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Old 05-07-07, 08:33 AM   #1
bccycleguy
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Fly to Europe and buy a frame there?

I originally posted this on the road bike forum but got little response.

Given the steadily increasing costs, hassle and worry of flying with a bike, how easy is it to just buy a frame over there? If you strip all your components off your existing bike and bring them and the wheels in a suitcase you avoid all the extra charges for flying with a bike (or the cost of C&C couplings), plus the cost of a bike case, and all kinds of travel issues when you get to Europe, etc. Maybe at most you might have to buy a new stem, maybe a seatpost. For me, it's a big worry about a long planned holiday being ruined if the bike gets whacked.

What do you do with the frame when you are ready to leave? Well if you really like it, bring it home, otherwise sell, trade or give it away.

This won't appeal to those in the fast lane on a one week holiday, but if you're going over to ride for a month or two then I think this idea has merit.

Anyone done this? There are lots of Europeans on here, how easy is it to buy a decent steel or aluminum frame in a common size for a couple of hundred euros?
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Old 05-07-07, 08:41 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by bccycleguy
This won't appeal to those in the fast lane on a one week holiday, but if you're going over to ride for a month or two then I think this idea has merit.
If you are going for a month+ long trip do you really want to spend your first few days buying and setting up a new bike. Second if your existing bike fits well do you want to spend the first while riding adjusting a new bike and hoping it is as comfortable and reliable?

For a trip that long I would suggest the cost of flying your bike is well worth having a great bike ready to ride as soon as you get off the plane in Europe. I don't think you'll save anything if you factor in time you lost riding and all the hassles and potential problems that can happen with a new bike.
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Old 05-07-07, 08:46 AM   #3
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Me personally, I can't see this as a viable solution. Seems to me it would cause more problems than it solves.
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Old 05-07-07, 08:59 AM   #4
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It's not easy at all. Frames in North America are generally a lot less expensive than in Europe. Pick a bike from a major international manufacturer and compare the prices in the US, Canada, the UK, and Europe. You might be surprised.
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Old 05-07-07, 09:02 AM   #5
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It's not easy at all. Frames in North America are generally a lot less expensive than in Europe. Pick a bike from a major international manufacturer and compare the prices in the US, Canada, the UK, and Europe. You might be surprised.
Ziemas - Absolutely true. Generally, bikes over there run 30 to 50 percent more than in the States. I've actually bought in the States to ship over there - well worth it.
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Old 05-07-07, 01:55 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by bccycleguy
Anyone done this? There are lots of Europeans on here, how easy is it to buy a decent steel or aluminum frame in a common size for a couple of hundred euros?[/COLOR]
Last fall while living in Bonn, Germany for 6 weeks, I bought a Cube-brand cyclocross bike on sale for 599 euros. Aluminum frame, Deore 27-speeds, generic tires, etc. Spent another 65 euros getting barends, better saddle, stem riser, etc.

The bike was on sale as end-of-season. I looked at frames & while I don't remember specific prices, I do remember it was cheaper just to buy a whole bike. Still the 599 euros was more than I ever paid for a bike before but was the cheapest bike I found in going to 4 different stores (one a ~ BikeMart, 2 small LBS, and the one I bought from, a mid-size LBS). The cheapest bike I saw in all those shops was 550 euros. The Cube was the best, cheapest bike I could find. Of all the bikes, the Scott brand was the only frameset I saw displayed besides the 1000-2000 euro CF 'in-your'dreams' frames displayed.

A thought on this: in Bonn there is a twice-yearly sale of vintage/used bikes held out on the sidewalk in front of the university. Mostly old guys who have renovated old road frames & kid bikes in their spare time & are standing around talking to each other. A few truly vintage bikes. I suppose one could buy one of those & then try to put your own components on it. But what a PITA if the parts don't fit. I went to that sale hoping to find a large frame (I ride a 62+ cm) and there wasn't anything close to my size. That's when I just bit the bullet and bought a new bike. Sold it to a German friend & will 'rent' it back from him this summer when I'm over there. I suspect many communities have similar 'bike swaps' and to find them you'd probably have to contact the local cycling clubs like AFDC chapters.

That's only my limited experience from trying to find/buy a bike in Germany. Becnal, cyclezealot & others will have more specific info about the feasibility of finding a frame to hold your own components. If you're good enough as a wrench, take your bike completely apart, ship it to yourself via Fedex or UPS, then re-assemble there.
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