Is It Cheaper to Build Your Own Bike

Mountain bikes aren’t just regular bikes. Yes, you ride them, so you can reach different places. But they’re more than just a mode of transportation. They’re a toy, hobby, and passion for many. And you might be one of these guys who see it as a lifestyle.

If so you might have decided to get one yourself.

You then asked yourself if is it cheaper to build your own bike.

This has been one of the most popular questions to date. And that’s what we’ll talk about here. We’ll give you specific facts on their pros and cons. As well as the average prices of bike parts, so you can expect how much to spend.

Is it cheaper to build your own bike?

It depends on your preferences. There’s no one answer to this because there are many factors to consider. These factors are your personal choices, budget, parts chosen, and mountain bike discipline.

But you can save more money if you build one yourself. You don’t have to upgrade your bike and change the parts. You can also choose cheaper parts instead of the more expensive ones present in built bikes.

But you can also save some bucks if you just get a build bike. And you don’t anymore upgrade its parts. You just leave it as it is and ride it with stock parts.

Unfortunately, this makes the experience less fun for you. But that’s alright if you’ll just use it as a service. And you don’t ride through technical downhill and enduro trails.

So, yes, you can save money on both options. Whether you build it from scratch or get a built bike. Remember that it’s all a matter of preference and riding style.

Buying an Assembled Bike

Pros

Convenience

One of the best things about an assembled bike is the convenience. You don’t anymore have to worry about the different parts because the bike is already complete.

It’s already filled with all the needed parts, so it can run immediately. You just have to pay for it, then ride it immediately.

You don’t even have to adjust the settings most of the time if it’s already set up properly by the shop. They’re a splendid choice if you don’t have time to build your own dream bike.

But they’re only nice if you choose a mid-end or high-end bike. They already equipped these bikes with parts that can handle immense pressure and beating. Just make sure that they already have trail-ready parts, so you don’t have to replace them eventually.

Compatibility

Compatibility is another advantage of built bikes. You don’t have to worry about incompatible parts or parts that won’t fit. Everything else is already clamped and connected properly. This is very convenient on your end because you don’t have to hunt for specific parts.

Take, for example, a bike’s rear shock. These parts have specific measurements so that they can fit the frame. Find the exact shock to put on your frame. But you don’t have to do this with a built bike.

They already have a shock in place, whether it’s a 160 mm, 150 mm, or eye-to-eye shock. The drivetrain, brakes, and wheel set are also already locked in place. They’re also already good-to-go for trail rides.

Instant access to shop

Bike shops prioritize customers who buy built bikes. This might not apply to all bike shops. But it’s the case for most. They do this because they can get the most money out of the customers. That’s a fact of every business, right?

You can easily access a bike shop’s bikes for sale if you want to get a whole bike. Compare that if you were to just buy a specific bike part for them.

The shop can also offer you big discounts if you buy a whole bike from them. Everything is already prepared for you. And you don’t have to go bike shop-hopping to search for different bike parts.

Warranty

Warranty is one of the biggest advantages you can get from a built bike. Bike shops that sell built bikes provide warranty to customers. This means that you can get a new replacement if the bike is damaged.

But there are also times when it’s only a limited warranty. This means that you can only get a replacement if the specific bike part has a factory defect. Or if you accidentally hit it on something, and it had minor damage.

A good example of this is Santa Cruz Bicycles. This luxury bike brand provides full lifetime warranty on their built bikes. They come in handy especially if you have a carbon bike. Because carbon bikes can break if they get a strong direct impact from the ground.

Cons

Customization

The biggest disadvantage to built bikes is its customization. You can’t customize it based on your own choices. They already come with the parts whether you like them.

Examples of these parts are the fork, handlebar, stem, dropper, shock, wheels, and many more. You can’t choose the color, size, or brand you want to put on your bike. Because they’re already installed on it. This makes little to no room for customization.

Personal preferences

Preference is an important part of mountain biking. Mountain bikes become a part of ourselves because we ride it. We should be connected deeply to it to ensure comfort, safety, and a fun experience.

Unfortunately, all these will be sacrificed if you don’t like the parts installed on your bike. The size, travel, and sag settings differ from person to person. And you can’t change any of these if you bought a built bike.

Price

Although this depends. What happens most of the time is you spend more on built bikes. This is especially true if you choose a high-end bike variant. You can’t stick to your budget because they already sold the bike in one enormous price.

And you can’t choose cheaper and more affordable parts because the bike is already built. But there are also times when you can save more if you choose a low-end bike variant. These have cheaper components.

Need for upgrades

You’ll upgrade your built bike, eventually. Mountain biking is an expensive sport. And you can’t stay satisfied with your current build. You’ll just eventually change the parts and settle for more high-end ones.

Unfortunately, most built bikes come with stock components. These stock components are usually low-end variants. You’ll then sell them for a cheap price and buy a more expensive option. You then end up with more expenses. So, why not build a bike from scratch if this is the case.

Building a Bike From Scratch

Pros

Getting your dream bike

One of the best things you can get from personal assembly is you can build your dream bike. You can put the specific parts you really want there. As well as use the exact colorways for your theme.

You will get the best satisfaction from this because you can get the right choice for you. Assemble your own bike if you want to build a dream bike. You don’t have to swap parts. You can immediately get them and have your bike mechanic install them.

A good example of this is a Renthal cockpit with a handlebar and stem. You can even get a wireless drivetrain like SRAM’s XX1 AXS directly on your bike.

You don’t have to wait for a long time just to build your dream bike. Because you don’t anymore have to swap out parts or sell them just so you can buy your dream parts.

Preferred parts

Another nice thing about this is you can get your preferred parts. This is very important for a mountain biker. Because these guys are very particular with the components.

You might think that this is just too much if you’re still new to the cycling world. But this is very true for all dedicated cyclists. You don’t just ride your bike and hop off to wherever you want to go.

You also need to get the parts you want. This makes you feel good and more confident about your ride. Having a SRAM XX1 drivetrain instead of a SRAM NX Eagle makes you feel good and happy.

The latter comes as a stock part and is cheaper than the XX1 counterpart. The XX1 is also more reliable, and better-looking. So if you’ve got the cash. It’s a no brainer to choose the XX1!

Price

You can also save money if you build your bike from scratch. This is because you can choose cheaper components. This is a great thing if you’re on a tight budget.

You can save money if you get a cheaper brake set just like the SRAM Guide T. Or maybe get a cheaper drivetrain like the widely popular Shimano Deore.

You can save money on this because you can lower down the total cost of your bike. But this doesn’t apply to all bikes because some already have low-end components.

No need for upgrades

This is one of the most important things about bikes built from scratch. Upgrades are inevitable in the bike world. There’s a good chance you won’t be satisfied with your current build because you want something better.

You don’t have to worry about that if you build your bike from scratch. You can immediately choose the components you want. And not anymore settle with low-end parts.

You can save money on this because you don’t have to spend on two different parts. Directly go for the ones you like, and you’re already settled.

Fits your size

You can also get the right bike size if you build your own bike. Unknown to many beginners, bikes have different sizes. These come in XS, small, medium, large, XL, and sometimes even XL. All these depend on your height and body build.

You choose the smaller ones if you’re short or have a small body build. Most of the time, you can’t choose the size if you get a built bike.

This is an immense problem because you can properly ride if the bike isn’t your size. Bikes that are small for your size aren’t very stable. Meanwhile, bikes larger than your size are too bulky.

Cons

Compatibility

One of the biggest disadvantages of bike assembly is the hassle. You need to choose the individual parts yourself. And this means considering different bike shops that are in different locations.

Go to those shops and be physically present to choose the right component. Let’s say you have already gathered all the parts. And you want to install it.

There’s still a good chance that they might not be compatible. That’s why you must ensure compatibility over anything else.

Parts-hunting

Parts-hunting is a tedious and time-consuming process. You look for different parts on various bike shops.

You even need to go online and search for bike-specific components. Aside from that, you must also ensure they fit your bike. Consider the specifications and measurement so you don’t have to return them.

Average Cost of Bike Parts

Frame

There are two kinds of bike frames. They are the hardtail and full-suspensions.

Hardtail frames are cheaper than full-suspension. Because they don’t have any linkages and rear shock. The average cost of hardtail are $1,000 to $2,000. With carbon as the more expensive choice. Meanwhile, full suspension frames can go from $2,000 to $4,000.

Cockpit

A cockpit includes:

  • Stem
  • Handlebar
  • Saddle
  • Dropper

A handlebar and stem combo is around $100 to $200. Meanwhile, a dropper and saddle combo is around $100 to $300.

Drivetrain

A mid-range drivetrain like the SRAM GX Eagle is priced at around $500. Meanwhile, a high-end drivetrain like the SRAM XO1 Eagle is valued at $1,200 to $1,400.

Brake set

The average cost of a mid-range brake set is between $200 to $400. High-end race brake sets are around $200 to $400. Examples of these are Hope Tech, Saint, and Magura brakes.

Wheel set

Wheel sets are expensive because they include the rims, tires, hubs, and spokes. Mid-range wheel sets are priced at $400 to $600. Meanwhile, high-end wheel sets are around $1,000 to $1,600. An example of a high-end wheel set is Industry Nine Hydra.

Conclusion

So, is it cheaper to build your own bike?

The short answer is yes. You can save a lot of money if you were to build your bike from scratch.

However, you can also save some bucks if you buy a low-end built bike. But these come with stock parts that aren’t very reliable.

If you want to know if is it cheaper to build your own bike in the long run. Then we say yes. Not only do you save money on upgrades. But you can also ensure your components don’t get easily damaged.

Just make sure you choose the right components, parts, and size. You’ll then surely have a fun ride if you do.

Related:

How to Build a Full Suspension Mountain Bike

How to Build a Mountain Bike Skills Course

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AUTHOR
Jomar Teves
A writer by day, a tech enthusiast by night, and a mountain biker at the weekends. After four years in business school and working for multinational clients, Jomar believes he can improve the world through his writings. Jomar has six years of experience as a writer and has a degree in entrepreneurial marketing. Some of his works have been published on Blokt, Clutch Points, and iTech.