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  1. #1
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    My sub-$2000 Transition Preston build...

    First of all, let me say that I have toyed around with the idea of building a bike for while now. I think I ended up upgrading everything I had on my old Kona over the span of 7 years. Anyways, after alot of reading I decided to use the Transition Preston FR as my starting point. All of my riding is done in the VA/TN/NC mountains, so a mix of XC, flowing singletrack, freeride and some "downhill". Most people said that it was almost impossible to build a bike for less than a pre-built one. I checked out alot of pre-assembled build kits online and I didn't really like any of them and even then, my price would have been at or above Transitions assembled price of around $2399. I made it my goal to build a Preston for under $2000 using quality components. I have no idea what this will weigh, but I have never really considered weight a factor. I know the Saint cranks are overkill, but I got a good deal. I spent about a week searching eBay, as well all of the close-out pages on the online retailers for the best deals. I think buying the Rhyno Lites got me going on the Saint kick and the more I looked, the more I found at a deep discount. Anyways, on to the parts list.

    Frame - '06 Transition Preston FR - $783.20
    Fork - Manitou Nixon Elite '06 - $255.00
    Rear Shock - Answer Swinger 4-way coil - included
    Headset - FSA Orbit XL II - included
    Stem - Sette Stumpy - $28.00
    Wheelset - Rhyno Lite w/ Saint hubs - $175.00
    R. Der. - Shimano Saint - included
    F. Der. - Shimano LX - $6.50
    Crankset - Shimano Saint - $180.00
    Shifters - Sram Rocket Trigger - $47.00
    Brake Levers & Lines - Shimano Saint Levers - $121.00
    Brake Rotors & Calipers - Shimano Saint - $142.00
    Grips - Sette Lock-on - $13.00
    Handlebar - Sette Duo Riser - $28.00
    Seatpost
    Pedals
    Tires - Kenda Blue Groove / Nevegal combo - $71.00
    Chain
    9-speed Cassette - Shimano LX - $42.00

    The Preston frame and headset came from Jared at Downshift Cycles, which was 20% off and included free shipping. There was a slight mix-up with the website, so he threw in an installed FSA headset for free. I spoke with Jared for a bit on the phone and he is definitely a class act. The Manitou Nixon, crankset and wheelset all came from Jenson USA. The stem, grips, tires and handlebar came from Price Point. I have used Sette stuff in the past and have always been happy with its performance and you can't beat the price. Finally, all the brake stuff and cassette came from Universal Cycles. They have a 15% off $300 coupon right now, which helped out a bit. All of the above prices reflect shipping and any coupons that I used. I picked up a used LX front der. on eBay and I will probably get my seatpost and possible pedals from there as well. I am going to pick up a chain from REI (gotta love the lifetime replacement warranty) and I am still on the lookout for a cheap, yet good saddle. Anyways, as of now I am $1891.70 into this build, before chain, seatpost and pedals. I figure the chain will be $30 or so and I may use my Crank Brothers Candy Cs for now. The seatpost should be under $20. Now that I have all the parts ordered, the next task is building this thing. Feel free to ask questions or give feedback or just ask me WTF I was thinking on some of my parts. I am still unsure about the '06 Nixon Elite, but I read a few good reviews and the price sold me. The Marzocchi Z1 Sport that I was considering was $150 more, which would have blown my budget.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMRisko
    First of all, let me say that I have toyed around with the idea of building a bike for while now. I think I ended up upgrading everything I had on my old Kona over the span of 7 years. Anyways, after alot of reading I decided to use the Transition Preston FR as my starting point. All of my riding is done in the VA/TN/NC mountains, so a mix of XC, flowing singletrack, freeride and some "downhill". Most people said that it was almost impossible to build a bike for less than a pre-built one. I checked out alot of pre-assembled build kits online and I didn't really like any of them and even then, my price would have been at or above Transitions assembled price of around $2399. I made it my goal to build a Preston for under $2000 using quality components. I have no idea what this will weigh, but I have never really considered weight a factor. I know the Saint cranks are overkill, but I got a good deal. I spent about a week searching eBay, as well all of the close-out pages on the online retailers for the best deals. I think buying the Rhyno Lites got me going on the Saint kick and the more I looked, the more I found at a deep discount. Anyways, on to the parts list.

    Frame - '06 Transition Preston FR - $783.20
    Fork - Manitou Nixon Elite '06 - $255.00
    Rear Shock - Answer Swinger 4-way coil - included
    Headset - FSA Orbit XL II - included
    Stem - Sette Stumpy - $28.00
    Wheelset - Rhyno Lite w/ Saint hubs - $175.00
    R. Der. - Shimano Saint - included
    F. Der. - Shimano LX - $6.50
    Crankset - Shimano Saint - $180.00
    Shifters - Sram Rocket Trigger - $47.00
    Brake Levers & Lines - Shimano Saint Levers - $121.00
    Brake Rotors & Calipers - Shimano Saint - $142.00
    Grips - Sette Lock-on - $13.00
    Handlebar - Sette Duo Riser - $28.00
    Seatpost
    Pedals
    Tires - Kenda Blue Groove / Nevegal combo - $71.00
    Chain
    9-speed Cassette - Shimano LX - $42.00

    The Preston frame and headset came from Jared at Downshift Cycles, which was 20% off and included free shipping. There was a slight mix-up with the website, so he threw in an installed FSA headset for free. I spoke with Jared for a bit on the phone and he is definitely a class act. The Manitou Nixon, crankset and wheelset all came from Jenson USA. The stem, grips, tires and handlebar came from Price Point. I have used Sette stuff in the past and have always been happy with its performance and you can't beat the price. Finally, all the brake stuff and cassette came from Universal Cycles. They have a 15% off $300 coupon right now, which helped out a bit. All of the above prices reflect shipping and any coupons that I used. I picked up a used LX front der. on eBay and I will probably get my seatpost and possible pedals from there as well. I am going to pick up a chain from REI (gotta love the lifetime replacement warranty) and I am still on the lookout for a cheap, yet good saddle. Anyways, as of now I am $1891.70 into this build, before chain, seatpost and pedals. I figure the chain will be $30 or so and I may use my Crank Brothers Candy Cs for now. The seatpost should be under $20. Now that I have all the parts ordered, the next task is building this thing. Feel free to ask questions or give feedback or just ask me WTF I was thinking on some of my parts. I am still unsure about the '06 Nixon Elite, but I read a few good reviews and the price sold me. The Marzocchi Z1 Sport that I was considering was $150 more, which would have blown my budget.
    Sounds like a great adventure you had! Haha... Show us the pic of your interesting ride!

  3. #3
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    Well, since I am still unsure about the Rhyno Lite wheelset that I got, I am going to go ahead and pick up a Performance LOCO wheelset, while they are on sale for $200. It looks like my 8" Saint brakes come with both OS Centerlock, as well as standard 6-bolt rotors, so technically I should be able to pick and choose which wheelset I want. I guess I will need to find something like an XT rear derailleur to mate up with the LOCO hub.

    Does anyone know why so many places are clearing out the Sun rims / Saint R. Der combo for under $200? The Saint hubs seem to have gotten good reviews, well atleast the front. Looks like there have been a few complaints about the rear. Also, the Saint R. Der. got solid marks as well.

  4. #4
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    Well my build has changed slightly in the past couple days. I now have Hone cranks instead of the Saints (1/2 lb weight savings) and Azonic Outlaws instead of the Rhyno Lites laced to Saint hubs. My Saint brakes came with 6-bolt and OS CL rotors, which made the switch possible.

  5. #5
    The Sentinel
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    I had similar goals to yours

    I built up a 2005 Preston last winter, and had to do mine on the cheap also. I had to spend an equivalent amount on furniture for the wife, and I had $3000 to spend, so she got $1500 and I got $1500.

    Mine ended up looking like this:

    Frame: 2005 Preston FR, size small
    Fork: 2005 Marzocchi AM-1
    Shock: Romic Double Adjust Coil, 800# spring
    Headset: Cane Creek S-2
    Handlebar: Koski Stronghold
    Stem Race Face Prodigy, 5 deg., 100 mm

    Brake Levers: Hayes HFX 9
    Grips: Lizard Skins Logo Lock-ons
    Brakes: Hayes HFX 9
    Rotors: Hayes V Cut, 203 mm

    Shifters: Shimano Deore XT
    Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore XT
    Front Derailleur: Shimano Deore LX
    Cables/Housing: Avid Straight Jacket

    Chain: SRAM PC99
    Cassette: SRAM PC970, 11-34

    Botttom Bracket: Race Face Evolve FR
    Crankset/Rings: Race Face Evolve DH Triple, 22-32-44

    Hubs: Shimano Deore XT
    Rims: Mavic XM321
    Spokes: DT Stainless
    Tubes: Quality 26x 2.1-2.3, presta
    Tires: WTB Weirwolf 2.3

    Seatpost: Thomson 30.0 x 410 mm
    Saddle: WTB Pure V Race
    Seat Clamp: Transition, 35 mm

    Pedals: Shimano M545

    Total Weight: 36.25 lbs.

    The only parts I bought new were the frame (directly from Transition), the cassette and chain combo, the wheelset and tires, and the seatpost/saddle combo. Everything else was in my parts box or bought slightly used on eBay. I had the AM-1 fork on another bike, and it switched from that bike to this...which means I had to replace the fork on the other bike, but it worked to hide the cost from wifey!

    Coincidentally, I purchased the replacement fork for the other bike from Jared at Down Shift, and I second your opinion of him. We had a long talk about my bike, and my build, and he gave me a great deal on a Marzocchi Marathon XC for my hardtail.

    Since I originally built the Preston, I have upgraded the stem and handlebar (80 mm Sette FR stem and Dialled Bikes handlebars), and put a Salsa QR seatclamp on. This winter, I will be upgrading the AM-1 fork with 20 mm thru-axle lowers, and replacing the 8" rear rotor with a 7" rotor...the 8" is just too much power for the rear, and makes it really difficult to ride without skidding. All in all, I'm sure I have under $2500 into the bike, and I've been amazed at how much fun the bike is to ride. It's my first choice for a DH/FR/resort bike, and I've been tremendously happy.
    Sworn to avenge, condemned to hell

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMRisko
    Well my build has changed slightly in the past couple days. I now have Hone cranks instead of the Saints (1/2 lb weight savings) and Azonic Outlaws instead of the Rhyno Lites laced to Saint hubs. My Saint brakes came with 6-bolt and OS CL rotors, which made the switch possible.
    I also run my Preston with Hone cranks/BB and an Outlaw wheelset. No complaints with either. The outlaws are as strong as they get. I have been riding this wheelset for the past 2 years and they run as true as the day I bought them. The Preston is a great ride for an all-around bike and is capable on most any trail. Build it up, get out and ride!

  7. #7
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    Well, I fin ally got the frame on Saturday and got a couple hours tonight to start bolting parts on. I am still waiting on the solid rear axle and the caliper adapter for upfront. Right now I have just started mocking stuff up and I am happy with the way everything is fitting thus far. I still need to run to the LBS and get a few more assorted HS spacers to play around with bar height before I cut the steerer tube. I didn't plan on running an XTR rear der., but I found a good condition one on eBay for $30. Its a short cage, so I'll def. spend some time getting the adjustments right. This is my first time building a bike, so some stuff I am learning as I go. BTW, I am 5'11" with pretty long arms and this is a size Large.
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