Re: The costs of building from a free frame
No matter what you're talking about, it's always cheaper to buy a factory's finished product than to build the same thing from components. This applies to everything from automobiles, to air conditioners, to bicycles.
As far Chinese vs American made quality, might as well forget about it. I used to be one of the number one people bashing cheap Chinese junk crap. That was then, this is now. The quality of most stuff coming from China now is so good that when you consider the price, we weren't ever even in the ball game. At least not since the 50's, which is about where China is now. The cheap Chinese bicycle I just bought is about 10x better than any Huffy, or Murry that I had as a kid back in the early 60s.
I'm not trying to say we can't make high quality items in America. We can, and custom Harley parts are a good example. But now days that only makes since when price is no object. Don't blame it on the Chinese, blame it our own government rules and regulations.