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Old 10-21-12, 10:01 AM   #1
karotto
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What's cheaper? Making a bike from parts or buying one?

What's cheaper? Making a bike from parts or buying one?
I was planning to go out buy a mountain bike and spend somewhere between $300-$600. However, then I thought the first thing I would do is remove the rear hub and replace it with an electrical hub, remove both rims with narrow ones, replace both tubes and tires and put narrow, mixed use tires on there with low roll resistance (I do want a mountain bike because of the strength of the frame but I mostly ride on concrete), then I would replace the seat with a more comfortable one and then I would replace the handlebar with one that's much more comfortable and more upright. Because I would replace so much stuff from the new bike I was wondering if it is cheaper for me to simply by a frame and buy parts and assemble the bike myself. I'm curious to get your opinion what you think is cheaper and also if making a bike is cheaper perhaps you could make some suggestions on which online places do offer good prices for frames and parts. Thank you for your input.
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Old 10-21-12, 10:09 AM   #2
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I did that project with a Nashbar frame. Ended up paying about $400. The result is good bike, but next time I'll buy new closeout or Craigslist. Not a good value, but fun to do.
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Old 10-21-12, 10:09 AM   #3
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It's cheaper to buy a complete bike than it is to assemble one from components. Manufacturers pay only a small fraction of retail price for components, and have all the tools and knowledge to properly assemble the bike.

That said, building up your own bike from components is an excellent learning experience, and gives you an excuse to buy the tools needed to build and maintain bikes from here on out.
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Old 10-21-12, 10:33 AM   #4
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Why not buy a hybrid bike that will be set up for your intended purposes?

You're wanting a mountain bike and then changing out all major parts to make a more roadworthy bicycle.

If you start with a bike that's more set up for what you will need, you will have more flexibility in dialing in exactly what you want.

As tough as a MTB frame appears, I don't know that you could really stress a Hybrid frame any more or less.

I hate to say it, but if you're looking to spend around $600 on a bike, for your purposes the Trek DS 8.2 would be a good start and really hard to beat.
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Old 10-21-12, 10:46 AM   #5
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I think it will be cheaper to buy one that is close to your final configuration. It sounds like you'd keep at least the crankset & bottom bracket, fork, headset, shifters front derailleur and brakes, and frame of course, and that stuff can add up quickly when you buy it individually, depending on your choices.
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Old 10-21-12, 01:20 PM   #6
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Only cheaper if you are doing a mix and match of used frames and parts
cannibalized off yard sale and Craig's list bargains..
though some are less bargains than others.

a couple of guys met at the shop, yesterday , the guy who donated a bike to Goodwill,
so had documents to write off the donation, for actual value [higher than
used bike needing some fixing up] so takes itemization on this years taxes,
and the guy who just got the bike, from Goodwill, for cheap.
and was trying to bring it back up to working good



New bikes , if you make changes at Point-of-sale, the new parts
will likely be at a % off , like accessories, 10% off, and there is trade in value
on the Take-offs,
given they are new will be useful for shops repairs or resale.

Last edited by fietsbob; 10-21-12 at 01:25 PM.
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Old 10-21-12, 01:55 PM   #7
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Only cheaper if you are doing a mix and match of used frames and parts
cannibalized ...
I agree. My Atlantis (bought when frame and fork were $950--I think they're $2000 now) was built with a few new parts and a garage full of stuff I had from 35 years of cycling. When I completed it five or six years ago, I had about $1400 in it, ~$500 less than an assembled bike would have cost. It would run $3400-3700 to replace today, I think (I haven't kept track of recent price changes). But if I'd had to buy all new parts, I couldn't have come close to Rivendell's price for a complete bike.
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Old 10-21-12, 02:12 PM   #8
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I'm in the process of building a bike. I bought a Nashbar touring frame, Nashbar carbon 'cross fork and their seat post. Wheels and some other parts from Tree Fort Bikes and Universal. I still need to buy a stem and a rack. I've got pedals.

I looked at what my four LBS had to offer and none of their stock bikes were really suitable without adding another $200 to $300 to the transaction. What I liked the best were two bikes at $800 and $1100. No fenders on either so at least another $30.

I am building a bike that is very specific to my needs: an all round bike for commuting, backroads and firetrails but still fairly fast. So far this project is costing me a little less than $950. That's everything from frame to tires and tubes, fenders (or as fietsbob calls them mudguards) cables, saddle, etc. Everything but the stem and pedals and rear cargo rack. Nothing used or second hand. The parts are all decent but budget (with the exception of the Dura-Ace downtube shifters).

I have the tools with the exception of the headset bearing press. I've got some homemade tools I used once before but I think I'll enlist an LBS to install these. Probably another $20.

I've started a build thread that I'll be updating next week as the bike starts coming together. http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...A-Build-Thread
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Old 10-21-12, 02:53 PM   #9
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I was planning to go out buy a mountain bike and spend somewhere between $300-$600.
Quote:
then I thought the first thing I would do is remove the rear hub and replace it with an electrical hub,
You will find a Pedal-electric conversion, as a project bike,
will be like a Boat, ... a hole you pour money into .

Consider instead buying a Electric assist bike off the floor. complete..
and coming up with 2X your target price, for that bike alone..
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Old 10-21-12, 04:31 PM   #10
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You can build your own custom bike cheap if you are a person super savvy about getting deals on parts, going to swap meets, perusing Craigslist, volunteering at Yellow Bike and contributing enough that they let you take stuff free, and etc. etc. No offense please, but from your post I don't think you are that person. Maybe you will become that, of course.

I would buy a complete bike as close as possible to want you want and go from there..

Don in Austin
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Old 10-21-12, 05:21 PM   #11
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There is the thrift store approach of buying bikes cheap for parts. I did that for a while and still have some parts. One chainring ended up on my road bike. (36T 110BCD)
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Old 10-22-12, 06:47 AM   #12
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If you're going to go with an electric hub start with an electric bike.

Some discussion on build vs buy http://kentsbike.blogspot.com/2012/1...ld-vs-buy.html
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Old 10-28-12, 12:17 PM   #13
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If it is all new parts building a bike will far exceed the cost of buying one already assembled. Just the frame could set you back $500 or more. I built mine using used parts because I wanted 700c wheels, flat bar, and disc brakes, but couldn't find anything like that other than a 29er that was in my budget. If I were to do it over again I would buy the best used bike I could afford with the specs I like and then modify what I did not like.
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Old 10-28-12, 05:19 PM   #14
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I am going to chime in with a "it depends" Sometimes the guy who takes his parts off and builds up a new frame thus making his frameset expendable is to your financial advantage. I bought a Lightspeed Ultimate, frame and fork off ebay for $1200 - such good shape you could eat off the frame.
I had some parts here and there, used my backup wheelset and built it up for under $2200

Most people want top dollar for their bikes because they want as close to full replacement value for it.

Most who are parting out know that selling their used items will get them closer to their dream build.

Bikes have sentimental value, parts do not (as much)
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Old 10-28-12, 07:41 PM   #15
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As a nostalgia project I restored a Varsity to near duplicate of my very first one, with my total monetary expenditure coming in just under 200 dollars, far less than what I was expecting.

Building a bike from used parts is probably the cheapest way to go.
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Old 10-28-12, 08:27 PM   #16
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None of two solutions.
The cheapest is to make your own bike from A to Z
160$ for a carbon fiber bike

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDnH9...9&feature=plcp
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Old 10-28-12, 09:33 PM   #17
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I learned an awful lot from building a bike from a bare frame. The one I built I don't think cost more than it would be for a new bike and I learned a lot along the way.
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Old 10-31-12, 02:54 PM   #18
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It's possible to assemble a half-decent frankenbike for next to nothing by salvaging parts from used bikes. Some second-hand parts can be found at good prices on ebay etc. You won't have the latest hype parts on it, but you'll end up with a sturdy, practical machine if you pick the right parts. If you're buying new though, it's usually cheaper to buy a complete bike with the parts that you want.
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Old 10-31-12, 03:36 PM   #19
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I do builds because I'm extremely picky and patient.

It's not really to save money. I'm more than happy to buy all the gently used nice parts the "upgraders" unload though.

What really costs money doing a build is all the little crap at the end to make it a functioning bike.
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