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To build, rather than buy?

Old 08-19-13, 08:45 AM
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To build, rather than buy?

Hi all,

I thought I'd pose the question...

As a first-time tourer on quite a low budget - $600-800 CAD. Would it be better off if I were to build, rather than buy my first touring bike?

I do have a Triumph Challenger MTB which I've semi-equipped for touring. Added panniers and a rear rack, looking for some new road tyres in the near future as the current ones are about two years old and worn.

Though I realise that I cannot indefinitely keep converting this MTB into a tourer, I've toyed with the idea of building my own touring bike. I'm no professional bike mechanic - very, very amateur in fact. But, I suppose that would be part of the experience. However, it might be one bloody expensive endeavour.

Any thoughts from all of you out there who build them yourselves?

Cheers,

jhawk.
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Old 08-19-13, 09:28 AM
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Buy is smarter in your scenario. To build within that budget, you'd have to know what you're doing and probably have a lot of the parts and tools already to make it work.
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Old 08-19-13, 09:56 AM
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I have 2 bikes that were custom frames , That I built ,

and in the latter case, not my shop , participated 1st hand in the shop where it was being built.

But I suspect you are talking about buying a Frame and Fork.. then each piece .. all at retail.

Though I realise that I cannot indefinitely keep converting this MTB into a tourer,
you mean taking everything off again Between tours?

If you have found a satisfactory Touring setup, why not N+1?, Buy a new Mountain bike..
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Old 08-19-13, 10:49 AM
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My experience is that building a bike is almost always more expensive than simply buying a complete one from the store. When you build a bike, however, you will have more fun, the bike will usually be better in terms of quality, and it will be more "perfect" for you.
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Old 08-19-13, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
I have 2 bikes that were custom frames , That I built ,

and in the latter case, not my shop , participated 1st hand in the shop where it was being built.

But I suspect you are talking about buying a Frame and Fork.. then each piece .. all at retail.



you mean taking everything off again Between tours?

If you have found a satisfactory Touring setup, why not N+1?, Buy a new Mountain bike..
Hi there Fietsbob,

I don't mean taking everything off again betwixt tours. I mean, constantly upgrading the bike. Adding new things to make it more suited to touring. (Panniers, racks, water bottle cages, bar ends, touring tyres, etc). But, at the end of the day, the frame will still weigh a ton, and it will still have the same gearing, etc.

The touring setup that I have isn't satisfactory yet. But, with the above-mentioned additions, it could be. Certainly for short-ish tours, overnighters, multi-day and circum-provincial tours (I live in Canada). But, I won't be going cross-country on it. If I were, I'd buy a brand new, proper touring bike.

I'm looking for a road bike that I could adapt to touring - simply because my MTB won't really do the job. It was hell on my first tour - heavy as...
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Old 08-19-13, 12:21 PM
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not all bike weight if touring in mind, is bad

But where the weight is , and its function.. heavier thicker tube wall will wiggle side to side, less

once you put your gear on that back rack.. ..



People ride all sorts of bikes , touring the Pacific coast.. 23 wide tire road bikes , all their gear on a bike trailer..

hybrids, Mountain bikes , the old Schwinn Varsity..


Touring is the activity, more than the bike.

so you want a 700c type wheel? A 26" wheel is no demerit. better in many ways..


I have a 20" wheel Bike Friday excellent touring bike

added advantage

you can pack it small so get in under the fee limits to fly places..

even offer a suitcase trailer kit to tow the suitcase the bike will fit in.

hundreds used, in countries around the world, every year , touring.
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Old 08-19-13, 01:10 PM
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I second the cheaper to buy than to build notion. When I put together my mtb, I used the drivetrain from another I had broken as a kid. As such, it ended up costing ~$100 less than a similarly equipped ride from a store. When I decided I wanted a road bike, however, I found that I couldn't even match the price. Might have worked out with used parts, but I didn't want to go that route.
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Old 08-19-13, 05:13 PM
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Fit is First when looking for a dedicated touring bike. TT length is most important for long, comfortable daily miles. Nail size down by visiting local bike shops. telling them your budget, and the purpose for the bike. They probably won't know much about touring bikes, but can help determine frame size in cm.

If the lbs can't work within your budget, check out bikesdirect.com. Or, patiently search Craigs, etc for a good deal on used.

A frame build out is very likely the most expensive solution.
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Old 08-19-13, 05:18 PM
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.

While it is true that in the end I'm sure I spend more building a bike than if I paid for one new, the fact that I'd end up changing; the seat, handlebars, pedals, tires, probably the rear wheel, perhaps the cassette, and most likely at least one of the chainrings, on said brand-new bike, means that to my mind, I might as well build a bike from the frame up (or slowly convert it over). It helps that I'm partial to steel mountain bike geometry from the late 80's and early 90's, one can build a tourer from that starting point that is quite good.

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Old 08-19-13, 06:28 PM
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I was just looking at Mikes Bike shop in Moncton...they have plenty of Hybrid bikes I saw a nice trek 2011 new for $379 CDN...just a thought... they have FX also for under $500... Better price you get more accesories you can buy....Also Consolvo bikes has KHS... good prices on those...FVitworks has a nice Louis Garneau Citizen 100 for $399.00 so you see if you shop around you might get a nice bike for the money...Bonne Chance mon Frere Cycliste Neo Brunswiquois....
Look i am not saying you should pick a hybrid or a road or a touring bike, all i am saying is you can get a deal on a new bike or a leftover bike...How far is Richiboucto from Moncton, an hour? you should be able to get a ride out there and do some shopping at those 3 shops...they may have a clearance deal you can't pass up...

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Old 08-19-13, 06:38 PM
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You can probably buy a good used touring bike cheaper than you can build or buy one. Would suggest you either buy through a shop or have it mechanically inspected. Some tourers are timeless classics.
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Old 08-19-13, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Notgrownup
I was just looking at Mikes Bike shop in Moncton...they have plenty of Hybrid bikes I saw a nice trek 2011 new for $379 CDN...just a thought... they have FX also for under $500... Better price you get more accesories you can buy....Also Consolvo bikes has KHS... good prices on those...FVitworks has a nice Louis Garneau Citizen 100 for $399.00 so you see if you shop around you might get a nice bike for the money...Bonne Chance mon Frere Cycliste Neo Brunswiquois....
Look i am not saying you should pick a hybrid or a road or a touring bike, all i am saying is you can get a deal on a new bike or a leftover bike...How far is Richiboucto from Moncton, an hour? you should be able to get a ride out there and do some shopping at those 3 shops...they may have a clearance deal you can't pass up...
I've been to both Mike's Bike's and Consolvo. I found Consolvo more helpful, but that's besides the point. I'll shop around for sure! I guess I'm just being impatient to get on the road with the proper bike! Patience is a virtue, which I've yet to acquire!

Merci, mon ami! Bonne chance pour toi aussi! (French is my second language, even then it sucks! Being British an' all!)
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Old 08-19-13, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by jhawk
I've been to both Mike's Bike's and Consolvo. I found Consolvo more helpful, but that's besides the point. I'll shop around for sure! I guess I'm just being impatient to get on the road with the proper bike! Patience is a virtue, which I've yet to acquire!

Merci, mon ami! Bonne chance pour toi aussi! (French is my second language, even then it sucks! Being British an' all!)
It's all good bud...I have been gone from Robertville for 27 years... Got assimilated here now...
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Old 08-19-13, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by jhawk
Though I realise that I cannot indefinitely keep converting this MTB into a tourer, I've toyed with the idea of building my own touring bike. I'm no professional bike mechanic - very, very amateur in fact. But, I suppose that would be part of the experience. However, it might be one bloody expensive endeavour.

Any thoughts from all of you out there who build them yourselves?
I've built five bikes up from the frame over the past five years: one full-suspension mountain bike, one rigid mountain bike, two road bikes, and one touring bike. Here's what I'll say about the process of building a bike up from a bare frame versus buying a complete bike:

1) You're going to spend more money if you want new parts. If you're willing to take a chance on used parts or you already have a good supply of parts (say from a donor bike that you already own), then it's different. But if you're buying new no matter what bargain you find, you can be sure that Trek, Surly, et. al. are getting a much better price because they're buying 10,000+ of the same component. All five of my builds have gone over-budget by at least US$100-200.

1a) If you're on a strict budget, you're could to end up with worse parts. This is a corollary to point #1 : because you can't get as good a price as a bike manufacturer can, you may to be forced to choose less expensive components. They might still be adequate, but they probably won't be as good as what you'd get on a complete bike. This is the one area where being a good, and patient, bargain-hunter can make a big difference. My bikes generally end up with slightly better components than their complete equivalent because I've found a great deal, was willing to buy last year's model, etc.

2) You're going to spend more time. Especially if you're on a budget and want new parts, you're going to have to spend quite a bit of time hunting for bargains. It generally takes me 1-2 months to acquire parts for a build at bargain prices.

3) You're going to need some mechanical know-how... and tools. Having to pay a mechanic $100-200 to install components on your frame is a good way to go over budget, or perhaps I should say: go even further over budget.

The upside to this whole process is that you'll know every component on the bike intimately because you've selected and installed it yourself. This is worth quite a bit, especially if you're planning to ride solo on unsupported tours. It's also possible to tailor a bike to your specific needs. You can decide on the exact gearing, for example, or splurge a bit for super-reliable wheels. If you buy a complete bike, you're stuck with whatever components the manufacturer has chosen.
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Old 08-19-13, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by jhawk
Hi all,

I thought I'd pose the question...

As a first-time tourer on quite a low budget - $600-800 CAD. Would it be better off if I were to build, rather than buy my first touring bike?


Any thoughts from all of you out there who build them yourselves?

Cheers,

jhawk.
Either way you're spending money. For retail purchases a whole bike is cheaper than buying parts retail plus frame retail. Refer to Cyclebums comment wrt fit. That is your starting point. After that the bike should be able to carry the load. Your comments about weight don't make sense because your gear weighs so much more than differences in bike weights. If I was you I'd get seat/handlebar dimensions figured out. It's possible your Mtb tires aren't optimum for touring.
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Old 08-19-13, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by jhawk
I'm looking for a road bike that I could adapt to touring - simply because my MTB won't really do the job. It was hell on my first tour - heavy as...
A road bike is not a dedicated touring bike and can't be turned into one. It'll work just fine for unloaded credit card touring though. Most touring bikes weigh about 30 pounds, sans accessories, vs an entry level road bike at maybe 20 pounds.
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Old 08-19-13, 10:50 PM
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On the OR Coast route ... A BoB trailer towed behind a Road bike works..

Seen a few, having fun !

if its comfortable to ride for over a fortnight, to you ...
fine...

it's your trip..
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Old 08-19-13, 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyclebum
...Most touring bikes weigh about 30 pounds, sans accessories, vs an entry level road bike at maybe 20 pounds.
10 pounds difference? Really? Must be using the marketing guys weight for the road bike. And 30 pounds is pretty heavy for a good basic touring bike. At the same price point, I would suggest the weights are 23 vs 27 pounds +/-, or about 5 pounds. Once the racks and bags go on, then the difference begins to add up.
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Old 08-20-13, 04:40 AM
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Building your own bike is fun but don't do it to save money because you can't match a bike company's ability to buy thousands of parts wholesale.

I would recommend haunting all the LBSs in your area looking for used parts. I've had great success with things like bar end shifters and derailers. That goes equally well for upgrades should you decide to buy a new bike. Ask about used stock and take-offs. You might be pleasantly surprised. Al
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Old 08-20-13, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Notgrownup
It's all good bud...I have been gone from Robertville for 27 years... Got assimilated here now...
I was in Moncton and left because I didn't want to live with 2 languages anymore so I moved to Quebec.

I used to take like 4 hours by bicycle to go from Moncton to Shediac. But I'm a really slow dude. hehe.

You can look at my post here for a cheap build idea: https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...1#post15958450

If you scroll up in the same thread, you'll see a long post of mine on various mixed-up ideas on parts.
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Old 08-20-13, 05:53 AM
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Originally Posted by hybridbkrdr
I was in Moncton and left because I didn't want to live with 2 languages anymore so I moved to Quebec.

I used to take like 4 hours by bicycle to go from Moncton to Shediac. But I'm a really slow dude. hehe.

You can look at my post here for a cheap build idea: https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...1#post15958450

If you scroll up in the same thread, you'll see a long post of mine on various mixed-up ideas on parts.
I left for work....Northern NB sucked for jobs and didn't want to be stuck in the "CHOMAGE" game...I bypassed Quebec so i could use my Bilingual ability...Toronto was good to me...

I will eventually build a bike...I want a Hybrid commuter type...I will get a deal when i least expect it and fix it up...I had a C'dale Quick but traded it for A Road bike to exercise...I am not in a hurry tough...

I think it would be better for the OP to buy a decent new bike and be more secure with a bike that is designed for what it is instead of doing it as a first bike project....You have to know a little bit about what you are doing before jumping off to do this...
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Old 08-20-13, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by ksisler
10 pounds difference? Really? Must be using the marketing guys weight for the road bike. And 30 pounds is pretty heavy for a good basic touring bike. At the same price point, I would suggest the weights are 23 vs 27 pounds +/-, or about 5 pounds. Once the racks and bags go on, then the difference begins to add up.
Sure, since most folks tour with racks and bags the stripped 27lb touring bike weighs at least 30lbs. 23lbs would be a reasonable weight for a steel road bike from 30yrs ago but nowadays Al/carbon road bikes are easily under 20lbs.
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Old 08-20-13, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by ksisler
10 pounds difference? Really? Must be using the marketing guys weight for the road bike. And 30 pounds is pretty heavy for a good basic touring bike. At the same price point, I would suggest the weights are 23 vs 27 pounds +/-, or about 5 pounds. Once the racks and bags go on, then the difference begins to add up.
My carbon fiber road bike is 17 pounds ready to ride. My aluminum touring bike is 23lbs ready to ride. Packed for credit-card touring it's 51lbs. That weight includes the bike (23lbs), luggage+rack+tools+spares (20lbs), and three 21oz water bottles (8lbs).

Keep in mind that my touring bike uses light-weight Ultegra 6600-series drive-train components, lightweight cockpit components (stem, bars, saddle, seat post), Vittoria Voyager Hyper tires, and reasonably light wheels (XTR hubs, Velocity 700c Synergy OC rims, 32 DT Swiss Competition spokes). Every single component on a Surly Long Haul Trucker or Trek 520 or Novara Randonee is heavier, from the drive-train to the saddle to the tires. Heck, the Brooks B17 that many tourists favor is a half-pound heavier than the road saddle I use! I would expect that all of these differences are easily 5-6 pounds, if not more. The published weights I've seen for touring bikes are all in the 28-32lb range. And we all know how accurate published weights are...
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Old 08-20-13, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by sstorkel
...The published weights I've seen for touring bikes are all in the 28-32lb range. And we all know how accurate published weights are...
The Nashbar touring frame is apparently 1800 grams while a lot of frames I've looked at are 1600, 1700 or 1800 grams. I think that's pretty good for a frame that can take V-brakes, has an available matching fork and allows you to mount panniers front and rear. It's also aluminium so it won't rust. It's also like 1/4 of the cost of some Surly, Salsa and Soma framesets.
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Old 08-20-13, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Medic Zero
.

While it is true that in the end I'm sure I spend more building a bike than if I paid for one new, the fact that I'd end up changing; the seat, handlebars, pedals, tires, probably the rear wheel, perhaps the cassette, and most likely at least one of the chainrings, on said brand-new bike, means that to my mind, I might as well build a bike from the frame up (or slowly convert it over). It helps that I'm partial to steel mountain bike geometry from the late 80's and early 90's, one can build a tourer from that starting point that is quite good.
The only drawback with this approach is that you can't ride until the bike is finished. And also, in the case of the OP, he would need to buy the tools (although Nashbar tool kits are cheap) and go through the learning of bike repair/maintenance--all of which costs extra time and money. I don't regret having bought a complete bike when I started, and fixing things along the way.
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