It is new bike time and traditionally you go to a local bike shop, or a few and decide on the brand and model. But in this day and age you can buy online and there are a host of online retailers, both local and overseas who carry big name brands and (cheaper) in house brands.
Yes, you pay the price for brand name bikes, but also limit many of the uncertainties with a lesser known, or unknown brands. Regardless of the direction you sway the other option is whether to buy a complete bike or buy the parts and build it up yourself.
The rule of thumb is…
Buying a complete bike will always be cheaper than buying the individual parts, but you already knew that.
Building your own bike can still be a better option if you already have certain parts, for example all of the components and need to replace or upgrade the frame. Or you have a special frame and need to make it ridable. But also purchasing from a supplier, brand or retailer who sells unbuilt frames or with completely different assemblies that you need.
It is worth recognising that a complete groupset is also cheaper than the invidual parts. And another strategy, also employed by some major online retailers is to purchase a complete bike, for example a top specced bike with an inferior frame (which is discarded or sold).
Assembling yourself requires sufficient skill and tools, and you have to get everything right. Compatibility is key. The reward when you know everything lines up is fulfillment.
photo: © Irrezolut