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  1. #1
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    Used Americano S&S Frameset or a new Trek 520?

    I haven't toured for quite a while, so the world has pased me by a bit...

    I can buy in my size (60cm) a used 2006 Americano Copilot frameset, with CK headset, Thomson seat post, S&S travel case, and padding for the same price as a new Trek 520. Is the Americano so much better that it would be worth it to build the bike up from the state it's in or should I forego the hasstle and just buy the Trek?

  2. #2
    HomeBrew Master! Gus Riley's Avatar
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    I think if the Americano was in my size and I needed a bike and the same choices were tempting me...I would be sorely pressed to go with the Americano! The S&S couplers, and accessories would be the leverages throwing me over in favor of the Co Motion. But I also have on hand many of the components I would need to build a complete bike; a great many might not.
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  3. #3
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    Tails, the Co Motion, Heads, the Trek

    like above the ability, you call 'hassle' so may not have, then, to complete the build,
    is a dividing line..
    go new and get the dealer service after the sale as a back-up.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 10-05-12 at 08:44 AM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    As long as the frame fits you well, the Co-Motion S&S frame with all the extras sounds like a really good deal for about $1,500 (half price over new.) Is the frame in excellent condition? You will be hard-pressed to find a similar deal plus all the stars gotta realign to give you the right specs. Obviously, you will need to stretch the wallet to build it complete. If you're not in a rush, it can be a great winter project and have it fully built by the spring. The S&S frame/case should make this bike really enjoyable on overseas trips (if that's also something you want to do.)

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    If 'twere me, I'd tend towards the 520. If you think it's going to be a hassle getting the bits together and putting them on the Co-motion, you're going to have a small fit taking everything off the bike (except the chain) and packing everything into the case. For something as big as a 60 cm frame, you'll probably have to take off the bars, stem, fork, crank (both sides), seatpost, and derailer. Every time you pack it up to fly.

    Also, I think the one question nobody's answered satisfactorily is, what do you do with the case if you tour one way?

    Compare that to a bike that you may add accessories to: rack, speedo, lights, fenders. Once. Then you ride it all over the place. It has all that stuff you'd have to remove from the Co-motion to pack, already on the bike, adjusted, and ready to ride. It's got stout wheels for touring when loaded. It's got tires!

    One's a good project bike if you're bored this winter, and want to spend twice the money. The other's (almost) ready to go. Your choice.

  6. #6
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
    I haven't toured for quite a while, so the world has pased me by a bit...

    I can buy in my size (60cm) a used 2006 Americano Copilot frameset, with CK headset, Thomson seat post, S&S travel case, and padding for the same price as a new Trek 520. Is the Americano so much better that it would be worth it to build the bike up from the state it's in or should I forego the hasstle and just buy the Trek?
    Hands down, the Americano. Yes, you'll have to build up the bike and it will cost you more, in the end, then the Trek. However, most of us bicycle tourist keep our bikes, foolishly, for decades. If you buy the Trek, 20 years from now you'll have a hohum Trek like thousands of others. If you buy the Americano you'll have a something much more unique.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
    If 'twere me, I'd tend towards the 520. If you think it's going to be a hassle getting the bits together and putting them on the Co-motion, you're going to have a small fit taking everything off the bike (except the chain) and packing everything into the case. For something as big as a 60 cm frame, you'll probably have to take off the bars, stem, fork, crank (both sides), seatpost, and derailer. Every time you pack it up to fly.

    Also, I think the one question nobody's answered satisfactorily is, what do you do with the case if you tour one way?

    Compare that to a bike that you may add accessories to: rack, speedo, lights, fenders. Once. Then you ride it all over the place. It has all that stuff you'd have to remove from the Co-motion to pack, already on the bike, adjusted, and ready to ride. It's got stout wheels for touring when loaded. It's got tires!

    One's a good project bike if you're bored this winter, and want to spend twice the money. The other's (almost) ready to go. Your choice.
    I spoke with a Co-Motion dealer about the fit of a 60cm and they admit its very tight. In fact, the parts have to go into the case in a specific order and orientation. Seat post and saddle come out and the tires are deflated, but after that, you're good to go. But, like with most things, once you know, it's easy. But a very good point.

    I would think that one way trips could be handled using a 26x26x10 cardboard box. If not a 27x27x8 box and another box that could also be used to help transport the rest of your gear. I've used the polyethylene foam pipe insulation from the hardware store to help protect bikes in the past. The cardboard and the foam insulation can be hopefully recycled at the destination of the start or your trip.

    I think you have a good point also about whether done you'll have a better tourer with the Americano versus the Trek when said and done. Sure, the Americano would have all the component choices that optimize fit, utility, and preferences, but like you imply, the Trek might be "good enuf".


    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Hands down, the Americano. Yes, you'll have to build up the bike and it will cost you more, in the end, then the Trek. However, most of us bicycle tourist keep our bikes, foolishly, for decades. If you buy the Trek, 20 years from now you'll have a hohum Trek like thousands of others. If you buy the Americano you'll have a something much more unique.
    Cyclocomute, can you elaborate on "unique". I'm not sure I want to pay alot for "unique".

    Quote Originally Posted by Gus Riley View Post
    I think if the Americano was in my size and I needed a bike and the same choices were tempting me...I would be sorely pressed to go with the Americano! The S&S couplers, and accessories would be the leverages throwing me over in favor of the Co Motion. But I also have on hand many of the components I would need to build a complete bike; a great many might not.
    Gus, would you mind explaining to me why you'd go with the Americano? Sure the accessories sweeten the deal, but is there anything inherent in the Americano frameset that makes it superior to the Trek - assuming equivalent componentry? Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
    I spoke with a Co-Motion dealer about the fit of a 60cm and they admit its very tight. In fact, the parts have to go into the case in a specific order and orientation. Seat post and saddle come out and the tires are deflated, but after that, you're good to go.
    The builder tried to talk me into 650B wheels, but I wanted to maintain compatibility with my other bikes, so I got 700C wheels. I have to fully deflate both, and roll the front tire off the rim so it doesn't pull the top of the stand-off up when the Terrorist Support Agency (TSA) opens it to peek. TSA then mashes everything down, which can lead to some problems if/when they mess up the careful arrangement.

    Of course, after all that, the one time I found a tire was wearing out, I was on the road and had to go buy another tire instead of using up the stock at home. But I doubt I'd have been able to find a 650B tire around that place...

  9. #9
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    I think the decision will come down to some strong personal choices. Both framesets are equally capable for the kind of touring most people do. The biggest delta between those two framesets is obviously in the S&S couplers. How important is that feature to you? If your plan is basically to do domestic tours in the U.S. or possibly Canada, then paying a premium for couplers might not make much sense. The Trek will work just fine. Just remember that if you ever want to retrofit your Trek frame with couplers, it will cost you between $700-$900 given that most likely you'll have to repaint the frame.

    The other differences are much less tangible but are part of the "premium" for the Americano. These might not of any value to you, but they are there:

    * Handmade with selected higher-end tubing (Reynolds 725)
    * American craftsmanship: Being custom, lots of care and attention to detail go into their frames
    * Brand: Co-Motion is known for being a topshelf brand , so you indeed pay more for that headbadge. They are, however, known for excellent customer service - not sure if it will be 100% applicable to you as a second owner, but you might still enjoy some benefits.
    * The points above might put the Co-Motion frame in the "collectible" category years down the road, if that's of any value to you. Possibly that's what makes them unique.
    Last edited by Chris Pringle; 10-06-12 at 04:32 PM.

  10. #10
    HomeBrew Master! Gus Riley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
    [COLOR="#0000FF"]...Gus, would you mind explaining to me why you'd go with the Americano? Sure the accessories sweeten the deal, but is there anything inherent in the Americano frameset that makes it superior to the Trek - assuming equivalent componentry? Thanks!
    You got me there! Aside from the S&S Couplers I drool over it because of its reputation as a great bike at a high price! So materialistic I know. I tour on a LHT just fine...love my Surly...did some big tour days on it this past summer while crossing on the TransAm...I only saw one Americano...it was a beauty.
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    The main downside to an Americano deal is that people tend to loose their nut and buy a bike that doesn't even fit them. You seem immune to the bling appeal, which is good for your decision making.

    The stuff you get with the deal aside from the bike is worth the price of the frame, so you sorta get an extra frame.

    If the Americano were made for you custom, there would be no comparison with the 520. It is a custom frame which means much better quality than some junk from Asia. Modern custom frames are really made to a high standard, and while CM is not a artisan type shop, they are a very well equipped shop for making perfect frames.

    Custom frames also come with a concept. In the CM case they have this idea of a touring bike as being based on an tandem due to the larger weight haul, so they do stuff like the 145 mm rear hub. A concept is a good thing, if it matches your needs. The LHT type frames or the 520s are largely marketing driven concepts, hit the sweat spot of the market, sell lots of frames. Which makes the target frame design very good for the average user. The downside to a concept is that it may not match your needs. In this case, the rear hub does limit your choices, and I would feel the need to buy a quality hub like a phil to match the frame. But I like the overall idea. But you have to want the 145 mm frame, the integrated headset, and the S&S for yourself, among other things. You could look for Neil of Crazy Guy for his review of his Comotion experience.

    725 Is good stuff, but not overly exciting. Here is an interesting old article on the differences between standard 4130, and the 753 that is the next step from 720 for certain applications.

    http://bhovey.com/Masi/Scans/Bicycle...7_03Steel1.htm

    Building a bike is a pretty small job, and for those tourists for whom it is a big job, it is probably time well spent hitting their wrenching groove.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    Even when travelling domestically, the couplers can be handy when shipping a bike. Although, with front and rear racks and fenders you will not get it into a small box regardless of deflating the tires or not. My wife's Co-Motion has couplers, and I did not try to get it into an airline "checkable" box. However, I did get it into a small enough box that it was $100 dollars less to FedX it from Oregon to Michigan than my LHT. It will only take 6 more trips and the couplers are paid for!

    There are several reason that I would prefer the Americano over the 520:
    The Chris King headset is one of the best on the market;
    The finish and workmanship are superior to the 520;
    I don't like bar end shifters, and with the Americano I could build it the way I want;
    I prefer lower gearing than a stock 520, and I would change chainrings or crankset anyway;
    If I bought the 520, I would change saddles; and
    The Co-Motion is a more rugged bike than the 520; and
    Customer service is exceptional.

    My point is : if you know what you want in a bike, building it up yourself is a good way to get exactly what you want, not what Trek or Surly think you should have. The Americano frame set would be an excellent platform to start with. However, building up a bike is usually more expensive than just purchasing a stock bike, unless you end up changing a lot of those stock components. Having said all that, the Co-Motion would have to be in excellent shape, and fit me correctly. If the frame was built for the seller, and you are not built similar to the seller, it may not be an optimum fit. Stock bikes are seldom optimum fits either, so it may or may not be an issue.
    Last edited by Doug64; 10-07-12 at 09:47 AM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member zeppinger's Avatar
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    Americano- no debate

  14. #14
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
    Cyclocomute, can you elaborate on "unique". I'm not sure I want to pay alot for "unique".
    [/COLOR]
    Chris Pringle and Doug64 cover it nicely.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
    I haven't toured for quite a while, so the world has pased me by a bit...

    I can buy in my size (60cm) a used 2006 Americano Copilot frameset, with CK headset, Thomson seat post, S&S travel case, and padding for the same price as a new Trek 520. Is the Americano so much better that it would be worth it to build the bike up from the state it's in or should I forego the hasstle and just buy the Trek?
    If you get larger tubing diameters with the Americano, the ride will be more solid (less flexy), esp. with heavier loads or riders. I can really feel the difference with oversized tubing. The rock-solid ride is worth something. OTOH, some people can certainly get used to the flexier rides. Others not so much, though. Neil, at CGOAB, for example, seems to have a strong leaning toward the rock solidness.

    If the build is going to be a long, slow, torturous hassle for you, that is a factor too. But you could find some help, online (here for example) or in person -- and/or see it differently, maybe as an interesting challenge and learning-opportunity project.

    It can be a good feeling when you know a bike inside-out, and you are better able to understand and deal with problems that may arise on tour.

    The Americano definitely seems more of a no-compromise approach, but a lot of people like the Trek just fine too.

    I'd probably lean toward the Americano, as long as I found a way to be good with the build.

  16. #16
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    I have a Co-Motion Nor'wester Co-Pilot 700c and really like it. I also have two other Co-Motion 26" Co-Pilot bikes. I bought them all used as framesets and built them up the way I like them. They make a really nice product and are a good company that stands behind their products. But, like most bike companies, the frame warranty is only to the original purchaser, so if you are worried about that, then get the Trek.

    You can build up a frameset with nice components on the cheap by using Ebay. This also lets you spec the bike exactly like you'd want it. The only thing to beware of is that the Americano takes a rear wheel with hub spacing of 145mm, which is a normal tandem size. These do come up on Ebay now and again, but they are more rare than your normal 130 or 135mm rear hubs.

    The Americano is a full-on touring bike, built like a tandem. If you are primarily concerned with a bike for touring, that will probably serve you the best. If you want a bike that will be good for all-around use, the Trek might be a better option.

    I would never spec a touring bike with 650 wheels. I know some people really love them, but I can't imagine trying to find a replacement tire or rim while on tour. Better just to go with a 26" wheel and be more compatible.

    Discussions about touring with an S&S bike, what to do with the case, etc., have been covered MANY times in other threads. A search will turn them up, of course.

    As a data point, this summer I've done two trans-Atlantic trips with S&S cases. In August we flew to Germany with our S&S Santana triplet, and in September I flew to Germany with my S&S Co-Motion 26" single bike. No hassles at all on either trip, and no extra fees. I timed the packing of my single bike when I flew home from the trip: 20 minutes, including wrapping the frame with the Velcro pads, removing the handlebars and pedals, removing the rear derailleur, and removing the drive-side cranks. As someone mentioned, though, a 60cm bike might require a bit more disassembly, including pulling the fork (pretty easy if you have a King headset).

  17. #17
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    Cyclesafe, I've always held the 520 in high regard. It will require some tinkering, like about any off the rack complete bicycle. The Americano with the S&S couplers is high on the wowza scale and for me would dictate a high end build.

    If it were my choice? The Americano, even though I wouldn't need the S&S couplers.

    Brad

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    is there a photo of this americano dream machine

  19. #19
    Senior Member zeppinger's Avatar
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    Inspirational musical answer----> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aMkoiRKCgE

  20. #20
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    The 520 bikes are nice, but they don't even belong in the same thread as the Americano frames.... Some day I'll own one. Sigh....

  21. #21
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    Thank you all for the input so far. You are truly experts.

    After looking at the specs on the Co-Motion site and after making some adjustments, I would propose the following build. Any input would be appreciated:

    Crankset: Shimano XT M785 40/28 double includes BB ($340 retail)
    Cassette: SRAM 12-36 10sp ($90 retail)
    Chain: Wipperman stainless 10sp ($90 retail)
    Shifters: Durace 10sp bar ends ($120 retail)
    FD: Shimano XT M786 bottom pull for double ($60 retail)
    RD: XT Shimano XT M772 Shadow (long, 45 teeth wrap capacity ($130 retail)
    Brakes: AVID BB7 short pull mechanicals ($120 ebay)
    Brake Levers: Shimano R600 short pulls ($115 retail)
    Headset: CK included
    Stem: Thomson Elite X2 ($20 ebay)
    Seat: B17 ($50 ebay)
    Seat clamp (included)
    Seatpost: Thomson (included)
    Rear wheel: Dyad, 14ga, White Industries 145mm hub ($200 ebay)
    Front wheel: Dyad, 14ga, White Industries 100mm hub ($240 retail)
    Tires: Schwalbe Dureme 35mm ($140 retail)

    These components add up to $1715. If I add in the frameset plus the additional goodies on offer of $1500, that totals about $3200-3300 for a functionally new Americano Co-Pilot, versus a retail of $5100 ($5500 including tax) for a new one.

    Is this really a good decision????

  22. #22
    Senior Member zeppinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
    Thank you all for the input so far. You are truly experts.

    After looking at the specs on the Co-Motion site and after making some adjustments, I would propose the following build. Any input would be appreciated:

    Crankset: Shimano XT M785 40/28 double includes BB ($340 retail)
    Cassette: SRAM 12-36 10sp ($90 retail)
    Chain: Wipperman stainless 10sp ($90 retail)
    Shifters: Durace 10sp bar ends ($120 retail)
    FD: Shimano XT M786 bottom pull for double ($60 retail)
    RD: XT Shimano XT M772 Shadow (long, 45 teeth wrap capacity ($130 retail)
    Brakes: AVID BB7 short pull mechanicals ($120 ebay)
    Brake Levers: Shimano R600 short pulls ($115 retail)
    Headset: CK included
    Stem: Thomson Elite X2 ($20 ebay)
    Seat: B17 ($50 ebay)
    Seat clamp (included)
    Seatpost: Thomson (included)
    Rear wheel: Dyad, 14ga, White Industries 145mm hub ($200 ebay)
    Front wheel: Dyad, 14ga, White Industries 100mm hub ($240 retail)
    Tires: Schwalbe Dureme 35mm ($140 retail)

    These components add up to $1715. If I add in the frameset plus the additional goodies on offer of $1500, that totals about $3200-3300 for a functionally new Americano Co-Pilot, versus a retail of $5100 ($5500 including tax) for a new one.

    Is this really a good decision????
    Buy used components and replace/upgrade them with new as needed to save money on the initial investment. Do you really need 115$ brake levers? Do those ever really wear out? ect....

  23. #23
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
    Thank you all for the input so far. You are truly experts.

    After looking at the specs on the Co-Motion site and after making some adjustments, I would propose the following build. Any input would be appreciated:

    Crankset: Shimano XT M785 40/28 double includes BB ($340 retail)
    Cassette: SRAM 12-36 10sp ($90 retail)
    Chain: Wipperman stainless 10sp ($90 retail)
    Shifters: Durace 10sp bar ends ($120 retail)
    FD: Shimano XT M786 bottom pull for double ($60 retail)
    RD: XT Shimano XT M772 Shadow (long, 45 teeth wrap capacity ($130 retail)
    Brakes: AVID BB7 short pull mechanicals ($120 ebay)
    Brake Levers: Shimano R600 short pulls ($115 retail)
    Headset: CK included
    Stem: Thomson Elite X2 ($20 ebay)
    Seat: B17 ($50 ebay)
    Seat clamp (included)
    Seatpost: Thomson (included)
    Rear wheel: Dyad, 14ga, White Industries 145mm hub ($200 ebay)
    Front wheel: Dyad, 14ga, White Industries 100mm hub ($240 retail)
    Tires: Schwalbe Dureme 35mm ($140 retail)

    These components add up to $1715. If I add in the frameset plus the additional goodies on offer of $1500, that totals about $3200-3300 for a functionally new Americano Co-Pilot, versus a retail of $5100 ($5500 including tax) for a new one.

    Is this really a good decision????
    You could save some money on various components and have a better set up for touring. First the double crank is geared too low. If you spin it at 100 rpm, you'll top out at 26 mph. That's a pretty high rev for not much return. You could go with this XT trekking crank for a lot less money and have a better high gear as well as a better low. You could even replace the inner with a 20 tooth ring...you can find them on Fleabay...and have a super low.

    I'd probably ditch the 10 speed mountain bike stuff and opt for 9 speed. Better availability of parts and fewer compatibility issues.

    The stainless chain is also an unnecessary expense. Chains are consumables. Buy cheap ones and replace them often.

    For the front derailer, skip the XT. Skip a high end road front too. Go with a Shimano Tiagra double (if you go the double crank route) or a triple. Shimano does all kinds of wonderful sculpting of the high end front derailers that may beef up the plates so that they don't flex as much but the Tiagra is only minimally sculpted and the distance between the plates is wider than it's more expensive brothers. That gives it a wider range across the cassette for any given gear in the front. It's just more forgiving and easier to set up.

    The same holds true for mountain bike derailers...if you really want to use one...go towards the cheaper end of the spectrum. They are a better product. Or go with any of the Sram fronts. From top to bottom of their line, they are a much better front derailer than the high end Shimano.

    I really doubt that you can get a Thomson Elite X2 on Fleabay for $20. It may start for $20 but expect it to sell for around $90.

    With good choices you can probably knock that bill down $200 to $300 bucks.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  24. #24
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    Cyclesafe, If this is the build YOU want, it's worth it.

    Brad

  25. #25
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    Concur with Cyccomute:

    * 9 spd drivetrain works well for touring
    * Triple crankset (read reviews on Shimano M590 or M591 w/ 48-36-26t) and replace the smallest chainring for a 22t
    * No reason to pay almost $100 bucks for a chain. Like Wipperman? Buy their 9 spd chain for ~$35 bucks.
    * See great cost-effective alternatives - for example brake levers... Cane Creek's SCR-5 are about $35/set.

    Don't forget to use the price match features from JensonUSA and Universal Cycles. Bikes Online also has great prices, but no price match. I think overall you can save a big chunk of money on this build (ending closer to half price over new.) Will it be worth it? I think the overall concensus here is YES.

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