Okay Ive been riding a SS GT All Terra for the last month that I have damn near built from scratch. I have been going around and cannibalizing my buddies parts bikes and the bikes that I have came across in garbage piles. I have so far put together a complete bike. I have so far put a set of scavenged handle bars and stem from a Big-Box store bike, 26" mountain bike wheels, brake levers and brakes from my buddy's pile O' parts box and miscellaneous parts that I have bought or traded along the way on my bike. As of now I have spent a total of about 80 bucks total for the bike and parts, not including the beer for entry into the pile o' parts box. Right now I want a lighter and faster bike. My question is would it be cheaper to buy a new bike or to shave off the weight.
Work hard and save up and buy a quality complete bike. Obviously, the best deals are used, but you have to luck up and find a bike that fits, has the features you want, the price you want in your area.
The sure bet is to buy a new bike. The best way is to buy from a shop where you can be guaranteed that it will fit and you like the way it rides. You can't get that buying online. Buying online is great if you know EXACTLY what you want. There are more bad choices than good ones for bike noobs.
The good thing is that the summer is over soon. That means that shops will have lots of sales, soon. Winter is a great time to buy a bike. Shops are slow and prices are low.