Pinkbike Poll: Would You Rather Buy a Frame Only or a Complete Bike?

Jan 7, 2021 at 10:52
by Mike Kazimer  

You've got the itch. No, not the kind that requires a trip to the doctor – the kind that calls for a visit to your local bike shop, or favorite online store. It's new (or at least new to you) bike time.

Do you start with a bare frame, and assemble it with a selection of carefully chosen parts? Or do you go with a complete bike, saving time and likely a bit of money in the process? There's also the option of getting a new frame and building it up with your current parts, assuming they're in decent condition and there aren't any compatibility issues.

In the past, it was relatively easy to go down any of those paths, but given the current parts shortages and limited stock that are prevalent in the mountain bike world this year there's a good chance some riders may find themselves getting creative in order to obtain their dream machines.

In all my years working in bike shops, sales of complete bikes vastly outnumbered frame-only sales. Yes, there are plenty of shops out there that do a great job with custom bike builds, but a pre-built bike is still the route that most riders take. It's quicker and easier, which means more time to ride and less time spent waiting for that final little widget to arrive in order to finish the build.

I'm curious about what Pinkbike's readers typically do, though, which brings us to this week's poll questions.


Would you rather buy a frame only and build it up with parts you choose, or purchase a complete bike?




How often do you swap parts from an old frame to a new one? (Not including warranty replacements)



Who usually assembles your new bike?




278 Comments

  • 396 3
 Im cheap so I normally buy some rich guys 1 year old bike, then swap some parts around.
  • 37 0
 Same! Treat new bikes like new cars. I wanna sit back and see what happens before I dive in and pay MSRP. You break it, I buy it Smile
  • 14 0
 Same! I buy my friend's "old" bike when he gets a new one.
  • 24 0
 With the depreciation rate on high end bikes being even worse than cars, this is the most logical choice for a lot of people.... If you are really unlucky and buy a new bike during the year where a component manufacturer drops their next generation groupset, you could have lost half the value of the bike.
  • 86 0
 Ahh the pre 2020 strategy, a time honored classic. How I hope we can return to such tactics in a few years.
  • 44 1
 @dirtyburger: I'm with you Dburgs. I think it will be a buyer's market in two years. Once everyone goes back to beer league softball and whatever else they do...
  • 9 1
 @dirtyburger: yeah, new bikes are a way better deal right now. Buy a 1 year old used bike you are paying full retail
  • 17 1
 I appreciate all you guys because I'm the guy that gets a new bike every year (XC racer). I'm not 'rich', but when you buy a new bike every the discounts come (hint: never ask for discounts). I don't buy top end models as you never get your money back on those (who wants to pay 6-8k on a second hand bike? No one!). I really look after my bikes and the buyer is always happy. If I sell for, say, 60% of retail my changeover cost is pretty good. Less than a new drivetrain which is what I'd need if I kept it two years (which I have to do this year because my LBS can't get me anything for months).
  • 11 14
 I've seen so many broken carbon frames in the last couple years that I am weary about ever buying used again.
  • 22 0
 Problem is, too many people think there never ridden, used, no warranty bike is still worth 80-90 retail.
  • 8 1
 @iamamodel: yeah the MTB industry protects pro deals better than any other sporting good industry. If you can get a pro deal even in old times you could buy a bike, ride it for a year and sell at a profit. Not like that at all for skis and snowboards, much easier to come by hook ups.
  • 3 0
 @shredddr: Agree. I think the mid to high end will still be there because 1/3rd of people who are riding for the first time realize they like it and are now addicted like the rest of us, or that they bought the wrong bike.

But the secondary market is going to be pretty flooded as the 1/3rd of people realize they don't like riding sell there their bike.

The middle 1/3rd will ride less, but be content.
  • 2 0
 It is really hard to justify new prices, a little less so when people are demanding premiums in the current market. Even with that, there are still deals to be had on the used market if you look carefully.
  • 24 0
 @pizzaiolo: Just buy the one that was used by an old lady to go to church on Sunday, as long as she doesn't live in Squamish.
  • 2 0
 Same, I'm cheap but I have the patience to wait for the part that I need to come down in price or look for a used one as needed. I always get the parts I need no matter what.
  • 1 2
 cheap=smart Wink
  • 3 1
 @iamamodel: another excellent strategy. Racer mates live by this and reckon you come out ahead. New bike every season, things mostly work well and loose 1 or 2k at the end a the season. Probably beats out buying second hand and riding it for five years tbh, cost per year wise.
  • 4 5
 @iamamodel: " never ask for discounts " ? agreed don't ASK for a discount , but rather TELL the dealer what you are willing to pay and you will be surprised how often they will accept your offer . ASKING is putting the power of the transaction into their hands . Making an offer implies to the seller that you will walk if you don't get your price . of course this doesnt always work , but it does more often than you would think.
  • 3 0
 @Wildh24: yup - but I wonder - the 1/3 of Americans will go back to beer league softball and 4 bying, what will the Canadians and Euros go back to - what's the appropriate stereotype for them? hockey's a winter sport, and do euros play casual soccer/football?
  • 1 0
 Yup. Looking at you evil. @Jamminator:
  • 3 11
flag BreezerXCer (Jan 9, 2021 at 8:39) (Below Threshold)
 @pizzaiolo: Both my kids and I break so many carbon frames, we usually get the next year's upgraded model including bushings as free warranty replacement so we buy new bikes
  • 6 0
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: There are consistently dudes on here selling used Evil and Commencal frames for more than they cost on Commencal's website or Backcountry. Those aren't like scouring the internet for some hidden deal. Those are literally like the first websites that come up when you search for either. To each their own, but I always laugh when I see it on here.
  • 5 0
 @BreezerXCer: What are the last 3 carbon frames that you or your kids have broken?
  • 3 5
 Key is finding the rich guy who treats his bike like a super model girlfriend. He never touches her so she is fresh for the next guy!
  • 2 0
 @Sweatypants: I've tried to buy a few frames and send the link to the cost new and they stick by their price.

Big problem is they reply with line a never registered the frame so the warranty is still good.Which isn't true since most companies now require a scan of the receipt which has you name on it.
  • 2 0
 Ha and i sell my 1 year old bikes then buy a sparkling brand new one.
  • 2 0
 @iamamodel: I paid $7.5k for a second hand Scott Spark 900 SL (2018 model), now the same bike is worth about $13k to buy new. (Australian dollars). The bike was barely ridden before I got it.
  • 1 0
 @dirtyburger: BA BA BA BA BA BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!
  • 1 0
 This is a good strategy but have you seen Friday Fails? Scares me to think I might buy one of those...
  • 132 0
 I love building my own bikes. Almost like therapy for me. .
  • 32 2
 Me too but the past couple of years I've stopped doing it because it works out a lot more expensive. Also I always used to go for high end builds like fox factory suspension and stuff. I lost a ton of cash on a few bikes. Nowadays I just buy completes, change the tyres and then sell them as completes with the original tyres back on. If I could get parts at OEM prices I would build my own bikes every time to this day. It's the only way to get exactly the spec you want.
  • 14 0
 Totally agree @slimjimbikes
I've even built bikes recently, knowing that it was a bad economy, just because I like doing it
  • 21 0
 I can't find any "everytime I fiddle with my bike something breaks" option
  • 3 0
 Almost? Totally is for me. Smile
  • 10 0
 @jaame: Hmm... last 2 bikes I built for considerably less than retail (Transition Spur, and Yeti SB165). I find more deals and discounts on individual parts than I do on complete bikes. Could probably sell the Spur for more than retail right now.
  • 2 0
 Definitely satisfying but I havent done it for ages - I do need to strip down and rebuild my current bikes over winter though.
  • 5 0
 @Baller7756: I price them up all the time. I think over here you're basically looking at £1500 minimum build cost not including the frame and shock. If you buy an alloy frame it's not too bad but a carbon frame goes for £3000-3500. The only way to make it cost effective is to buy a used frame, and then you end up paying £3500 for a used bike. You can get a new one for that with the shitty spec and a carbon frame or a high spec alloy frame.
My last bike was a YT base spec and it cost me £2000. I also looked at a Nukeproof Mega at the time, it was £1800 for the frame.
Maybe you get a lot better deals over in the US of A. Over here you have no chance whatsoever of doing a build for less than a complete. Unless of course you do a build with an alloy frame and deore, and compare the price to a carbon bike with XT and carbon wheels.
  • 4 0
 It is like therapy for me too, until I realize that I routed the cables wrong on an non-pass-through internally routed frame.
  • 3 1
 Can you imagine being the kind of scum who doesn’t build their bike from frame up and do their own suspension rebuilds? *signature look of superiority
  • 5 0
 @jaame: This is my experience too. frame + fork + wheelset is close to complete OEM price though you will get slightly better core components; I guess you could shop for a year or so but good luck getting compatible specification on everything.
  • 3 0
 @jaame: Yeah... I can imagine regional differences.

I just create a spreadsheet and search for the best prices for each component. In many cases you don't have to pay sales tax for out of state purchases... state sales tax on a complete bike is $250-500 dollars. I also grab brand new parts from PB Buy/Sell for considerably less than retail.


By my spreadsheet... I'm about $1000 under retail on my spur build, and close to $1750 under on my SB165 build.... both about $9000 retail.
  • 4 0
 @Baller7756: when I was pricing this out I found that I couldn’t price out the parts for a bike with parts equivalent to a GX level spec, but I could beat the X0 level spec. There’s a definite price point above which it makes sense to build a bike up from the frame. But if you want a new bike for $5000 or less (and that was two years ago - wouldn’t be surprised if that cutoff has moved up) you can’t beat the pricing that the bike manufacturers can offer for an equivalently spec’d bike. It’s really hard when companies like Fox and SRAM prevent stores from offering any sort of meaningful discount on their products.
  • 1 0
 @SqueakyWheel73: Yeah... I thought about that after I posted. A discount... 10%, 25% etc., has more impact on high end components and frames than the mid to low end versions.

Ill have to give it go on my next build... see if I can build a GX level bike for cheaper than retail.

However... you could probably source used (preowned should I say) high end components and frames for cheaper or equivalent to mid level new bike purchase... and have a much better ride and resale value.
  • 6 0
 100% with you. Is a cathartic experience and love the feeling I have riding something I specifically chose and put together myself...can't beat it.
  • 4 0
 Same here. Plus I can justify buying new tools too. I love good tools.
  • 2 0
 @Baller7756: I love my spreadsheets!
  • 2 0
 I want to agree, but the amount of swearing I do while attempting to build would betray this sentiment.
  • 3 0
 For me, riding is much more cathartic. Being on something you've built up, however long it took, for whatever reason feels awesome. There is nothing like it.
  • 2 0
 @jaame: I've built up a Transition Scout (Carbon) with full XT and Fox Factory forks for £2.3k in the UK. I just bought everything out of season and mostly from Germany. That was pre-covid though...
  • 1 0
 @Ben00: how much did you pay for the frame?
  • 1 0
 @Ben00: That's incredibly impressive!!!
  • 1 0
 @jaame: I got it for 900 from Start Fitness. In fairness it was a 2017 frame bought in 2019 but had modernish geo. Found a new 2019 factory 34 for 600 on eBay and ordered the groupset, wheels and brakes from Germany. I've kept an eye out for good frame over the last year but haven't found any as good as that!
  • 1 0
 @Ben00: wow. That's some pretty good going. Is that frame an XXL or an XXS?
According to my calculations it's £1500 and up for a build including a used fork for £500-600. You're looking at about the same cost, but you got an unreal deal on the frame.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: no it was a size large would you believe. They had mediums in stock at the time too. I haven't seen anything as good since but I always keep an eye open. What hurts is I sold it for 2400 pre-covid as I wasn't getting any time to ride with work commitments. It's on my buy/sell.

I think the only other way to get a cheap frame right now is to buy a YT or similar and sell the components off but you're playing the long game as deals aren't coming up so much on parts now.
  • 1 0
 @Ben00: that is a pretty unreal deal. Amazing you found one in large. Good stuff.
  • 107 0
 Pinkbike just preparing us for the fact bike companies won't have complete bikes this year. Smile
  • 80 1
 You're not wrong.
  • 4 19
flag extratalldirtrider (Jan 8, 2021 at 13:39) (Below Threshold)
 Maybe. Maybe not. I just received a Yeti ARC this week. Thank you www.jensonusa.com!
  • 6 0
 Unfortunately webshops and real shops won't have any parts this year either.
  • 5 13
flag ChrisNJ (Jan 8, 2021 at 15:53) (Below Threshold)
 @Will-narayan: I still havent seen this shortage of parts people speak of. For the past year, anything I've needed, has been available online.
  • 1 1
 @ChrisNJ: the supply chain is much longer for bikes that go to stores and if they don’t have parts it’s more profitable for companies to sell parts to retailers than bike companies
  • 5 0
 Honestly, I just wish I could get a complete bike speced out the way I prefer. Shimano drive train with Magura brakes and fox suspension. Until that happens, I will continue to do frame up builds.
  • 2 0
 @Unrealityshow: To be fair I think some brands do that if you have a word. I just bought a Geometron and was told that if there was anything I didn't want from a build they would charge less, not include it and let me source that part myself. Helped me as I worked around a couple of parts that weren't in stock.
This is probably where the smaller brands (predominantly where you can buy direct to consumer) are a bit more agile and able to flex...?
  • 1 3
 @ChrisNJ: I may have been unlucky, but I built a bike in december and had to source the parts from 5 or 6 different stores.
Shimano parts, especially the 12 speed groupsets, are getting scarce. Of the 2 main webshops in France, one doesn’t have any, the other mostly has the 2x version with 10/45 cassette instead of 10/51.
I contacted the website and they replied they didn’t know when they would be in stock again.
Ice tech disks, especially in 203mm, are hard to find (had to resort buying through amazon :/ though they’re now in stock again on the shop I usually buy from)
I got an SLX groupset but first wanted to buy SLX & XT stuff separately and there was just no SLX crankset (best weight to price ratio) available anywhere. Also everything is in 175mm, no 170 or 165mm available and I ideally rather have some 170mm.
I also wanted some Hope wheels and stem, well it’s different because of brexit but I had to get all 3 parts from 3 different stores.
I wanted some Teravail tires, again, not many stores have them (ok these are not the easiest to find anyway).
Many saddles and grips, as soon as you want something a bit different (like a brown chromag saddle) are out of stock.
The Yari fork is out of stock as well (is it discontinued ?), though I got a Lyrik.
There are many references, but when you trim it down to the options you want (for wheels for instance 29, MS spline, boost and right color) there aren’t that many available.
We’ll see in the coming months how it goes, cuz’ I’d expect component brands to deliver more to bike brands with whom there’s probably agreements, then to reseller who order probably less but more often ? I don’t know I suck at business :p Seems that Dabbo is saying the contrary.
  • 1 0
 @Unrealityshow: same here need those 3 together
  • 1 0
 Just got my new 2021 Slash yestetday
  • 69 0
 I suspect the poll results here will represent a vocal enthusiastic minority and not reflect reality; which is that the average mtb'r is FAR more likely (and would prefer) to just buy a complete bike or one with minimal assembly.
  • 22 0
 Especially since new bikes are FAR cheaper than building up a bike from parts unless you're swapping everything over.
  • 26 0
 If the price was the same (for a similar spec) I would buy frame only. It never is though.
  • 9 0
 Yes, if you're building a frame with 100% new parts it will be more expensive than a complete bike. But if you're putting together a build with a mix of parts on hand and new it's not too bad. Especially since new complete bike prices are getting ridiculous (or the traditional retail ones, not talking about direct to consumer). Case in point would be Kona. They used to be a great budget brand but now their builds are in the $7K range. I put together a new Process frame with a mix of new/old parts for under $5K and it's spec'd exactly the way I want it.
  • 1 0
 @Powderface: I wanted to do this with a Kona frame but over here they made it very difficult to buy frame only, I went to another shop close by and bought an Ibis instead.
  • 3 0
 At least one of these questions should have included money as a factor. Obviously, if money is no object, I'd build it up myself every time. @Noah353 is right, a whole bike can be half as much. There should also be an option along the lines of: buy a catalogue bike, take all the parts, put it on a frame of your choice, then sell (or bin or give away) the catalogue frame.
  • 1 0
 @Noah353: I got a way better deal building my own than any complete bike I could get on the market by far.
  • 1 0
 @ybsurf: what spec/frame? New or used parts?
  • 1 0
 @jj12jj: druid with all ne parts fox 36 factory wao wheels full carbon
  • 3 0
 I think the vast majority of people who actually purchase mountain bikes don't frequent the pages of Pinkbike.
  • 1 0
 i think you're probably right, depending on how you're defining "mtb'r"

of bikes bought (lets say, "nice bikes, around $1000 and over complete, not the 300 quid walmart specials)

33% never get ridden more than a few times?
33% are owned by "dentists" who wouldn't class themselves as Mtb'rs, but just like riding aroiund in the woods and have the money to drop on a nice bike (and good for them, not a critisicm)

and the rest are people who do consider themselves MTB'rs, tinker bikes, ride whenever they can wherever they can, wear bike brand tshirts 100% of the time, have a "fleet", or a "quiver". Have strong opinions as to why every single manufacturer are amazing/shit.
  • 23 5
 I have a Revel Rascal GX ordered for the spring. It comes with i9 wheels, high line dropper, and for an extra couple hundred, Pike Ultimate fork and Super Deluxe Ultimate shock. For what I paid I’m not sure I could build a bike for what I’m buying a complete bike.
  • 13 0
 For your situation buying complete will be cheaper. On the other hand, if you already had a bike with all of those parts, but the frame was dated and no longer working for you, buying frame only and swapping over the parts may end up costing you less. On the other foot, buying complete and selling your old bike complete may be the best option. Do what is best for you to get the bike that fits your need at the least cost as possible.
  • 11 0
 @abzillah: In times of rapid changes in geometry but little changes in components, buying a new frame and swapping makes a lot of sense.
  • 1 0
 @Ttimer: I sold a 2011 Reign last August, obviously sell the complete when it’s that old. I am looking to turn over my 2018 frame to try something new and would definitely prefer to sell frame/ shock/ fork only but thinking the complete might sell a lot faster.
  • 3 0
 @abzillah: I've never experienced parts outlasting the frame; maybe high-end wheels but then they probably won't fit the new frames anyway
  • 3 0
 @plyawn: People have different strategies when it comes to owning mountain bikes. Sounds like you buy one bike and stick with that bike long term, which is great btw.
I have 11speed X01 drive-train, hope brakes, bars and stem, seatpost, and seat that is moving to it's third frame. The wheels and headset are moving over from the last frame, and the fork and frame are new. Instead of buying a brand new bike, I only bought fork and frame only.
  • 1 0
 @abzillah: I've done the same, now after 6 months it has a new drivetrain and rear rim. Just change what breaks.
  • 15 0
 Wasn't sure how to answer the last one accurately. In general, I'm the only one allowed to work on my bikes. But when I have bought completes from a shop, i've never been given the option of not having them build it. I've asked if I could just have it in the box straight from the manufacturer unassembled, and been told that they'd be violating their dealer agreements if they did that.

I get it, no hard feelings toward the shops. But it's kind of a waste of everybody's time; inevitably I'm going to be swapping parts, cutting steer tubes, trimming housing and recabling the whole thing, adjusting the shifting and whatnot, to the point that we'd all be better off if they just skipped the in-shop assembly part or the process.
  • 2 0
 Exactly! I didn't answer that question because that option wasn't there. I had the same issue with my last bike. I like building up my own bikes, but due to the reasons you pointed out they had to do it and I had to pay for it... ugh.
  • 4 0
 I with you in that I also swap parts instantly when I get a new bike (I've been a frame-only guy up until last year) but there is value in having the shop build it up with the OE components. They get to check the frame and parts over for defects and general condition so that they know that it is in perfect condition before they hand it over to you. It is amazing how many bikes leave the factory with problems that are caught during assembly.

Note that you can ask them to leave the steerer full length so that it has a larger market for resale.
  • 1 0
 It's also a big liability issue for shops. Every shop I've worked at has required me to fill out and sign an extensive checklist that makes sure every component is tuned and functioning properly, and every bolt is torqued for every bike we assemble. While I'm sure you know what you're doing, we can't just take customer's word for it and risk responsibility if something does go wrong.
  • 1 0
 @bogey: I didn’t realize that—I assumed they received the steerer pre-cut from the factory. Wish I had known.
  • 13 0
 Missing option: buy entry level complete bike, take off and store a bunch of the parts, ride your high end parts for a couple of years, put original new parts back on bike for sale.

This is the main reason why the ever changing "standards" have been such a pain in the a...
  • 20 3
 Grim Donut R&D
  • 3 0
 No way anyone interested in a GD would want full bike....
  • 16 3
 My bike building has led me to slightly stretch my frame to fit boost. The hub or frame (not sure which) makes a creaking noise under heavy braking or pedaling, but I love my custom bike!
  • 9 0
 bend-it-bro
  • 2 0
 @Brianio19: ha, that's great
  • 12 0
 The problem is that all bike shop mechanics are not created equal - the level of skill varies wildly.
People think if someone works at a shop, they know what they are doing,
I've seen someone on a warranty replaced frame nearly crash because the shop didn't tight the stem or bar adequately, The closest shop to me employs someone who had no idea what TriFlow was.
On the otherhand, I have friends in another city that revere one mechanic as a god; I don't think he has to ever pay for beer.
  • 8 0
 Very true. Unfortunately, a lot of good wrenches leave the industry because the pay and benefits are so crap. It's all well and good that you don't have to pay for beer, but it don't do much when the mortgage is due. I worked in the industry for twelve years and I could've drown in free beer. Now I get paid $10/hr more to push "cycle start" as a CNC machinist. (It's not quite that grim, but some days it feels like it)
  • 2 0
 I work at a shop and honestly even though I completely trust myself to adjust and assemble my own bikes, I would never touch a lot of other people's. Someone comes in with a custom road bike build? Send it to the other mechanic. I only research the products I want on my bike. I do good maintenance on most mtbs, and through baby steps I have learned to work on a lot more bikes, but I know some people who have no idea what they are doing will just start working on anything. Those are the people I don't want working on bikes

If you walked in asking for TriFlow I would have no idea what you are talking about. I use a different chain lube. i know how chain lube works though, so I'm sure it would be fine
  • 12 0
 I like building up a frame from scratch but many times I find completes with most of what I want. I'll just swap a few parts. My wheels and cockpit frequently last multiple frames.
  • 11 0
 Too bad you can't get more complete bikes with the "mid priced" (GX/SLX/XT) builds, but with really good ALLOY rimmed hubs (I9's etc...) , and the top level suspension. If you are actually riding a lot, and not worried about winning a race, you are strong enough to be fine with paying the weight penalty on cassettes, slightly heavier frames, alloy rims, etc..... You shouldn't have to pay for carbon hoops, Gucci shifting, and lighter frames to get the better suspension and hubs. I'm willing to pay somewhat more, but not for things that are expensive to replace and don't really improve my ideal experience.
  • 1 0
 This is exactly what I wish most manufacturers would do! I bought my bike as a complete with SLX, house brand wheels/ hubs, and "entry level" Fox suspension (Rhythm fork and DPS performace shock). Over the nearly 2 years I've owned it, it now has an SLX/ XT mix (I upgrade to XT when parts where out), RaceFace Turbine R wheels with RF Vault hubs, and Fox factory suspension (and upgraded the DPS to a DPX2). I think besides the frame and bearings, I could count on one hand the parts still on the bike that are stock
  • 1 0
 Facts!!! I want gx/slx + factory + alloy + 108 hub, but I have never seen a complete build with those options (much less for a reasonable price)
  • 1 0
 It would not be good business for bike companies to do that. They want us to pony up and buy the most expensive models to get good suspension.
  • 10 0
 My friend just bought (3 months ago) a brand new Knolly and he could pay the same price to build it himself, or have the local shop build it (knolly kicked down the $$)...it’s been sitting at the shop un-assembled since December 23!!! I told him to pick it up and we will build it tonight.
  • 8 3
 It makes me glad to know that I don’t need to feel the slightest amount of guilt when I order parts online vs using this shop...they are obviously not hurting for business.
  • 11 0
 Replace "I'm the only one allowed to work on my bike" to "I'm a bike mechanic and probably couldn't afford to pay someone else to build up my bike anyway" and we're gold
  • 6 0
 As a former bike mechanic, for a long time I viewed it as a way I saved money. Now, I still do most work myself but sometimes I just say f*ck it and pay someone and then go back over the important stuff.

I don't have the time to f*ck around with fishing cables and housing, but you bet I'm rebleeding (or at least checking it out) the brakes as soon as they are done. Trust but verify.
  • 7 0
 I buy completes, but wish I could have way more factory direct wheel package options. Even a base plus one upgrade option would make me happier. Ideally I'd like 3 upgrade options: better hub, better hub and rim, awesome hub and rim. Hate having to pay full price to change the wheels on a new bike, hate selling the OEM wheels.

Standard OEM trim packages are too steep and include upgrades I don't need or want.
  • 5 1
 Crappy wheels even on high priced complete bikes is a pet peeve of mine. I noticed that direct to consumer brands are less guilty of that, probably because people actually look at the spec sheet when buying those.
  • 2 0
 Commencal offered me an option to build a custom on their site and they would give me a quote on what it would cost in the end. Thought that was cool of them.
  • 9 0
 I'm not buying anything any time soon, but Propain's website for building your bike is amazing. All manufacturers should have this capability. It's awesome.
  • 1 0
 1000% agree! They even list the weight differences to nerd out on $ per gram
  • 1 0
 Commencal has something similar.
  • 7 0
 I honestly think sometimes i like building up bikes more than i like riding.... sometimes. I build up peoples bikes in my town for free and i like wrenching on them. So much easier than working on cars.
  • 3 0
 What's your address ?
  • 5 0
 Seems like bike companies would want to sell more frames-only because they don't have to build them. Easier. Not sure why more companies don't sell frame-only, but it must be that overwhelming majority of people don't want frame-only.
  • 3 0
 I for one would be fine with buying a complete bike that hadn't been assembled at all.
  • 3 0
 I think there’s a higher tariff for frames vs complete bikes...sucks cause I like to pick my own parts.
  • 2 0
 Because a complete bike sale is more profitable. Bike companies are not passing on their parts discounts, they are up charging.

Pick any S-works bike as an example... list out the components and price them. Spech want $9-12k for the bike but sells the frame only for $3-3.5k.
  • 1 0
 @Baller7756: In those cases, yeah. Definitely a difference between frame price and complete. However, some component companies may offer bigger discounts because with some companies, it is more cost effective to get the complete. In those cases, the difference in price of frame + parts is more costly than the complete. Completes do sell more stuff.
  • 1 0
 Companies also make a bunch of money selling complete component sets. E.g. sram drivetrain + rs fork + sram brakes + quark power meter (maybe) is done because the company has a deal with sram to get stuff for cheaper for only using their components. This way companies can make a larger profit.
  • 6 1
 It comes down to value for me. It's almost always cheaper to buy a complete bike (usually not the most expensive model) and swap out parts to complete the dream machine.

As far as building a frame up from old parts, that really only works if the frames are very similar. My 2017 Range, while clad with carbon rims, XT and Fox Factory components, has 27.5 wheels, 11 speed drivetrain, and 2 piston brakes. There's very few components I could or would bring over to a modern 29er enduro bike. At a minimum, I would need new a new wheelset, tires, and a fork.

Sell bike for $2000 and buy new bike for $8000 costs $6000.

Sell frame fork and wheels for $1500 and buy a new frame fork and wheels for $6000 costs $4500.

The swap over might be cheaper, but I'll still have a outdated and worn out drivetrain, powerless brakes that need a bleed, and a too short dropper that feels like it's full of sand.
  • 2 0
 you could get 3k for that range all day long.
  • 3 0
 I tend to agree. By the time I've decided to upgrade there has been enough progress - or my interests have changed enough - so that many of my parts won't swap over. This also means that I can't count on much for resale value, but hey, you can always use a buddy bike in the garage!

I like to buy new because I like warranties and correctly-maintained parts. I worked in the industry for twelve years so my bikes are on point - not so sure about that on the used market, especially buying online. If the history is known and the seller is trusted that can change the calculus.

That being said, I have very strong opinions about the equipment I buy because I intend to ride it for years. I'll pour over spec sheets and nothing pisses me off more than garbage parts where an average consumer won't notice (usually bearings; in pivots, bottom brackets, headsets, hubs, etc.). I remember selling some sweet carbon XXC bikes that I refused to let leave my showroom without replacing the stock pivot bearings.

If I could afford it, I would buy frames and build them up from scratch, but completes ultimately save money if there are minimal swaps required to get what you want. So I'll wait until the spec is right and enough progress has occurred to convince me to upgrade.
  • 5 0
 Built my first frame up this summer, and it was a wonderful experience I can't wait to repeat. Building the bike was very fun and rewarding for me, and getting to spin my tools for a few hours was well worth any extra cost it may have been. Every time I throw a leg over it I'm proud of my handiwork, which is priceless.
  • 5 0
 Building your own is always worth the extra cost IMO. You get the perfect spec and you’ll never need to see a mechanic again. It’s not difficult.
  • 4 0
 @jwdenver: my friend and I are building his hardtail today. No offense to pro mechanics who really do a good job, but most bike stuff was designed so teenagers and potheads can work on it. You can usually figure anything out.
  • 4 0
 @mtb-sf: For some people its the tools. But your right, if you have all the proper tools simply assembing a bike isnt all that difficult. Especially with the internet where there is a how-to video or article for just about everything.
  • 1 0
 @sino428: True. I have spent almost as much on tools as bikes lately so that I have everything to get it done right. Many people can't do that.
  • 5 0
 As a big guy who hucks I’m constantly breaking shit. If I had to wait for the shop to fix every spoke, hub axle, stripped crank arm, clapped shock, toasted rotor, stuck piston, and shot pivot bearing I’d never have a bike to ride. Plus it’s kind of a zen thing... you can actually fix your bike vs. all the other shit in life you’ve got no control over.
  • 1 0
 Same. R.I.P. cranks.
  • 4 0
 My preference would be to build up a bike from a bare frame. I've done that a couple of times. But OEM price policies mean that if you subtract the market price (online, eBay etc) of parts, even MSRP bike prices trend to result in a negative frame price. Some of that is volume discounting on components, but also for whatever reason driving is away from bare frames. So the alternative is to buy a bike, strip & sell the parts, then do your build (potentially leaving on some bits).
  • 4 0
 I was surprised at how many "frame only" responses there were, but I suppose that is more indicative of the Pinkbike demographic than the market at large.

In an industry that has no standards, and when components cost as much as they do, I just don't have much interest in building a bike from the frame up. It costs way more than getting a complete bike from a manufacturer that has way more buying power than me. The build may not have everything just as I would want, but it is very unlikely to hold me back. If a particular component really bothers me, I can sell it and put the cash towards an upgraded item.
  • 2 0
 I've gone "frame only" with the new rig for the first time in my life as a cyclist, just for the thrill, and i gotta say i probably couldn't get something cheaper from the shelf (for the same spec).
I don't know there in the US, but here in Europe online shops gave me a very sweet deal on brakes and drivetrain (shimano slx) and a nice one on suspensions duty; i still got carried way too far with wheels (my bad), and it was a nerve wrecking and time consuming experience, but overall i think it turned out as a good(ish) deal.
  • 3 0
 @Becciu: I've the same experience. I could get a new SC HT CC frame at 15% discount, built it up with parts frome Hibike and the like and was able to beat the complete S build price by € 100,- (and I now have a CC frame with better shock too).
  • 2 1
 @Becciu: Here in the US, complete bikes are much cheaper. I was having so much trouble finding an aggressive hardtail in stock during 2020 that I decided I'd build one up. I'd say it cost at least 35% more to build from frame up if you select roughly the same components. Frame, wheels, drivetrain, and, fork and I was already over the price of the complete build using the exact same parts. Still would have needed tires, headset, bottom bracket, seat, handlebars, dropper post, stem, grips, and brakes. I just decided to order the complete build and wait. The brakes were my only concern, but it was much cheaper to order the complete bike and upgrade the brakes. (Turns out the stock brakes work just fine, so more money saved.)

For some people that have a lot of spare parts or takeoffs lying around, I'm sure it makes sense to go frame only. For me buying everything new, not so much.
  • 4 0
 Always go frame only and use your own sweet parts, replacing them as they brake with something rad. SRAM has completely ruined the new bike market with their SX and NX garbage. You cant get a decent drivetrain on a new bike unless you drop 10k and even then you are probably only getting XT level, which is great btw, but not for 10k. If you are smart with your shopping you can build a sweet new bike for half what the store wants and have twice the quality. Fuck you SRAM and your garbage, ruining new bikes for people new to the sport who don't know any better yet.
  • 3 0
 Frame only options are hard to find these days apart from the super expensive niche brands.

I'm done with buying a complete bike and having to swap around parts from my old bike or buy new ones. I have a whole draw of OEM junk (which I call the SRAM graveyard) I've taken off new bikes after a few rides.

Need more brands to provide alloy frame only options. A Privateer is most likely going to be my next frame.
  • 5 2
 Buy bike complete. Sell off lousy SRAM drivetrain if needed. Put Shimano 12 on. Upgrade/replace any other stuff that merits it, sell unwanted other parts.

Get the bike I want waaaaay cheaper than building up a bare frame. But it can take a week of 2 to sell unwanted parts and get the stuff I want on there.
  • 3 0
 i dont think this is the right place for getting data on these questions, most people here are perfectly capable of working on bikes and have plenty of parts (and likely a very specific preference for parts theyre not going to find a prebuilt bike) so theyre probably going to choose a frame and build themselves. But I feel like most people that go into a shop do so specifically because they lack the knowledge, and are probably not going to be a very active part of a enthusiast site like this. I personally wont buy a prebuilt ever, so I hope companies remember the frame-only market exists and is important to many
  • 3 0
 I don't buy a new bike very often, so by the time I'm ready to switch bikes, my parts are usually either outdated (via changing standards or me wanting to try the newer, greater thing) or just very "well-worn". That being the case, it's generally cheaper to just buy a complete bike.
  • 3 0
 I'm learning more and more about how to be the sole mechanic for my bike. I've yet to find this mythical perfect local bike shop with saintly mechanics doing flawless work at fair prices that only exist in MTB website discussions.
  • 3 0
 Drives me crazy that most bike companies dont offer frame only. I only ever buy frames separately. I've never bought a complete bike in my life. I really want a focus but I dont want to be told what parts to have
  • 2 0
 OCD aside. Frame only build for me, as long as your patient and/or can wait to sell off you old steed until the new ones complete. If you have the skills (or at least ability to research and apply skills from maintenance videos online), tools and shop around both local and online for best deals, you can usually build your bike with top tier spec for for the price of low to mid level spec complete build. You're not going to save thousands each time, but you can definitively save several hundred to be used on a season pass at your local bike park and maybe even spare parts like tires, inserts, pads, chain, etc., if done properly. Of course, starting out may involve investing a little extra on tools for some and you might only break even the first go. However, afterwards, you and your wallet will be much better off.
  • 2 0
 About every other month a customer brings in a bike and tells me, "I just bought this bike online and put it together myself...and I just need you to like...look it over and make sure everything's right..." Usually said bike has multiple cables and/or hoses misrouted, fork on backwards (not joking), handlebars on upside down (again, not joking). Most peoples' skill sets are not up to putting together a bike, but most people will never admit that to themselves or anyone else.
  • 2 0
 Are these mountain biker enthusiasts who ride regularly? Or a new person who wants to ride? I would be surprised if an average VitalMTB er wouldn't know how to put a bike together properly.
  • 1 0
 @Thirty3: Mix of both, My customer base is highly educated and they tend to assume that building bikes is easier than it actually is.
  • 3 0
 If I had to pay a bike shop every time I wanted to do something I'd be broke. I've got 5 bikes that I've built up using old parts and new parts. It's the only way I can afford half decent bikes.
  • 2 0
 There is a response missing.

"I buy complete bikes, tear them down and throw the parts in a bin never to be seen again and then replace everything because frame only is never available"

I have five brand new NX drivetrains if anyone is interested
  • 1 0
 this. best comment here. commodity parts and shitty house finishing parts need their own exhange or clearing house.
  • 2 0
 I'm pretty picky about the parts on my bike after 20 years of working on them professionally (and riding a lot) and I'm very rarely stoked on the specs most bike companies set their bikes up with, so if I do buy a new complete bike, I end up swapping most of the parts out to suit my preferences.
  • 2 0
 I've built 4 bikes from scratch in the last 10yrs. It's a painstakingly slow process on a budget cuz you gotta ALWAYS be scouring online shops, pb buy & sell, ebay, fb marketplace, local lbs, etc. If u find a deal u gotta mop it up even if you dont always need the part. Its enjoyable, but not for everyone.
  • 4 0
 Frame all day long then make my bike how i want to build it not look like a pro bike but look like my bike
  • 2 0
 In a perfect world yes, I'd build it from scratch....then I look at my bank account and go to craigslist for a clapped out used bike to slap a few shiny parts on cry alittle on the inside.
  • 1 0
 I've been custom building bikes frame up for 25+ years, but the latest bike I got (2020 slayer) was way easier to buy it whole. It's not lacking anything, so it was tough to justify the time & effort to build it myself. Bikes have come a long way!
  • 1 0
 I would add the option that I'll assemble the bike as much as I can on my own with the tools that I have and let the bike shop handle the rest of the stuff. I don't have a comprehensive bike shop at home so things like cutting cables, housing, or pressing bearing/headsets or even installing BBs are not in my realm of capability and it's not worth buying the tools to do it myself.

As for building a bike, currently I'm in the boat house of not having enough free time in my life to both ride and piecemeal bikes together. That said my last bike was a complete. My next bike, however, I may consider the piecemeal approach but it is notably much easier to select a complete bike on a budget that it is to build a bike on a budget. The fun factor quickly diminishes when what you want collectively exceeds your project budget and everything becomes a compromise to the point that you may as well have purchased a complete bike and saved yourself the headache.

I would also agree with the sentiment of buying a used newer bike rather than buying brand new. Bikes are liabilities not assets and they lose a lot of value in that first year or two of ownership. Better to buy a lightly used depreciated bike than a brand new bike. The only reason my last (current) bike was brand new was because insurance money paid for it and I was required to buy new, otherwise I'd have bought used.
  • 1 0
 typically complete bike, and swap some touch points or upgrade based wear and tear; I have no time or willing to buy every single detail and part to create package;
this is already included into bike price, why do the job twice?
  • 4 0
 My bike is 15 years old, however its like triggers broom. It’s had 6 replacement frames, 5 forks and 8 groupsets...
  • 3 1
 1.Buy the new alloy model with the best suspension.
2. Swap choice parts from old frame.
3. Build old frame with new parts.
(3.5 gripe about standards)
4. Sell old bike.
5. Ride new bike.
6. Repeat next year.
  • 1 0
 OR buy new alloy model (Knolly) that is way better than old carbon bike.
Sell old carbon bike.
Ride new bike.
Continue to ride no longer new bike.
  • 2 1
 I would love to build all my own bikes how I want, but it would be much, much more expensive than buying a complete bike.

The only bike recently I did that with was my Kona Honzo ST. I thought it would work out because I already had wheels and cranks... that would work. I did use those parts and even got a reasonable deal on the fork, but everything I had to buy killed me. It was impossible to figure out and acquire the correct headset and when I did it was well over $100 (good quality but).

I am not a bike mechanic by occupation but enjoy working on bikes so the time and effort isnt a factor.

Swapping in parts off your old bike, even if its not very old, means trying to ensure everything is the same "Standard" which will really limit some of your choices.
  • 1 0
 You managed to snap up a honzo st frame? Jealous!
  • 1 0
 I would rather buy a whole bike because it's cheaper that way, AND I would rather pick every single part because obviously. I prefer both things, and I do both things. If I buy a whole bike it just means that I'm buying a set of components at a discounted price, not all of which I might keep. So the way these questions are phrased makes no sense to me, because it mixes the "prefer" and the "do" in a way that doesn't correspond to what happens. I have bought used bikes, new bikes, new frames, used "half bikes", it depends on what's needed and what's on offer. If money was out of the equation, it's unlikely that I would ever buy a whole bike. But when is money out of the equation? Do we all have a fleet of high-end bikes at home? A poll that could use some rephrasing for sure.
  • 1 0
 I'm prefer to buy a cheap spec bike and put my proven parts in, I'd rather buy a frame only (or frame with fork) but somehow frame sets has usually horrible price tag. For example the cheapest model has simmilar price as frameset (same frame but different shock) which is strange. It looks like the manufacturer do not want to sell frames alone (kinda a pure net profit for them).
  • 1 0
 I shopped for a frame for a month. Nothing is available for next summer. I considered buying a frame next fall and building it over next winter but then checked t the parts availability...
I bought a Stumpy carbon comp this morning (one of the few left)
  • 1 0
 i purchased two new bikes, had to upgrade things on both. then i bought a used complete bike, had to replace EVERYTHING. i think once i am forced to move on i'd be happy to find a brand new bike with my fave components where i wouldn't have to switch anything major. bars, grips and stems are always fun to customize but like, gimme full shimano and fox suspension and i'll be pretty happy
  • 1 0
 How easy is it to buy a new frame and then swap over parts from an older bike? I've always assumed that certain parts wouldn't fit so I've never looked into this. Although now that I am thinking about it a bit harder... perhaps it's not as complicated as I had assumed. Like if you are going from one 160mm travel bike to another and they both have the same axle spacing and seat tube diameter, should basically all parts just easily transfer over? I guess rear shocks usually have different sizes but most frames actually come with the shock anyways, right?
  • 1 0
 I just finished building up a new frame with almost all used parts and LOVED the process (would be better if it wasn't during the COVID supply chain issues). However, while I dream of building bikes with all new parts, the price delta between buying a complete bike and paying retail for the frame and parts separately just isn't cost effective.
  • 1 0
 I bought a new 2011 Giant Trance X2 via insurance claim -sold it to a co-worker for $1K 2 years ago. Bought a used 2014 Giant Trance SX frame and built it it up then gave it to my daughter's father-in-law as a gift when racing was over. Bought a used 2014 Giant Anthem carbon -still have it. Bought a new 2018 YT Jeffsy Pro Race -still have it. Built an SWORKS enduro because I wanted the light frame but didn't care about the components (wireless dropper and drive train). I guess, it all depends on what season in life one is going through.
  • 1 0
 When I was a new rider, I bought completes, learned how to work on bikes, and educated myself on the different brands and components. Now, my main squeeze has the best parts I can afford. So if I were to buy a new bike, it would be a frame and I'd move parts over. Completes are almost always cheaper and buying each individual part.
  • 1 0
 I normally go frame only but the Honzo ESD spec is so good for the money I just went for it. Just swapped out handlebars and grips to my preference, and waiting on the CK hub to build a new rear wheel. I’ll be happy to have a spare rear wheel to share between a few bikes.
  • 1 0
 I usually buy the bike I like and then swap out a bunch of parts( wheels, bars, etc) to set it up the way I like. Sure the bottom bracket/cranks I had put on the bike make some noise but it doesn't bother me, just the people I'm riding/racing with!????
  • 4 0
 I think pinkbike is telling us to hold on to our current bikes and not sell them before our new ones are under our arse
  • 1 0
 It used to be that I always bought a frame and I put my old parts on it. The parts were usually working well because I was replacing parts and forks regularly. Then things changed with wheel sizes and boost and new headset standards. I don’t want to chose a frame based on my current parts. So now I’m inclined to buy the complete bike if, IF, the parts fit my needs. I’m picky about having great brakes and drivetrain. Good wheels too. Everything else is kind of secondary. I did build a hardtail from scratch three seasons ago because the Santa Cruz build kit available was really awful. Costly but I was happy. My Trek 9.9 Remedy on the other hand needed no changes.
  • 1 0
 in your opinion then the frame isn't that big of a deal ?? if you're picky on the brakes ,drivetrain and wheels
just wondering from anotheroldfart whose sort of looking around for something decent/solid not a waste of dough
  • 1 0
 @orphan: No the frame is important. That said , I think that there aren’t many truly crappy bikes out there these days. I don’t want to select a frame based upon my existing parts. If for example a frame I was interested in had a different seat post size, different bb standard and headset standard, I wouldn’t want to not get it just because I couldn’t transfer all my parts over. Am I making sense?

It’s almost always cheaper to buy a complete bike too, as opposed to a frame and all new parts.
  • 2 0
 @Someoldfart: -total sense thanks -
I'm not looking to build or even buy my "dream rig" ,at the moment I'm leaning towards upgrading by buying a complete used rig that has or at least some of the upgraded parts that I'm picky on (brakes, hubs) and then using the extras I have if needed (bars, dropper,maybe wheels)
I don't want and can't afford or even need the latest newest rocket
  • 1 0
 I look at sports and hobbies in 3 tiers. begin tier 1 with a used bike. enjoy the bike and understand the positives and negatives of all the components. Realize whats lacking and what you would like to upgrade. Tier 2. old bike is sold and you purchase a new frame that's one or two years old. A frame that has not changed in years. For me, new 2019 Santa Cruz Nomad frame. 150 email blasts and I found a frame 3800 miles away. Now I know what components id like on this bike. will be double the price of tier 1. Will have fun for a long long time. Will improve at sport til, I max out or the bike maxes out. Tier 3. three times the price of tier1. Brand new complete rig. Your a pro and the bike is a freebee or you moved into that job or interest that has elevated you into riding 7 days a week. Enjoy the world with the bike in cargo and your first class seat to your next dream ride.
  • 1 0
 I snapped my Achilles in the Fall of '07 riding in Nelson, BC. Huge bummer for me at the time, but provided the impetus I needed to decide to build my own bike. I had been bitching about local bike shop work for years and now here I was with a bunch of time to learn how to do everything on my own. Best thing that ever happened to me and no better way to learn.....haven't purchased a full bike since.
  • 1 0
 For me it's whatever is cheaper. I have a Custom built Scott gambler. I found the frame for $1200 brand new with a float X2. The rest of the components were purchased on pinkbike buy and sell brand new for less than half of retail (I'm a cheapass and checked daily for deals) and then I had a Saint drivetrain I pulled off my old bike. I scored a raceface atlas wheelset for $500 and a boxxer WC for $900 still new in the box. Total cost was around $3500.

Last year I bought a brand new 2018 specialized Enduro pro carbon with ohlins suspension. It was half price. Same as the s works except it has X01 instead of xx1. Don't think I'll ever find a deal like that again.
  • 1 0
 All 3 of my current rides are DTC (Canyon and Polygon). I bought them because the build spec isnt THAT bad, but do like to change components to brands that I personally prefer. My 2020 Sender now sports DMR Axe cranks and Oi Oi saddle., Bomber 58 fork, Truvativ bars and Nukeproof rims. My Spectral has Z1s, Atomlab bars, DMR stem and Deity saddle while my Trid has Descendanr cranks, Raceface stem and bars and Bomber DJs. Trying to explain to my wife why I change parts from stock is a pain in the ass, she doesnt understand where I am coming from when I explain to her that changing stuff to brands I know is logical because I knkw that when I have to, I can work on them myself and not fork out for shop maitenance.
  • 1 0
 You can "work on" your bars, stem, saddle, cranks etc all by yourself, are you a pro mechanic?
  • 1 0
 @dsut4392: No. But I can essentially build a complete bike, including full bearing overhaul/service, I know that I can do everything required. 7 years working in a bike shop, I think I know my way around bikes. What it comes down to for me is time and money. IF I had a good bucket of coin, of course Inwould build the bike from a frame, this included lacing the wheels. But the quality of MOST completes is a LOT better than when I first started MTB 25 years ago. I just prefer to run certain brands that do not come on stock bikes.
  • 2 0
 @constantly-broken: I was just taking the pi55 out of the notion that replacing your bar and stem has anything to do with being able to service the parts. "I just prefer to run certain brands" is really where it's at.
  • 1 0
 I think the best way to go is to buy the cheapest build and then swap out parts and sell the new ones on buy/sell where you get relatively good prices for take offs. Frame only ends up being way too expensive.

For wheels I have an expensive set of carbon wheels which I put on. I then keep the original wheels lying around and out them on to sell the bike. Keep the bike maximum 2 years within its current production cycle and sell for relatively high given its good condition.
Means that it doesn’t cost too much to keep having nice bikes
  • 1 0
 Ideally id love to buy a frame & do a dream build but its just so much more expensive that way so its usually buy a complete (new to me) bike with as many parts that I'm happy with then swap parts from "old" bikes as necessary.

Ive always had Orange Bikes over the last 10-15years(3 x fives & 3 x P7's) but fancied trying something different to single pivot so decided on a Nukeproof Reactor, especially at the moment very hard getting a 2nd hand one but think i was quite lucky last month- hardly any coming up on eBay, i was after a 275 Medium in alloy, then Wiggle's outlet store started auctioning off loads(comparatively speaking - maybe about 10) of Reactors & i managed to get one of the last ones at a good price - it was just the base model with SRAM SX which was the real weak point - suspension, brakes & general components weren't too bad....so i swapped the 12 speed SX drivetrain(as its the base groupset it had HG not XD driver) to my used 11speed Shimano XT drivetrain(with a new chain). Totally happy with 11speed- £75 for a new XT cassette whereas SRAM GX is about £150!! - for a mid-range cassette!!!

Also converted to tubeless which saved a fair bit more weight(removed 320gram inner tube from each wheel- added an 8g tubeless valve & about 80g of sealant). Finally i removed the Maxxis Assegai, moved the minion to the front & put a new High roller2 on the back.

So all in I've knocked about 1.2kg off the bike, it now feels like "my" custom build & i had an absolute ball in the process Smile
  • 1 0
 I'd prefer to buy frame only and build it up but complete bikes are almost always cheaper.

The exception being specialized, I once played with the thought of getting an enduro but their builds are unacceptable (6k for an nx drive train makes me laugh evertime I see one in the wild) and way overpriced so I calculated what it'd cost to build one up. You can get a better build for cheaper if you find a deal on parts here and there.

And then there are the german direct sellers, where you basically exceed the complete bike price with the frame, seatpost and a fork. The rest is "free".
  • 1 0
 I've bought two complete bikes in the last 20+ years that I've ridden as shipped- and one of those I parted out and rebuilt the frame a few years afterwards. I bought a complete DH bike that I tore down almost immediately to replace most of the parts (mainly the fork and drivetrain). I'm too picky about parts so it's often a waste for me to buy complete bikes.
  • 1 0
 I’ve built from the frame up. I’ve bought a new YT. I’ve bought a new bike from Jensonusa. I’ve bought new and demo from a local shop. If someone else built it up it’s getting torn down, lubed or loctited in all the right places and put back together with a real torque wrench that I know is accurate. That’s the former car mechanic in me.
  • 1 0
 Whenever I buy a bike, new or second hand, I swap components in and out to match what I want as time and money allows. I'm not after bling, just great brakes & solid wheels - my Onyx hubs normally get carried over as well as my ever-reliable One Up dropper.
  • 1 0
 I've seen this comment already but it still applies, being a bike mechanic makes the frame up builds a lot more feasible. But on any OEM bike I buy, the minimums are changing all cockpit components to what I like and changing wheels to something I've built.
  • 1 0
 I think we need balance of both, as someone new to the sport isn't really going to know what they want and what's going to work with each other such as gearing groupsets. Having a few choices makes that easier on them and people who have been into the sport for years as you know what spec you want from your level of riding (or if you just like the best stuff). But having frame only choices really give you the chance of making the dream build bike which I'm sure we have all wanted at some point. E-bike wise makes it harder for a frame only choice as it would need to have the motor, battery & display in that as a package and then go on picking your own parts. But no system is ever going to be perfect just gotta find right balance.
  • 1 0
 I stopped buying new bikes when 12 speed came out. Just can't justify buying into it. 11 speed is cheaper, lighter, stronger, and still does the job. Also, the prevalence of SRAM seatposts and brakes has been a big turnoff to me.
  • 1 0
 I enjoy building my own bikes but it takes a lot of time that I don't have these days. Happy to support the local bike shop and throw a few dollars at them to have them set up my bike for me. Still have to do a final inspection and tweaking myself but it saves a lot of time. Props to Cycle Works in Box Hill South, you guys are the best.
  • 1 0
 Currently building a Stumpjumper SWorks frame 2021. Green Sram AXS complete xx1 oil slick drive, Rock shox reverb dropper, SQLab saddle, Nox Composite wheels with I9 hydra hubs, sram g2 ultimate 4 piston brakes, Enve Bars, Fox grip2 fork, Canfield oil slick flats, vittoria barzo or mezcal? Ordered the Sram drive 4 weeks ago. Supposed to arrive end of January. Picked up the frame here on Pinkbike! Screw eBay. All in I’ll have about 7500 in it. I get a 10% discount from team I race on. Local shop. Lot of money but it’ll be a 4-5 year bike for me. Can’t wait.
  • 1 0
 Sweet build. Whats your BB and HS?
  • 1 0
 Direct to consumer brands like yt and canyon are the best value possible, however if you want a new bike (dirt jumpers especially) its not worth getting a complete new one, I have had 2 djs and I used money from parting out most of the components on my old one to buy the new frame and fork, many new components and a new frame only cost me $400 after buying a $1200 complete as my first. tbh its worth putting your own bike together, trust me
  • 1 0
 With standards changing so frequently it’s becoming harder to move parts from an old frame to a new one. It’s not that long ago that there was 1 bb shell, 1 headset size, 1 free hub, 1 rear and front axle widths, etc.
I’m not against progress but it’s obvious that some standards change to make things easier for bike companies and not because it offers the rider any advantage.
  • 1 0
 If a pro can jump on a new sponsor's bike today, win a race on it tomorrow, and answer with a straight face "best bike ever" in the interview after the podium, who am I kidding to think I need to customise components for better performance?
Sure, there are real differences in durability and feel between different spec levels in groupsets/suspension, and I'm not trying to argue a Lyric fits the same purpose as a SID, but 90% of custom building is about tribalism and vanity, no different to buying high heels and handbags.
I like working on my bikes, but buying complete is a no-brainer from the value point of view. I might swap out the saddle if it's uncomfortable, but apart from that I'll only replace or upgrade components when they wear out or break.
  • 1 0
 Let's be real, bicycle manufacturers attempt to pull the same profit amount (not margin) between a complete and frame, so when they sell a complete they're basically getting around a MAP policy by selling you a bunch of parts at cost with their frame.

This is why I try to buy completes even when I only need a frame, because I can sell takeoff parts and come out significantly cheaper than buying frame-only.

This is also why bicycle/frame manufacturers can't sell frames at even half the rate they sell completes, and this isn't a good thing, even if in the short term it gives us better deals on completes, imagine how things would be if parts were cheaper (due to less being sold OEM at significantly lower margins) and bike shops were selling and building bikes for everyone that needed a new one.
  • 1 0
 By the time i get a new bike, the old one typically has had most components replaced as they wear out, get damaged. I would consider buying a frame more often, but availability and price are the issue. Buying a frame, forks and wheels currently far exceeds getting a whole new bike. A few years ago it was more possible with greater availability and often some very big discounts, not any more, brexit, covid, and the bike industries desire to push people to buy a complete new bike every 3yrs.
  • 1 0
 I'm regretting the "full build" route this year. I have 100% of my parts purchased, 70% of my parts in-hand and zero ideas when the rest will become available. They've been on backorder since November... The lousy part is that my frame and wheels are in the missing 30%, hahahahaha. Pray for me! ????
  • 1 0
 I went thru a ton of frames and parts from 1999-2010 or so. My last few have been complete because the standards changed so much for a while. Once we settle in, I'll probably be back to frames and swapping parts.
  • 2 0
 I think many more riders would love to build up a bike from scratch but the bike companies charge so much more for the frame only. Better to buy complete and swap parts.
  • 5 1
 Give me a frame only Ebike. Someone. Please.
  • 1 0
 Commencal will if you email them. They will then send you a private link to view and purchase. I nearly did before finally realising ebikes weren’t for me.
  • 1 0
 @Richt2000: oh good to hear, are they insanely expensive vs buying the base model?
  • 1 0
 @justanotherusername:
This was a year or so ago, but they wanted €2999 for frame, shock, motor, battery & controller
  • 2 0
 @Richt2000: cheaper than a lot of normal mtb frames...
  • 1 0
 I did this last year. Bought a new frame on sale from a shop online and had my LBS swap over a bunch of parts from my old bike. I also upgraded some stuff along the way. It’s a pretty good way to do things
  • 3 0
 The only thing I don't do myself is build my wheels, I got a local guru for that.
  • 3 0
 Start offering frames without shocks like commencal. I want to choose my own damn shock
  • 2 0
 I appreciate that so many of us wrench, thats probably my favorite thing about this sport. wrenching and fixing shit is half the fun.
  • 2 0
 1 year old frames are bargains(non c19 days).
Mfgs increased msrp frame prices recently...usually just $1k more for complete base build.
  • 2 0
 Agreed, it's almost at the point for me where it's more economical to buy a whole bike, strip it and sell off the bits I don't want to use, particularly now that what I want to buy comes with the suspension I would prefer to use.
  • 2 0
 I just like working on bikes. I know it is more expensive to pay retail for parts, but it makes me feel good. When I retire/ grow up, I want to be a shop mechanic.
  • 2 0
 Its hilarious to watch ebay for used bikes, like a Yeti that are like 5 years old and the seller wants like $5000 for it still lol.. get a grip
  • 2 0
 Its called Covid Tax lol. Seen a Polygon TrId ZZ advertised for $800 more than the same year model sold for originally, wvich was coincidentally the same price as the current 2021 model. Had to correct the seller, I bought the same bike in Apr 20, for $2200 and his was the 2018, but a "custom build".....all he did was change tyres and brakes (from the stock Deore brakes to Avid cable brakes).
  • 1 0
 This poll reflects what you see in the forums. Everyone is a mechanic and they custom build their bikes. In reality the vast majority of people buy completes and are useless turning wrenches.
  • 1 0
 I like buying everything to my spec but it isn't really cost-effective, as a parent i don't have the disposable income to pay that much, many complete bikes are good enough as is. Used can be great too!
  • 2 0
 If the Bike doesn't have good spec but a good frame, then I'll buy the frame, but if the bike has good spec, then I'll buy the bike.
  • 1 0
 buy a complete for bang for the buck components then upgrade components and pay with oem ones and finally upgrade to higher end frame-only and keep swapping parts to infinity and always have the setup you want. ez
  • 1 0
 Yeah you can get a complete bike cheaper, but what am I gonna do during this pandemic if I’m not but one part every week to obsessively attach to a frame I won’t ride for months
  • 1 0
 Build myself. Mainly due to my loathing for low end 12 speed (getting a decent groupset these days seems to mean top end everything and £5k plus).
Also I'm a wheel wrecker, and have a preference for hope brakes.
  • 1 0
 Omg how is this even a question. All bikes should always be available as a frameset. After all I don’t want to buy a fork or a set of wheels from Norco (or any other frame manufacturer), I only want their frame.
  • 1 0
 Complete bikes are the best value. I like to buy complete bikes, sell the parts I don't want to use and replace them with the parts I want. Easily the best value when buying new.
  • 1 0
 Depends on the manufacturer. If the company builds a complete bikes that slays, then why not. But if the massive, corporate monstrosity builds a complete bike, and it’s just all wrong, then no way.
  • 3 0
 I would take a complete this year because components are hard to come by.
  • 1 2
 I usually try and buy some dentist's "old" frame, that's only seen a partial season and barely ridden, for a fraction of the cost. Then completely new drivetrain, and frame/wheelset may or may not get reused depending on how old they are. About the only thing I almost always reuse is my saddle.
  • 2 1
 "How often do you swap parts...". This needs another answer: "I want to do it often, but the bike industry wants me to do it rarely".
  • 1 0
 Well maybe the current industry, but in general the bike industry wants you to swap your parts every time something new comes out.
  • 1 1
 @seraph: Swapping parts means not buying new parts, but reusing them on a new frame. Only recently industry stopped creating new standards. Before it was boost front & rear, metric dampers, 27.5 wheels, 29 wheels,
  • 1 0
 @lkubica: ... For now ????
  • 1 0
 I've been a mechanic for 20 years, I'm the only person who works on my bikes. I think I've only ever bought 3 stock bikes, everything else has been built up from the frame.
  • 3 2
 I feel like a lot of people are kidding themselves. I can't even count how many times someone has come in who swears does "all their own work" and the bike is a disaster.
  • 2 0
 also nowadays it is impossible to find frame that compatible with 4 y old component's;
  • 1 0
 As a non-conformist, my newest build is my last. A v3 tallboy in metal that holds a ft. der. and has normal geo. Grip shift and BB-7's round out the package. Almost retro!
  • 1 0
 I am buying a new carbon bike from my local shop soon.

I’ll be selling the old one once it comes in.

Upgrade parts on the new bike as needed.
  • 2 0
 I'd like to buy frame only, but my wheels would not be compatible because of new standards every year.
  • 1 0
 I want to build my bike and select all the parts, currently swirling down the rabbit hole of learning about suspension dynamics...
  • 1 0
 If I had lots of money I'd buy frames and build up bikes myself because many companies have weird specs. Of course Id rather choose how my bike is! Helmet
  • 1 0
 Well if youre like me and buy a new bike every 5-10 years, buying a new one is almost always the answer since the parts are usually thrashed by then
  • 1 0
 Current bike I built from frame up. Next bike which is due any day. I bought complete but have changed a couple items thru the shop.
  • 3 0
 The only problem using old parts are the ever changing 'standards' Frown
  • 3 0
 I feel your pain. Chris King actually hosted an industry conference a while back to discuss this issue among others. The people from various companies generally agreed that this is a frustration and something they try to avoid, but also asserted that these changes are necessary to move the technology forward.

This obviously has not been the case for bottom bracket technology, for instance.

But maybe it's a bit of a double-edged sword. Nonetheless, boy howdy would I be pissed if I had just spent $3K on a sweet wheelset and found out it won't be compatible with my new bike.
  • 2 0
 I love the build, picking exactly what you want. Just never, ever add up what it cost. It's for the best.
  • 1 0
 having been on furlough since last April, and living on a third of my normal wage, the most I’m going to be treating myself to is a pair of winter riding gloves...
  • 1 0
 Im glad to see how many folks are here to hussel her way on the mountain. Sometime I feel alone surround by 2019-2020 6k+ Bikes!!
  • 1 0
 I feel like I'm tool limited to be able to do everything. What are the top 5 tools I should get to be able to have a useful bench to work on my bike?
  • 2 0
 GX Eagle has spread like an STD. No thank you. I'll pick my own damn drive train.
  • 1 0
 Agreed, and that shit is on many higher end bikes. O_o

I'm seeing bikes around $3K with SX components - this stuff is like Shimano Tourney or Altus with more gears (and a lower likelihood of functioning properly).
  • 1 0
 Is there an option for enjoying sourcing parts and building what you can, but letting the battle hardened wheelsmith at the LBS lace everything up?
  • 2 0
 not many shimano options yet...
  • 3 1
 Thumbs up if you want bike companies to sell frame only
  • 1 0
 Oldschool green arrow up it is..
  • 1 0
 The margins on framesets is out of control, spend a couple hundred more and you can get a low level complete build.
  • 1 0
 I've been fixing stuff for a long time–work, house, cars, bikes etc. At this point I just want to ride.
  • 1 0
 Alway build your bike from the frame up . You get the parts you actually want and it’s fun s
  • 1 0
 Since I bought my Banshee, I did not even think about buying a new bike again..
  • 1 0
 I would buy frame only but can't currently afford it so went for a complete
  • 2 0
 I love to build my own custom bike, never buy a set bike from the shop.
  • 1 0
 I only ever buy used bikes/frames. I'll often buy a whole bike just for 1 part and then flip the rest.
  • 3 1
 Great poll questions.
  • 1 1
 Hard to find a new bike under 3k right now. Easy to find a frame and chuck on my old parts.
  • 1 0
 'Mountain Biker PLEASE - my bike is CUSTOM...' XD
  • 1 0
 I'm still having fun on my 2009 Mountain Cycle Fury.
  • 1 3
 Frame only sucks, I did that with my current bicycle, never again. The experts know best.
  • 1 1
 Like, I can do it, and I did it well, and I'm happy with it, but would rather just buy from someone who's a professional, in all honesty. It was so much money, and so much effort, like, I'm very happy with it, but would rather have not, in terms of, like, I would have rather spent the time riding. It's kind of like home made pizza, versus pizza from a shop, you know, you don't have the brick oven, probably not all the ingredients you want, etcetera, and the pizzeria doesn't want you to replace them in this instance. imgur.com/gallery/iNFpY7x
  • 2 4
 As no ebikes come frame only, it's complete bikes for me these days.
  • 2 0
 yeah, and it really sucks. thats why i dont have an ebike yet.
  • 2 0
 Actually you can buy SWorks Levo's and Levo SL's frame only. No Kenevo's unfortunately
  • 2 0
 @salespunk: true. rode a levo and hated it though. ive been waiting waiting since may to get my hands a kenevo. Its next to impossible in the US, while they have more than they can sell in the UK. I dont get it
  • 3 0
 @probablyoutriding: as a Kenevo owner I can tell you it will be worth the wait. Love mine.
  • 4 4
 We're talking about bikes not motorcycles.
  • 2 0
 @warmerdamj: Tbh the 2020 yamaha r1 pretty sick tho
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