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Old 02-23-08, 12:26 PM   #1
psycho d
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new bike vs building up a frame

My latest dillema is whether to just buy a complete Jamis Aurora (or comparable) or pick up a frameset and build it up myself. i know building it up will probably be more expensive in the long run, but i was thinking that it may be be quite the learning experince, blah blah blah. i have never built up a bike before, so it is probably a can or worms that need not be opened, but like in that movie:
Carla Jean Moss: And what are you going to do?
Llewelyn Moss: I'm fixin' to do something dumber than hell, but I'm going anyways.

Any suggestions, like talking me out of it. i was thinkin of building up a Surly frameset, BTW. Thanks as always. Ashe.
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Old 02-23-08, 12:47 PM   #2
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If you have desire and the cash, go for the build up. It may well be more expensive in the long run, but:
  • You get exactly the bike you wanted
  • You learn about each and every component that might need servicing on the road
  • And, depending on how you do it, it may be cheaper in the short run as you can buy components one at a time.

This spoken as someone who's never done a full build, but I'm also considering doing a Surly build. Actually what I'm considering doing is upgrade my current bike, a piece at a time, keeping in mind what I will eventually want on the new bike and what will be transferable. That way when I buy the frame, I can minimize the time waiting to gather all the components by "simply" shifting all my components from the old bike.

Also consider if you want special parts that aren't going to come with a complete build. Sometimes you price a complete build vs. building it up yourself and find that a complete build is much cheaper, but sometimes you have a number of upgrades in mind, and by the time you make them, you may find yourself having paid for a number of components that you have replaced, tipping the scale in favor of just starting with a bare frame.
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Old 02-23-08, 12:50 PM   #3
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There is a lot of satisfaction to be gained in building up your own bike although it is always good to have help if your skills aren't 100%.

One of our members crossed Canada on a custom built Arvin long tail (a local builder) and came into our shop on several occasions so I could help him with the stuff that had him stumped and the other benefit in building it, is that you are probably going to be better able to repair it on tour.

Building up your own bike will probably cost a little more unless you really happen on some good sales but you will have all the parts spec'd that way you want them and probably won't have to look at upgrading that production bike later.
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Old 02-23-08, 01:30 PM   #4
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go for the build well worth the efford ,buy the best you can afford dont skimp shimano xt is class ,the only thing i needed doing by a pro was getting the bottom bracket faced. i also used sti leaver's that's what im used to anyhow that's my thought's hope you get what you want cheer's
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Old 02-24-08, 08:25 PM   #5
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OK, I'm extremely biased - I haven't bought a ready to roll bike since 1971. And I love rolling my own. I find the building is as enjoyable as the riding.

I will toss off a quick caveat to the above: Make sure you either know what you're doing, or, have a fallback person for some assistance when you suddenly realize you're up to your proverbial ass in alligators. And plan on putting down a good 300-500 miles on the newly built bike for debugging and modifying before you head out on any planned trip. Include at least 10% of that time fully loaded.

"No wonder we keep testing positive in their bicycle races. Everyone looks like they're full of testosterone when they're surrounded by Frenchmen." ---Argus Hamilton
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Old 02-24-08, 08:49 PM   #6
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I do think it's very helpful to know a lot about bike repair if you're going on an extended tour. However, I'm not yet convinced that rolling your own is necessarily the best means to learn about bike repairs.

Also, let's face it, for most folks their first try is unlikely to produce a professional-quality result. It won't help much if you assemble the bike yourself and something is assembled wrong, and you don't figure it out until mile 2,000, yes?

Perhaps taking some repair classes is a better means to accomplish this end.... THEN you can build the touring bike of your dreams.
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