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  1. #1
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    Custom build....

    So I have narrowed down my selection to getting a 29er and am now thinking of building something myself. My brother has been gracious enough to let me borrow his Rocky Mountain Element 5.0 for the rest of the season or until I get myself something. I am really into DIY and getting the best bang for the buck and I am now looking at building a custom 29er from different sites like Pricepoint, Unreal Cycles, Ebay, JensonUSA, BlueSkyCycling, BikeIsland, etc.

    I guess my question is, is this a wise decision?

    Here is what I have looked at building so far....
    Motobecane Fantom Trail 29er - $165
    Marzocchi 44 TST2 Air 29 Q15 - $311
    SRAM X7 Disc Group - $340
    Cliff 29 -WTB SpeedDisc with Kenda - $200

    This would leave me with stem, saddle, bb, headset, handlebars and grips (I think) with a total of $1016 so far.

  2. #2
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    I do have time to build this until next season so I will definitely look for deals on things. Like right now BlueSky has a set of WTB Dual Duty with Shimano Deore M525 hubs on sale for $60 each so I could get those and find a pair of Kenda/WTB/Panaracer on sale somewhere that will give me a bit more savings...

  3. #3
    the air is thin up here..
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    I've always considering building up a bike before I end up buying one "off the shelf"... even though I get parts at cost. IMO, you need to want something VERY specific, or have a ton of cash laying around to justify it. Maybe the motobecane is your dream frame, but something tells me that's not the case :P

    For example, the Trek X-Caliber comes with a fork that's around $1100 retail, for around $1500 retail... and that includes everything (it's amazing how quickly the "small" parts add up). You just can't compete with the volume prices that the big manufacturers pay. If you can find a decent deal on a previous model etc, it gets even cheaper. Then you can ride it, upgrade parts as you go.

    EDIT:

    If you want the best bang for your buck, I don't think this can be beat:
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...om29pro_SL.htm

  4. #4
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    bang for the buck is still gonna be buying a complete bike I think. but if you like the DIY aspect, getting all the parts and building your own bike can be rewarding so I don't want to dissuade you but in my experience it just hasn't been the cheapest route (example: last bike was a custom frame, king hubs and headset, thomson bits, etc). if you're patient maybe you could ebay some parts too. i'd also recommend learning to build wheels since you enjoy DIY. that's DEFINITELY not cost effective (time) but rewarding.

  5. #5
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    I guess I need to do some more thinking on this. I would enjoy the DIY portion of it and definitely have the help available between my brother and his buddies. But budget is always a concern and I know that off the bat I would not get the best parts. Maybe I will stick with the new Felt and then upgrade that slowly.

  6. #6
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    It is WAY cheaper to buy a bike than to piece it together unless your budget is several thousand dollars. Get into the high end everything and you won't save much if any buying a complete bike over building from a frame.

    The bike I bought this year has a $2000 retail frame cost, the entire bike including X9/X0 drivetrain, Fox F29 RL fork, XT cranks, Elixer CR brakes, DT Swiss wheelset, etc retails for $3300. $1300 for that build kit would be a STEAL. The big bike companies buy thousands and thousands of everything, they get incredible pricing doing so. You just cannot compete with that kind of buying power, not even buying used parts in most cases.

  7. #7
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    Well for the time being I am going to keep playing with different things on this while I wait for the Felt site to be updated with their new line-up. From what I have read, the Nine Sport will be the $599 model but comes with sub-par items (XCM V3 fork, Tektro discs, Felt branded stuff where applicable, 8-spd drivetrain) and really I see it that I would be spending $600 on a frame that I am not sure about. With my brother letting me use his back-up this gives me time to 1) save for more budget 2) try and build/fit something that will be geared for me specifically.

    Did some reading and apparently the RST M-29 fork that a lot of these frames come with from Motobecane and KHS is actually a good all around fork and have found (even on here) that some people actually like it better than the Reba. So that would save me some money buy getting the frame and fork for $385 v. frame for $165 and fork for $311....

    So with the WTB Dual Duty and Shimano Deore XT hubs for $60 from above I think I will add these Continental CST tires for starters at $15/ea. Seems like there are some people that have been impressed with them for a price/performance comparison basis.

    So that gets me to:
    Motobecane Fantom Pro 29er frame with RST M-29 fork and headset - $385
    SRAM X7 Disc Group - $340
    Shimano Deore XT Hubs with WTB Dual Duty Rims - $120
    Continental CST Tires - $30
    Pricepoint 29er Tubes - $4/ea or 5 tubes for $19
    Total so far: $894 and all that is missing is saddle, seat tube, stem, handlebars and grips.
    Last edited by gregnash; 08-24-2010 at 01:22 PM.

  8. #8
    Missouri sucks...
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    Just pointing out an overlooked aspect of building your own bike. Unless you buy all your parts from one place at one time, you're going to pay $10+ shipping like what, 20 times??? $200 for a conservative estimate is a LOT just to get stuff in the mail! Just sayin...

    It might not be as much fun as building your own but the Motobecane Ti Fly Team is a SICK bike for the money and will probably cost you less than building your own "budget" aluminum bike with just so-so components. It will also most likely ride a lot better too I've never ridden Ti but I hear it's dreamy

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...TI_29_2010.htm

  9. #9
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    Didn't really read anything but the OP, so sorry if I repeat something, but that Marzocchi fork is not designed to work with that frame. It's a 140mm fork whereas that frame is built for a max of 100mm. Just make sure you look into compatibility as well when looking for stuff. Just cause it seems like a good deal doesn't necessarily mean your bike is going to ride well.

    Also, are you having a shop build this? Or will you be purchasing all of the tools to build it yourself? Factor all of those costs in before you buy too!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amnesia
    Didn't really read anything but the OP, so sorry if I repeat something, but that Marzocchi fork is not designed to work with that frame. It's a 140mm fork whereas that frame is built for a max of 100mm. Just make sure you look into compatibility as well when looking for stuff. Just cause it seems like a good deal doesn't necessarily mean your bike is going to ride well.

    Also, are you having a shop build this? Or will you be purchasing all of the tools to build it yourself? Factor all of those costs in before you buy too!
    Yeah I did actually catch that hence why I changed to the RST M-29 fork that comes with it from BikeIsland. My brother has a friend that builds all their bikes and apparently is a part-time wrench at one of the local shops. I am building myself a spreadsheet (I know I am a dork) that has everything I need in it, trying to see what the final outcome would be. Again, waiting until the 1st to see what comes out on everyone's sites then will make the decision from there...

  11. #11
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    How do you guys feel about this combo kit (SRAM X.9 29er Build Kit) from PricePoint?? I tried building a similar setup from scratch and ended up being about $40 more with lesser equipment? Shipping is only $20 for everything and then I would be looking at $350 plus tax for the Motobecane frame with M-29 fork from Bike Island (they don't charge shipping). So comparatively I would be looking at my kit ($797.87) v. their kit ($761.21) with shipping and insurance, so my savings would be $35+.

  12. #12
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    have you looked at the spec list on the complete $1000 motobecane? http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...om29pro_SL.htm . Much better parts than anything else in that budget. For the DIY aspect, you can just take everything apart that came attached, and put it back together again .

  13. #13
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    I enjoyed specing and building my last two bikes. They were expensive though. The only thing more expensive would have been:

    1. Buying top of line Spez, Trek, etc ...
    2. Building something I didn't like and not riding it.

    I would never go through the process unless I had a chance to ride the frame/shock combination first.

  14. #14
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    So I think that I have decided to go with the custom build... Felt released it's new site tonight and looking at the specs of the Nine Trail I am not impressed. While I am sure that I could ride it and be happy enough I would be upgrading a lot of things comes next season. With that thought process and talking with my brother it seems that building something myself would 1) be more rewarding, and 2) be a bit more cost effective because there is no guarantee that I would have a large sum of cash to put towards the bike at one time. I will do my best to try and purchase as many items at once as possible to minimize shipping costs and will use coupons/price matching where possible but overall I am liking the build....

    Frame: Unbranded 29er Multi-speed Frameset 4130 Cro-Moly Steel BikeIsland $349.95 1 $0.00 $349.95
    Fork: RST M-29 29er 80mm Air fork BikeIsland 1 $0.00 $0.00
    Stem: Easton EA70 Stem GearScan $15.99 1 $7.44 $23.43
    Headset: Cane Creek S-3 PricePoint $32.98 1 $32.98
    Seatpost: Easton EC70 Carbon Seatpost '08 JensonUSA $49.00 1 $49.00
    Handlebar: Easton Monkeylite XC Riser Bar '08 JensonUSA $68.00 1 $68.00
    Brakes: Avid BB7 Combo Kit (rotors, calipers, levers, cables) BlueSkyCycling $120.98 1 $10.25 $131.23
    Crank: Shimano SLX M600 Crankset w/ Bottom Bracket BlueSkyCycling $129.98 1 $129.98
    Bottom Bracket: Shimano SLX M600 Crankset w/ Bottom Bracket BlueSkyCycling 1 $0.00
    Left Shifter: Sram X.9 Trigger shifter Set 2009 w/ X.9 rear derailleur PricePoint $149.98 1 $10.25 $160.23
    Right Shifter: Sram X.9 Trigger shifter Set 2009 w/ X.9 rear derailleur 1 $0.00
    Cassette: Shimano XT CS-M770 Cassette OEM 11-34T JensonUSA $50.00 1 $5.95 $55.95
    Chain: 1 $0.00
    Front Derailer: Shimano XT M770 Front Derailleur, top swing dual pull JensonUSA $34.98 1 $34.98
    Rear Derailer: Sram X.9 Trigger shifter Set 2009 w/ X.9 rear derailleur PricePoint 1 $0.00
    Wheels/Hubs: Shimano Deore M525 Disc hubs w/ Mavic 317 rims PricePoint $174.98 1 $174.98
    Tires: CST Caballero Amazon $13.00 2 $6.00 $32.00
    Grips: 1 $0.00
    Saddle: 1 $0.00
    Pedals: 1 $0.00
    Tubes: Stan's No Tube Tire Sealant JensonUSA $12.00 1 $12.00
    Bike Stand: Sette ST 7 DLX Foldable workstand PricePoint $89.98 1 $89.98
    $1,344.69

    If there is a better "budget" item for something specific feel free to speak up. First thing probably coming in the next month will be the stand, frame and fork! Will update as soon as I can.

  15. #15
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    Ok I am looking for recommendations on a good saddle, white preferably, within the $50 or so dollar range? I dropped the SLX M600 crankset for the LX FC-M582 for $85 and did a couple other changes here and there to bring the price down.. Wife just told me that she is picking up the tab on the frame/fork for my bday so that will give me some more money to play with initially.!

  16. #16
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    So I ended up picking up one of the last XT M770 cassettes from Jenson on Friday and should have it today. Also, checking local craigslist found a pretty good deal on a handlebar (Race Face XC riser) and XT 771 Front derailleur for $40. Both are slightly used but in good condition. Bike is starting to come together slowly.

  17. #17
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    I really enjoy building my own bikes as well, and find it fun, rewarding, and very worthwhile. As you get further into the sport, your parts bin will start to fill up making each subsequent build cheaper. The last time I bought a complete bike was like 1995!

    My one suggestion would be to take a deeper look into your frame/fork choice. That will be the heart and soul of the bike, and is not easily/inexpensively changed. The frame you have selected is certainly cheap, but I fear you will outgrow it, and I'm sure it's a boat anchor!

    Another option for a project like this is to buy a complete bike and then sell of most of the new parts that you don't want. It's a good way to get a nice frame and fork at a very reasonable price. You do have to lay out the cash beforehand, but if you start selling the parts right away, you can pay the credit card down with the part-selling proceeds.

    Good luck!
    Mark

  18. #18
    1/2 fast or 1/2 assed?
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    Have you checked Chainlove? I just saw sets od Avid Elixer 3s going for < $60 ea. Some great deals there.

  19. #19
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    Yeah that I have done some research on the frame and it is the same as the KHS Tuscon. While not the best all around frame it will last me as a good hardtail for a while. As I am just getting into the sport I feel that the frame is the one place that I can make some compromises in regards to weight, geometry. However, I am building up the components so that if I find that I truly enjoy the sport and I am doing it more often then not, I will then upgrade to something like a Turner Sultan or Niner Jet/Rip 9 frame and have a good base of components to start with. I am a research whore by nature/title and have looked into it and began studying about geometries/etc. From the looks of it the frame/fork is a good jumping off point, the frame and fork are a bit heavy but solid with good traction and absorption of the fork. While I would love to spend more money on the frame/fork combination at this point in time, I would rather have a good "part bin" to make my next bike that much better.

    Well just talked with the guy and the X0 set is actually little over 4yrs old so that is out of the question. While it was an good deal for the parts, that is a bit older than I am comfortable with so I will stick with the X9 group from pricepoint.

    UPDATE: Just received my first part from JensonUSA.. was lucky enough to get in on the OEM Shimano XT cassettes they had for $50.
    Shimano cs-m770 cassette
    My brother was nice enough to pick up the craigslist stuff for me this evening, and ends up he knew the guy. The guy was an wrench from the shop my brother uses so he felt safe getting me the stuff.. At $180 for the 4yr old XO RD and Shifters I may still consider them now knowing they were taken care of properly by a wrench and he gave my bro the same story that he put them on a bike and then ended up not using the bike because he started focusing on a SS/Rigid. He is now selling off all his misc parts because he is going to buy a full, expensive, setup instead of building his own this time. Will have the XT M771 FD and Race Face Evolve XC Low Riser tomorrow!
    Last edited by gregnash; 09-08-2010 at 07:22 PM.

  20. #20
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    Got my next set of parts today...

  21. #21
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    I am one of the pickiest, perfectionist, and cheap people i know and i will build exactly what i want way before i would buy a built bike and then spend more money making it the way i want it. Take my fuji belt drive 29er for instance, i did not like any of the belt drive bikes out there so i built my own my way. Im just saying know yourself and if you want it your way then build it, if you are cool with a stock off the shelf bike then awesome but know the difference.

  22. #22
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    Question on geometries.....
    So I was looking at the geometry of the Unbranded (Motobecane) frame on BikeIsland and then the Access XCL 9r frame from Performance Bike. I noticed that the head and seattube angles are slightly (like 1 degree) different. I was wondering how much this would play into how the frame rides. Both frames have good reviews, etc. but I was just curious.

  23. #23
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    +1 on what m-t said. i've done nothing but "roll my own" since april of 09, and I'll never go back. i've built 6 bikes for myself, and i've spec'd them the way i want them, and i've done it cheaper than off the shelf for the same spec. i've had to be verrrry patient, and i've made lots of calls, done lots of bargaining, and done lots of looking around. i have 2 29ers, but i've had to build, ride, and sell, 3 others to get what i want. i'm there, and it feels great to have 2 bikes that i've built cheaply and in the way i wanted to.

    when you get it built, if you don't like any part of it (inc the frame), sell it off and get the parts you want. oh, have fun!

  24. #24
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    Well, just stopped by my LBS to talk to the owner about the local trails and found the next piece to the puzzle. Found a stock Giant saddle from one of his bikes for, get this, $10!... So far not doing too bad, Giant saddle $10, Race Face Evolve XC Handlebar $20, Shimano XT FD-M770 (only 30 miles) $20, Shimano XT CS-M770 Cassette $56.. So far only $106 into the bike.. Gonna pull the trigger on a frame this weekend, thinking of the Access XCL 9'r instead of the Motobecane, for $107 (with coupons).


  25. #25
    Jacob 34:19
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregnash
    Question on geometries.....
    So I was looking at the geometry of the Unbranded (Motobecane) frame on BikeIsland and then the Access XCL 9r frame from Performance Bike. I noticed that the head and seattube angles are slightly (like 1 degree) different. I was wondering how much this would play into how the frame rides. Both frames have good reviews, etc. but I was just curious.
    I haven't looked at the specs of either frame but in general (and this is probably an over generalization), slacker angles will ride more stable at speed but tend to be less responsive at slower speeds. Steeper angles will be more responsive at low speeds but less stable at higher speeds. Again, this is a gross generalization. There's many other factors to consider like Axel to Crown measurement and offset of your fork, stem length, ETT, and wheelbase. Each of which will effect how the bike handles. It's very difficult to determine how a bike will handle on paper. For example, the last bike I built has parallel 74 head tube and seat tube with a 51mm offset fork. On paper it should be the twitchiest bike you've ever seen but on the trail it's amazing. A bike is a system and as such, everything effects everything else. That's one of the joys of building your own. You won't quite know what you'll end up with until you've built it. Enjoy the process.
    I buy stuff from Milltown Cycles.

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