Forum home Road cycling forum Road beginners

To build or not to build?

lucasf09lucasf09 Posts: 160
edited January 2011 in Road beginners
I am relatively new to road cycling, although I have cycling most of my life for school, getting round, etc.
I bought a raleigh bike second hand with shimano 3300 drivetrain, but quite bad tektro brakes (which have already caused an accident!). The bike as a whole weighs a claimed 12kg from the previous owner (I haven't checked, but it seems about right), and I upgraded the caged pedals to speedplay zeros (please no comment on the brand, I got them before I was aware of the whole mess)
Now I am hoping to save up a bit more money, and will be looking at spending around the grand mark, but might be a bit less depending on how selling my PC goes.
Anyway, my question is, for this kind of money, is it cheaper to build my own bike or to buy a complete bike?
I could use some things of the raleigh to save money, but would like to upgrade the frame (a chromoly one), and wheels or groupset (as budget won't allow me to upgrade both)
I have been looking at Kinesis framesets that seem quite cheap, but cannot find many reviews (good or bad) of them.
Also is carbon as brittle as people make out? I have seen some cheap carbon frames on ebay, and halfords have good deal on their boardmans, but afraid that staring at them will crack them.
Thanks for any help


  • ProssPross Posts: 34,868
    If you shop around (and have the required build skills) you MAY get a cheaper bike of the same standard by building your own but there's not a huge amount in it IMHO. Depending on what you can re-use then it may save you some money to build with some parts off the Raleigh.I believe the Kinesis frames are pretty good but have no experience of them myself (club mate was riding one the other day and gave me a pasting but that doesn't show much!). Carbon is nowhere near as fragile as some would have you believe, I use my carbon bike all year round and for commuting. That's not to say there aren't some dodgy frames out there, there may well be but a decent quality carbon frame that is subject to normal conditions should be fine.
  • lucasf09lucasf09 Posts: 160
    Thanks for the help, may I ask what bike you have and its cost?
  • ProssPross Posts: 34,868
    I bought a Scott CR1 Comp last year. List was £1500 but I paid £1350, I think they've gone up a little bit this year but have slightly improved spec. Of all the bikes I tried I felt it was the best frame although others had slightly better wheels and components. To me the frame is all important and the rest can be upgraded as and when funds permit.
  • AndyIAndyI Posts: 156
    I've built three road bikes in the last 12 months, and I've found it depends entirely upon what bargains you can pick up at the time, as to whether or not you can build a better bike for the money than you can buy from the shops. I was lucky that I managed to get three triple butted 1kg 7046 Pro Lite alu/carbon frames with full carbon forks and headsets for £200 each. two were built up with full Tiagra compact groupsets and one with 105 . Wheelsets are Shimano R500, RS10 and RS20 with carbon seatposts and alloy stems and bars ( mixture of FSA , Planet X and Deda) Each bike came in between 8kg and 8.5kg and cost a few quid either side of £700. So, lighter and cheaper for the spec than I could have bought from an LBS ( and much more fun to create something bespoke) . However, above around £1,000 it's difficult to compete with the discounted bikes you find in places like Evans or Wiggle. In particular, if you want an Ultegra or above groupset it can prove very expensive. Remember you'll be paying retail plus Vat whereas manufacturers source parts at massive discounts. So, if you take the build-it-yourself route, do it because you want to create something unique, rather than to save money. P.S. My daughter rode JOGLE on the bike I built for her and it worked perfectly except for 4 punctures.
    A racing mind in a touring body.
  • peanut1978peanut1978 Posts: 1,031
    built caad9 for £850 rather than £1200+ price
  • rich164hrich164h Posts: 433
    AndyI wrote:
    Wheelsets are Shimano R500, RS10 and RS20
    OFf topic I know, but can you tell any difference between these different wheel sets? I might be in the market for some shortly, I've currently got R500s but was thinking of getting one of the others.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    I've almost finished my Basso Astra build. To give you an idea of costs and bear in mind this was all new and current stock stuff.

    Basso Astra frame, forks and head set - £1500
    SRAM Force groupset with SRAM Red crankset - £750
    Intake seat - £20
    Pro bars and stem - £300
    Pro carbon seat post - £100
    Mavic Cosmic Carbone wheels - £550 (barely used 2nd hand)

    With the build fees it's coming in at around £3,200 with a bit of discount on labour and parts. To have bought the bike off the shelf as it is now would've cost me a fair bit more. Standard Basso Astras only come with Ultegra or Athena and cheaper Krysiukm wheels. They do however have Microtech carbon bars, stem and seat post and retails at £3,200. I believe I've got a better spec bike for the same money.

    If you've got eh time, space, tools and skill to do it yourself and can source the bits cheaply, then why not.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • AndyIAndyI Posts: 156
    []OFf topic I know, but can you tell any difference between these different wheel sets? I might be in the market for some shortly, I've currently got R500s but was thinking of getting one of the others.

    There are some differences in weight and bearing quality, but I wouldn't upgrade from RS500 ( which I think is an excellent bargain wheelset) to RS10 or RS20. If you want to go lighter for similar money to RS10 or RS20 consider Planet x Model B or Pro-Lite Luciano or Merano ( Planet X, Chain Reaction, Merlin and Ribble generally cheapest)
    A racing mind in a touring body.
  • rich164hrich164h Posts: 433
    Thanks. It's not so much an upgrade decision as a need to possibly replace a bent wheel! I've tried to fix it and I'm seeing how I get on but I figured that just buying a new set at this price range isn't going to be much more that paying a shop to fix my broken one (assuming that I can't fix it myself). The prices of these from most retailers are so close it's difficult to really know if there is a noticable difference between them, hence my question.
  • AndyIAndyI Posts: 156
    If you just want to replace the R500s, go ahead. Good wheels for the money and Merlin or Ribble usually have sets for around £75. If you want to spend up to £120 ish then by all means consider the RS10s or 20s but that price range should also bring into play Fulcrum Racing 7s, Planet X Model Bs and the aforesaid Pro-Lites ( Ribble et al).
    A racing mind in a touring body.
  • lucasf09lucasf09 Posts: 160
    Thanks for all the replies.
    I'm still undecided as I think I could grab a bargain if I manage to buy in the 2010 clear outs, but it would also be nice to have a bike that I know is mine and special.
Sign In or Register to comment.