Advice on building/buying a MTB on a budget

Questions about purchasing bicycles and parts

Advice on building/buying a MTB on a budget

Postby zarniwoop » Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:27 pm

Hi All,

I've noticed that once I start a hobby (road riding and scuba diving in my case) my knowledge dramatically increases over the first 12 months and if I was to go back in time and make my initial purchases again I could get a lot more bang for my buck purely based on the knowledge I’ve learned in process, I’m now looking to get that advice from those who have been there before.

I’m looking at starting some basic mountain biking, nothing too heavy as I don’t have a clue but I want to be able to make some progress before I need to upgrade the initial bike. Unfortunately owing to recent budget issues (mainly involving mortgages and sprogs) I am on a severely reduced budget to what I’m used to so the challenge is to put a mountain bike together for $500.

Time is no issue, doesn’t matter if it takes me 6 months plus to find/build a bike but what I would like is advice on what you would do if this was the challenge? Would you buy a complete bike second hand? If so what type would represent the best buy? If you were to build it from bits what would you recommend? I can scour the second hand markets and take my time but the money is the issue, I cannot go over this amount so please no suggestions to save more.

I have a reasonable level of technical skill and access to tools so building one is not an issue. If it helps in how likely I am to find parts/bikes I’m a 6’3”, 92Kg male.

Thanks for all help in advance and I bow to the knowledge of those in the know! :D


Cheers

Zarniwoop
zarniwoop
 
Posts: 87
Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:57 pm

by BNA » Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:55 pm

BNA
 

Re: Advice on building/buying a bike on a budget

Postby trailgumby » Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:55 pm

First of all, I think the sage words on the cover of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy are worth remembering: Don't Panic. Although I see you've not set a timeframe, so you probably have that covered.

It is always cheaper to buy a complete secondhand bike than to try to build one up from parts. My focus would be to try to get something with a decent frame as that will provide a foundation on which to upgrade componentry as it it wears out without overcapitalising.
"People have a right to their own opinions, but not their own facts. Evidence must be located, not created, and opinions not backed by evidence cannot be given much weight." -- James W Loewen

http://www.facebook.com/Drive2WorkDay
User avatar
trailgumby
 
Posts: 10302
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 4:30 pm
Location: Northern Beaches, Sydney

Re: Advice on building/buying a bike on a budget

Postby zarniwoop » Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:32 pm

Thanks for the quick response. I thought this might be the case.

Any thoughts on good quality good value frames to look out for on the second hand market? (i.e. as part of a complete bike)


Cheers

Zarniwoop (A brief but important hitch hiker character :D )
zarniwoop
 
Posts: 87
Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:57 pm

Re: Advice on building/buying a bike on a budget

Postby trailgumby » Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:47 pm

Giant Talon, Malvern Star XCS5.0 seem to be well regarded. A used Giant XTC a couple of years old would be a good find as well.
"People have a right to their own opinions, but not their own facts. Evidence must be located, not created, and opinions not backed by evidence cannot be given much weight." -- James W Loewen

http://www.facebook.com/Drive2WorkDay
User avatar
trailgumby
 
Posts: 10302
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 4:30 pm
Location: Northern Beaches, Sydney

Re: Advice on building/buying a bike on a budget

Postby Alistair » Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:42 am

I have an XCS frame you can have - it is an XL, which should be your size.

I would build something - i went through this a bit over a year ago and build up a gt frame to get me into vaguely serious mtbing. I was having so much fun that i bought a new shiny hardtail a couple of months later, and built a dually before christmas. I still love the gt though and use it regularly, as despite a basic spec it has great wheels and rides well.

You can skimp a bit and get basic bars and stems fairly cheaply from Chain Reaction. They might way 12.15 grams more than something exotic, but you will cope and still be ahead of what would be fitted to a sub $500 new mtb anyway.

Get a second-hand frame locally - you are welcome to the XCS in my shed, or Rotorburn/ebay will offer something.

I picked up a cracking, as new 2003 Marzocchi fork before Christmas for $85. Similar bargains will appear if you are patient and willing to go with a supersceeded model.

Deore hollowtech cranks are cheap, easy to fit and work well. Matching shifters and derailleurs will get the job done and last, while again being ahead of what comes on a $500 bike.

Get good wheels though. I've found two great sets of Dt Swiss wheelsets for not a huge amount of cash. You don't want crap wheels - they feel slow and don't inspire confidence.
Alistair
 
Posts: 292
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2009 7:52 pm

Re: Advice on building/buying a bike on a budget

Postby zarniwoop » Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:58 am

Alistair wrote:I have an XCS frame you can have - it is an XL, which should be your size.



Hi Alistair,

That's very generous of you. If you can spare it then I'd love it.

Where are you located roughly?


Cheers

Zarniwoop
zarniwoop
 
Posts: 87
Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:57 pm

Re: Advice on building/buying a bike on a budget

Postby trailgumby » Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:15 pm

+1 to the comment on good wheels, and good rear hubs in particular.

What you don't want is a hub that has a large amount of freewheel movement before the drive ratchet engages.

For awhile last year I persisted with entry-level wheels on my dually because the colour suited the bike better than the silver Mavic CrossRides I'd been running, and I thought why risk my CrossMax SLR race wheelset on general pottling around?

Urrrgh. Stupid move. My confidence negotiating technical step-ups and obstacles really took a hit because I never knew whether I was going to get drive to stabilise the bike, or the pedal was going to drop to the bottom before I could exert any force, possibly stall and probably clipstack onto the sharp rocks I was trying to ratchet the bike over.

A good rear hub with quick take-up really helps with negotiating tricky bits - you can ratchet the cranks to keep your self moving with them more or less level, without striking your pedals on the obstacle.
"People have a right to their own opinions, but not their own facts. Evidence must be located, not created, and opinions not backed by evidence cannot be given much weight." -- James W Loewen

http://www.facebook.com/Drive2WorkDay
User avatar
trailgumby
 
Posts: 10302
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 4:30 pm
Location: Northern Beaches, Sydney

Re: Advice on building/buying a bike on a budget

Postby Alistair » Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:52 pm

zarniwoop wrote:
Alistair wrote:I have an XCS frame you can have - it is an XL, which should be your size.



Hi Alistair,

That's very generous of you. If you can spare it then I'd love it.

Where are you located roughly?

Cheers

Zarniwoop


In Melbourne.

If it isn't urgent i could pack it up and post it.
Alistair
 
Posts: 292
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2009 7:52 pm

Re: Advice on building/buying a bike on a budget

Postby Alistair » Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:04 pm

This is the bike i put together for not a massive amount - maybe $500-600, but it had an 80mm suspension fork initially. Then a 100mm... and now a surly rigid which works well but looks a bit out of place.

I've upgraded bits and pieces, but most of it is the same. Not sold on the bb7 cable disks, so will fit the hydros i have spare. These are too much of a nusiance to set up every time the wheels come off. TG warned me of this over a year ago, but i persevered. They stop well, but just need lots more attention than hydros.

Have XT cranks now too - the original ones made awful noises.

It was a great budget build and i use it regularly.

Image
Alistair
 
Posts: 292
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2009 7:52 pm

Re: Advice on building/buying a bike on a budget

Postby mitzikatzi » Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:46 pm

trailgumby wrote:First of all, I think the sage words on the cover of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy are worth remembering: Don't Panic. Although I see you've not set a timeframe, so you probably have that covered.

It is always cheaper to buy a complete secondhand bike than to try to build one up from parts. My focus would be to try to get something with a decent frame as that will provide a foundation on which to upgrade componentry as it it wears out without overcapitalising.


I agree. Building a bike from parts adds up very quickly.

From another forum I am not sure if he posts on ACF or not.
I know it was $700 but only use it as an example of what you can find for sale if your lucky.
Scandium frame with carbon seat stays, Rockshox SID 80mm front fork, Fox RP3 rear fork, Deore XT all round, Mavic Crossride wheels, Avid Juicy 5 brakes & a WTB saddle, all for a tasty $700 ... Not a bad deal me thinks.
Image


I am tight with the money but would have been tempted if I had seen that bike for sale in my size.
I would look for a complete bike.
Xplora wrote: Do not get cheap SPDs, your body will hurt you.

trailgumby wrote:29ers are awesome.
User avatar
mitzikatzi
 
Posts: 1703
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 10:21 am
Location: Perth

Re: Advice on building/buying a bike on a budget

Postby trailgumby » Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:43 pm

Here's another example. I'm sure you could beat him down a bit. Probably not to $500, but for $800 or so you would have bought well.

http://nobmob.com/node/19411
"People have a right to their own opinions, but not their own facts. Evidence must be located, not created, and opinions not backed by evidence cannot be given much weight." -- James W Loewen

http://www.facebook.com/Drive2WorkDay
User avatar
trailgumby
 
Posts: 10302
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 4:30 pm
Location: Northern Beaches, Sydney

Re: Advice on building/buying a bike on a budget

Postby Nobody » Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:29 am

DS bikes might be great, but people "on a severely reduced budget" should probably try running a rigid to reduce maintenance/replacement costs. Probably one of the many reasons I wouldn't own a Porsche (car) even if I could just afford the initial cost of a secondhand one.
Nobody
 
Posts: 6640
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 12:10 pm
Location: Sydney

Re: Advice on building/buying a bike on a budget

Postby Gabe » Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:58 am

I tried out some norcos when I was looking at getting a new bike, they only had the faze series but they look fairly similar to the fluids. Although I did end up with a giant, the norco was a nice bike with decent components so if you can get one for a good price then I'm pretty sure you'll be happy.

I'm a total convert with DS. I don't commute on a bike, so even for urban riding I use the duallie because I can jump stuff and bunny hop and just generally muck around, and when it comes to hitting the trails a hardtail (apart from maybe a 29er) definitely doesn't compare. What you have to know about yourself is are you the kind of person who likes to test the limits? If you're the kind of person who needs to find the top speed of your car or has scars from stupid accidents and drank hard in your teenage years, then you will end up taking your bike into some pretty rough terrain and will be glad you went for a rear shock. But if you're a laid back person who just wants to do casual riding and you definitely won't let yourself get hooked on technical trails then a hardtail will be a better choice.
The comparison to porsche is totally disproportionate, if you have any mechanical inclination (which you already said you do) then you can do most or all of the neccessary work yourself, and under normal wear with periodic cleaning and lubrication your shocks and the bearings carrying them will last for a number of years before you would even consider replacing anything. The initial cost is high though, so in your case you will be limited to second hand. You probably would be aware of this already, but I would emphasize that if you get something cheap and nasty then after a few weeks you will want to shoot yourself in the face.
Gabe
 
Posts: 73
Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:29 am
Location: Brisbane

Re: Advice on building/buying a bike on a budget

Postby zarniwoop » Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:45 am

OK I'm convinced, second hand complete it is :D

(Alistair, thanks again for the offer but I will leave the frame with you for a more deserving project)

Any recommendations of good places to look beyond the following?:

bikexchange
ebay
gumtree
sell/buy forum on ACF
trading post (bit dead these days)
zarniwoop
 
Posts: 87
Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:57 pm

Re: Advice on building/buying a bike on a budget

Postby MountGower » Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:10 am

You could try rotorburn dot com. I've never looked at their classifieds, but they'd have to be worth a look given the number of people there.
MountGower
 

Re: Advice on building/buying a bike on a budget

Postby Kalgrm » Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:22 am

Moving this topic over to "Buying a Bike/Parts" and modifying the thread title slightly .....
Think outside the double triangle.
---------------------------------------
My web site: www.scenebyhird.com
---------------------------------------
The Bicycle Transportation Alliance
User avatar
Kalgrm
Super Mod
Super Mod
 
Posts: 9236
Joined: Fri May 25, 2007 5:21 pm
Location: Spearwood, 9km SE of Fremantle, WA

Re: Advice on building/buying a MTB on a budget

Postby trailgumby » Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:41 pm

+1 for MG's suggestion of rotorburn. If you are in the area bunded by Nowra to the south, Orange to teh west or Taree to the north in NSW, another to consider is nobmob.com (NOrthern Beaches MOuntain Bikers). The site links to a large number of clubs and riding groups in a semicircular area that's a four hour drive from Sydney.

Before buying from either site I'd check the bikes used market value via eBay's completed listings. Sometimes guys selling on classifieds have an inflated sense of their bikes worth and don't realise that secondhand resale prices have dropped a lot recently.

This was brought home to me recently when I sold on eBay a mates 2008 Trance with all the bells and whistles including XTR, bling wheels and a gravity dropper seatpost. I was hoping for around $1500-1600, but we got $1075 despite over 80 people having it on their watch list! One factor in this shift downward could be the introduction of 10-speed rear clusers to MTB in the last year - they haven't really hit the secondhand market yet and 9-speed is considered old tech.
"People have a right to their own opinions, but not their own facts. Evidence must be located, not created, and opinions not backed by evidence cannot be given much weight." -- James W Loewen

http://www.facebook.com/Drive2WorkDay
User avatar
trailgumby
 
Posts: 10302
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 4:30 pm
Location: Northern Beaches, Sydney

Re: Advice on building/buying a bike on a budget

Postby Alistair » Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:45 pm

zarniwoop wrote:OK I'm convinced, second hand complete it is :D

(Alistair, thanks again for the offer but I will leave the frame with you for a more deserving project)

Any recommendations of good places to look beyond the following?:

bikexchange
ebay
gumtree
sell/buy forum on ACF
trading post (bit dead these days)


No worries - i like putting them together myself, but if you don't have that inclination you are probably better off buying a used bike.

Keep an eye on rotorburn and ebay and hopefully something will show up. I would imagine that you would need a large/XL - hopefully just large as finding anything XL second-hand may be a challenge.
Alistair
 
Posts: 292
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2009 7:52 pm

Re: Advice on building/buying a bike on a budget

Postby Fred Nurk » Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:23 pm

trailgumby wrote:First of all, I think the sage words on the cover of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy are worth remembering: Don't Panic. Although I see you've not set a timeframe, so you probably have that covered.

It is always cheaper to buy a complete secondhand bike than to try to build one up from parts. My focus would be to try to get something with a decent frame as that will provide a foundation on which to upgrade componentry as it it wears out without overcapitalising.


My first decent offroad bike ended up costing me about $1500, and I built it up from parts and a second hand frame. Retail comparison value would probably have been about $2500 had I bought it in a shop at the time. Most of the parts were overseas stuff, I could have saved some by buying second hand parts, but probably not that much. Part of the consideration was the amount of work the shop still had to do (cut the steerer tube and mount the forks) as well.

Retail for $500 you're not going to get too much in the way of performance, and building from parts is more a way of getting the exact bits you want rather than to save money. Dual suspension in the second hand market isn't worth looking at on your budget, there are likely to be too many pivots and bearings that need attention for it to be worth while. Trailgumby's suggestion of finding a bike with a decent frame and going from there is probably the best bet.
Image
Fred Nurk
 
Posts: 319
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:13 pm
Location: Cairns, Queensland


Return to Buying a bike / parts

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: axeman74, lobstermash, V8rider



Popular Bike Shops
Torpedo 7 Torpedo7 AU
Ground Effect Ground Effect NZ
Chain Reaction Cycles CRC UK
Wiggle Wiggle UK
Ebay Ebay AU

“Bicycles BNA Twitter
“Bicycles BNA Facebook
“Google+ BNA Google+
“Bicycles BNA Newsletter

> FREE BNA Stickers
> BNA Cycling Kit