Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Bike Frame Build, Price $-$$$$

from Gear Patrol
For a long time options for buying a bike were limited to what was at the local shop, which was a roll of the dice in terms of selection and service. In many ways, the manufacturer-distributor business model is antiquated and direct-to-consumer sales are the way forward. With e-commerce consumers have limitless information available at a mouse click. What does this mean for the bike buyer? You have options.
Purchasing a bike online used to be nigh impossible, but sites like Competitive Cyclist and Wrench Science are making it easy and worthwhile to get a high-quality ride off the web. However, if you’re in the market for a performance bike, it’s still expensive. Luckily e-commerce has also allowed for inclined customers to buy individual components. The wonders of a global marketplace also mean that in some instances you can buy components online from reputable European shops for less than your local bike shop can get them wholesale.
This availability opens the door for a bike purchasing option that didn’t really exist until the last 10 years: riders can now build their bike piecemeal, purchasing each individual component either new from online retailers or used from auction sites and classifieds. The result is a bike that can be built entirely outside of the bike shop system and that can be tailor-made to fit your specific wants and needs. That’s a recipe for high quality at low cost — so long as you know what you’re looking for.
With the experience of working in a bike shop under my belt and a good idea of what type of bike I wanted, I decided to try the “internet bike build” myself. With a budget of $2,000 I set out to best some of the similarly priced complete bikes for sale at the local shop.