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  1. #1
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    Where to buy parts for building a bike?

    Hello,

    I've been wanting to build a bicycle for a while now, so I'm planning to maybe get something built before spring. I have never built a bike before.

    I'm thinking of building a simple single speed freewheel road bike, mainly for commuting purposes (and occasional weekend trips).

    Although I do have to do a lot more reading, I have a question as to where to buy the parts.

    Is there a trusted source on the internet that has good prices/service? Where do home bike builders usually go for parts? (What would be the "Pepboys" for bicycles?)

    Thanks!
    Last edited by dzwestwindsor; 11-16-11 at 08:18 PM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by dzwestwindsor View Post
    Hello,

    I've been wanting to build a bicycle for a while now, so I'm planning to maybe get something built before spring. I have never built a bike before.

    I'm thinking of building a simple single speed freewheel road bike, mainly for commuting purposes (and occasional weekend trips).

    Although I do have to do a lot more reading, I have a question as to where to buy the parts.

    Is there a trusted source on the internet that has good prices/service? Where do home bike builders usually go for parts?

    Thanks!
    lots of online stores on the net.

    ebay's got tons of stuff.

    too much? try craigslist.

    still too much? try goodwill (probably just junky complete bikes though)

    STILL too much? go to garage sales and/or pick up stuff at the dump or on the curb.

    then again, you could order things from you local bike store...

  3. #3
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    Building is almost always more expensive than buying complete. If you want to build to save money, you're going to have to shop far and wide. eBay is a good start (used is cheaper than new) but you'll need to search carefully for every part to get the best deal. There isn't going to be a "one stop shop" that will get you there.

  4. #4
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CACycling View Post
    Building is almost always more expensive than buying complete..
    +1 Cheapest route is to find a second bike with the parts you want, and then swap them out. Buying individual parts one at a time is a VERY expensive proposition. I build a lot of bikes, and by using a "donor" bike, I am able to do it at a very reasonable price.


    And don't forget about tools. Bike tools can really add up. If you have a co-op nearby, that's a great option. In order to pay for my tools, I had to build several bikes before I broke even. Note, some bike jobs you can do with basic hand tools, but many, many parts on bicycles are unique and do take special (expensive) tools. And there is a lack of standardization of bike parts, particularly on the vintage stuff. I've got over a dozen freewheel tools, several cassette tools, close to a dozen crank tools, and I am way, far away from having everything covered. But if you are just working on ONE bike, then you start by getting the tools that fit it.
    Last edited by wrk101; 11-16-11 at 08:56 PM.

  5. #5
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    If you are building it for the education and/or enjoyment of building your own, a bike can be a great project. You can build it exactly to your liking. But from your post it doesn't sound like you have anything special in mind, just a single speed commuter. There are many good commuters available for far less than it would cost you to build your own from new parts. If you are new to cycling but like to wrench, I suggest you get a complete bike and start by doing your own maintenance and maybe some upgrades over time. If you really want to build your own, rebuilding a used bike can be a lot of fun. I've got a homebuilt 700c hybrid that evolved over an entire summer as I kept finding used bikes and parts and swapping up. I sold off the basic bikes with the entry level parts to finance additional purchases. The end result was that I have a nice, cro-mo steel framed flatbar hybrid, with mid-level components, that leans toward the road bike side. I came out a few dollars ahead so the bike cost me nothing except for a lot of time (most of which was recreational hunting and wrenching). I did get about $300 into tools and a workstand that I will hopefully recoup by flipping a few bikes next year.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for all the replies!

    I think I'm convinced that I'll play around with an existing bike, and not build a brand new one!

    Just by googling "bike parts" I get some online retailers:

    http://www.performancebike.com/
    http://www.nashbar.com/
    http://www.jensonusa.com/
    http://www.pricepoint.com/
    http://www.bikepartsusa.com/

    Does anyone have any experience with those retailers? I prefer to use Ebay or Craigslist only as a last resort or if I see a great deal..

  7. #7
    Senior Member ektachrome's Avatar
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    These are all good places to find your parts, but don't forget the tools, they can get expensive as well, you'll need more specialized tool as go along.
    But it sure is fun to find parts and build a bike to your own linking.
    Quote Originally Posted by dzwestwindsor View Post
    Thanks for all the replies!

    I think I'm convinced that I'll play around with an existing bike, and not build a brand new one!

    Just by googling "bike parts" I get some online retailers:

    http://www.performancebike.com/
    http://www.nashbar.com/
    http://www.jensonusa.com/
    http://www.pricepoint.com/
    http://www.bikepartsusa.com/

    Does anyone have any experience with those retailers? I prefer to use Ebay or Craigslist only as a last resort or if I see a great deal..

  8. #8
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    I've used most of those and have been satisfied. Niagara is a good one as well. BikeIsland is pretty good and offers free shipping. And there some in the UK that have good prices like ProBikeKit which ships free to the US and has good prices.

    One thing with ordering online is that shipping costs can add up. eBay is often more cost effective even though it can take patience to get what you want at a really god price.

  9. #9
    gbg
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    Quote Originally Posted by CACycling View Post
    Building is almost always more expensive than buying complete. If you want to build to save money, you're going to have to shop far and wide. eBay is a good start (used is cheaper than new) but you'll need to search carefully for every part to get the best deal. There isn't going to be a "one stop shop" that will get you there.
    Building (if you know what you are doing) is always way less than buying NEW. Buying used you can get complete bikes much cheaper
    than new but don't always know what you are getting.

    I have built 3 bikes for between $1300 -$2300 that would list in bike shops for 5500 -7500+
    All three cost less than 1 new at MSRP, they are all XTR, FOX, thomson, chris king, DT swiss 240s, fulcrum 0 level components
    and every component was one I chose.

    I could probably have built them for 25-50% less going Xt level, ritchey, cane creek etc but I liked the XTR stuff.
    I want to build a LX/105 level bike looking at the best closeout deals, (get some of those 70-80% off deals) and I bet I could do it for 3-500.
    And LX/105 isn't a bad bike!!

    PS
    Ebay is where I get 90% of my stuff.
    But Jenson and Cambria are pretty good with their blow out deals. $89 for a LX crank, you can't beat that.
    Last edited by gbg; 11-18-11 at 04:41 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbg View Post
    Building (if you know what you are doing) is always way less than buying NEW. Buying used you can get complete bikes much cheaper
    than new but don't always know what you are getting.

    I have built 3 bikes for between $1300 -$2300 that would list in bike shops for 5500 -7500+
    All three cost less than 1 new at MSRP, they are all XTR, FOX, thomson, chris king, DT swiss 240s, fulcrum 0 level components
    and every component was one I chose.

    I could probably have built them for 25-50% less going Xt level, ritchey, cane creek etc but I liked the XTR stuff.
    I want to build a LX/105 level bike looking at the best closeout deals, (get some of those 70-80% off deals) and I bet I could do it for 3-500.
    And LX/105 isn't a bad bike!!

    PS
    Ebay is where I get 90% of my stuff.
    But Jenson and Cambria are pretty good with their blow out deals. $89 for a LX crank, you can't beat that.
    First, I said almost always. Second, you are comparing your carefully-shopped, screaming deals on parts to list prices (I've bought new bikes for 50% or less of list several times and those deals weren't that hard to find).

    Then you throw in used parts vs. new bike. When buying new parts to build vs. buying new bike complete or when buying used parts vs. buying used bike complete, buying complete will most always be cheaper. If you are going to compare used to new, used will come out cheaper almost every time.

    Finally, the lower the level of bike you are looking at, the harder it will be to put together cheaper than buying complete. If you factor in every item needed (pulling nothing out of your parts box), you will need to be very patient and very knowledgeable to have a chance at saving money unless the goal is a bike with a component mix that isn't fairly standard.

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