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.
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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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    Need some help building my first MB

    Howdy, I thought I'd bounce some ideas of those who would be willing to lend me some advice building up a bike.
    I bought this frame several years ago (Jamis Dakar) with the intent of building my own suspended MB. I had some knee injuries and other problems associated with plain ole getting old. I was riding my buddies rigid one afternoon and paid with it for three days barely able to walk. It's been several years, but I've bounced back and am ready to try this again.
    So, as usual, this is not an unlimited budget but I will spend what it takes for my goals. First off, I think this is a decent frame to start with? either way, it is what it is. Hey, it's going to be a casual rider but I grew up on dirt bikes, raced into my mid 30's but last broken leg wife said hang it up which I did. So my thrill seeking is probably more aggressive than most.
    So, that's the skinny. So I've been studying components and have some real 101 type questions.
    On a fork stem, isn't it threaded for top bearing? I see non threaded or clamp mentioned? My objective is, if I buy a fork, are they universal where they fit anything?
    Also, on bottom bracket, is this another item that fits everything? I think I have a fairly common production frame to work with.
    FWIW, when I bought this bike, first thing I did was dissasemble all the parts that bolted together. I was surprised by the tolerances and fit. It's a really tight bike that I think was barely ridden. So I lubricated it and assembled it and it has sat since, prolly 5 years.

    So, what I need, suspension fork, Geez, the list is endless but I know what I don't what, just some spring loaded sliding tubes, that's an insult to an old dirt biker like me.
    So I see all kinds of lengths, 100mm 120mm 150mm adj travel. I don't need 14" of travel, I know that just kills energy. What fits right?

    I think, but not sure, the Dakar came with Shimano Deore driveline` That should be decent isn't it?
    Disc brakes, is there a decent complete kit a noob could get that's trouble free and of decent quality? Wont see big downhills, we don't have hills here- flat as a pan here.

    Well, that's kind of the big stuff I suppose. Thanks for any help guys!

  2. #2
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    "On a fork stem, isn't it threaded for top bearing? I see non threaded or clamp mentioned? My objective is, if I buy a fork, are they universal where they fit anything? "

    no it is not threaded, you need an 1 1/8" stem to either a 25.4mm or 31.8mm handlebar clamp

    most new BB are external bearing and will fit both a 68 or 73mm BB shell

    for the fork you will need to know what travel fork the frame was designed for and it looks like that frame uses a 100mm travel fork

    for disc brakes you have a choice of mechs or hydraulics .. the Avid BB7 is the good mechs available

    the Deore drivetrain will fit and work on that frame and the next step up would be the SLX line

    hope this helps
    I used to ride to Win ... Now I ride to Grin

    While my guitar gently weeps, my bike sits there mocking me

  3. #3
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    Do you only have the frame right now? Probably your best bet for not overspending on the basis of the build is either a build kit - a few sites have them - or a complete bike to cannibalize. To start with, I think pricepoint.com usually has build kits. But check out some of the other sites too - jensonusa.com, performancebike.com.

    Do you at least have the rear shock?

    What's the year on your frame? What kind of brake mounts? Are you confident it's the right size for you? (Hate to ask, but people sometimes buy some pretty random stuff.)

    The bike industry loves to "break" standards. There are a few bottom brackets out there. If your frame is 68 or 73 mm English-threaded, most external bottom brackets (and cartridge bottom brackets) will fit. But make sure to read the specs. Generally, you'd choose the crank first, but now that there's some extra standards floating around, you need to make sure it's for a standard that's compatible with your frame.

    Moving on, knees are kind of tricky. I messed mine up a pretty long time ago and lived with it for a while, before slowing way down and spending some time on rehab in 2007. While still imperfect, I can do a lot more than I could. Cycling is a good exercise in that it's very low-impact, but there are still all sorts of ways it can be hard on a rider's knees. Poor pedaling technique, often related to bad bike fit, is one of the big ones. I don't want to dissuade you from getting into cycling. It's certainly one of the better sports for someone dealing with knee problems. But you need to be careful, and you need to do it right.

    Here's a writeup from a site I like.
    Bicycling and Pain

    This is also a good conversation to have with your physical therapist or a sports doc. It costs money, but pain sucks and if you do a job requiring you to be on your feet, lost work is expensive too.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
    rebmem rbtm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radamus View Post
    So, what I need, suspension fork, Geez, the list is endless but I know what I don't what, just some spring loaded sliding tubes, that's an insult to an old dirt biker like me.
    So I see all kinds of lengths, 100mm 120mm 150mm adj travel. I don't need 14" of travel, I know that just kills energy. What fits right?
    There's been all sorts of Dakar models over the years with forks that have travel ranging from 60mm up to 180mm

    Look on the following link and find a bike with a frame that matches the one you have, look at the specs for it and get a fork with a similar amount of travel.

    http://www.bikepedia.com/Search.aspx?Q=Jamis%20Dakar#

  5. #5
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    I prefer hydraulic disc brakes over mechanical. Shimano deore are relatively reasonably priced and have good reviews. They are on my gf bike and do a good job. I think the thing to watch out or with your bike and buying a fork is make sure it is not tapered or it won't fit. This site is great for product reviews also. So check that out before you buy stuff. eBay also has complete drivetrains or sale a lot at a reasonable price. I have ordered them twice. The problem is it takes a while since they come from Hong Kong.
    Last edited by jrogs; 11-02-2012 at 01:10 PM.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the reples!
    Cobba- nice link. Well, I still can't tell what year it is but I can tell you a little more about what I do have.

    This is a complete frame as far as frame/rear suspension. It has a Fox Vanilla coil over and I got a couple different springs with it. I do know when I bought it, and I don't remember the size, but it was sized for me. I did a lot of reading up on here at the time trying to find something decent to build and followed some advice I was given then and I did talk to the original owner back then about the size issue. I bought it from a member on here at the time.

    Bottom bracket- OK, I got the rule out and figured out that when you say 68 or 73, it's the width- this is 68mm. Hole for the headstock is 1 5/16" roughly.

    Frame is two tone black/yellow and says "sport series" on it, pretty sharp really. but I kind of assumed the models were seperated by the components used to build the production model, sound right? It looks the same as what they make today pretty much, at least what I can tell from pictures. It did have disc brakes, at least on the back, I can tell it was bolted up and the plugs for the rim brake mounts were never removed.

    So is the Vanilla coil over junk?

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  8. #8
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    [QUOTE=cobba;9838196]http://www.bikepedia.com/quickbike/BikeSpecs.aspx?Year=2002&Brand=Jamis&Model=Dakar&Type=bike#

    That's it! the 02' version. I see it was a $700 bike so on the cheaper side I would summize.
    Thanks cobba!!!

  9. #9
    rebmem rbtm
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    The same frame was on $2000, $1800, $1500 and $1000 bikes, the quality of the parts that is put on them relates to the different prices.

    How much do you want to spend on the build ?
    Do you want to buy new or second hand ?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobba View Post
    The same frame was on $2000, $1800, $1500 and $1000 bikes, the quality of the parts that is put on them relates to the different prices.

    How much do you want to spend on the build ?
    Do you want to buy new or second hand ?
    Yeah..that's the question I checked out that site andrw posted on build kits. Been looking at those, and that looks like a good route to go. That $700 kit has my eye. There's a couple things I'd like to change but they are so low dollar it's irrelavent. That kit and a fork and I'm ridin. For me, it's not worth my time to spend days trying to save $50 when I'm looking at more than a g anyway. Looks like decent stuff on the main components. Grips, tires, seat not what I'd choose but that's little stuff.

    I've been watching the used postings on forks. There were a couple that looked like a good deal but I don't know enough yet about what does what to be buying anything.

    Andrw~ thanks for the pain article! good to know. Kind of the point of this bike, you have to go through some pain to get to the point where you don't hurt. I havn't played golf in 4 years because of the knee twisting. I was a poppin and a hoppin and occasionally droppin-LOL! I think I could do it now, but I want to bike first and use it to get me back out swinging again.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radamus View Post
    http://www.bikepedia.com/quickbike/BikeSpecs.aspx?Year=2002&Brand=Jamis&Model=Dakar&Type=bike#

    That's it! the 02' version. I see it was a $700 bike so on the cheaper side I would summize.
    Thanks cobba!!!
    and just confirming, that bike does have rear disc tabs on the frame?

  12. #12
    rebmem rbtm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radamus View Post
    That $700 kit has my eye.
    What's in it, post a link.

  13. #13
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    With rehab for overtraining injuries, the name of the game is "Pain is weakness entering the body." Be careful...
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  14. #14
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    Sram X.7 Disc Build Kit at Price Point

    Let me know what you think.

    Yes, has disc brake tabs, and cable holders. It had one on it, paint shows it had caliper bolted on it.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radamus View Post
    Sram X.7 Disc Build Kit at Price Point

    Let me know what you think.

    Yes, has disc brake tabs, and cable holders. It had one on it, paint shows it had caliper bolted on it.
    If it had discs at some point, the bike is likely a Dakar Comp or better....

    BikePedia - 2002 Jamis Dakar Comp Complete Bicycle

    SRAM/Avid brakes are pretty good, especially the X.7 and better, however I'd typically choose the brakeset to match the brand of the shifters if I can since some of them offer integrated brifter (brake+shifter) levers like the Shimano or like SRAM, a combo clamp to clamp both shifters and brakes together with one clamp.

    I'd recommend checking out the newer rear derailleurs with built-in damping clutches if you can afford them. These shift much better and eliminate chan slap if you ride on rough terrain a lot.

    You'll also probably need a headset for the frame/fork interface. You can look up the headset specs for your frame here:

    Headset Fit Finder

    There is a catch - the headset finder may be incorrect for some bikes like my Stumpjumper. Took me extensive checking to figure out the error.

  16. #16
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    You might want hydraulic brakes

    Since you said that you are an agressive rider I thought I'd mention the brakes in that build kit are cable actuated mechanical models. They are good, offer the mud resistant design advantage over rim brakes, have more stopping power than rim brakes, but won't give you the massive power that hydraulic brakes will. Right now I have cantilever brakes on my vintage bikes, and they're fine for my current trails, but if you are doing freeride/DH descents or riding in wet, muddy, or snowy terrain the hydraulic brakes would be worth the cost and maintenance quirks.

    Even though it would cost slightly more to buy the parts piecemail over eBay and the mtbr.com classifieds those are options. All in all I think that the best idea posted on this thread is to buy a second hand bike and cannabalize it for parts and sell whatever you don't use. There are often some crazy deals on Craigslist for good quality bikes.

  17. #17
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    Thanks Dan for the reply. You are reading my mind really. So I've been looking at Ebay and CL and you are right. For example last night on ebay there was a Giant Trance X3, 2011 (in my size), shiny new. Guy was looking for $1450 or so - And it looks like that's where I'd be dollar wise fitting out my 10 year old Jamis - Kind of silly not to buy something like that. I would have snagged it up, but I'm still not to where I know enough to keep from getting screwed by ignorance.

  18. #18
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    You might want to sell the Jamis outright and put that towards a new or used bike. You are probably proficient at ebay and craigslist, but if you want some tactical ideas on either let me know.

  19. #19
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    Giant Trance 1 Fox Float Shock Fox Fork RaceFace WTB Specialized Trek | eBay

    OK, Tell me if you think tis looks like a good value on a older bike built with good components? After looking at a ton of used bikes, I think this looks to be a decent deal for a guy who doesn't have to have the latest and the greatest.

    there is also a used, older, Rush 4 on ebay, It loos like a decent deal but he want's 165 for shipping, so makes it a $1400 bike.

    Cannondale Rush 4 New Price | eBay

    I will tell you something I never told anyone- there was a period of time I used to fall asleep with a Cannondale brochure and have dreams of blazing down a trail on a carbon Rush

  20. #20
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    Well the Cannondale is a size large and the Giant is a size small, so no matter how tall you are one of these bikes is not the correct size for you. The Giant listing says it is a size small and fits from 5'2" to 5'10" but I don't believe that broad of a range.

    I'm not really keen on the brand new market and cringe at the thought of spending more than 1000 on a bike no matter how awesome it is, but both look like reasonable values.

    Another approach to try is finding similar bikes that are plain auction format, ending in the middle of the night. You'll have no competition if you drop your bid in 15 seconds before it ends.
    Another approach is to check the buy it now listings, filtered by most recent posted, frequently, and eventually you'll be one of the first people to see a great deal posted. This way the listing is not posted long enough for the market forces of buyer competition to drive up the price. The tradeoff is that it requires patience and checking listings once or twice a day.

  21. #21
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    In general, I think small bikes top out around a 5'8" rider. That's my height and I ride a medium with a stem size I like, but I'd only go up one or two stem sizes to ride a small, which I think would be okay-ish, and there's a lot of individual variation in how people like to set up their bikes.

    With a FS bike, I'd do some research into the record of the frame. Some FS linkages have problems with breaking. Others have proven to be pretty solid. If you're not the original purchaser, you don't get a warranty and this gets pretty relevant.

    Finally, don't send your money out of your community (and pay for shipping!) before you see if you can get something locally. Some bike shops will do consignment. You probably won't find outright used via a shop in that pricepoint, but certainly on Craig's List. And, don't discount 2012 bikes, which should be on clearance by now, and '11 bikes that may still be floating around in inventories.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  22. #22
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    Thanks for the input!
    I am going to check a cpl local shops tomorrow.
    I questioned the sizing too. I think that Giant is too small for me anyway.
    I'll keep studying up!!

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    Can I interest you in a used Titus Carbon X ? lol.

    I picked up two of them today but turns out they are size L (closer to an XL - 21.25" seat tube length) and seems way too big for me (5' 5")....maybe I should just build them up anyways...

  24. #24
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    Thanks Shibi- but carbon aint in this boys budget

    Great Deal Giant Trance x3 2011 Full Suspension Mountain Bike | eBay

    This is the one I thought I missed sat night but he re-posted.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radamus View Post
    Thanks Shibi- but carbon aint in this boys budget

    Great Deal Giant Trance x3 2011 Full Suspension Mountain Bike | eBay

    This is the one I thought I missed sat night but he re-posted.
    Well, I PM'ed you. It'll fit your budget if you're looking at what the seller's asking for the Giant Trance. Perhaps we can work out something.

    -S

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