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Old 03-29-03, 02:02 PM   #1
DrGonzo
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building a bike or buying prebuilt...

Hello all. I'll be in the market for a new bike at some point, hopefully soon here, and i was wondering is it cheaper/better to build a bike from parts you want, or buy prebuilt (specialized, trek, yeti, et...)? I'm guessing the only advantage to building your own bike is customization from the beginning, and is it cheaper? The advantage to buying pre-built would be the warranty, correct? Could anyone post any other advantages/disadvantages? Also if you could post some good sites to buy parts from (frame, shock, brakes, etc...). Thanks!
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Old 03-29-03, 02:22 PM   #2
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If you know what you're doing, then go ahead and build it up yourself. If not, then best to get a pre built.
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Old 03-29-03, 02:42 PM   #3
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Generally, buying a stock bike is cheaper. Manufacturers buy components in huge lots and pass the savings on to you. Most bike shops will do some customizing for you. Don't like the stock saddle? Want a different brakeset? The bike shop will usually set it up for you and charge only the difference in the price.

The main reason that I can think of for building up a bike from scratch is the satisfaction of having done so.
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Old 03-29-03, 03:18 PM   #4
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Some higher end bikes are sold as frame + bike-kit (includes wheels and such too). This allows you to choose the frame you like and mix and match it up with a component group as offered by the manufacturer. I believe you still get the advantage of OEM-level savings. The bike and the kit are then either partially assembled by the manufacturer or shipped to your local dealer where it is then assembled. I sorta did this with my last two bikes except I also had the LBS do some customisation as well in that I matched a frameset with a kit but had the LBS swap out certain things like the crank which they did at-cost.
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Old 03-29-03, 04:16 PM   #5
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BUILD BUILD BUILD!



The exact parts spec that YOU want, for nearly the same (or less!) than it would cost you from the dealer. If you've got the know how (Or even if you don't its a good experience) then go ahead and build it yourself I say. It's easier than it seems... I built my F900 up from the frame
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Old 03-29-03, 05:36 PM   #6
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Jimm you must be lucky or patient. I have priced out bikes before prebuilt or otherwise and have never come close to retail cost of a prebuild.

I would say buy prebuilt and start riding ASAP and then replace parts as you need / want them.
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Old 03-29-03, 05:42 PM   #7
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The only reason I could think to build instead of buy a premade is if you had a bunch of the parts you were going to use already. Otherwise, you're setting yourself up to lose some monay. I know it can be hard to find a premade with all the goodies you want though.
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Old 03-29-03, 07:36 PM   #8
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I had some parts lying around.. alot of XTR stuff from my other hardtail. But for the most part I just waiting around on some good deals and bought all my stuff online. Took me a while to accumulate everything, but I already had another bike to ride in the meantime so it wasn't a big deal. It was a great experience... I do all my own maintenance now.
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Old 03-29-03, 09:44 PM   #9
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A great experience I agree but if you don't have those parts and expensive on. If I had a tonne of spare cash and an extra bike I would build (in fact I intend to) but if this bike would be your first one and you have no spare parts whats the point in building. I would rather ride a crappy component bike (in fact I did for a year) instead of going without
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Old 03-30-03, 01:56 AM   #10
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building is more fun but unless you know what you're doing, and unless you're getting your parts dirt cheap or used, you lose a bit of cash the DIY way. i managed to build my moab1 with decent mid-high end parts for about $400 but aside from the frameset, all the components were bought used.

the real key deciding factor is price. say if you don't want to spend more than $600 for a hardtail, then building one from scratch of the same quality as a $600 one will cost a lot more. but say your price range was a bit more, or even, no cap, then building it yourself gives you greater selection/customization. and if you find deals may be of same price or cheaper, or just a tad bit more than otherwise.
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Old 03-30-03, 11:49 PM   #11
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Break even point is much higher. Figure around $2500.00 if your budget is less than that, you'll do much better off buying a complete bike. Heck buy last years complete bike for a ton of savings!

I've built my share of bikes, but even with employee discounts, it's cheaper to buy complete and swap out parts as they break!

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Old 03-31-03, 06:41 AM   #12
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I've built my share of bikes, but even with employee discounts, it's cheaper to buy complete and swap out parts as they break!
Yup.

I've always bought my bikes "whole" and then replaced parts as I wanted to.

Even though you almost always have to brunt the full cost of the new parts, or sometimes... you can get them super cheap... you'll be saving a LOT of money.

Do you know how much it woulda' costed me to build up my exact bike if I hadda' gone to frame + build kits or as frame + parts?

Try over $2300 !!!!!

I got my stock bike for $1600. Last years model was sold new for $2000 when it first came out, but prices have come down... and the parts spec went UP.

If you hunt in the right places, you can get some MAD deals on full-new bikes.

I'd say.. go Whole New Bike .... then replace parts as you want to. Besides... taking OFF the parts, and then putting on the new ones will be good experience of how to re-adjust them back into working order (Shifters, Derailleurs, Headsets, etc).

Enjoy man!
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Old 03-31-03, 10:01 AM   #13
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Build it up from the frame. It will cost more, but the experience of knowing how to do it is worth the extra cost. If you do alot of searching and have the time and patience you can find bargains to offset some of the cost, but it will almost always cost more to spec it yourself. You get the added benefit of having the parts you want, and off the shelf bikes almost always have a few cheezy parts, even if they are mostly top end.
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Old 03-31-03, 10:15 AM   #14
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thanks for all the replies, i think the next bike i DO buy will be complete from a manufacturer and just replace parts as needed. I would love to build my own bike, but i have neither the money, or the expertise (putting things together), or the time to get that expertise at the moment.
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Old 03-31-03, 10:30 AM   #15
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I recently built a bike from the ground up and am about to move parts from another bike to a new frame. I had alot of fun comparison shopping online, refurbishing old parts, and getting deals on stuff from my lbs (some freebies, advice, and price-matching based on internet sales-kinda rare though). When it was all said and done I figured I saved maybe $100 to $180 (based on comparable bikes/compenents and the fact that the lbs charges $180 for the labor to build a bike) not much, but the fun was in learning how to do everything myself and the satisfaction of riding a bike I spec'd and built entirely on my own.

It's not a hard thing to do but remember: 1) you'll need some specialty tools which will add to your total cost, 2) comparison shop for the best deals, 3) when ordering from nashbar.com, pricepoint.com, etc do it in bulk to save on shipping, 4) be patient while you wait on these parts, and 5) use a space where you have plenty of room and preferably a workstand and workbench with a vice (I had to cut my steerer tube while holding it on the kitchen counter in my small apartment-that sucked).

Also, some things may be tricky, like splined bottom brackets and disk brakes. I just upgraded to front disks and found the installation to be fairly easy even though a shop tech suggested they be professionally installed. I haven't attempted the splined b.b./cranks yet-I had a hell of a time with them falling off even after being installed by my lbs.

Good luck.
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Old 04-01-03, 03:27 AM   #16
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I have just completed a complete rebuild of my bike. The money I spent would have gone a fair way to a new bike. But I had a frame that fits me fine and it now has good quality parts and will last me indefinately. Unless I suddenly come by the readies and can buy that Marin Wolf Trail I covert
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Old 04-01-03, 05:49 AM   #17
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Originally posted by Maelstrom
A great experience I agree but if you don't have those parts and expensive on. If I had a tonne of spare cash and an extra bike I would build (in fact I intend to) but if this bike would be your first one and you have no spare parts whats the point in building. I would rather ride a crappy component bike (in fact I did for a year) instead of going without
exactly
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Old 04-01-03, 05:52 AM   #18
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Originally posted by Jim311
BUILD BUILD BUILD!



The exact parts spec that YOU want, for nearly the same (or less!) than it would cost you from the dealer.
not
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