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Why Buy a Bike When You Can Buy a Frame?

By Christopher Ashley

The frame is the most expensive part of a bicycle you can buy. It’s key to the identity of the bike and says the most about you as a rider. Save yourself some money, don’t buy a bike – buy a frame!

Frame shopping is fun!

Thomas’s Cycle-Revolution are an excellent shop and are currently selling a Cervelo R3 Disc bike for just under £5k. But Sigma Sports are currently selling the frame at 20% off for under £2k. Less than half the price of a full bike! But let’s face it, for many of us the first frame we bought was a BMX.

It’s easy to see why BMXers get excited about bike frames – they have a whole bike-shop culture to support it. The provenance, the materials, the restoration process is all so accessible because a BMX is inherently cheap due to its size. You can’t get a simpler bike to work on.

Frames need groups

If you already own a half-decent groupset, swapping out the frame is not only economically sensible, it gives you time to consider what groupset will be right for you and your frame. Once you’ve bought your new frame, you can spend your time looking at groupset videos like this.

And isn’t research 90% of the fun? If you buy a new bike and decide that you don’t like the new groupset it comes with, you’ve made a very costly mistake – no matter how much you love the frame. Worst case scenario is you decide to stick with your brand but have saved enough to upgrade!

Do it yourself

Buying a frame on its own is a good time to get serious about your mechanical skills. The money you save on labour and gruppo can be spent on tools, guilt free. And the tools you buy will likely last you the rest of your cycling life. Cervelo are kind enough to provide you with these instructional videos:

No matter how good you think your mechanical skills are, fitting your existing groupset onto a new frame will test you. This is the best reason to buy a frame.  It’s close to building a bike from scratch and will give you a new appreciation of your vehicle. BMX riders know this – and you should too.