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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    50

    Custom Built vs Off the Rack

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    I previously posted that I was looking to upgrade to a nicer bike before I do my first big cycle (a month self support tour in PEI). The top recommendations were Surly LHT or Cross Check.

    So, I started shopping. I have a favourite LBS that I go to for most of my needs. I was also pointed in the direction of a custom build shop that is all about refurbishing, sourcing locally, etc. I like those values, so I stopped by to talk to them. They were pretty great, putting me at ease with all my fears of being too inexperienced to choose a good bike for myself.

    Tonight I'm going to go to my LBS to test ride a Surly.

    Before I can go much further in my decision making, I feel like my choice point is either go the custom built route or the LBS new off the rack route. There's pros and cons for each, but a couple of important points about me are:

    I'm not very experienced (one decent bike), so while I've learned about my likes and dislikes to some degree, there's a lot I don't know and not sure if I could make sound decisions about each and every component. Hence off the rack is appealing, and I could just switch out the components that I know I want different.

    The custom shop seems way more focused on fitting than my LBS, which may help to offset some of my inexperience regarding what is supposed to feel right.

    The idea of buying something that I can't see or even envision, let alone sit on first, is a little scary and overwhelming.

    Thoughts? Advice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Newport, RI
    Posts
    3,816
    That's a tough one. I think I'd go off the rack. Bikes retain their value well, so you can always sell it and go custom later if you have issues. But, if you want something unique, custom might be better right from the start. All of my bikes were custom builds, except my first, which gave me an idea of how I like be set up.

    Another reason to go off the rack is because it is your favorite lbs. That would be a big part of my decision.
    '02 Eddy Merckx Fuga, Selle An Atomica
    '85 Eddy Merckx Professional, Selle An Atomica

    '10 Soma Double Cross DC, Selle An Atomica

    Slacker on wheels.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    50
    After sleeping on it a few days, and thinking... I decided that off the rack was the best choice for my personality. I can imagine and research until the cows come home, but in reality I need to see and touch to be able to know. I can best do that either by previous experience or face-to-face with the bike. I don't have enough previous experience to do custom.

    The best of both worlds for me, is buying off the rack and customizing the bits that I know I want to, like saddle and handlebars!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Newport, RI
    Posts
    3,816
    Good decision. I can't wait to see what you choose, and how you make it yours.

    The other thing about going custom is it gets really pricy really fast. An off the rack bike is usually a better deal.

    Also check out Soma if there's a dealer near you.
    '02 Eddy Merckx Fuga, Selle An Atomica
    '85 Eddy Merckx Professional, Selle An Atomica

    '10 Soma Double Cross DC, Selle An Atomica

    Slacker on wheels.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    50
    Thanks! I spent 4 hours yesterday at my LBS ending with putting a deposit down on a Surly LHT, mochachino. I'm told it's a couple models old, but it's never been ridden.

    Tonight I'm going to pick up the one butterfly bar available in the city, and have them start switching over the things that need to be switched over.

    I'm very excited

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Newport, RI
    Posts
    3,816
    Oh, cool! That was quick. Please post some pictures when you get it.
    '02 Eddy Merckx Fuga, Selle An Atomica
    '85 Eddy Merckx Professional, Selle An Atomica

    '10 Soma Double Cross DC, Selle An Atomica

    Slacker on wheels.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    western Colorado
    Posts
    449
    The LHT is a nice bike. I think you will be very happy with it. I have an older one, in the first color it was offered in - Sage Green. Mine has been on a few loaded tours and it is solid and reliable. It is also great transportation around town.

    Sounds like yours is the Truckaccino color. My SO has an LHT in that color and it's very nice.

    These frames are powdercoated so they do not scratch easily. The tubing also doesn't dent easily. It's a durable frame. Perfect for a long bike tour.

    Please post pics when you get it!
    Specialized Ruby
    Gunnar Sport
    Salsa Vaya Ti
    Novara Randonee x2
    Motobecane Fantom CXX (Surly Crosscheck)
    Jamis Dragon

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    50
    Thanks! I feel quite solid in my decision on the bike. Now I just need to get everything fit together and tweaked to me. I'll definitely post pics when it's all done!

 

 

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