landed a high-end frame AND you either have the parts in hand or are good at scrounging bargains, you'll almost certainly do better just buying a complete bike.

Probably because the bulk of the industry is optimized to move complete bikes.
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Old 01-06-10, 09:52 AM   #17
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I reckon you could prolly do better by buying a complete bike with (most of) the parts you want on it, swapping the bits to your old frame, and selling the new one.
In my case, no. CC was closing out Litespeed frames at very attractive prices and their package deal of frame/fork/build kit was priced below what I could have purchased any similarly equipped complete bike from any other dealer.
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Old 01-06-10, 10:45 AM   #18
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In general...

If you just want a bike, buy it off the shelf.

If you want a particular frame, buy it already built if possible or buy a similar bike and swap over the components.

If you want a particular frame with specific (uncommonly paired) components, you will likely be better off buying individual components. Note that if you can find most items from the same shop, they might be able to offer you a discount even if it's not a full build kit.
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Old 01-06-10, 11:30 AM   #19
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In my case, no. CC was closing out Litespeed frames at very attractive prices and their package deal of frame/fork/build kit was priced below what I could have purchased any similarly equipped complete bike from any other dealer.
Yes, this kind of deal comes up occasionally, but usually at a much higher price point than what (I'm guessing) the OP is considering.

In my case I was getting a team deal from SRAM so I got a Red group at a really good price, then went out and looked for a frame. I found a year-old Bianchi 928 being sold at clearance. All told I was able to put together a $5000 bike for $2700.
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Old 01-06-10, 01:30 PM   #20
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I've done this for two bikes in the last six months and agree completely with what was said above.

1. Complete bikes are cheaper than their components priced separately.
2. Group sets are cheaper than buying parts separately.
3. Building your own is much more fun.

One of the things I really hate about bike shop bikes is that they always try and cut costs on things they think you might not notice. My first true road bike was a Dura Ace 7300 equipped aero steel frame. Rather than put the Shimano Dura Ace chain on it they put some cheap chain and the thing never shifted properly and I couldn't even buy the proper chain in Australia at the time. Ended up selling the bike and building a bike from the ground up (custom frame, every part hand picked).

Fast forward twenty six years and the bike that had been collecting dust for over fifteen years finally gets dusted off and put back into service. At this point only the frame, headset, bars and stem remain original.

Wheels - Used 2006 Mavic Elites Front $50, Rear $165, skewers and tools $50 new on ebay.
Tires - Vredestein Fortezza SE x 2 $60 ebay
Seat - 2009 Selle Italia Turbo $45 ebay
SeatPost - Vintage Dura Ace SP-7410 $100 ebay
Tape - Cinelli White Gel Cork $20
Tubes - Michelin Air Stop $7
Shifters - Shimano SL-R400 DT 8 speed $50 ebay
Brake Levers - Shimano BL-R600 $70
Brakes - Used Shimano Ultegra 6600 $64 ebay
Cassete - Used HG-90 12-23 8 speed $20
Chain - HG-93 9 speed $40 LBS
FD - Used Ultegra SL $35
RD - Ultegra SL $70
Crankset - Ultegra 6500 $100 ebay
BB - BB-6500 $20 Craigslist
Pedals - Used Ultegra 6610 $40 ebay

So there you have it $1006 and that's not including the price of a full custom lugged silver soldered Columbus SL frame with Campagnolo Dropouts and Cinelli bottom bracket, Tapered Roller Bearing headset, Cinelli Giro d'italia bars and 1R stem. For something that weighs about 21lbs that's a pretty expensive way to build a bike but it is nice and it was a lot of fun building it.

Keep in mind that the prices quoted above required some serious power shopping and bargain hunting. If you bought LBS you'd pay around twice that.
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Old 01-06-10, 01:40 PM   #21
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Ironpoppy-thanks for the PM. Like others have said, that price list was for not one bit fancy parts-the grade or two below LX (the road equivalent of LX which are mtb parts).They are the sort of parts you would find on a $400-$500 bike shop bike.

Your best bet to to haunt CL and Ebay for an entire used bike with nice parts, or to just buy them piecemeal off EBay and CL. This is a good time of the year to buy bike stuff-cold!!

On Ebay CL you can buy a used $1500 bike for maybe $500-$600.If you don't mind 6-8 year old technology, you can buy for 1/3 or less of original selling price.
Parts actually hold value a bit better than entire bikes-but figure 50-60% or original price. These rough guesses are for fully functional parts with minimal wear. Maybe riders put very few miles on their toys(not like fanatics here-but even some here have so many bikes that they have lowish use older bikes).

Buy used-get some feedback on parts-fit etc-here. Cranksets and BB have to match up, so buying them together is a good idea.Some only come as integral parts now,so not a concern.
Luck
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Old 01-06-10, 01:45 PM   #22
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Round two, now that my vintage bike is nicely set up time for something high end.

Wheels - New 2009 Mavic Elites (Black) $300 Craigslist
Tires - Specialized Mondo S-Works Open Tubular 700c (Free, included with wheels)
Tubes - Kenda (Free, included with wheels)
Skewers - Roval Titanium (Free, included with wheels)
Cassette - Used Ultegra 6600 12-25 $20 Craigslist
Seatpost - FSA SL-K carbon $30 Craigslist

Aegis Victory 54cm Full Carbon Frame and Forks - Craigslist $500 plus the following components
Bars - Deda Big Piega
Stem - Ritchie Comp
FD - Ultegra 6600
RD - Ultegra 6600
Brakes - Ultegra 6600
Crankset - Ultegra 6600
BB - Ultegra 6600
Headset - Cane Creek S-3
Chain - Ultegra 6600
Seat - Fizik Vitesse

Shifters - Ultegra SL $215 ebay
Pedals - Ultegra 6610 $60 ebay
Tape - Cinelli Black Cork $15

Total $1130 for a bike that I'd consider pretty high end (the frame and forks alone retailed for $2700) and when built will probably tip the scales around 17lbs. As you can see buying bundled components gets you there a whole lot cheaper than buying parts separately.

Again some of these prices were once in a lifetime deals, don't expect to be able to do this at your LBS, especially not in the SF/Bay Area.

Last edited by strop; 01-12-10 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 01-06-10, 01:47 PM   #23
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What frame do you have right now?
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Old 01-06-10, 10:08 PM   #24
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I would charge you $200 to build a custom bike up from the frame. This is the base price if you have all the components ready to fly. This factors in making very certain everything is up to proper torque and everything has adequate grease and such. Wheels are trued. I toss in the needed cables and housing (your choice of colors). So forth. And my work includes free tune-ups for a year.

At this cost - I invite the person to watch and explain what I am doing and why. You get a custom bike and lessons - if you choose to sit and learn.

It's not for a person with a junker. This is designed for people who want top-quality and can afford same.
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Old 01-12-10, 03:06 PM   #25
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I second most of what's here, especially the comments of strop. I've got a few factory bikes and a custom-frame, dura-ace, road rig as well as a IGH built on a surly cross-check frame built up for commuting and light touring.

It's more expensive to build your own, but not necessarily crazy-expensive. It's also a bunch of work and you have to love the process for it to be worthwhile. Here are a couple of money saving tips for a custom build, some of which are just generalizations of the advice above:

Be patient and collect bits on super-sales and ebay

Grab a build kit or grouppo if you get a chance. I got a sweet deal on my 2007 dura-ace kit including the '07 D-A wheels which were about to be superceded.

Build your own wheels. This is a two edged sword. You can drop a ton of cash on tools (I have, I know...) but can easily save 100 or more per built over nice hand-built wheels. I also just like building wheels. I'm sick like that. Try to make friends with someone who has the tools.

Spend your component money where it matters to you. (Figured out that the cheap Shimano cantilever brakes were as good for my purposes as the more expensive ones, but I sprung for the red-label Nexus.)

Once you have developed the skills building you own rig, you'll be free of paying shop rates for future maintenance (unless you really want to).


Or, you know, buy something off-the rack for less and ride it today.
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