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Is it Cheaper buying or building?

scottjessukscottjessuk Posts: 58
edited July 2008 in MTB buying advice
Hi everyone just a quick question, would you say it's cheaper buying a bike or getting your own components and building your own bike?

Always fancied trying to build my own but not sure I would have all the tools needed to do this. Would it cost alot to have all the bike tools needed?

Stevens Cyclocross
One One Pompino
Giant Talon 0


  • Rich HcpRich Hcp Posts: 1,355
    Generally, In know someone will disagree :lol: it's cheaper to buy because they get the components at better prices.

    However, you could buy the bits over time, as funds allow, then build, or buy a frame and maybe transfer some parts (Bars, saddle, other bits) from an existing bike.

    Depends what you want.....

    Giving it Large
  • funkydungfunkydung Posts: 116
    Nearly allways cheaper and easier to buy a fully built bike than build yourself. If you build yourself you can spec better parts etc but obviously at a cost and you always end up not having the right tools or a certain part? Still, building yourself is more fun and you will learn alot by doing it this way.
  • SplasherSplasher Posts: 1,528
    It depends how fussy you are and how patient you are. If you're not that fussy and quite impatient, then buying a bike is quick and cheaper.

    However, a lot of people buy a bike and then spend the next 6 months changing all the bits they don't like. It's amazing how many standard bikes you see with Thomson stems and seatposts, Odi grips, tubeless wheels etc.

    If you're that type of person it becomes cheaper to build your own, particularly if you're patient and you shop in the sales and from the increasing amount of OE stuff available from people like CRC and Merlin. Also, once you have your first bike built, you never have to replace it all in one go. Having established a spec you're happy with, you just replace individual components as and when necessary.

    Last year I was riding a 3 year old Giant VT, this year I'm riding this:


    To the uninitiated, it's a high spec 2008 Reign. The frame cost me £800, the Talas 36 £380 at the end of last year sales but I got £300 selling my old VT frame and fork. Everything else just transferred across. So a "new" bike for £880.
    "Internet Forums - an amazing world where outright falsehoods become cyber-facts with a few witty key taps and a carefully placed emoticon."
  • andy83andy83 Posts: 1,558
    i recently built up my old gt aggressor 3 and had a lot of fun and learnt so much about bikes. also managed to get parts gradually as funds wouldnt let me buy bike outright. Very happy with the spec and sense of pride i done it myself.

    may work out cheaper if you buy from shop, but as previously said, you may end up changing parts, a new build means you can have everything that you want on the bike
  • andy83andy83 Posts: 1,558
    still few bits to add mind, headset, seatpost, and forks. but all in all rides lovely now

    plus had parts as presents which def helped
  • AmosAmos Posts: 438
    I think its definetly works out cheaper to buy off the shelf, however I like the feeling of knowing that my bike is probably the only one with the spec I have.

    When you custom build a bike you might find it hard to resist spending more money than you wanted to originally as when you pick a component you can see something else you like thats a little bit more and think, why not?

    Where as when you buy a bike off the shelf you accept that maybe the headset isn't the one you would ideally want, but it does the job anyway.

    Too buy all of the tools yourself would cost a bit, but you could always get some of the more awkward bits done at your LBS, though if you order all the parts through them they will probably build for free.

    Whatever you do, make sure you get out and enjoy riding it :D
  • Thanks guys that's been a great help, bit of a mixed bag I see but I guess I could maybe buy a hardtail and over time think about building a full suspension bike. Your giant, Splasher is a very tidy machine, hopefully I can aspire to something like that one day.

    Cheers guys
    Stevens Cyclocross
    One One Pompino
    Giant Talon 0
  • Chaka PingChaka Ping Posts: 1,451
    Nice bike Splasher, did you get the frame new or used at that price?

    That layback post looks like it puts the saddle a long way back, do yopu have very long arms?

    To the original question, I think either way can work out cheaper if you're prepared to put in the time and effort to source cheap components or find the bike you want at the right discount.

    We'll soon be into sale season, and there will be complete bikes going at prices that it'd be very hard to match with a home build. But then when you price up components against a full bike build, bikes sometimes look good value and sometimes look like they cost more than the sum of their parts.
  • Kiwi KrankerKiwi Kranker Posts: 416
    End of seasons sales are gold if you build your own

    I built an S-works hardtail after getting all the kit over about 2 months at the end of 07 sales and Ebay Hong Kong. The bike was retailing for £3300 fully built at CS, I built mine with, in some cases, better kit for £2200. I was stupidly lucky on a set of Mavic SLR's and a set of Hope Mono Mini Pros so it is probably not the norm.
    Scott Ransom 10

    Stumpy FSR Comp

    Wilier Izoard

    1994 Shogun Prairie Breaker Expert...ahhh yesssss

    'I didnt need those front teeth anyway..'
  • jairajjairaj Posts: 3,009
    I was also weighting up the pros and cons of buying a full bike or building it.

    It seems (from replies on this thread) that normally building it your self will be more expensive and take a longer time. But what if you got your LBS to make up a custom build, would you kind of get a best of both worlds?

    ie they are experienced bike mechanics so could build up a bike quickly (or at least quicker than me) and if you buy the frame and components from them they might give you good deal on the whole thing?
  • stumpyjonstumpyjon Posts: 4,069
    It'll still cost generally more if your LBS builds it up, parts still cost more amd they'll charge you labour, standard build charge in my LBS is £ 150.

    Ther other thing to consider is to watch for bikes going cheap in the sales and then rob the components of tho put on a frame of your choice (ebay the original frame) or get them cheap and swap out parts for better items yourself (sometimes your LBS will do this and discount the upgraded parts if you let them keep the original parts.
    It's easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.

    I've bought a new bike....ouch - result
    Can I buy a new bike?...No - no result
  • jairajjairaj Posts: 3,009
    hmm I was considering buying either a saracen zen or building a strong hardtail for around £700 - £1000. It seems that buying the saracen might be the best option? (If I can get hold of one)
  • It does seem that the overall suggestion is to buy a bike then, Hopefully take a few out today for a wee test run, Thinking about the Specialized Stumpjumper HT Comp 08 and the Orange P7 Pro. I will probably have made my mind up by the end of the day hopefully.

    I have ridden the orange crush which was nice and thought about trying out one of it's rivals the Marin Rocky Ridge but they seem to be a bit tricky to get a hold of.

    Thought about the charge duster too but no one local to me stocks them so that's a pain.

    I will maybe just have to do a side project of building a bike, maybe a full susser.

    Stevens Cyclocross
    One One Pompino
    Giant Talon 0
  • AmosAmos Posts: 438
    stumpyjon wrote:
    It'll still cost generally more if your LBS builds it up, parts still cost more amd they'll charge you labour, standard build charge in my LBS is £ 150.

    Thats crazy! My LBS gave me a good price on all the componenents I wanted, worked out cheaper than CRC and built the bike for me.
  • mellexmellex Posts: 214
    Just finishing (this Saturday, fingers crossed) my first custom build ARC. Wanted one for years but I just couldn't justify the £1995 Enduro (basic entry level) package offered at Bromley Bikes, so I stripped the whole project down and collected the parts needed from various sources. Took two months, which is relatively quick but that said, I knew what I wanted and stuck to my plan.

    By doing it off my own back I've managed to upgraded the whole drive drain, wheels set and brakes for £300 LESS than Bromley quoted me. I've also managed to include the cost of insurance, ground anchor and two huge locks into my final overall spend and STILL come out better off.

    On a personal note, I would always recommend custom build. It's such a pleasure watching your machine take shape.
  • stumpyjonstumpyjon Posts: 4,069
    Thats crazy! My LBS gave me a good price on all the componenents I wanted, worked out cheaper than CRC and built the bike for me.

    fair enough but you've either got a hyper competitive LBS or they're desperate for work / sales. I know my LBS were busy with service work when I built my bike up. I'd guess a fully trained mechanic could build a full bike up from scratch (including brakes) in under a day, so that works out at around £ 20 per hour which doesn't seem too bad.

    I could've haggled over the build price I'm sure but as I was going to build it up myself I didn't need to. If they'd built it up for free that would have been 8 hrs of service time and money lost which they had customers for. They still faced the bottom bracket and installed the crown race and star nut in my forks for nothing and often do 10 min jobs for nought such as removing a stuck pedal. They also recently sorted my Reba forks out themselves rather than send them straight back on warranty. It turned out to be a faulty seal which was replaced and the forks reassembled, didn't cost me anything and I got the forks back in 24 hrs, other shops would have just sent them straight back to the importer and I would have had to wait for a week. They're also competitive with regard to shock servicing as well, did my Fox Talas forks for £40 last year including resetting the Talas adjust, Leisure Lakes (where I bought the bike from) wante £ 80 for the service and extra to sort the Talas.
    So to sum up my ramblings , whilst a lot of money I didn't think paying for the bike to be built was unreasonable given all the freebies I usually get from them and the fact they have a reputation for being bl**dy good mechanics.
    It's easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.

    I've bought a new bike....ouch - result
    Can I buy a new bike?...No - no result
  • GT DestroyerGT Destroyer Posts: 1,719
    Don't think you can answer the question really, is it cheaper to buy/build? It depends on what you are building.

    With my Crush I went for build rather than buy, the Crush was £1,000 to buy and it cost me about £1,500-ish to build, the reason I went for build was the fact that I could get the right spec for me right from the start of buying the bike, and then I don't have to mess around changing components to suit. I think Splasher said it earlier, buidling means you get the bike you want, from scratch, but is generally more expensive than buying, purely because you spend more cash getting Pikes instead of Marz's and XTR instead of XT etc etc.....
  • I really thought I was set on just buying a bike but now i'm back to the idea of thinking about the parts I want and getting a LBS to build the thing for me or if it's not too difficult maybe do some of the work myself.

    I took the a specialized stumpjumper comp out for a run today and found it very uninspiring to be honest, then I took the orange P7 Pro out for a run, the orange was a much better bike to ride and for the same money the components seemed better on the orange than the specialized.

    Not convinced by either really, so im back to the idea of pricing up and doing a bit of pros and cons and seeing what I can come up with.

    I do like the Cove handjob frame and heard lots of good things about it so I might have a wee think about that now. Anyone heard any bad things about it?

    Stevens Cyclocross
    One One Pompino
    Giant Talon 0
  • Chaka PingChaka Ping Posts: 1,451
    I built my Handjob up last year. It is a great bike: Really good fun to ride, lovely steel feel and it gets better the faster you go, especially downhill.

    But, it's not the world's best climber and sometimes sets my back pain off on very long climbs. I just find it difficult to settle into a natural climbing position - and that can make technical climbing a bit of a pain in the censored too.

    That's the only real negative point though, and it only really became apparant riding up thousands of metres a day in Spain, it's been fine at UK trail centres (if that's the sort of riding you do).
  • The SpidermanThe Spiderman Posts: 5,625
    I was in the Decathlon store at Surrey Quays toady.They had a top spec Rockrider hardtail reduced to £900.
    The kit list on it was as follows:

    Crossmax SLR wheels
    RS SID forks
    Avid Juicy 7 brakes
    SRAM XO rear mech
    SRAM X9 shifters
    Truvativ Stylo chainset
    SRAM PG990 cassette
    Selle Italia SLR saddle
    Hutchinson Pyton tubeless tyres
    xpedo pedals

    Gives you an idea,how much value you can get when buying a complete bike.To buy the parts alone,at rrp that little lot would come to £1500!
    2006 Giant XTC
    2010 Giant Defy Advanced
    2016 Boardman Pro 29er
    2016 Pinnacle Lithium 4
    2017 Canondale Supersix Evo
  • passoutpassout Posts: 4,425
    Buying is cheaper unless you have lots of spare bits lying around. You can always upgrade / customise later if need be.
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • That's not too good to hear about the Cove Handjob being a bit of a back breaker on the climbs. I too suffer from back pain so that has certainly put me off a little.

    Unfortunately I have no good bit's lying around because this will be my first good bike I'm hoping to buy, just hired at trails up until now, well still doing so until I get my finger out and choose a bike or a build project.

    Sounds like a good deal in that shop Spider. Have they got a site?
    Stevens Cyclocross
    One One Pompino
    Giant Talon 0
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