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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    Build vs. buying a new bike

    I know this would probably be better suited in a different section but I wanted to ask here since the stuff we clydes need on our bikes can be a little different than the rest of the biking world. I know there are a lot of bikes out there and plenty that are suitable for use by us, but most bikes out there still will need some upgrades usually sooner than later because we are harder on our bikes then our <200 pound brothern. This thought was brought about after riding a new Specialized Hardrock 29'er yesterday. It seemed to be a decent bike and the price was right but I could see that several components would need upgraded much sooner than later so that $600 bike would quickly turn into a $1000+ bike. I could buy a $1000 bike to start but even then chances of getting the components I want are slim. So I thought if I built a bike I can get all the stuff I want on the bike from the get go and hopefully be better off financially.

    I need a new bike. I beat my poor entry level 26'er into the dirt literally in just three trail rides and not super hard ones at that. Less then 25 miles of trail and the thing is crying for mercy. I could fix/upgrade the parts needed but that would set me back at least a few hundred bucks so I figure since a new bike was planned for next year anyways, might as well pony up the rest of the money now and try to get a new bike this year. Problem is...BUDGET. I only have about $1000 to work with and I also have a limited number of LBS in the area and they all seem to carry the same stuff and the couple that carry some different stuff carry very expensive stuff. So I am thinking about building a bike, with some help from one of my LBS of course. My first question is, can a bike be built with decent (does not have to be high end, but needs to be good) components and be clyde friendly and come in near budget? Bike I would be building would be a 29'er hardtail and would be pretty much strictly a XC bike with no jumping other than small stuff required while on the trail.

    Also, if anyone wants to chime in with tips, tricks, and experiences that would be greatly appreciated as I have only done minimum maintenance on my bike so most of this would be new to me. Any parts suggestions would be great as well. So what do you think?

    One last thing. Here is a parts list and I am wondering if there is anything else needed for a complete bike? The price beside each component is a rough budget for each, I used price point as a general guide so I am sure some things can be cheaper, some more expensive. Not accounting for used items either.

    Frame $450
    Fork $200
    Head set $50
    Wheels/tires $200/$100
    Drive line (crank set $60, chain, cassette, front/rear derailleurs w.shifters$200)
    Brakes/levers $100/$30
    Stem/handle bar/grips $25/$50/$20
    Seat and post

    Missing anything?
    Last edited by Nubster; 06-26-2009 at 08:40 AM.

  2. #2
    Delirious Tuck
    Reputation: thefriar's Avatar
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    eBay baby... you'll be very surprised what you can dig up, some great minimally used stuff out there. Just be judicious checking people's feedback. I'd say start with the wish list of parts, i.e. what you really want; and a need list of parts that you'll at the minimum need. Then go to eBay and begin watching where the wishlist and the need list are coming out pricewise.

    Once you're watching figure out what on the wishlist is attainable, and whittle it down. Enter the bidding world once you feel like you know where prices will shake out (you'll probably have to watch one "round" for a week or two before you start bidding). Then go nuts. Other wise, watch craigslist or here on the site.

    At the least, the frame you should be able to get on ebay at or below your target price.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
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    Yeah, not ventured onto ebay yet and craigslist in my area is a bust. Looks like just strict internet dealer pricing I am in about $1500 which is a bit over budget but hopefully some good deals will present themselves. I am also once I get a detailed list together of exactly what I want and I am going to present that to my LBS to see if I can get a good deal by getting everything through them. I would much rather support them but depends on how much price difference there is.

  4. #4
    Delirious Tuck
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    It doesn't cost to watch stuff on ebay if you want to get a headstart. Also, lots of shops run sales in late august and september to move inventory for next year's stock...

  5. #5
    Up yer kilt!
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    Apples and ... other apples.

    The issue with a pre-built bike vs. one you build yourself is a matter of how much your time is worth (to you).

    A pre-build is going to have "better" components for the price-point due to volume pricing (OEM parts). The same price after-market will be between 60-90% mark-up (sometimes more for high-end stuff).

    For a self-build to make a difference means a couple of things:
    Know what you're buying - do the research and make sure the parts you are getting fit (in both size and function)
    Know your goal - What does you bike "look like" when it's finished
    Shop around - Sometimes stuff you buy from an on-line vendor can be a better bargain than something second-hand.

    Now the bad news, there are people out there that will try to cheat you. They'll promise you one thing but deliver another... after you've paid them. You need to be careful (sounds like common sense, but common sense doesn't seem to be quite as common as it used to be).

    Finally, I have to say this; Nothing is more satisfying than riding a bike you built yourself. You'll know every inch of her once you're finished and when something goes wrong, you'll know where to look and what to fix.

    Best of luck and keep us informed of your progress (with pictures if you can).

    CA

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie America
    Know what you're buying - do the research and make sure the parts you are getting fit (in both size and function)
    IMO, this is probably your biggest obsticle to buying the pieces individually if you have little experience.

    You could also check out the complete bikes on ebay. There are often some good deals. The downside there is, unless you have had an opportunity to ride the same bike elsewhere, the fit can be a wildcard.

  7. #7
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    I'm a big boy and only bought 1 pre built bike my first one (after getting back into riding) a Spec hardrock pro. Great bike for the money but same deal as your reasons. Didn't last very long before stuff started breaking/upgrading.

    So, after 5 or 6 bikes later (plus, other builds for friends. selling) I know am very happy with building my one bike and problably will never consider a prebuilt unless it's a deal and 1/2 and I can sell the parts I don't want and make money.

    Here's my opinion on your budget. Very doable if you shop around. Ebay, pricepoint and jensonusa are where I done almost all my shopping and have found some great deals out there.

    Here's some idea's to help you and links. What can I say I'm bored at work right now and it only took me 5 minutes to find these deals....

    Frame $400 (new) It's only a idea for youto get a idea or a real build. Real am frame can be built up for a clyde and still not be a boat anchor.
    http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/184...onarch-3.1.htm
    Fork Marzocchi 55r (1400mm of travel probably could find something used but for new this is a good solid fork for a clyde with coil/air assist
    $239
    Wheels $139 rhnolite rims are bombproof and this is a killer deal
    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...+Wheelset.aspx
    Brakes.$100 Hayes Hydro. Pricepoint has a killer deal at $49 each can't go wrong.http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/179...Brake-Grey.htm

    Drivetrain.sram x7 $102
    http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/134...COMBO-2008.htm
    http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/157...2008.htmCranks
    $30 or $40 for a cassete maybe $50 with a chain. You can also get deals
    Cranks.Don't skimp here. Someone was blowing out Shimano LX's for $75. Killer deal. Otherwise figure $125-$150 for these.

    Tires. you can always get deals on tires. $60- $70
    This
    is over the budget but this is for brand new stuff. If you are take your time and shopa round and compare against used. No reason why you couldn't build up a nice bike for around a $1k.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
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    Thanks for the info. I just looked around ebay and did not see any frames my size right now but who knows what will pop up at anytime. I have lots of research to do though. I am almost tempted to by one of the Motobecane bikes for a grand and ride it the rest of the summer then buy a new frame next year and just transfer everything over. Seems like great components and while I have not researched them yet I have read several times that they can not be bought separately for less than the price of the bike. And then I still might just fix my bike up and roll with it. I don't know. I am so indecisive and on top of that there are so many options. But again, thanks for the help, I still have lots of reading to do before I make my decision on what I am going to do.

  9. #9
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    Hey, Nubster, just to summarize, you're looking for a geared HT XC 29er that you might build yourself, is that correct? Are you able to (or do you even want to) recycle parts from your recently demised 26er?

    Have you looked at 'build kits" from places like Jenson? If not, it's a decent way to kinda feel your way through a component wish list versus budget:

    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/build...ize.aspx?bk=45

    What size 29er frame are you thinking you'll need? Do you have a preference between steel and aluminum?

    Do you have access to the tools required?

  10. #10
    mtbr member
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    That's right, hard tail 29'er for trail riding, terrain varies from hardpack dirt trails to deep mud to logs, roots and rocks. No plans to jump or do any downhill stuff.

    As far as re-using parts, possible but I am thinking about maintaining that bike in order to use it as a pavement pounder. At least for the rest of this summer because I have a rack mounted child seat for that bike for my little one and I hate to not be able to ride hime around. By next season he'll be too big to ride it so it won't be as big of a deal.

    I did look at a couple build kits but not super close. I'll do that to see what there is available.

    Prefer aluminum but steel is still an option. I have a 32" inseam so something in a 19" or 20" frame is usually good.

    I have basic tools but not the specialty tools so I will do as much work as I can and for everything else I'll take it to my LBS.

  11. #11
    Mouth-Breather / Huffer
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    First, a few caveats:

    1. Take everything I have to say with a grain of salt, as I have not yet done this myself - but I want to do so.

    2. I'm a no bling, budget kinda guy.

    3. I'm partial to steel.

    4. I'm just returning to mountainbiking after a (roughly) 10-year hiatus.

    Purchasing a built bike from Bikes Direct with the intent of using it as a "ridable build kit" is a decent idea. Fellow MTBR member and former bike wrench, mtnbiker73, did something similar with a Windsor from BD. He recently got a sweet deal from Performance on an aluminum frame and transferred the parts from the Windsor. He seems *very* happy with the process and the end result.

    I recently purchased an inexpensive crank puller, bottom-bracket tool and chain whip from Performance bike for less than $20 (after sale price and coupons). There is a cheap home-made solution floating around the forum for installing the headset, so no need for an expensive tool. There may be a few other speciality tools necessary, but most things can be done with metric tools.
    Last edited by dog.gone; 06-29-2009 at 11:17 AM.

  12. #12
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    Ok, here is a possible build list. If anyone doesn't mind taking a look and let me know what you think I would greatly appreciate it. I am still deciding on doing the build or just buying something. All this is so frustrating with all the options. I want to make sure I get the most for my money just like everyone else. Thanks for the help so far...

    Frame:
    Access XCL 9r...only $99 on sale right now on www.performancebike.com

    Brakes:
    BB7 208mm front (If they'll fit, otherwise 185mm) and 160mm rear

    Brake levers:
    Cane Creek Direct Curve

    Shifters:
    Sram X.9 Trigger Shifters

    Derailleurs:
    Sram X.9 Front and Rear Derailleurs

    Crankset:
    Race Face X-Type Deus Crankset '08

    Chain:
    Sram PC 971 9SP Chain

    Cassette:
    Sram PG 970 Cassette 11-34T

    Wheel Set:
    Shimano Deore Disc/Rhyno Lite Wheelset

    Seat post:
    Easton EA30 Seatpost '09

    Saddle:
    WTB Speed V Comp Saddle

    Stem:
    Easton EA30 Stem

    Handle Bar:
    Easton EA30 Riser Bar '08

    Headset:
    Cane Creek S-3

    Jagwire Cable and Housing Kits

    This is all part of a build kit from JensonUSA except for the frame. Here is the link if you care to take a look, total cost of the kit: $740.

    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/build...ize.aspx?bk=87

  13. #13
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    Also I still need to pick out a fork. Suggestions? I am 300 pounds and ride moderate (for now) XC trails, mostly rock and roots with very short drops <12". The kit plus frame has me at $840 and with a $1000 budget that leaves $160 for a fork. I can add another $100 or so to that but the budget absolutely cannot go above $1200.

  14. #14
    Dirt Deviant
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    If you can still find a Manitou Minute 29er fork left over from 2008 you will be in business.

  15. #15
    Frequent Crasher
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    There are three reasons I like to build it myself.
    1) I am 225-ish and the wheels that tend to come on prebuilt bikes, are not quite as sturdy as what I would choose for myself. I tend to ride Sun Singletrack or Doubletrack rims or even MTX rims on even my XC bike
    2) I can choose exactly what I want and not end up replacing derailleurs, shifters, etc to get what I want.
    3) I like the construction aspect, I am an engineer and love to put stuff together.

    If you want steel, I know it isn't exactly cheap, but I would go for the Salsa El Mariachi, fully rigid 29'er and it includes a fork.
    I see the light at the end of the tunnel now,
    Someone please tell me it's not a train.
    -Cracker

  16. #16
    Fat boy Mod Moderator
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    you're list is a little off... good luck finding a 29er fork for $200... there where a number but seems the source dried up ...

    the problem with building is the little things realy start adding up... and you spend more for parts (if bought new) then when buying a new bike

    that being said I'd consider dog.gone's info... the Team model has been shipping with the 09 reba which sounds like it's as strong or stronger then the 08 tora... or the models just a bit under it (closer to $800)... if/when you kill the hops rebuild the wheels... if you end up not liking the frame the parts on the bike are a nice build kit

    lots of options... I got lucky and found a good deal used on one of the local bike forums... the key to that is being able to read the condition of the bike... (my deal was a karate monkey with hope/salsa wheels, thompson post, king headset and some older high end shifty bits for $550...

    might consider talking to the LBS... most will know if anyone around has anything like you're looking for
    - Surly Disc trucker
    - '82 trek 560 roadie

  17. #17
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    Good and bad here dude ...

    If you build you get a lot of satisfaction but the bill is always more than you budgeted for but if you do it right you will have a great bike that you can live happily ever after with

    If you buy it done you know the cost and can check the reviews on this wonderful site ... but you might feel the need to tinker and upgrade a little

    I'm doing the same exercise myself at the moment and have decided to keep what i have and replace only what needs replacing until i can afford to build or buy what i really want.

    So little 26" singlespeed and I have a lot more miles to do before the new 29" SS beast is a reality.

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