1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Advice on Build-Up?? On the CHEAP!

    Hey guys new here and wanting a little advice. Been riding on/off for 15 years....mainly off, LOL! My last bike was a Speshy Rockhopper but sold it before I moved out of Colorado. Im back home in Texas now and want to get back into it. I looked at buying an already built model but researching/shopping/hands-on is WAY more my thing. I have nothing better to do at work but find deals on the net and search out the best way to do things. I have plenty of tools as all my other "hobbies" range from Corvette Z06 to Harley FXST to John Deere 550G LGP dozer....so I got a few tools to say the least. I try to buy the best bang for the buck on everything I do. So with that said here is what Im looking at. Sette Reken frame (cheapie but good reviews), Manitou Minute/Match fork. BB7 brakes, Shimano LX, maybe SLX crankset and run 2x9 probably with LX derailuers. Still up in the air on post/saddle, headset/stem/bars and wheels/tires. Looked at doing the 29er thing but dont know enough about them to make a conscious descision on it.....really dont think Im experienced enuff. Shoot me some pointers, negatives, positives, etc on what you think I got listed. Not gonna be hoppin off 8' cliffs or anything like that so I think the Sette frame will do fine. Discuss.....

  2. #2
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    I like it so far, I've eyed that frame before I got a deal on a Rocky Mountain Vertex frame. It looks like it's good stuff. I also like your choice of fork for budget build, I put a Match on my new build as well and it looks like a solid fork (haven't had a chance to ride yet with final exams), only downside is weight. I also like your choice of brakes, BB7s are by far the best brake for the money IMO, I've run them on my past two bikes. As for other stuff, like you said, enjoy shopping the deals and see what you find! You have a good solid mid-range drivetrain listed there, which I think would be great (although I am a SRAM guy... LX/SLX is good stuff). Any thoughts on a crank?
    STOLEN: '07 Banshee Viento - See Eastern Canada Forum for Pictures. If anyone sees it contact me ASAP!

  3. #3
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    I would love to get the SLX but would really put a dent in my budget. Seen the LX recommended by quite a few folks and can get that for $89 from Jenson . I just dont know that my riding experience and aggressiveness will warrant some of the higher dollar parts. The SLX is lighter. Im trying to build a fairly light bike but not to the point of a SS bike with carbon everything. I know 50 grams aint much but 50 here and 50 there and 75 here add up pretty quick.

  4. #4
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    To know another stick in the spokes there are the build kits on BlueSky.....Everything SLX with BB7 brakes, wheelset, saddle/post, headset everything minus frame/fork for $783. Not sure on the wheelset quality though. The saddle/seat gets a pretty high reviews from the "bang for buck" crowd. Put me a little over $1100 total for a killer little bike I think. I know I could do it cheaper piecing it together and also spending $100-300 here and there is ALOT easier than dropping nearly $800 at one time.

  5. #5
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    If you think you can do it cheaper, than by all means research each and every component.

    The build in your first post sounded pretty solid.

    What's the wheelset in the BlueSky kit?

    The one thing that concerns me a bit about a lot of catalog frames, not sure if this includes the Reken, is that they often have short effective top tubes. If you liked your Rockhopper, look up its geometry chart on Specialized's site and compare it to the geometry for the Reken. There are other really great frames floating around the 'net, so if you decide you want something else, you don't need to raise your budget much, and if you decide you want the Reken, you just spent an extra ten minutes comparing some numbers.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  6. #6
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    Here is the wheelset. This is one area I know nothing about really to be completely honest. Mavic Crossride Disc Wheelset 2010, sealed bearing, 24 spoke/14 ga, w/Mavic hubs. Weight is 1905 for the pair and there on sale for $169.98 for the pair. Item number is 99276 since I cant post links yet....LOL!

    As far as the Specialized specs its been 10 years since I had that bike. And to be completely honest (which seems to net you better answers) I bought it because it was a Specialized. The specs meant nothing to me at the time.....young and dumb.

    Here are the specs on the Reken. 22.6 on the Med and 23.8 on the large. Im right in the middle of med to large.

  7. #7
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    22.6" is a little short for a medium. Not crazy short - I'd ride it with a stem one or two sizes larger than I have on my current bike.

    People buy Mavic Crossrides as an upgrade. I shouldn't trash-talk them because I haven't tried them, but I really don't see buying low spoke-count wheels with proprietary spokes and Mavic hubs as an everyday wheelset, and unless someone can show me that the moment of inertia of the wheels is lower than the moment of a conventional set, which I doubt, I don't see buying them as a race day set either. So, consider that my educated-enough-to-get-in-trouble opinion.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  8. #8
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    Well I dont have a current bike so cant compare. It shows up to 5.11 for a med and 6.0 starts the large. I know NOTHING about wheelsets, NOTHING. Im not planning to race AT ALL. Just a fun trailbike but I try to build everything to the best of my means. I wasnt to keen on the low spoke count, they just didnt look right to me for some reason.

  9. #9
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    People devote as much geekery to the wheels alone as the entire rest of the bike, combined.

    Different wheels and tires change the ride feel of a bike more than anything else, except the suspension fork. There's also a certain amount of magical thinking people engage in about how they'll become faster up a hill, or faster through singletrack. It's true, but blown out of proportion - I got some new wheels myself recently, and if they save me a few minutes in a race running hours, I'll be pleasantly surprised. I got them mainly because I thought they would make my bike more fun to ride, and they have. Certainly I hope they facilitate me becoming a better bike handler, but we'll see...

    The only things that are really special about the wheels is that they're spinning and they're far from the bottom bracket. If it's that they're spinning that makes wheels so special, then distance from the hub of whatever is spinning is really important - so weight of the tires makes a much bigger difference than weight of the spokes, and weight of the hub barely matters. Following that theory, I'm using pretty light tires (which do make a huge difference in ride feel, and a more significant speed difference than everything else on a bike, assuming a suspension fork that at least sort-of works,) lightweight tubes, and a wheelset with lightish rims, butted spokes, and whatever hubs. I don't own a scale, but I'm confident it weighs less than the Crossrides, and it cost $180 before shipping.

    The bicycle industry is quite happy to supply really expensive wheels to satisfy people's desire. The most obvious way to remove weight is just to leave some spokes out. Rims are not that rigid, though, and a wheel with fewer spokes is either weaker, because the rim is not adequately supported, or the rim has to be built heavier. Whoops! You'll notice that wheels like the Crossride - those sold as a complete wheel, built with proprietary parts - are advertised by their total weight, but it's never broken down. A cynical person might wonder if the rim was heavier than common 32-spoke rims. Certainly if I built a wheel with a low spoke count and a sub-400g rim, I'd be shouting it from the hilltops.

    From a practical perspective, if I kill a spoke in one of my wheels, I'll have no problem finishing my ride, and I'll be able to walk into any bike shop in the country and replace the spoke. Mavic uses weird ones. The freehub for my rear hub is also fairly common, and I can get the rims online, if I ever need to replace them and I'm confident my spokes aren't trashed.

    Super-light rims are not necessarily even desirable - for mountain bikers, thinking about wheels before thinking about tires is the wrong order. While much cheaper, tires have a much bigger effect on the ride of the bike. So it's better to start by asking, "Is this going to be a 2.3" tire bike?" and "Do I want to do a UST tubeless system?" and then move onto the rim that goes well with that choice. Depending on your budget and desire to tinker, you can also choose different spokes and a ton of different hubs, and either pay someone else to build the wheels or do it yourself.

    So, more about wheels than you ever wanted to know.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  10. #10
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    Hey man thanks for the help. What wheelset you running?

  11. #11
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    A variation on this...

    http://www.bicyclewheelwarehouse.com...c/prod_41.html

    Mine have butted spokes and DT 370 hubs. And alloy instead of brass nipples, IIRC. So they're a bit lighter than the ones in the link and (hopefully) the hubs require less attention to keep working long-term.

    They're my plain brown wrapper racing wheels. Stan's and DT are competing with each other to see who can build the lightest alloy rim, and DT has a really light carbon rim, so there are lighter options out there. But durability is supposed to suffer, and my ability to pay for them certainly does.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  12. #12
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    I was just looking at those.....looks like a pretty good deal there. I dont need the latest bling, just need something decently light weight and rugged. I dont ever really look at anything carbon....to much $$$ for my blood.

  13. #13
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    The crosstrails are nice and strong enough unless you're really heavy. The thing I like about the mavics is the cartridge bearings - low maint. You need to lube the freehub regularly, but it only takes a couple mins.

    I doubt you save any money by building it, even with waiting for used or heavily discounted parts. It's more economical to find a recent model used bike. Then you have the option of adding some nicer parts with the savings. No matter how much bike you get, there will always be things you NEED? to upgrade.

  14. #14
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    I really like the thrill of the search. Im an internet junky and LOVE to search for deals and the best stuff for the cheapest money. I do NOTHING at work but play on the internet and watch HBO for 7 days straight. Then I go home and see what the UPS man brought.....LOL! Its kind of a disease I have had for some time now. On the other hand Ive got a call into a guy about a nice Stumpjumper with pretty much all the components on it I want for a nice price.

  15. #15
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    Well the Stumpy has a junky Manitou Axel front fork and only Deore components so its probably out.

  16. #16
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    Depending on the price, don't give up on it too soon.

    It's a well-regarded frame with a more athletic fit than the Reken, and if you start with a complete, at least you can ride it while you wait for the parts for your custom build to come in. In most parts of the country, this may not be the best part of the season, but I think September and October are pretty great months for riding, certainly in my area. You threaten to put off the best part of the sport until next year if you have to assemble a bike piecemeal before you can start riding it.

    Don't discount the Deore parts until you ride with them. In general, the big difference between Deore and LX is going to be weight and maybe wear life. The big change is from Alivio to Deore. (And Alivio and Acera are surprisingly functional too.)
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  17. #17
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    I just got pics of it tonight and it looks to be a nice bike. I can get it for $815 shipped to my door. The more I look I want to build a higher end bike cause thats just my nature.....dont get me wrong I know the Stumpy is a pretty highend bike. Also looked at a Santa Cruz Chameleon frame with a Pike 426 coil fork, Race Face post and Ritchey WCS headset and get it put together with SLX components, Forte Xenduro wheelset, Avid BB7 brakes and factor in bars/stem/tires/saddle for around $1500 or so. The initial shock of the $815 for the Stumpy is gonna be worse than the "piecemeal" Chameleon frame/fork. Gonna sleep on it some and make up my mind.

  18. #18
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    MTBR ate my reply...

    So, summary - the SC Chameleon is heavy. The Pike is heavy, and if its successor is any indication, it's pretty squishy. It could be a kickass setup if you want to ride up to the top of fire roads and then bomb down singletrack. Probably also good if you like to ride on woodwork and flowlines. I think if I was trying to climb singletrack, I would find it frustrating, and on flat or rolling singletrack, it would be overkill.

    $815 sounds like a lot for a bike built with Deore and old enough to have an Axel on the front. Can you get the specific trim level and year? Check out bikepedia.com for MSRPs for older bikes.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  19. #19
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    Decided on the Chameleon. Yeah its probably overkill but I can build it how I want. I have never read a bad review on them other than maybe it being very stiff. I also bought a nearly new Shimano SLX group (minus front derailleur because it was bottom pull) off Ebay today for $240 shipped. Alls I really need now is bars/stem, saddle, wheels/tires, and my BB7's and Im set. I will be WAY sub $1500 in it and have a SICK bike that can handle anything I can throw at it.

  20. #20
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    Price vs quality.

  21. #21
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    Yeah Im more money than I initially wanted to spend but its topped out already. Only thing I could do is maybe change the front fork or go to hydro brakes or start changing components to get lighter.

  22. #22
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    Did you read some reviews of the fork? IIRC, when it was a current model, it was the main AM fork RockShox offered. You might want a different ride kit or fancier damper, but replacing the whole thing would not necessarily be much of an upgrade.

    IMO, trying to lighten a hardtail that weighs 4.7 lb bare is silly when there are 3.3 lb AM hardtail frames available for a reasonable price and weight weenie frames coming in under 2 lb for an unreasonable price. But I'm probably doing that myself, if somewhat by accident, so I shouldn't point fingers.

    If you're going to do it, get a scale and record the weights of everything before you put it on your bike. Then at least you'll know how much of a swing in weight all the money you'll have to throw at this project is going to yield.

    On a more positive note, pics when you get the bike!
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  23. #23
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    Well MTBR ate my last replay and dont feel like typing it out again but I will sum it up. Last bike was a 2000ish Rockhopper. Best I can find it was close to 30#. Here is how I have this broke down with stuff Im finding on the net.

    frame, 4.75 #
    fork, 5.5 #
    wheels, 4.4 #
    SLX group, 2298 g
    Avid BB7, 872 g
    post, Kalloy?, 300ish g
    Ritchey WCS head, 118 g
    bars, Monkey Lite, 183g
    saddle, ??? 250g
    tires/tubes, 2000g

    All that is high 27's. I didnt figure in stem or pedals. I know there will be grease here and there and oil in shock (I figure that is the dry weight). So if Im 30-32 I will be pretty happy. And then again I could be WAY off track here too. Im not going for the weight weenie class.

  24. #24
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    Hopefully have this thing together by the end of the weekend. Wheelset will be here tomorrow. Ordered Wellgo MG-1 platform pedals, Nevegal 2.1 DTC Kevlar tires, WTB Rocket V Pro saddle and ODI Ruffian lock on grips yesterday from Tree Fort and there suppose to be here Friday I think. So far with everything I have looked at online I will be sub 30# complete by about a pound but even 30 would be fine with me.

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