Putting a bike together Vs. Buying off the rack

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New Member
having spent a fortune on off the peg guitars over the years i now put together my own, cheaper and better. I am assuming the same principle could apply to bikes. However I have no idea where to start....so i thought i'd post up for some opinions on if it's agood idea, and if so how to go about it.Or would I be best advised to buy off the rack?


Über Member
Attitude to risk?

Off the rack means you can 'try before you buy', but generally pay for it. DIY can be fun (hunting down all those bargain bits, the pleasure of building something) and satisfying if it works well (but a bit of a bummer if it doesn't).
YMMV, of course ;)

Smokin Joe

Legendary Member
off the rack is generally cheaper, but not always the case. The few bikes I have bought like that have generally ended up costing more than those I have put together myself, as when the novelty has worn off I have decided that the supplied saddle and tyres didn't suit, the stem was the wrong size, the gear ratios were not what i wanted etc.

If you are competent with putting one together yourself and you have the tools self builds give you a bike to your exact requirements. Shopping around the websites can turn up a fair number of bargains with equipment too.


A shop will put it all together for £25-30. I built my 'summer' bike and reckon I saved some money in the process but more importantly, I was able to spec all the bits myself and not end up with compromises.


Senior Member
Birmingham, UK
In my experience I'd say building your own does cost more because you don't enjoy the bulk purchasing power of a bike manufacturer when it comes to buying parts. You may also need a few extra tools. However the significant advantage of a custom build is that you won't have to swap out parts that don't suit you (saddle, tyres...). Furthermore many off the peg bikes have hidden/dull parts of poor quality - this often happens with things like bottom brackets and headsets. So I'd agree with Smokin Joe that the total cost of ownership can end up being less when you put together you own bike.

Of course what you really can't beat is the pleasure of riding your own build bike. I get a real sense of pride when people ask me where I got mine. ;)

giant man

New Member
Essex innit?
gavintc said:
A shop will put it all together for £25-30. I built my 'summer' bike and reckon I saved some money in the process but more importantly, I was able to spec all the bits myself and not end up with compromises.
That is the advantage of putting it together yourself, the spec is up to you!! ;)


I'd get the right groupset and wheels fitted to whatever frame came cheap second hand and then start working from that - getting all your bits in new is just too much.

Self build is a great idea though and a good way to learn your way around a bike.
As an individual buying individual components at retail prices you cant hope to compete with companies like Giant who buy their component gruppos in the tens of thousands. Add up the costs of individual components on any off-the-shelf bike and compare that figure to its retail price, you're effectively getting a free frame when you buy a stock bike.

One way of getting close to kustom without the kost is to find the bike which most closely matches your needs and have some parts changed in the shop. Most shops worth their salt will swap out the tyres, saddle and pedals and put them back into stock if you are upgrading. Its easier to negotiate upgrades BTW if you wander in mid-week in February.


New Member
I always like to build my own bike, then I know that I will never see one exactly the same.

But it does depend on your situation. If you have spare bits that you can use, it will be cheaper to build it yourself. If you need everything, then an off the peg bike will be better value.
Trouble with off the peg is you always want to change a few bits, maybe shops should do somekind of open spec scheme.

That sort of thing might help them in the "web v lbs" battle.


Legendary Member
When I last bought a bike I was able to negotiate with my LBS to upgrade some of the parts at a reasonable cost.

Basically I told them that I was happy to pay the advertised price of the bike if I was only charged the difference in wholesale price for the better components.
I always prefer to build them up myself, preferably with bits from my box and a frame I've found in a skip. (Like my girlfriend's tourer.) But that's because fiddling around with bikes is much more enjoyable than actually riding them, for me.
Funnily enough, I tend to put my own guitars together too. And I even built a roadworthy Citroen 2CV from the remains of three knackered ones once.
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