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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What's the cost percentage (increase) of building a bike yourself as opposed to buying one already built (using the exact same parts)?
 

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Building is typically more expensive. Manufacturers make contract deals with components suppliers to supply them with parts, and at a lower cost. Also, some of those parts are not available through aftermarket channels. You can find take offs on eBay and such, but not through proper channels. So you may not be able to build using exact same parts if you tried.

It cost me a bit over $2800 to build a 2017 Kona Explosif. If you bought the built version from a dealer, MSRP was $2199. So, assume some negotiating, and you could probably walk out of the shop paying around $1900.

There were several parts on the built version that were not available through aftermarket: wheels, brake rotors, Kona stem, Kona handlebars, etc.

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I agree with the previous poster that in general if you were trying to get the exact same spec then the buying power of the OEM will trump our ability as individuals to get deals on parts. But, there are two points I’d like to mention:

1) This year in particular manufacturers have bumped up pricing of their bikes by more than normal YoY. I think that’s to take advantage of the demand in bikes, and possibly to offset additional costs from the parts suppliers also trying to cash in on the higher demand. It could also be the manufacturers adding more margin across the board, including the parts, which could mean that should you have the means in identifying a good supplier, you may come out ahead. Not likely, but possible...

2) Most people build their bike from the frame up to get the exact parts spec they want in a bike instead of having to buy the whole bike and upgrading parts, which in the end can be more expensive. I’m not sure if anyone aims to build the exact same parts spec that they could have bought from a certain manufacturer.
 

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Buying a bike: expensive
Building a bike: more expensive
Having a bike with only the parts you want: Priceless

Edit: I bought a complete full suspension bike last June. 10 months later, the only original parts are the frame, the crankarms, the brakes and the cassette.
I've replaced the bars, stem, grips, the dropper and lever, the saddle, the pedals, the wheels, the tires, the chainring (added 2 teeth), and both the fork and shock.
It's only got the original crankset because I can't find a 165mm SRAM DUB crankset.
 

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Magically Delicious
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More expensive to build, but you get only what you want and none of what you don't want.

Uh, assuming disposable income doesn't present any challenges.

My last 4 bikes started from only a frame
 

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I thought the question was about building frames. I can build as steel frame for about $50-$100, plus another $120 if I get it powder coated, $5 if I spraypaint it. Of course the tools to do it cost me $5000+...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Actually what was wondering was the cost percentage increase in building yourself over buying pre-made.

1.25X, 1.5X, Etc
 

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Actually what was wondering was the cost percentage increase in building yourself over buying pre-made.

1.25X, 1.5X, Etc
No set number. Depends what parts you get, whether you're willing to entertain buying any of them used, raiding your parts bin or another bike you already have, shopping sales, or paying full MSRP. Then factor in whether you already have all the tools you would need, whether you need to pay a shop for certain jobs, and so on.

If you're paying full MSRP for everything, then you can do the math yourself. Easy enough to shop online and build price lists. It's kinda impossible to factor in sales or deals until you actually spend the money. That stuff varies a ton. Same with whether you have any parts already or buy used.

I usually manage to spend less. Of course, my builds are a collection of parts I can't get from most manufacturers to start with. But I take my time. I offset full MSRP on some parts with purchasing some items used or at some sort of discount. Last 2 bikes I built, I spent at least 6mo buying the parts I needed, patiently. But then again, I take so long acquiring parts (and I don't track the prices), so I couldn't give you an exact cost for those builds.
 

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I had a bike built to my specs about 15 years ago. Full XT, all high end components. Had several parts I just let the shop pick and they picked the best you could get at the time. I bought my newest bike a few years ago lightly used, but a full xo1 build so no slouch either and I only paid $100 more for the most recent bike. It is cool to get exactly what you want, but I did it once, I got over it.
 

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Edit: I bought a complete full suspension bike last June. 10 months later, the only original parts are the frame, the crankarms, the brakes and the cassette.
I've replaced the bars, stem, grips, the dropper and lever, the saddle, the pedals, the wheels, the tires, the chainring (added 2 teeth), and both the fork and shock.
It's only got the original crankset because I can't find a 165mm SRAM DUB crankset.

I hear ya. Up until this past weekend, the only original parts left on my 5010 were the Cane Creek 40 headset and DUB BB, then the headset failed on Sunday so now just one OG component left standing lol.

Re: the crankset....you just can't find one to purchase or can't find a DUB cranckset with 165mm arms in general? I have a Truvativ Descendant Carbon DUB crankset with 170mm arms and it definitely comes in 165mm as well (which I would've bought if they were in stock at the time I needed it).

 

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Re: the crankset....you just can't find one to purchase or can't find a DUB cranckset with 165mm arms in general? I have a Truvativ Descendant Carbon DUB crankset with 170mm arms and it definitely comes in 165mm as well (which I would've bought if they were in stock at the time I needed it).

I can't find them in stock. I know SRAM makes 165s in several versions- NX/GX/Descendent, etc. Ideally I'd like a 165mm GX DUB. I know Shimano and Canfield make short cranks too, but I have an otherwise full SRAM drivetrain, and dont want to change my BB as well.
I don't want carbon- I tend to abuse cranks with hitting them on stuff.

It's a low-priority thing, my bike came with170's, and I don't generally have a pedal strike problem, but I'd still like to go shorter than what I have. If they were in stock, I'd do it, but they're not so they stay on the shrinking list of "original parts".
 

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Just curious, how does a headset just fail?
Sorry, should've been more specific.

The bottom bearing failed. Was hearing a clicking sound on Sunday while out riding, took it apart that night figuring it just needed some maintenance. The top bearing was fine, almost perfect really. The bottom bearing, well it basically came apart in my hands as I removed it. The dust shield somehow broke and all kinds of crap got in it which in turn somehow popped out one of the tiny ball bearings. It's been on the bike since I got it so a bit over 2yrs now.
Dead headset bearing.jpeg
 

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Yeah, it's always the lower bearing that needs increased service intervals. Before placing lower bearing on crown, I add a layer of grease between the two, just add another barrier and help prevent/mitigate contaminates from finding their way past the seals. Fortunately, it's not too much of an issue the drop the forks and service a few times a season.
 

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Yeah, it's always the lower bearing that needs increased service intervals. Before placing lower bearing on crown, I add a layer of grease between the two, just add another barrier and help prevent/mitigate contaminates from finding their way past the seals. Fortunately, it's not too much of an issue the drop the forks and service a few times a season.

Yeah that’s basically what I did about a year ago when I got a new fork. Pulled everything and put some fresh grease in. The bottom bearing felt ok at the time. I’ll probably start servicing it every few months once I get the new one. It takes like half an hour, if that lol.
 

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Good time for general fork maintenance too :)


on topic:
My hardtail only comes as a frame, so it was gonna be built regardless. It was more expensive, true, but even in 2020 I managed to pay less than MSRP for pretty much every major component (except the hubs).
 

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IMHO buying a complete bike and then upgrading all inferior components is more expensive. Complete bike is only worth it if you intend to ride it as is and the components (inc. wheels) are good enough.

If you have a specific bike and frame in mind, you can just price out what the "new complete bike + upgrades - selling take-offs" is compared to "frame+ components"

It also is harder to sell take-off parts that already are shortened since a potential buyer may not be able to fit them (i.e. short steerer, short brake hoses). also depends on your patience for the hassle selling the crap.
 

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My last complete bike I bought was in 1998. I've built close to 40 since and also the last four out of five were from custom frame builders. I also dont trust anyone to build up a bike. I was in Jensen's and pushed down on a fork and the bars rotated 180 degrees.
 
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