Month: September 2006

Building a bike – more expensive than you’d think!

I’m pricing a self-built Surly Cross Check with Shimano 105 components at about € 1,600 (USD $2000). That does include tools to the value of €380 that I can reuse, but it’s a hell of a hit to take upfront even so.

Despite the good deal on the frame I’d get online the cost of the “finishing kit”, saddle, bars, stem, as well as the expensive Park Tools needed, make this impossible to justify. I could probably get this with complete Ultegra built up from the shop for the cost of the full self-build with 105. Here’s the numbers:

Comparison chart

Self building

  • Surly CC frame, 105 groupset, all components including wheelset components, plus tools to build it all up: €1,614.63 (2,063.10 USD)

Self building budget option

  • Surly CC frame, Tiagra groupset, pre-built wheels, all other components plus Park Tools Work Stand: €1,281.60 (1,636.80 USD)

Off the shelf shop build

  • Surly CC frame, Tiagra groupset, pre-built wheels (estimate), all other components but no tools: €1,050.00 (1,341.64 USD)

Planet X Kaffenback

  • Planet X Kaffenback, 105 groupset, pre-built complete, no tools not including delivery: €1,038.67 (1,327.78 USD)

The value of the reusable tools from the first and 2nd self build options is €379.34 and €148.69 respectively. Prices are mainly from Chain Reaction Cycles, except the frame from a Prices include delivery to Dublin, Ireland. The only estimate I included is €200 for a complete wheelset (hubs, rim, spokes) from my bike shop.

Check out a detailed breakdown in the spreadsheet here (html format).

Update: added further options from to spreadsheet.

Software geek turned bike geek

I love cycling. I’m thinking about buying a new bike right now. I think I’m following the typical geek pattern of “learn as much as possible before making a decision”… right now I think I’m hovering around the “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing…” stage.

You can learn an amazing amount from the internet. I tend to scare the younger guys working in the local bike shop with detailed questions they don’t understand, whereas the old hands see right through it and realise I’ve only been actually cycling for 2 years, and that’s a 4 mile a day commute and a tour or 2. Theoretical knowledge is one thing.

Anyways, I’ve decided what kind of bike I’m looking for – I’d call it a hybrid but that term is already in use in the bike world. I’m looking for an all-rounder bike that I can tinker with and customise to my hearts content. What a surprise, eh? And steel, because, well it’s possible to tinker with that too… I’d love to have S and S Machine BTC retrofitted when I can afford that kind of thing in a couple years.

After some discussion on possible choices, I decided I was probably going to get a (heavy?) Surly Cross Check, either frame only, or as a complete bike. The Surly looks sweet.

I’m also tempted by the idea of a custom frame because I think 215 lbs 5′7″ rugby players don’t fit the standard rider profile for mass production frames. That said, once a bike is close to the right fit, it’s possible to fine tune the fit. Check out my current discussion thread about sizing a Cross Check on You can see where my thinking is right now on that last thread.

And I see that we have a custom frame builder blogging too – hi Lee! Welcome to our world. Hey, would you like a complete website with webmail, contact form, database back end to list your frames, 3 year hosting package? I can do you a really good deal… say a 700c tourer style, something like 50-52cm with horizontal dropouts. You bet I’m serious. Leave a comment 🙂