Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Ebay - hard way to build a bike?

A few years back I went through a series of stock bikes that did not suit me and had come to the conclusion that;

a) I could not afford to buy anything decent from stock.
b) If I wanted a quality bike then I would have to build it myself

Keep in mind that, at this stage, I thought £500 was a fortune to spend on a bike.

It was then that I started tracking stuff on ebay and within a short time I had bought a brand new Saracen Tufftrax frame for £35 which was the starting point for my project. I had great fun over a number of weeks/months finding the rest of the bits, XT Cranks, Mavic 519 rims, Marzochi Forks etc. It was so satisfying to end up with a really well equipped hardtail and in summer 2003 I completed the Coast to Coast ride from St. Bees to Sunderland on it without problem.

Of course, it was about this time I started reading the bike mags and in retrospect can see how easy it is to be drawn into the dreaded UGI, (upgradeitus)!

What I really needed was a quality lightweight XC frame! Originally the Kinesis Maxlight frame looked good, but was perhaps an unknown quantity. So back to ebay for a browse - where I came across an almost brand new Specialized S-Works HT frame in the US. Not sure I engaged the brain too much at this stage, but as the sale finished in the early hours I set my alarm and logged on to bid and won! Was well pleased to have a top frame for around £350 (UK retail £799) and it was shipped to me quickly without any charges. Even so 10 times the price of my slightly heavier Saracen frame!

There was no stopping me now - A pair of Fox Float 80RLT's from California, XT Discs from Colorado and so on. After the initial caution of buying from the States it turned out to be a very positive experience, most of the sellers were riders like myself and eager to help. All but one item came through without charge, so the savings on UK/New prices were massive. I guess because the new prices of bike parts are lower, used parts can be really cheap compared to the UK. Hard to estimate the total cost because I used some parts of my previous bike - but probably around £1000. Saw a similar built bike in a dealer's window for 3 times that price! It may seem like hard work, but I enjoyed the experience, not sure I would do it again though and it seems that import charges are more likely now.

This has become my most used bike, I ride it most days and it fits me well and I love it! Riding does tend to be road, tracks and easier XC. There have been a few changes over the last year, the main one being to convert to 8 speed and fit a shorter stem.

Specialized M5 S-works Hardtail frame 2004 Anodised Silver: Easton EA50 Bars
Kore 70mm Stem: Thompson Elite seatpost
SDG Belair saddle: XTR Crankset (8-Speed)
XTR Front Mech:. XTR Rear Mech
XT Changers : Mavic 317 Black Rims (Nov 2005)
Specialized Baldy Tyres(Nov 2005) : Shimano XT 4-pot discs
Fox Float 80RLT 2004 Forks.: V12 Flat Pedals


Farqui said...

Way to go uphilla, it made a v.pleasant read during a coffee break.

Hehe, UGI is a v.nasty desease indeed. I don't think there's a cure either !

I see that you're not unfamiliar with sourcing components / building bikes and I expect that another write up may be on the way...

uphilla said...

"I see that you're not unfamiliar with sourcing components / building bikes and I expect that another write up "/* be on the way..." - yup, your not wrong Farqui, not sure I would inspire anyone to follow my lead though, certainly starting to think that there must be easier ways...

Anonymous said...

I Like the ebay and marketing