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  1. #1
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    Long Travel Trail (~5" 29er or similar 27.5) at ~$2k - buy or build?

    I'll try and make sure I have all the relevant reference information, then explain what I'm looking for. I'm 6'2", 235lb clothed, with most of that height/weight being legs; I know I'm abusive on hardware by tendency, and despite having a bit more budget, I do want some cash set aside to fund a few luxuries (dropper post, upgraded tubeless ready tires, upgrade brakes if need be).

    I'm looking to replace a 2013 GT Sensor 9r Elite (with a beefy wheelset and XT brakes on it), and trying to decide if I should look to replace that in kind (most likely a Giant Trance X29 2), or if I should look at some of the mid-travel 27.5" models to see if I gain some more flexibility that way.

    As far as components, I know I'm abusive on cranks (I immolated a Suntour one in under 5 miles), I've been spoiled on brakes (Shimano are a must, may still upgrade to XT or SLX anyway), and I know I'll wind up shelling out for a dropper post.

    The stuff I'm unsure about is if at my budget I should be concerned with the suspension components - I'm basically assuming that I'm stuck with RS Recon Silver at my price range, but in my experience that fork is noodly even at 120mm of travel and the minimum of what I can work with (it works, but to me those feel like hot-rodded XC forks, albeit not in a bad way). For the rear shock, my guess is that I could go down to an X-Fusion instead of the Monarch, but that it would probably come with inadequate brakes/drivetrain on a complete bike.

    So, considering all that, should I be honestly looking at building something from the frame up? Pretty much every bike I've looked at is fine on the drivetrain side, but if I'm going to wind up replacing brakes, wheelset, seatpost, tires, and grips am I likely to wind up money behind in the long run anyway? Is being able to select a particular components spec worth that much extra even at this price range?

  2. #2
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    sounds like you already picked your route. you want to select your components. It is hard to find something that doesn't have any compromises in a 2K range.

    Big question is, what frame?

    Last time I tried to put together a budget build 29er, the frame ruined the build cost 2nd to front shock cost. Hard to settle for sub-par components when you've had better.

    Going with a budget 2x10 is doable but wowsa, not with a 1x11.

    Start with a used bike that maybe has the right frame and wheels and or front shock?
    back at it
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  3. #3
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    I ride at too diverse of speeds to run a 1x setup (I actually regularly used both extremes of a 22-33-44 triple on my previous bike), so the 2x10 isn't a drawback.

    I'm looking at used bikes incessantly, but trying to find one in 20-21" size isn't proving to be efficient. If I could find one of the 2013 TranceX 29er [1]'s, I'd be all over that (an actually pretty graphics package), but finding something in my size is likely to be tedious.

    If I'm going to wind up buying a complete bike, the Giant is THE winner as far as spec and frame go; if I'm building from the frame up it'll be hard for me to avoid the temptation of building a Niner WFO into a 36lb tank.

    The next step up in the Trance X line is actually really tempting, if I can test ride one and like the seatpost and wheels then I might be able to make that a one-stop bike purchase, as that actually has almost exactly the spec I would want (X9 Derailleur, I'd like SLX brakes but Deore may be adequate, has a dropper post and if the wheels will take 2.2" TNT Saguaros).
    I'm not adverse to compromises, but I've figured out that I'm never more than a mediocre set of brakes away from far costlier medical bills, so I know I'm going to be uncompromising with that.

    Appreciate the feedback at least - once I can narrow down frames that helps a ton, and the fact that I haven't moved from that frame probably speaks volumes.

  4. #4
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    You should save up more. You seem to want bargain basement prices and have your heart set on higher end components. SLX brakes will stop you as well as XT and you are not harder on cranks than anyone else. So, save up more and don't make things so hard on yourself. Complete bikes are usually far better value than building them up yourself, so doing that might be a false economy.

  5. #5
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    Never looked into the trance X but it sounds like you just went over your budget lol.

    Specialized has a low cost sub 2k build.

    Davinci troy has a 27.5 x7 build with a RS pike at 3k. Tempting, but is the rest of the bike minus the pike worth it? ~$2100

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  6. #6
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    I'll be in your position next year. I went with a trek stache 7 this year so I can just get back to riding and have a exercise/mtn capable bike I can park outside a bar and not feel like someones going to gank my 3k+ full cush bike.

    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...2/14835/66298/

    That trance x2 build has a 135x5 rear end. I wouldn't get that BC its not the direction the market is going and its not what my current trek stache 7 has which I plan on keeping. Everything seems to be 142 now. But if sharing hardware BT bikes doesn't matter, go for it.

    I hate the cable routings on the specialized bikes.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus
    back at it
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  7. #7
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    I'm not capped on a budget, and I'm replacing a bike which was stolen. It's more of a case where I can justify the cost of brakes easily, but some of the other stuff is a challenge, especially when the automobile I daily drive is already going to be worth less than this bike.
    I am pretty hard on cranks and other drivetrain parts; I am a quadrosaurus and I can make some torque in short anaerobic bursts (but in poor aerobic shape) - in under a week I not only stripped out two Suntour cranks, but also managed to basically ruin an Alivio derailleur, so I figure I need at least X5/X7 or Deore (which pulls the sub-2k Specialized Camber builds out of consideration).

    I realize the complete bikes are typically far better values, but where I ride I'll need to run tubeless ready tires on rims at least 23mm wide (the old 21mm rims I had needed truing after basically every ride), and if I'm already looking at spending $2500 once I'm done with the bike (dropper post, brakes) especially with the Overdrive2 steerer, I'm really thinking the RockShox Recon would start looking like the weak link in that equation (since I'm on the larger side anyway, and it was pretty disconcerting the way my previous one of those behaved when bottomed out)

    A LBS has a RockyMountain Instinct 950 (basically the spec I want, and I can choose my dropper post) on sale for $2500, so I'm basically comparing that against a TranceX 29.1; or picking up the TranceX 29.2 (or GT Sensor 9R 1.0 and making wholesale changes) and then replacing about a third of the components specced.

    [ETA]
    You're probably 100% correct that the 12x142 is going to be the de-facto standard, but if I have some decent rolling tires and a wheelbuild that can withstand my flavor of stupidity, I just need that one working set.

    I'm actually looking at this to be a 'one bike' solution for me - if I can keep from killing myself on our local (intermediate trails) lift served area and still be able to chase road bikers on the local highway and enjoy the solid local singletrack in between, I don't need that wheelset to be flexible.

    The local specialized dealer out here is awesome, but there just isn't a price argument for anything in that lineup, and being locked to MAP pricing just makes that hard to argue for.

    The Troy + Pike does look seriously awesome, and that's the level of travel I'd probably be looking at to justify anything other than 29" wheels. That looks like a whole lot of awesome, definitely have to give that at least a think despite being worth twice as much as my truck.

  8. #8
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    sounds like you should pull the trigger on that RM Instinct 950 unless you can get better wheels on a Giant. I've spent time on Velocity P35 wheels. skinnies are for weight weenies and XC racers. Maybe the LBS can do partial credit on a upgraded set.

    I'd consider a Trek Fuel EX7 29 or 27.5.
    back at it
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  9. #9
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    The EX7 Fuel did catch my eye, but the local trek retailer isn't running any sort of special (everything MSRP) so I'm looking at the wheels and the seatpost as the probably items to replace there - closer to $3000 out the door. Putting that against the RM Instinct950 with the Trek being the more expensive of the two, and I'd have to have very different riding impressions to switch those considerations around.

    Luckily, the same LBS has both the 950 and TranceX to compare.

  10. #10
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    If you find what you want, and it isn't on sale, try the "bag-o-cash" technique. Most LBS owners aren't going to let you walk out the door with your bag of Benjamins if they can pull off the sale on an in-stock bike, even if it's 20+% off.

  11. #11
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    I'd rent a demo 950 since you already have experience on the Giants. See how you like.

    I didn't demo my Stache. Didn't figure there was a point of demoing hardtails. I'll be demoing full suspension bikes though from my LBS. I'm just hoping that they have some year end fire sales on in stock 21"+ bikes. Trek Fuel EX 7/8 or Remedy and compare to Specialized Camber EVO and FSR comp EVO
    back at it
    2014 Trek Stache 7.

  12. #12
    JHH
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    If your all legs and 6.2"....I'd definitely go 29" over 27.5". The rolling resistance difference is noticeable for us Clydes. Another point is that I'd buy better suspension parts now. Especially since you want to longer travel. HAving a solid platform and the ability to adjust it based on what your riding is key for a Clyde. I ride Fox Float CTD fork and shock and once I learned how to adjust them I've been super happy with them.
    Keep pedaling no matter what

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