Build a Bike or Buy a Bike?

This is a question that gets asked quite a bit on the internet and in bike shops. There’s nothing wrong with building a bike, just know that it will almost ALWAYS be more expensive than buying a bike. I learned this first hand yesterday when I put together a spreadsheet for a mountain touring 29er build. I had an idea that I could build a “poor man’s” Salsa Fargo 2-ish clone. After about 20 minutes it became clear, that even after choosing a frame/fork that costs $300 less, and using lower spec components, that my “poor man’s” build was just as expensive as buying a complete Fargo 2 and resulted in less bike for the same price. For the record, I’m talking new builds and wholesale cost in both cases, not retail.

So what do you do if you want a semi-custom build? My recommendation would be to find the closest stock build you can, pull parts you don’t want immediately, sell them to your friends or on eBay and then buy the parts you want to customize.