To buy or to build...(long)- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    MEC
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    New question here. To buy or to build...(long)

    Hi! I've been around the forums for a while, but haven't posted thread in a long time. Here's my dilemma: I have a cracked frame, bummed out rear wheel, worn braking surface on the front wheel, and huge bushing slop in the fork. I can ride it, and I'm just waiting for the frame to die before I give up on it. I figure if I save until the bike expo next march, I can buy or build a nice new rig, but now I'm just looking for opinions and recommendations. Here's my setup:

    1999 Trek 8900 frame - cracked at chainstay. Crash replacement policy an option.
    1999 RS Judy SL - bushings way past gone, damping screwed up
    1999 XTR RR rd - time to change pulleys
    2003 LX fd
    1998 LX 8-speed shifters
    XT cassette
    1999 Raceface Turbine LP cranks - rings worn, I think the taper is wearing
    UN72 bb
    Avid Arch Rival 50 brakes w/SD 1.9L levers
    1998 XTR hubs on Rhyno Lite rims with 14g spokes - handbuilt by me, rims done.
    Raceface SyStem
    Crank Brothers Mallet C pedals (love these btw)
    Titec Hellbent XC bar
    CaneCreek Aheadset

    As you can see, there are many parts that would be worth keeping. I'd like to replace the frame, wheels, and fork for sure. I'm debating whether to change to discs and splined cranks...oh and 9-speed for that matter (it's getting tough to find 8-speed parts). Do you think it would be worth my while to buy parts as they go 'on sale' or wait and buy a complete bike? I'm not racing much any longer, and I've never ridden FS, but I really like my HT. It was light fast and took a beating including small drops. My budget will be $2500-$3000 CAD max after taxes. Phew...any ideas?

  2. #2
    JmZ
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    I'd fix now, get new later.

    There may be some hope yet.

    Even if you are going to sell or trash the frame. Try to get it replaced. If nothing else it should help fund a new frame.

    New forks run $100 (US) on blowout. Check places like Chuck's Bikes (http://www.chucksbikes.com/). Saw a Bomber Z4, older but workable for $120.

    If the XTR pullies run to much cash, hunt up a set of the aluminum ones on Ebay. $20 tops. OR just buy a spare LX rear mech and replace pullies as afforded.

    Rings. Might be cheaper to buy a cheap crankset, or again check closeouts. Some deals but gotta hunt them up.

    Rims - Rebuild 'em with new hoops. Again Ebay or closeouts. Lots of different choices, and depends on how you ride too. A new serviceable wheelset (LX/Some 450g rim) is normally around $75 built if you look around. I'd look at Supergo, Nashbar, Jenson first.

    That bike can be made very serviceable for under $500 US, probably closer to $250 US. Will let ya spend a bit less on the bike next year, but keeps a back up bike around then too. (And they can be very nice things to have!)

    Good luck!

    JmZ


    Quote Originally Posted by MEC
    Hi! I've been around the forums for a while, but haven't posted thread in a long time. Here's my dilemma: I have a cracked frame, bummed out rear wheel, worn braking surface on the front wheel, and huge bushing slop in the fork. I can ride it, and I'm just waiting for the frame to die before I give up on it. I figure if I save until the bike expo next march, I can buy or build a nice new rig, but now I'm just looking for opinions and recommendations. Here's my setup:

    1999 Trek 8900 frame - cracked at chainstay. Crash replacement policy an option.
    1999 RS Judy SL - bushings way past gone, damping screwed up
    1999 XTR RR rd - time to change pulleys
    2003 LX fd
    1998 LX 8-speed shifters
    XT cassette
    1999 Raceface Turbine LP cranks - rings worn, I think the taper is wearing
    UN72 bb
    Avid Arch Rival 50 brakes w/SD 1.9L levers
    1998 XTR hubs on Rhyno Lite rims with 14g spokes - handbuilt by me, rims done.
    Raceface SyStem
    Crank Brothers Mallet C pedals (love these btw)
    Titec Hellbent XC bar
    CaneCreek Aheadset

    As you can see, there are many parts that would be worth keeping. I'd like to replace the frame, wheels, and fork for sure. I'm debating whether to change to discs and splined cranks...oh and 9-speed for that matter (it's getting tough to find 8-speed parts). Do you think it would be worth my while to buy parts as they go 'on sale' or wait and buy a complete bike? I'm not racing much any longer, and I've never ridden FS, but I really like my HT. It was light fast and took a beating including small drops. My budget will be $2500-$3000 CAD max after taxes. Phew...any ideas?
    JmZ

    From one flat land to another.

    Advocate as if your ride depends on it...

  3. #3
    MEC
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    Thanks for the reply. Actually, if I replace the frame and "keep" this bike, then I'm not going to go cheap on parts...I would upgrade for sure. Maybe if I play my cards right I can end up with 2 good bikes

    I was actually wondering if anyone has built up a bike from scratch by buying parts as they go on sale, and how did your cost compare to a similar pre-built bike? I know I could cash in on online deals more easily in the US, but in Canada, it's a lot harder to come by wicked deals.

  4. #4
    ceteris paribus
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    I guess timing is crucial. If you're gonna buy a new bike you could get a much better deal by buying a 2004 in sept-oct when the 2005 line comes out. (also watch out for second hand bikes from the kind of guy who likes nothing but the newest and latest, you could end up with a $5000 bike for $2500[I've seen some deals of that sort in my LBS lately, on 2003 models, but I just dont have the money; I'll be prepared when the 2005 line comes out]). Just a few thoughts on playing the market...
    Who is this doin' this synthetic type of alpha-beta psychadelic funkin'

  5. #5
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    You have a good handlebar ....

    a middle of the road headset, broken and older parts. I think you are better off buying a used or new bike. Especially if you want a hardtail again. Hardtails don't have great resale with most people going to full suspension. You would be suprised what you could buy for $700 to a $1,000 used or new in a hardtail.

    Many years ago, I tried to salvage the mechanically lost, it doesn't work for me.

    Good Luck


    Quote Originally Posted by MEC
    Hi! I've been around the forums for a while, but haven't posted thread in a long time. Here's my dilemma: I have a cracked frame, bummed out rear wheel, worn braking surface on the front wheel, and huge bushing slop in the fork. I can ride it, and I'm just waiting for the frame to die before I give up on it. I figure if I save until the bike expo next march, I can buy or build a nice new rig, but now I'm just looking for opinions and recommendations. Here's my setup:

    1999 Trek 8900 frame - cracked at chainstay. Crash replacement policy an option.
    1999 RS Judy SL - bushings way past gone, damping screwed up
    1999 XTR RR rd - time to change pulleys
    2003 LX fd
    1998 LX 8-speed shifters
    XT cassette
    1999 Raceface Turbine LP cranks - rings worn, I think the taper is wearing
    UN72 bb
    Avid Arch Rival 50 brakes w/SD 1.9L levers
    1998 XTR hubs on Rhyno Lite rims with 14g spokes - handbuilt by me, rims done.
    Raceface SyStem
    Crank Brothers Mallet C pedals (love these btw)
    Titec Hellbent XC bar
    CaneCreek Aheadset

    As you can see, there are many parts that would be worth keeping. I'd like to replace the frame, wheels, and fork for sure. I'm debating whether to change to discs and splined cranks...oh and 9-speed for that matter (it's getting tough to find 8-speed parts). Do you think it would be worth my while to buy parts as they go 'on sale' or wait and buy a complete bike? I'm not racing much any longer, and I've never ridden FS, but I really like my HT. It was light fast and took a beating including small drops. My budget will be $2500-$3000 CAD max after taxes. Phew...any ideas?

  6. #6
    Clydesdale Warrior
    Reputation: sh0rty's Avatar
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    If you want to switch to 9 spd, splined BB, and Disks...you are only left with your handle bar, stem, pedals and Fr DR...realy not worth recycleing your old build if you are making all those changes.

    If you can live with your existing drivetrain, it might be worth wile putting them on a frame and fork. Otherwise, you will probably get the best bang for the buck with a complete bike (expecialy in canada). I've spec'ed out custom builds myself, looking for the best deals I could find in canada. What I found is building a bike up one part at a time (in canada) easily costs 30-50% more than buying a bike that already has an idendical build and a similar frame. I have also learned (the hard way) that it is usualy not worth buying things from in the US totry to get a better deal (unless you smuggle it). IMHO There is something like a 15% duty if the part is not made in Canada or the USA, you also have to pay GST&PST on anything, plus the shipping costs, and brokerage (if you do order from the US, NEVER use UPS over the boarder, their broakerage fees are usualy 3 times as much as other sipping methods...I can tell you I was pissed when I had a $75 broakerage fee on a $199 order!!) My personal rule of thumb now is if the deal in the US is still a good deal at double the price in CAD, then it might be worth ordering from the US. (ie. if it is $99us on a US web site, and it is still a better deal than I can get in canada at $200cad then I might order it from the US)

    It's kinda crappy being a bicycle consumer in canada. The average income in canada (onec exchange is concidered) is lower than in the US (asside from minimum wadge, canadians are usualy paid less for the same job), and then everything is priced higher (ie. in general, do the exchange rate conversion, and add 20%, and you have the MSRP in canada), and bargand are much fewer and further between. Which makes MTB'ing much less affordable in canada. :-(

    Good luck.

    sh0rty :P

  7. #7

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    If you shop around and go for some bargain and closeout parts as well as ebay you can build a pretty nice bike, I did something similar with my hardtail, I bought a Ti frame (Mongoose DX 10.9 OEM aka Sandvik Ti) for ~$400 and built it up with the following
    Race Face Turbine Crank + Ti Taperlock BB
    XTR FD/RD V-brakes
    XT Shifter
    Easton EA70 Bars/EA50 Stem/Avenir Barends
    King Headset/RS SID XC (ebay)
    various other little parts for combined price of ~1500-2k and to buy an equally equipped bike probably would have cost in the ball park of 3k, the best part was building it. I almost wanted to sell it just to build another one!

    P.S. This build weighs in around 21-22 lbs... pretty light for a clyde rider

  8. #8
    MEC
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    Thanks for all the replies. Yes, parts do seem quite expensive in Canada. Problem is, I'm not dissatisfied with my current drivetrain, actually I rather like it, but spare parts are few and far between. I'd love to buy in Sept/Oct, but I don't think I'll have the budget, that's why I thought the bike show. Maybe a new HT and a beater with my old parts . Maybe both of those and a cheap road bike all for $3000...maybe. So many decisions!

    Quote Originally Posted by Poser
    a middle of the road headset, broken and older parts. I think you are better off buying a used or new bike. Especially if you want a hardtail again. Hardtails don't have great resale with most people going to full suspension. You would be suprised what you could buy for $700 to a $1,000 used or new in a hardtail.

    Many years ago, I tried to salvage the mechanically lost, it doesn't work for me.

    Good Luck

  9. #9

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    If you know someone or you yourself can weld why not make a temporary fix by welding it. you can weld aluminum with special rods for an arc welder. I found them at sears but im not sure about anywhere else. Mig or Tig welders I am also not sure of since I have only used an arc welder before.

  10. #10

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    Except that the weld would probably be weaker than the frame is now. You'd kill any heat treating the material has gone through. And since the frame is already put together the weld will likely crack at the edges of the bead after it cools

    He'd be better off with jbweld

    btw, i'd just buy new. I think the original quesion is really more of a custom build vs. off the shelf bike, because either way it's pretty much going to be a new bike. So...buying an off the shelf bike would probably be the more cost effective route in the long run while creating a custom build will get you exactly what you want at the expense of a lot more time and money...that's been my experience anyhow
    Last edited by bacchanal; 08-13-2004 at 04:00 PM.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MEC
    I was actually wondering if anyone has built up a bike from scratch by buying parts as they go on sale, and how did your cost compare to a similar pre-built bike? I know I could cash in on online deals more easily in the US, but in Canada, it's a lot harder to come by wicked deals.
    I would explore your first option with the crash replacement. Even if you have to pay for shipping, it would be worth it to see if you can get a new frame. I wouldn't weld or do anything of the sort. As soon as you screw with the frame like that, I would think you would void any warranty.

    As for building a bike, I did this following a similar philosophy as what you're thinking over a 2 yr. period. I had originally budgeted ~$1500 to build up something totally from scratch. I had a lesser job and tighter budget at the time, so I was looking at a lot of bottom barrel stuff on sale to try to reach my goal, and I do believe I would have come in on budget. However, less than a year ago I got a new job which doubled my salary, so instead of looking at off-name parts on sale, I was looking at Thomson Elite, Raceface, XT and XTR on sale. Inclusive of shipping from parts orders and a couple services by the LBS, my bike came in between $2400-2500.

    Could I have bought a better pre-built bike with that money? Well, you need to define "better". This bike has everything I want, and nothing I don't, custom tailored to me. I also know that there isn't another bike built up exactly like this anywhere and to me, that's worth something. Plus it was a learning process for me, I assembled everything including the wheels. Since you potentially have a platform to start with, your costs won't be as high as mine so I say build something up! So you have a basis of comparison this is what my rig is:

    Cove Handjob XC w/ disc tab (steel)
    Manitou Black Elite 80/100 w/ Lockout
    Chris King headset
    Raceface Prodigy ISIS XC crankset and Evolve XC BB w/ full XT drivetrain
    Avid Mech Disc 160 mm w/ old Avid levers (soon to be Avid Ultimates)
    Odi Lockjaws
    Hope Disc XC hubs w/ DT spokes on Velocity Deep-V rims and Nokian tires
    Raceface Deus stem, XY post, WTB Laser V saddle
    Azonic Double Wall riser bar
    Crank Bros eggbeaters
    Teflon coated cables and Odyssey compressionless housings

    Good luck!

  12. #12
    MEC
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    Welding cracked alum = bad

    I don't think this would really be an option for me. I tried JBweld, and it just broke off after one ride. I should make it clear that the bike still rides, it's life is just seriously limited now. I'm actually quite surprised at the strength of the fram with such a visible weak point. Kudos to Trek I guess . I intend to buy a new bike for next year, and I've been thinking that I could salvage this one with a frame/fork combo and rebuild the wheels as suggested. That would mean my 2nd "new" bike would be budget limited by the money I put into the first one, but that means 2 bikes . Now the dilemma returns to which frame to buy and what kind of "new" bike to I want.

    Quote Originally Posted by bacchanal
    Except that the weld would probably be weaker than the frame is now. You'd kill any heat treating the material has gone through. And since the frame is already put together the weld will likely crack at the edges of the bead after it cools

    He'd be better off with jbweld

    btw, i'd just buy new. I think the original quesion is really more of a custom build vs. off the shelf bike, because either way it's pretty much going to be a new bike. So...buying an off the shelf bike would probably be the more cost effective route in the long run while creating a custom build will get you exactly what you want at the expense of a lot more time and money...that's been my experience anyhow

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