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Custom build from LBS or self-build

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Custom build from LBS or self-build

Old 07-25-13, 06:53 PM
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oceanhug
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Custom build from LBS or self-build

Dear all,

I'm planning to put together a brevet bike which will be an unholy concoction of road bike parts with dynamo lighting, fenders, front and rear racks, etc. So it will definitely have to be a a custom build.

I am very used to ordering all the parts I need online and wrenching myself. That's how I slowly arrived at the bike I'm riding today. When comparing online prices to my LBS I often found that items are sometimes so much more expensive that they'd be out of reach for me if I bought there. E.g. a crankset or a pair of integrated shifters could often be $100-200 more expensive than online.

Now, the point of this post is not to start a debate about supporting your LBS vs the evils of online shopping, but I'm trying to figure out whether I should go through a shop for a complete build or order my parts online from disparate sources and build myself. Mainly, I'm wondering whether if I buy a complete bike, the shop will charge me the same markup on the parts as they would if I bought individual parts at retail prices. Obviously complete builds are usually much cheaper than if you sourced the same parts at retail prices, but I'm wondering if that advantage will also apply for a custom build.

Basically, I am certainly willing to pay a certain extra for the service, professional build, and possibly a bike fit from the LBS, but it depends on whether their markup on parts will be so high that it puts the build out of reach for me.
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Old 07-25-13, 07:17 PM
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Sometimes a bicycle shop will give you free labor if you buy a whole groupset. they offered this to me when I ordered a custom frame.
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Old 07-25-13, 07:35 PM
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Sounds like something like a Lynskey Sportive Disc would fit the bill, but break the bank. I plan on giving myself one after I put an end to my post graduation job search. Personally I think the comfort of a carbon fork on long rides is worth not having a front rack.
https://www.lynskeyperformance.com/s...sc-models.html

Complete bikes are definitely cheaper, but I'm not sure if there are a lot out there matching your frame requirements. If you have very specific components in mind, you can put together a list and price it out online, then see what your local shop would charge. Another LBS benefit to consider are warranty exchanges, some shops will even swap a part out of their inventory to minimize down time.

A guy I ride with isn't very particular about components so he buys used non-current models online, whatever he can get cheap.
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Old 07-25-13, 07:51 PM
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For a Brevet bike, I would build it myself. Many times complete bike builds skimp on the components in certain areas and you'll many times find components on this complete build that won't serve you well for Brevets. Putting it together yourself will ensure you get exactly what you want and it's quite satisfying to know that the bike that's taking you on that 200k was put together by your own hands.
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Old 07-25-13, 07:55 PM
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Why would you want to pay somebody else to have the fun of building your bike?
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Old 07-25-13, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
Why would you want to pay somebody else to have the fun of building your bike?
Yeah. I don't always enjoy fixing bikes, but building up a new one is always fun.
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Old 07-25-13, 08:51 PM
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To be clear, this will definitely have to be a custom build. No stock build will be close to what I need. I'm thinking about a Gunnar Sport with long reach brakes and 28mm tires. My question is rather, if I put together a build list and show it to my LBS, will they quote me a price that is competitive with what I can by sourcing the parts myself?
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Old 07-25-13, 09:08 PM
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I just had a build done frame up by a shop. Build was a few hundred more vs my shopping parts and doing it myself. The attention to detail, the full fitting and their knowledge of what works best in combinations was totally worth the money.
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Old 07-25-13, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by oceanhug View Post
if I put together a build list and show it to my LBS, will they quote me a price that is competitive with what I can by sourcing the parts myself?
Not if its any of my shops, but stuff is pricier in Canada. One shop said some of the prices I got online from Wiggle in the UK are lower than their cost.
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Old 07-25-13, 09:23 PM
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Depends on the shop, but I think my guys would come in close. They basically throw in the labor. You might come out more ahead if you spent a lot of time scouring clearance sales and bargain bins.
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Old 07-25-13, 10:31 PM
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Got all the tools needed, in the Home Shop?
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Old 07-26-13, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Got all the tools needed, in the Home Shop?
Yeah, you should also make sure to add the cost of the tools for building it yourself. Most bike tools are specialized for bikes only. The only thing I don't have is a headset press so for this I take the frame & fork in to have that done. The rest I may have another $100-150 in tools invested.

If you have a co-op in your town, you could take your parts in and use their tools and they usually have a mechanic on premises that can help you if you have any questions.
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Old 07-26-13, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Got all the tools needed, in the Home Shop?
Cable cutter, chain breaker, whatever you need to install your bottom bracket. What else?
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Old 07-26-13, 10:25 AM
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Maybe you can lend those tools to the OP?
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Old 07-26-13, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by knobster View Post
Yeah, you should also make sure to add the cost of the tools for building it yourself. Most bike tools are specialized for bikes only. The only thing I don't have is a headset press so for this I take the frame & fork in to have that done. The rest I may have another $100-150 in tools invested.

If you have a co-op in your town, you could take your parts in and use their tools and they usually have a mechanic on premises that can help you if you have any questions.
Yeah, I was planning on using a co-op workshop. Anybody know a good one they can recommend in Seattle?
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Old 07-26-13, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by kingsqueak View Post
I just had a build done frame up by a shop. Build was a few hundred more vs my shopping parts and doing it myself. The attention to detail, the full fitting and their knowledge of what works best in combinations was totally worth the money.
I am going to have to agree with you there. Some components just don't work together and shops see this all the time vs the rest of us that might wrench only a little. I bought all the parts I wanted even the cables since I knew the shop would not have them and brought it too the shop and paid them to put it together. It made a huge difference vs me that doesn't have every tool that the shop does. But sometimes shops will work with you on parts costs and sometimes the warranty on those parts only work with shops that deal with reps. That's something to think about.
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Old 07-26-13, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by shoemakerpom View Post
I am going to have to agree with you there. Some components just don't work together and shops see this all the time vs the rest of us that might wrench only a little. I bought all the parts I wanted even the cables since I knew the shop would not have them and brought it too the shop and paid them to put it together. It made a huge difference vs me that doesn't have every tool that the shop does. But sometimes shops will work with you on parts costs and sometimes the warranty on those parts only work with shops that deal with reps. That's something to think about.
Initially I intended on doing a build. I have a decent set of tools and used to do my own bicycle maintenance in the 80's when I was last riding.

I started the process; frame, drivetrain, brakes, saddle, bars, started to realize that I was way out of date on what was current and was going crazy catching up. As I kept going, I would remember yet another part, yet another piece I had to go research. I got overwhelmed frankly.

Headset? Sheesh I dunno. Spokes? dunno, Hubs? dunno and on and on. Drove me crazy.

So I made a spreadsheet as a starting point, found a good shop, dumped the list on them and chatted them up about what I wanted as a net result and voila. Very happy I did.
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