Old build or buy used?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Old build or buy used?

    Newly rediscovered MTB when I took a local job and started riding to work. Been riding my SS Kona Unit as a winter commuter even though the (L) frame is too small. I will be selling once winter ends. I just bought this in the fall and took it on some casual trails and now am hooked on SS.
    I'm preparing for summer season where I want to do more trail and XC riding. I need a bike that fits better. I want to convert my old XL 08 (07-09?) Cannondale caffeine 29er F2 lefty to SS from 3x9. I like this frame with its old school upright geo, I've never tried anything "slack." I think that the lefty (never been serviced), the brakes and the rest of the bike is in working order. I have acquired Stan arch wheelset with lefty hub and 142 hub rear to run tubeless. I plan on eliminating the large small rings and using the read Derailleur as a tensioner. I have a feeling I'll likely replace the entire crankset too to narrow wide, I could see new brakes as well as everything is stock now.
    Is this a good plan or should I just buy a SS? The big thing is the big frame fits me but I'm worried about investing in an old ride where the lefty could fail and then cost more than a used bike and I'm not an accomplished mechanic. Should I sell this for whatever or keep it 3X9 and look for a better XL SS to take to the trails?

    As one possible option B: I've been looking at classifieds and there is an XL Salsa El Mariachi in bomb pop blue set up 29er 1X9 with some suntour fork for $600. This could be a simpler conversion without the crank set and BB change and a slightly newer bike.

  2. #2
    Downcountry AF
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    I vote for the El Mariachi. Proper SS setup with sliding dropouts, steel frame is a major plus. Only downside is the Suntour fork. I'd either replace it with a rigid fork or buy a decent used fork.

    If you opt for Option A, you can/should have your Lefty serviced. There's nothing wrong with the current crank, just put a NW chainring on there in the middle position. There's something to be said for a bike you know fits and you enjoy riding.

    I'm curious how tall you are?
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  3. #3
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    Iím 6í6Ē 225 and leaning in the option B direction as well, maybe keep the 27 speed until I find a SS

  4. #4
    Downcountry AF
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    IIRC the El Mar isn't a super big frame, I'm afraid the XL is too small for you. There's some guys around here that can comment on that better than I though. Definitely test ride if possible.

    You should probably be looking for a XXL frame IMO. 22-23".

    I feel your pain, I'm 6'3" and often struggle to find frames that are big enough.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  5. #5
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    Well thatís good to know, Iíll try to give the El Mar a ride. Any thoughts on what would I should look out for to make a simple SS 29er? How about surly XLs? Iíll look for XXLs but this makes option A more appealing.

  6. #6
    Rod
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    You dont need a new crankset riding SS. With an actual SS frame I use regular rings. The narrow wide ring on your current crank suggested earlier is perfect. A new crank isnt necessary.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Rod
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    I didnt want to write a novel in one post, but the only issue with buying used is finding a bike to fit your frame. You're not a typical size. If the el mar fits I suggest buying it. Itll take roughly 200 bucks just to rebuild the lefty.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk

  8. #8
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    Rebuilding the lefty is what Iím afraid of itís ten years old now, not sure 200 is worth it for 80mm. I could just lock it out or find rigid. Iíll keep cruising for a used XXL or XL SS seems like a better deal.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stack n Reach View Post
    Rebuilding the lefty is what Iím afraid of itís ten years old now, not sure 200 is worth it for 80mm. I could just lock it out or find rigid. Iíll keep cruising for a used XXL or XL SS seems like a better deal.
    You can ask Mendon Cycle Smith how much it would cost to service that fork, he does them a lot. May not be as bad as you think? https://forums.mtbr.com/member.php?u=256751
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  10. #10
    Rod
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    You can ask Mendon Cycle Smith how much it would cost to service that fork, he does them a lot. May not be as bad as you think? https://forums.mtbr.com/member.php?u=256751
    Onespeed, I didn't know someone on the forums specialized in lefty forks. This is a good find. Convert your current bike, service the lefty, keep riding while looking for the perfect frame. That's what I would do. 20 -30 bucks for a Narrow wide ring, rebuild the lefty when it's economically feasible or works for the user on the forum, and keep looking for a big XL or XXL. You're no longer in a hurry. You may not even want a new frame.

    I did a little digging and found this Facebook group. "Big Bikes and Beyond. 60cm/XL frames and up-COMPLETE BIKES OR FRAMES ONLY"

  11. #11
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    This is all great news! I can't wait to get started on the conversion, and sell the Kona. I'll make sure to document the process and thanks for the FB group tip Rod! Thanks onespeed for the Lefty service tip too!

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