Starting with a frame- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Starting with a frame

    I have been thinking about just buying a frame and building a from that. This will be my first time doing this so I would like to know is there anything I should look out for?

  2. #2
    Some Dude
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    I am in the same position as you, just a little farther down the road. All that's left for me to get is my spokes. When building a bike from the frame up, it will cost a lot more than buying a complete bike as you might already know. But you do end up getting the exact parts that you want. It's recommended that you get both the head tube and bb shell faced and the bb shell threads chased. Then, you might want to have your local bike shop install your headset and cut your steerer tube. If you have a local community bike shop where someone might be able to show you how to do that with the right tools, then go for it. I am at this stage and still have not decided what to do. Then you have to decide about building your wheels. Everything else is fairly simple. Install bottom bracket, cranks, stem, handlebars, etc. You may need to get a few extra special tools.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccs1676 View Post
    When building a bike from the frame up, it will cost a lot more than buying a complete bike as you might already know.
    thought about building a FS 26...didn't know it would be cheaper to buy it complete...thanks for the warning

  4. #4
    Some Dude
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    Quote Originally Posted by Urbansniper View Post
    thought about building a FS 26...didn't know it would be cheaper to buy it complete...thanks for the warning
    I believe that's usually the case. Although I am sure there are exceptions.

  5. #5
    Chubby Chaser
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    I agree that is USUALLY the case, but if you are the type like me where you will probably end up changing everything on the bike anyways, you're better off building one on your own with all the parts you want.

    My recent build cost me a little under $2000. Carbon hardtail frame w/ mostly xo components (x9 rear derailleur), carbon seat post/handlebars, dropper seat post, 130mm travel marzocchi forks, tubeless tires, mavic wheels, etc etc... weighing in at 24lbs. The guy at the LBS said if I were to buy a bike like the one I made off the shelf it would cost at least 3-4g if not more. So there are exceptions. I was patient and took my time in finding the best deals + I was able to assemble most of the bike on my own.

    How much do you know about components and how long have you been into biking? If you're a complete newbie, and you know nothing about bikes, you're better off just buying one already made. But if you know what you want, and you have the patience, build your own.

  6. #6
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    I am not a newbie and for the most part I do know what I want to put on the bike. Is it worth it to build yourself?

  7. #7
    Some Dude
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideintpa View Post
    I am not a newbie and for the most part I do know what I want to put on the bike. Is it worth it to build yourself?
    If by "worth" you mean saving money, then no (with the above exception), but if you know exactly what you want on your bike, that is in a sense it's worth it, to me. And there will be some personal satisfaction that you "built" the bike by yourself.

  8. #8
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    Would love to see your build

  9. #9
    Chubby Chaser
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideintpa View Post
    Would love to see your build
    I'm assuming you're referring to my build. Here is a crappy pic I took of it right after I finished building it.



    I have since made some changes to it, and I'll take some better pictures outside during the day this weekend.

  10. #10
    No good in rock gardens..
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    You won't save any money building your own bike - BUT the bike that you build will be YOURS, and yours alone.

    Especially if you use an uncommon frame. I have three bikes, none of which are commonplace really (Klein, Tomac, Cannondale dually) and you do get a few looks on the trails and riders taking an interest. It beats the hell out of having a cookie cutter bike.

    Choosing and speccing parts is half the fun with it IMO, and if you know what you are doing you can assemble a bike much better than the LBS will - you put more love and care and time into it.
    Less isn't MOAR

  11. #11
    Abby Normal
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    I personally love to tinker with bikes and really enjoy putting them together. At some point your parts bin reaches critical mass and you can just about build a bike from what you have laying around ;-)

    In terms of building your own, something to be aware of is the need to properly prep a new frame and the need for certain specialty tools for installing various parts.

    Frame prep usually involves 'facing' the head tube and bottom bracket shells (and also chasing the bb threads). Park Tool Co. ParkTool Blog Bottom Bracket Tapping, Threading, Chasing and Facing

    Basically this is just making sure the shells are parallel and smooth before installing the headset and bottom bracket. The tools for doing this properly are pretty expensive and not something the average home mechanic is likely to have. So depending on the frame you buy you should budget some $$ for a shop to prep the frame. This may just involve a 6 pack of beer if you are in good with your LBS.

    If you buy a frame that doesn't have a headset installed you will probably need to have a shop install that as well. It's not terribly complicated, but again the headset press tool is not something the average joe will have on hand.

    And finally, if you buy a new fork you might need to cut the steerer tube down a bit (depending on how long it its). This is just basic pipe cutting, nothing major but again, might be good to let a shop do it.

    Beyond that I think if you are willing to invest in some basic bike tools the rest of what's involved with putting a bike together is definitely in the 'do it yourself' category for the average home mechanic. If you also want to build your own wheels you'll want to have a few more tools for that, but again, it's well within the abilities of the average home mechanic.

  12. #12
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    Like everyone has mentioned, if you have the funds build it, if not buy something close and upgrade slowly. I bought a Specialized Comp 29er lastweek. I wanted to build, but to build what I wanted would have cost $4521. That's wth 10% off frame and fork and 25% off parts for a holiday sale.

    The Prebuild Specialized was $2500. So it was more realistic financially. I can upgrade slowly and recoup some of the cost selling the parts.

    Trust me if I had the money, I would have built it, but just too big of a hit at one time.
    OG Ripley v2

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    Like everyone has mentioned, if you have the funds build it, if not buy something close and upgrade slowly. I bought a Specialized Comp 29er lastweek. I wanted to build, but to build what I wanted would have cost $4521. That's wth 10% off frame and fork and 25% off parts for a holiday sale.

    The Prebuild Specialized was $2500. So it was more realistic financially. I can upgrade slowly and recoup some of the cost selling the parts.

    Trust me if I had the money, I would have built it, but just too big of a hit at one time.
    But as you upgrade your pre-built bike, don't sell the parts. Save them for your next build!

    The satisfaction I get from digging some parts out of a box and building something that nobody else on this rock has, can't be quantified!

  14. #14
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    Thanks for all the info guys. I know I am not going to save money by building my own bike, but like sideknob said "its yours" is what I am looking for. I will get the thrill out of knowing I built it. I am just a little worried cause I have never done this before

  15. #15
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    most of the frames I am looking at seem to be different frames then what you buy in the store. Why is that?

  16. #16
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    My suggestion would be to buy your first MTB complete and ride the heck out of it and try to do all the maintenance on it yourself. After a while, your 2nd bike could be a build using parts from the first bike plus you'll have the experience you gained maintaining the first bike.

  17. #17
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    This is not my first thats why I want to build up my own.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideintpa View Post
    This is not my first thats why I want to build up my own.
    Do it!

    And post pics.

  19. #19
    No good in rock gardens..
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideintpa View Post
    most of the frames I am looking at seem to be different frames then what you buy in the store. Why is that?
    If you are looking on eBay, you will find many different frames that are coming out of various factories in Taiwan or China. They will either be frames that the local shops simply don't sell, rebadged versions of frames made for other brands or different countries versions of name brand frames - like the various Giant frames you see on eBay.
    Less isn't MOAR

  20. #20
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    I am looking on ebay. Should I stay away from those frames? TIA

  21. #21
    Chubby Chaser
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideintpa View Post
    I am looking on ebay. Should I stay away from those frames? TIA
    Are you looking at carbon frames? There are a lot that are "China" frames and from what I've read on the ebay china carbon frame thread they seem to be decent. The way I see it is, for $350 shipped it's worth a shot, if it breaks after a year or two then just put all of your components on a new frame.

    I got mine on ebay also but my brand is made by a U.S. company that specializes in making carbon wheels for road bikes. I'm assuming it's made in the U.S., they seem to have discontinued making frames so I couldn't get much info on it.

  22. #22
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    They are not the carbon frames, but they say they are giant brand

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideintpa View Post
    They are not the carbon frames, but they say they are giant brand
    Depending what they are, they might just be different Giant frames intended for various other markets - generally different paint jobs or sometimes they will have other differences like V brake bosses, different gusseting.
    Less isn't MOAR

  24. #24
    T.W.O.
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    If you are good with wrenching it should not be too difficult. You'd need tools, and if you have not done it before some time on youtube to see how's it's done. Some parts like headset or facing required special tools you can bring it to your LBS it should be less than $20 to have both done.

    Unless you know your components well, don't think that it would be cheaper, it's not. It would have the parts you want but just not going to be cheaper. So building an entry level is not really a good idea unless you've just raid a part bin and have all the parts ready to go at good price

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    If you are good with wrenching it should not be too difficult. You'd need tools, and if you have not done it before some time on youtube to see how's it's done. Some parts like headset or facing required special tools you can bring it to your LBS it should be less than $20 to have both done.

    Unless you know your components well, don't think that it would be cheaper, it's not. It would have the parts you want but just not going to be cheaper. So building an entry level is not really a good idea unless you've just raid a part bin and have all the parts ready to go at good price
    +1, based on the Giant frames I see on Ebay I get the impression your building a lower end bike and that is the wrong way to go. Build if you're buying top of the line. IF you're buying middle of the line parts, you will spend way more and end up with a similar bike to a prebuilt.
    OG Ripley v2

  26. #26
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Since it's not your first mountain bike and you presumably know what you want, I'd say, go for it.

    I've never seen a complete bike that balances the component budgets the way I would - expensive frame, fork, wheels, mid-range brakes, less on the drivetrain. And they always do the wrong things for the details, like the saddle, pedals, tires and lately the handlebar.

    With regard to Giant frames on EBay - I don't know which ones those are, but in international markets, Giant is still doing a high end 26" hardtail race frame. One of my friends picked one up not too long ago because he had a great 26" build on a FS frame he was over, so it let him keep most of that stuff to build up a bike that fits his style better. I think you just need to really know what you're looking at and what you're buying.

    There are some other sources for frames for good prices. I was drooling over the On-One Whippet for a while, before I test-rode a 29er hardtail.

    On-One Carbon XC Whippet Frame 399.99

    They also have a nice scandium frame. Kona race frames were showing up on bikeman.com for a while. Voodoo continues to make well-regarded frames and they're available for good prices.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  27. #27
    No good in rock gardens..
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    There are some cheap Corratec "bow" frames on eBay ATM. Certainly different - but whatever frame you get, make sure you can get replacement mech hangers...
    Less isn't MOAR

  28. #28
    Some Dude
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    I've been thinking about building one of these for a cheap, second build:

    Only $194.95 from ebay Aluminum, but has sliders, and pretty dang cheap. What do you guys think? Sorry for hijack OP.

    29" MOUNTAIN BIKE ATB BICYCLE FRAME 29ER SINGLE SPEED | eBay


  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccs1676 View Post
    I've been thinking about building one of these for a cheap, second build:

    Only $194.95 from ebay Aluminum, but has sliders, and pretty dang cheap. What do you guys think? Sorry for hijack OP.

    29" MOUNTAIN BIKE ATB BICYCLE FRAME 29ER SINGLE SPEED | eBay


    BikeIsland.com

    free shipping

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