Light Makes Right
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Green Mountain, Colorado
Bikes: Gianni Motta Criterium, Dean Hardtail
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Well, I always build my own bikes - but then I always build them up by cannabilizing old bikes for parts. That saves me tons of money and all my bikes are completely personal and never ever see the inside of a bike shop as a whole unit. I don't do it often enough to buy my own headset press so I get that done by somebody at the beginning.
So yeah, if money is no object or you have a bunch of old parts you'll be using, definitely do it. It'll be a great learning experience and you'll be better equipped to fix your bike on the trail. Otherwise, it'll generally cost you a lot more to build your own with all new parts than it will to buy a complete bike.
Where to get a frame? Do your research, figure out what frame you want and find a good deal online.