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  1. #1
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    Winter Bike Building project?

    So hypothetically speaking, I might build a plus bike over the winter. Most likely a 29er, but 27.5" might be ok too? I'm a tall guy at 6'4" so will need to be a larger frame size.

    I'm sure i'll have other questions as I've been out of the mountain bike game for some time but budget is going to be a main focus of mine because well....I'm broke.

    For this reason I may buy some stuff used and upgrade later. So, I'm thinking the bulk of my purchase will likely be a frame, still needs to stay in the $250 range. I'm ok with used, but what brands should I be looking at? Any frame buying tips for me?

  2. #2
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    You can get a fairly decent 26" L/XL frame.. doubt you'd find a 29 or 27.5 in that range.

    I'm the same size as you.. with a small budget I picked up a '98 Blizzard frame for $200 and I'm working on retrofitting some nice 2014 XT parts to it.

  3. #3
    since 4/10/2009
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    Your budget is going to put some limits on your options, for sure. Bout all you will find are older 26ers and cheap China frames (which might be getting more expensive with the tariffs).

    And no, the bulk of your purchase will NOT be the frame. It's going to be everything else you bolt onto it, unless you magically have a box of parts that fit the frame you choose.

    I just started a fall/winter build. Picked up a lightly used Guerrilla Gravity Pedalhead frame for $750. Colorado-made steel hardtail 29er/27+ frame. Probably will make up less than 25% of the total cost of the finished bike, and I'm taking advantage of some deals. If I was paying MSRP for everything, it'd probably be less than 20% of the total build cost for the same parts.

    I could go the cheap route and have the frame make up a higher percentage of the overall build cost, but if one of my major goals is saving money, why am I building the bike in the first place? Buying complete will ALWAYS cost less (unless you have a box of parts that fit the bike).

  4. #4
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    XL Surly Krampus frame and fork is 639 right now. I just checked Ebay. No XL Surly frames for sale. Couple of Larges.
    Last edited by NYrr496; 09-21-2018 at 02:12 PM.
    I like turtles

  5. #5
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    Ya I didn't mean the frame would make up a high percentage, I meant it's going to be the most expensive single item. I'm not opposed to used stuff or older stuff. My last good ride was a 90's Rockhopper with rigid front fork. I'll have to start checking around and see what's out there.

    Not that I'm looking to jump on the chinese frames, but how are they? Chinese dirt bikes have come a long way in the last 10 years so just curious.

    Oh and a 26er might be fine as long as the frame fits me, and I'd like to put plus tires on it too.

  6. #6
    since 4/10/2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeepfreak81 View Post
    Ya I didn't mean the frame would make up a high percentage, I meant it's going to be the most expensive single item.
    Maybe if you were looking at spending $4,000 on a frame, it would. But with a $250 frame budget, I'm not sure that it SHOULD be the most expensive single item. There are LOTS of single parts you can buy for more than $250.

    What are you going to do about a fork? A sub-$250 fork, IMO, isn't worth basing a build on, unless you're planning this out as a rigid build. What about wheels? Sub-$250, again, not worth basing a build on, IMO. If you're budget-hawking this much, I think you really ought to be looking at complete bikes because in the end, you'll be spending MORE for an entry level bike.

    Here's how I'd recommend approaching a build:

    1: Answer the questions, "where will you be riding this bike?" (consider region, terrain, even specific trails if possible. will you be riding this bike 100% locally? if you will be traveling to ride, where, and how often?) and "how do I want to ride this bike?" (do you just want to ride beginner-intermediate paths through the woods/rolling hills/smooth, packed trails, ride really technical and difficult terrain, do jumps/drops, prefer climbing, prefer aggressive downhills, so on and so forth)

    2: Decide EXACTLY what you would want as a dream build and price it all out at full MSRP. There are a number of websites that let you do something like this, at least with bikes that they stock/sell. It's fun as an educational exercise, at least, and you can start to get an idea where things compare price-wise (at least at the top end).

    3: Decide on a COMPLETE budget for this bike.

    4: Shop around and look at what your budget would get you for a complete bike at full MSRP.

    5: At full MSRP, try to "build out" a bike with similar components to what your budget would get you if you bought complete. Compare the build quality. Do any of these bikes get you anywhere near the answers to question 1?

    6: Look at the lightly used markets for complete bikes and components. Will the pricing on any of this help you get closer to the answers to question 1?

    No matter how you cut things, you are going to find that complete bikes (both new and used) are going to be more efficient uses of your money than building. If you're budget-hawking, a used complete bike will generally save you a lot of money, but you have to be leery about service needs. Lots of used bikes need work (and generally speaking, the older it is, the more work it needs). A TON of people sell their bikes because they find out about the cost of the work that it needs. You need to be confident that you can weed those out and choose the ones that people took care of, and are making sure that they're in the best shape possible for selling.

    Building is great for getting EXACTLY what you want and compromising on specific items YOU are willing to compromise on (not necessarily what bike brands are willing to compromise on). It takes real work to keep costs down for this option. Especially if you have to buy tools that you don't have. A workstand is almost required to build a bike. MOST of the tools involved aren't really fancy, but there are a few things you need to account for. Installing the headset and installing the bottom bracket are the two most notable ones. Specialized tools WILL be involved. Are you willing to buy them ($$$)? Are you lucky and have a friend who has all of the tools you need? Or will you need to take it to a shop for these jobs (extra labor cost)? Cranks are one that MIGHT need tools, or might not, depending on what tools you already have, and what specific cranks you want.

    Another good reason to build a bike is to learn the process and learn about your bike. Still, the same issues of cost come up. If this is your ONLY goal, your best bet is going to be to buy cheap garage sale bikes, tear them down completely, and then rebuild them, servicing them as you go. This will be a LOT cheaper. You'll still need the tools, but parts will generally be cheeeeeep.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeepfreak81 View Post
    Not that I'm looking to jump on the chinese frames, but how are they? Chinese dirt bikes have come a long way in the last 10 years so just curious.
    This site is a wealth of information on Chinese frames, and there are thousands of happy people riding them. The cheapest chinese frames (and probably most popular mold) can easily be found on Aliexpress.com by searching for "carbon frame 29" and sorting by orders. For example, I have this Tideace-brand 29er:

    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/2016...761029159.html

    See the threads in the 29er forums for more info on this bike. It's what we call an "open mold", and lots of agents will contract with a factory to make batches of frames from the same mold. They can make these bikes for about $100 a frame, offer 2-year warranty, and sell for $260-$350. This particular frame is perfectly fine, I have several of them, and it is super light and fun to ride.

    Then there are the higher-end frames sold by export agencies that specialize in carbon bikes. These companies (ICAN, Xiamen Carbon-Speed, Hongfu, Dengfu, Pro-Mance, etc.) generally have excellent customer service, fast shipping, excellent warranty (and they honor it), and offer custom-painting, discount deals on headsets, axles, bottom brackets, and seatposts. Most hardtail frames will run $350-$500 from these agencies, while full-suspension frames can be as high as $800.

    You end up saving a LOT of money, and if you import everything factory-direct or from China, you will ALWAYS undercut local prices. I'm on a budget, I do this a lot, and it works for me. But it's not for everybody. It takes patience and bike building know-how.

    Some things I've built:
    - 20.5lb full-suspension 29er - $3500 (Fox Factory, XTR/X01, all-carbon)
    - 24lb fat bike - $1950 (all-carbon)
    - 17lb rigid singlespeed - $1400 (all-carbon)
    - 17.5lb gravel/CX - $2300 (SRAM Force, all-carbon)

    Good luck!

  8. #8
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    Wow guys, thanks for the thoughtful responses. There's alot to consider here. I'll come back later and reread when I've got more time, just wanted to thank you.

    Sent from my Moto E (4) Plus using Tapatalk

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