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Thread: Bike Build

  1. #1
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    Bike Build

    I've finally had enough! My LBS keeps fixing my ride due to what they say is wear/tear because of my size and strength. I'm 6'7 and weigh in at a twisted steel and sex appeal 288.

    I've read many threads about the pros and cons of building a bike versus purchasing a bike that has the parts needed to hold up. Honestly, I am leaning more towards building my own bike but am open to opinion.

    I want to build a bullet proof bike for 2500. My major concern lies with the drive train and lack of personal education in knowing what is best. I am not concerned with grams. Honestly if I can keep on the train/road the 10lbs I loose from riding will out weigh the grams I may sacrifice when putting together my ride.

    The mission, if you choose to accept is to help me build my bullet proof bike that can hold up to my size and strength and keep me rolling.

  2. #2
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    Frame, fork and wheel set are going to be the most important and costly areas that you will need to look at. Those are all the components that take the most beating due to weight, so don't skimp on those. From there the crank is next on my list. Component wise i have been partial to shimano SLX. They have a lot of the same performance as XT and XTR but weigh a bit more at the fraction of the cost and durable. Just my 2 cents.

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    I've been speaking with my boss who knows much more about bikes than I. He just suggested that I start with the Frame (making sure geometry is right for my size) then wheel set, hubs, shock (maybe rigid) and then follow with the rest. I am pretty certain I am going with a steel frame but the rigid fork has me thinking?

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    I built a 23" Kona Hei Hei last winter and the bike is Awesome. I figured out everything I needed to know from this forum and YouTube. Go for it, I had a great time and people here are very helpful and knowledgable.
    Not the cheapest option tho, I spent close to $3k

    Craig Mac

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    I was in a similar situation this spring and decided to build a bike up from components myself. I knew that I wanted a steel frame, very strong rims, tubeless tires, a through hub axle, strong shock, thompson seat post, etc and at the end it just made more sense to me to do a custom bike and pay the money up front for what I wanted rather than buy a bike that I didn't really want and constantly drop money into upgrading it. I think it was the right decision for me (but not cheap )


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    That is a badass bike. What components did you use and why?

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    Most frames are gonna be just fine regarding durability. Maybe look for something that accepts a 12mm thru axle. Stay away from a FS bike...ride a hardtail. Don't do SS regardless of what any ****** says.

    Here is where you need to spend your money.

    Wheelset. Chris King, Hadley, or Hope Hubs. Stans Flow Ex Hoops 36 spoke w/ 15mm or 20mm Thru Axle front.

    Front Fork. Manitou Tower has proven to be very clyde friendly.

    Crankset. Look for something from the downhill crowd. If I could do it again, I would go Shimano Saint (proven tough ass crankset)

    Big Brakes. 203mm front 180 Rear with a good proven set of hydros.

    High volume Tires, 2.2 or larger.

    I don't think much else is really critical.


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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jphill1301 View Post
    That is a badass bike. What components did you use and why?
    Surly Karate Monkey frame - I wanted steel because I like the way it rides and I feel that it is stronger because it has more flex to it than aluminum (and it's WAY cheaper than carbon fiber or titanium) The KM is a proven design that is built like a tank. Plus it has horizontal drop outs, which is really nice to have if you want to use an IGH.

    Stan's Flow 29 rims - Very strong rims that are designed for tough use (and tubeless tires of course - which is important in Texas; lots of cacti down here)

    RockShock Reba fork - (15mm through hub version) The through hub is critical IMHO. I tried leaning on bikes and found that it was very easy to flex the front tire laterally unless it had a through hub axle. I considered the 25mm as well but that's even more pricey and I didn't see a difference between the 15mm and 25mm - both were rock steady for me.

    Shimano Alfine 11 IGH - I really liked the idea of using an IGH on a mountain bike and I've been very happy with it. It leaves a nice clean line on the bike with nothing hanging off the bike to bend or break against rocks, etc. I run 32x20 gearing which has had plenty of low range for me locally - no mountains around here though . This option may not be for everyone.

    Shimano XT hydraulic brakes with ICE rotors - These brakes are great! They adjust easily and I like the feel of them while riding. I can stop easily with one finger in any condition I've biked in so far. Gravity is not your friend when you're a big guy. No matter what you do, get good brakes!

    Thomson steel seat post - The seat post is a really big lever with a huge weight on the end of it (aka me.) I've bent stock aluminum posts before but had no problems with the Thomson.

    Specialized carbon fiber seat - it flexes real nice and is surprisingly comfy (make sure you get fitted for the right size though)

    Chris King headset - feels solid and I'm told it will hold up much better in the long run

    I've been riding for 6 months so far and the only mechanical issues that I've had are a cut tire (had to buy a new one) and a bent rear brake rotor (it was bent back into place with pliers) I think it's been just about perfect for me - I honestly can't think of anything about it that I'm unhappy with other than the fact that it makes my road bike suck by comparison. A big guy just needs a properly big bike to be comfy I suppose .

  9. #9
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    For a taller guy, Surly also makes the Ogar frame. It comes in a 24" size which you may appreciate at 6'7". This is the biggest steel frame that I know of.

    Ogre | Bikes | Surly Bikes

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    As for components.

    -Thomson seatpost is a must, strongest out there.
    -Get a good strong rear hub, strong shell but also strong freehub mechanism.
    Awesome Budget Clyde hubs - Hope Pro 2, DT Swiss 350
    Pricey clyde hubs - Chris King, Dt Swiss 440 FR
    -Run a 36 hole rim/hub out back, could get away with a 32 hole rim/hub up front.
    -Sun Ringle MTX33 rims are the strongest out there, but they suck for tubeless.
    -Stans Flow EX and Velocity P35 rims are not as strong as the MTX but are the storngest tubeless rims out there.
    -Use a quality double butt spoke (Sapim, DT Swiss, or Wheel smith).
    -Have wheels build by a qualified custom wheel buidler. I've used Mike Curiak with great results Lace Mine 29 - Big Bicycle Wheels.
    -Run a downhill speicifc external bearing bottom bracket. I've got a Race Face Ride DH crankset thats been holding up great for me, but there are much nicer cranksets out there.
    -I've had great luck with Time Atac pedals. Switch to clipless if you haven't yet.
    -Run a thomson stem. Pricey but if you are going to spend money on anything, buy a good strong stem. Your stem breaks and its gonna hurt BAAAAD.
    -I've only ever run 9 speed drivetrains. That being said I've had great luck with X7 shifters, X9 rear derailleur, and 990 rear casette.
    -I run Avid BB7's 200mm front and rear. Great brakes. Cheap cable operated. Shimano XT hydros are also excellent choice, or so I hear.

  11. #11
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    This sounds so familiar

    I've built up two bikes myself over the last four years. My threads on those builds are below if you're interested:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/29er-bikes/bu...y-537775-2.htm

    I had to start somewhere

    I've had a steep learning curve as a big buy on mtb's but I've reached the point where friends on the trail will actually ask me for my opinion now and again. Since I build, break, and re-build my own, I don't owe allegiance to any brand. A few things I've learned when it comes to components:

    1. Nothing survives bad technique. I've broken three frames, it's not because I'm heavy. It's because I was heavy and made stupid mistakes.

    2. Thomson is the only seatpost I trust. Broken a specialized, a syncros, and a truvativ.

    3. You will break wheels, especially factory-built wheels. Invest in a hand-built wheelset with good hubs--king, hadley, dt swiss, hope for example.

    4. I still haven't found a saddle that lasts me more than a single season (this is a cry for help/thread hijack for anyone who's listening).
    "Serpentine Shelly. Serpentine!"

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    Stick to AM or DH components. I personally like Race Face Turbine, Truvativ Stylo T30, and Truvativ AKA. They are mostly 7000's aluminums (some handlebars are air alloy or al 66). They are light, tough, and just below "expensive" price tag.

    As for wheels, I got my Flow CK hubs with 14g DT spokes (36h, 4 cross) for $680 + shipping from Larry at Ghisallo Wheels - Custom Wheels. For that particular build, Larry offered the best price.

    Also, you can get Hope hubs with Flows (32h, I think someone said 20/18/20g spokes?) from wiggle.com | Hope Wheels for around $350, which is hard to beat for Hope/Flow wheels. But unless you are on FS, I wouldn't be all that confident on 20/18/20g spokes.
    Ghisallo Wheels

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  13. #13
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    For someone that weight, I'd do 2/0 straight gauge spokes for sure.
    Either Flow EX, Salsa Gordo or Sunringle MTX33... On a Hope Pro2 EX rear hub with the Saint 10mm thru axle.
    Definitely go with 15 or 20mm up front.
    I like the Surly Ogre suggestion. Everyone is pretty dead on here, especially with the Thomson seatpost.
    I say stick with Shimano SLX or XT cranksets.

    Blackhammer, I get pretty good life out of WTB RocketVee saddles.
    I like turtles

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    For someone that weight, I'd do 2/0 straight gauge spokes for sure.
    Either Flow EX, Salsa Gordo or Sunringle MTX33... On a Hope Pro2 EX rear hub with the Saint 10mm thru axle.
    Definitely go with 15 or 20mm up front.
    I like the Surly Ogre suggestion. Everyone is pretty dead on here, especially with the Thomson seatpost.
    I say stick with Shimano SLX or XT cranksets.

    Blackhammer, I get pretty good life out of WTB RocketVee saddles.
    Why straight guage spokes? Butted spoked wheels will be stronger than straight gauge spoked wheels. Spoke breakage is most likely to happen where the spoke bends to go through the hub. (I know I have never seen a spoke break anywhere else, and I have seen plenty of busted spokes.) Butted spokes take some of the force that would otherwise impact the bend and distributes it to the butts - especially the forces that try to lengthen and shorten the spoke. The result is that less of those forces go into deflecting the spoke at the bend, which in turn means a longer lasting spoke.

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    What do ya'll think about the Niner MCR frame? Also, are there any fanny friendly saddles out there?

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    The MCR is a great frame IMO. I have a steel 29er hardtail and I love it, mine is setup as a SS. As for saddles everyone's rear is different, so what I use there is a good chance you will not like it. My best advice is to find a shop that has the WTB test ride saddles and give them all a spin. I use the WTB Devo.

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    My curent thought process is a Niner MCR with steel or carbon rigid fork and carbon seat post. Haven't made it much past that. I am still trying to decode all the language I'm finding in the message boards.

    Problem is I don't have a WTB test ride within 100 miles of my location! All I have is a specialized and I haven't heard many promising things about those saddles.

  18. #18
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    FWIW I run a steel fork, it was inexpensive and it gets the job done. I run a Thomson seat post. As for the seats I guess you can look online for a retailer that has a liberal return policy and get your test rides in that way.

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    ...another nod to the Karate Monkey! I'm your size, Jphill, maybe a tad heavier now.



    obviously in full rigid mode! Love it!
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    I have a Specialized BG saddle and really like it.

    Craig

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    I'm looking at the WTB's. What is the difference between Pure and Laser? Do any biggens have either?

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    Why does everyone speak of the Thomson seat post? I just viewed their website and they are made of aluminum. Isn't carbon or steel the way to go for comfort? What is the appeal?

  23. #23
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    I've had a Thomson seat post and found it way too fiddly to adjust.

    Thomson stems are ok but they're CNC. All else being equal, something forged is gong to be stronger than something cut.

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    I have been doing some reading and from what I can tell most do not see a benefit to carbon unless they have so much seat post extended out. With an extended seat post the carbon does a better job absorbing the vibrations of the road than an aluminum. What is considered an extended seat post? How many inches? Won't most mountain bikes have a seat post that is extended much further than a road set up? Thoughts?

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    Quote Originally Posted by HOV View Post
    I've had a Thomson seat post and found it way too fiddly to adjust.

    Thomson stems are ok but they're CNC. All else being equal, something forged is gong to be stronger than something cut.
    I have only owned 1 Thomson seat post and yes it was a bit more fiddly to set up but it is something that you only setup 1 time unless you frequently change saddles. Besides the initial setup it has performed flawlessly.

    Thomson stems are great. I have been using them for years and the only broken ones I have ever seen have been in use by people that do not own or do not know how to use a torque wrench.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jphill1301 View Post
    Why does everyone speak of the Thomson seat post? I just viewed their website and they are made of aluminum. Isn't carbon or steel the way to go for comfort? What is the appeal?
    You stand up for comfort thomson is strong, it lasts, and it won't snap on you. You're gonna wish you bought a thomson when that carbon post with a cushy ride splits and skewers your snausage. If you weigh over 200 lbs, buy a thomson.

  27. #27
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    jphill, Input from a 260lbs (was close to 300lbs) rider that usually builds up his own bikes. You didn't describe your type of riding, so my suggestions will be applicable for a wide range of riding type. So, some other considerations:

    On-one 456. It will probably handle anything you throw at it (designed for 4-6" travel forks). I built mine for riding the rough (rocks) and 1-3' drops, but it can be built for doing less. Heavy and a bit stiff (for a steel frame), but tough.

    Marzocchi 44--a very stiff 32mm fork (a 44 Micro Ti is what I have on my 456). Some 44s are very expensive (Micros for example), but they have some lower cost models with less sophisticated guts.

    I also recommend Thomson seatposts and stems--always dependable. Also, the seatpost is not where I look for comfort--that is in the frame and fork.

    Hadley hubs laced to your favorite strong rim. I like Mavic and tubeless, so mine are 819s and 823s. If go Mavic tubetype, then I recommend the 721 (excellent rim), but others also are fans of the 321 (less expensive). I always use straight gauge spokes because I can build a wheel that flexes less sideways, but some clydes are into DBs because they provide more flex up-and-down, and could last longer (as stated in earlier post).

    As stated, SLX seems to be the best bang for the buck. All around good reviews.

    Also, if you are not in a hurry, you can build your bike very cheaply if you keep watching ebay, MTBR classifieds, sales, etc. Being patient, you can score some great deals, and easily build your bike for under $2500. Good luck, and let us know what you end up with (including pictures).

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    Clydecrash - I mostly ride the pavement and XC trails. As far as XC trails they are mild not wild. I ride mostly for cardiovascular conditioning and weightloss. Problem I am facing with my current ride and reasoning for my posts is that I want to make a bullet proof, good ole-boy, bike that can stand the test of time for the intended purposes. I am also a do it right the first time kind of guy. I don't mind investing and getting what I pay for.

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    Clydecrash - also, many people speak of different hubs. I have heard Hadley, Shimanos, Kings and etc....Why would one choose one over another?

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jphill1301 View Post
    Clydecrash - also, many people speak of different hubs. I have heard Hadley, Shimanos, Kings and etc....Why would one choose one over another?
    Some hubs are just stronger than others.
    I wrecked an XT hub that was apparently a series that was known not to stand up to Clydes.
    My LBS made a few calls and Hadley was the ONLY one that said I will not break their hub.
    I'm currently riding a DT Swiss and some Hopes and they've been solid too.
    Hadleys are going on my next bike.
    I like turtles

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    I have been riding the same set of 26" alex dm18's with deore disk hubs for 8 years, came stock on my '04 raleigh M80. I am currently building up an '04 Ellsworth Id, and putting that same wheelset on it. I have weighed anywhere from 300+ down to 260lbs in the time i've had them, had to service the hubs once, and only had to have them trued a handful of times. they have been absolutely bulletproof.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jphill1301 View Post
    I am also a do it right the first time kind of guy. I don't mind investing and getting what I pay for.
    That statement says to me that you would consider investing in quality hubs. I mention Hadley because it is a high quality hub, meaning very well built, unlikely to break down, and easy to maintain (including replacing bearings which will need to be done eventually). It, and Chris King, DT Swiss (and Hope has a good reputation), etc., are hubs that you can keep and use to build wheels in the future (because your wheels will eventually wear out). I like Hadley and King because they have very quick engagement which I find very helpful on my rocky trails. That may not be that important for you since you ride mild trails. Other hubs may not last so long, and it has already been mentioned that some Shimano series break down quicker (but some series likely last a long time). I used XT and DX rear hubs many years ago, and occasionally the freehub went out. Easy to replace, but not so fun if it happens miles from the trailhead. I just picked up a XTR wheelset, so I will see how durable it is (and that is an example of watching sales. Picked it up for $375!).

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    Some hubs are just stronger than others.
    I wrecked an XT hub that was apparently a series that was known not to stand up to Clydes.
    My LBS made a few calls and Hadley was the ONLY one that said I will not break their hub.
    I'm currently riding a DT Swiss and some Hopes and they've been solid too.
    Hadleys are going on my next bike.
    I have 3 bikes two have Hope Pro 2's and one has Hadley's. One set of the Hope's I have been using for almost 5 years now in two different sets of rims and have not touched them. I have only been using the Hadley's for about 6 months but from what I have read and from what my wheel builder told me I can expect the same performance out of them.

    One things for sure with the Hope's, everyone will know you are on the trail. Some people hate the noise but I love it!!!

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    That is great information on the hubs! Another question regarding the hubs: if all is equal with the quality of hub, what are the differences? Why should I choose one over another? I am pro quality, durability and minimal maintenance. I have no problem spending money up front to save in the end.

    When picking a hub are there certain options I must also consider? Example wheels, brakes, etc...that one may let me do that others do not?

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jphill1301 View Post
    That is great information on the hubs! Another question regarding the hubs: if all is equal with the quality of hub, what are the differences? Why should I choose one over another? I am pro quality, durability and minimal maintenance. I have no problem spending money up front to save in the end.

    When picking a hub are there certain options I must also consider? Example wheels, brakes, etc...that one may let me do that others do not?
    Hadley has got the Hope's beat in the engagement department. In quality I would say that they are damn near equal. Hadley has the bling factor. Both are totally convertible for whatever axle you want to run. Hope is less expensive. The only reason I went with the Hadley's is because I came into some extra cash. I have been totally happy with my Hopes. If you got the coin then spend it. If you want to save and use it elsewhere on the bike go with the Hope's, they will not disappoint you.

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    Is the engagement issue more for a certain type rider over another? What is the noise spoken of with the hopes?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jphill1301 View Post
    Is the engagement issue more for a certain type rider over another? What is the noise spoken of with the hopes?
    My thoughts are that the engagement is more critical in a technical riding environment. If you are going to be out cruising your local trails I would not be concerned with the engagement.

    Hope hubs have a loud free hub.

  38. #38
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    I'm looking at hubs online and they often list 10mm, 12mm and even 150mm. What is this about?

  39. #39
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    10mm & 12mm is the diameter of the rear axle and 150mm is the width of the rear hub. I believe the MCR has 135mm rear spacing.

  40. #40
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    Anyone know how to upload image from file on computer?

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    Is a hub also know as a rotor?

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jphill1301 View Post
    Is a hub also know as a rotor?
    Not that I know of. The only rotor is for disc brakes (the disc is the rotor). If you run disc brakes, you have to get hubs that will let you mount rotors.
    Ghisallo Wheels

    I'm really good looking.

  43. #43
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    Enough about wheels. Does anyone have any suggestions about drive train? The MCR 9 highlights Shimano XT and XTR components for their bikes. Anyone run this equipment?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SasquatchSC View Post
    ...another nod to the Karate Monkey! I'm your size, Jphill, maybe a tad heavier now.


    obviously in full rigid mode! Love it!

    Very nice! I think I may have to look for one of these.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jphill1301 View Post
    Enough about wheels. Does anyone have any suggestions about drive train? The MCR 9 highlights Shimano XT and XTR components for their bikes. Anyone run this equipment?
    Unless you scrounge around for deals or skimp on other parts, you'll blow your budget on XTR goodies.

    I've had good experiences with XT and Sram X9 drivetrains.
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    I've been looking online and XTR is probably out of budget. What is difference between Shimano and SRAM?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jphill1301 View Post
    I've been looking online and XTR is probably out of budget. What is difference between Shimano and SRAM?
    Really it's just comparing apples to apples...

    They both get the job done very well. I do prefer shimano trigger shifters over sram. But that's obviously a personal preference. Really, if you go test ride a few bikes with both drivetrains, you'll find which you prefer.
    Klein Attitude XX
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    Quote Originally Posted by SasquatchSC View Post
    ...another nod to the Karate Monkey! I'm your size, Jphill, maybe a tad heavier now.



    obviously in full rigid mode! Love it!
    Very nice!

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