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Where do you compromise on a bike purchase?

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I’m going to do an upgrade sometime over the next 12 months, and I keep looking over all options and demoing when I get a chance. 

Some things are weighted heavier than others, and I’m debating if I'm going about this the right way. 

I suppose I’m not really willing to budge on wheel size and the suspension/dropper I have in mind, but a ton of flexibility on drive train, brakes, cockpit and even an aluminum bike is fine in my book.

There’s also just building it up completely how I want over time, which I’ve never done but It seems like I can get everything I want in the ballpark of my budget. 

Where do you compromise? What’s the most acceptable thing to be willing to upgrade/change immediately (or over time) from your experience? Just build it up completely for nearly the same costs, but a bit more time and effort with exactly what you want? 

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31 minutes ago, bestbike85 said:

 

There’s also just building it up completely how I want over time, which I’ve never done but It seems like I can get everything I want in the ballpark of my budget. 

 

If a complete bike is being sold for 35-40% off, i'd compromise a little on spec and upgrade components down the line. An LBS selling a 2+ y/o bike for 20% off is not even worth the drive.

 

In my experience, building from scratch is always the best option

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Never on a fork, those are expensive. Drive train components (individual) are relatively cheap and don't all need to match beyond vendor (Shimano XT derailleur works fine with an SLX shifter...)

Brakes are a tough one, but if you have experience and a bleed kit you can usually upgrade cheaply.

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Many people regret buying bikes with SRAM brakes. If that's the only holdup, remove and sell the SRAM brakes before you even ride the bike so you can sell them as "brand new" takeoffs and use the funds for some proper Shimano brakes.

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Nope:

  • +1 for forks and brakes, get what you want 
  • I am not interested in carbon

 

Sure, why not if the price is right:

  • I have a preference on drive trains, but I can adapt
  • Droppers can be added easily and inexpensively
  • Tires wear out and need to be replaced
  • I couldn't tell you the difference in rims/hubs/spokes

I like the idea of building from scratch, that's basically what my FS is. Except I bought it as a complete but parts bin basket case and over 8 years have replaced everything on it except for the shock and handlebars. 

I'd do it from scratch but worried about acquiring everything in a reasonably short period

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I've never built a bike from a frame up with new parts but I know plenty of people that have.  I think it is a rewarding experience but the experience is one of building, not riding.  If you want a personalized sled where you select, install, and tune every component, go for it.  You're just spending your time building instead of riding so make sure you have a back-up.

When you buy a complete bike, you're going save money 9 times out of 10 as you make your way to the 'right' spec.  However, if you're significant other is not averse to seeing parts showing up at your front door all the time, it's like getting a new bike every time you bolt on a new part.

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Ive had numerous bikes over the last 30 years of riding (holy shit that doesnt seem possible 😞 )  

The ones Ive regretted is where I bought the bike and thought I'd adapt to a frame geo or size and over time that bike turned out to be one that wasnt so good for me. Might have been a good deal money wise but not riding wise.

So wont compromise any more on frame size or geometry.  Same with fork,, I dont need to latest greatest or very best but they are so pricey that I try and buy with a nicely specd fork or shock. 

I know how I like the cockpit setup and those parts are affordable and easy to come by so doesnt matter to much to  me as Ill end up swapping bars and drivechain out 

Brakes must not be SRAM , has to be XTs or SLX , Shifting must not be Shimano, must be SRAM but easy to buy and swap.. Dont care about cranks, pedals.

Stems and bars , dont care because I have enough laying around that I like. 

When I feel the itch to buy  I just change things around a bit and that scratches the need

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I don't compromise on the frame or suspension, after that brakes are important and I agree with everyone else on Shimano brakes, they just work better and are easier to bleed. Too many issues with Sram brakes over the years. You can for sure save money building from the frame up, just takes time and detective work. 

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For those folks who don't like Shimano drive-trains, is this based on the older 9 speed stuff? Did you ever use the shadow rear deraillers, or specifically the 11 speed clutch deraillers? IMO it isn't as cut and dry as the breaks, and preference between Shimano and SRAM drive-trains are largely personal preferences now, unlike a couple of generations ago when SRAM was clearly better. 

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, Barry said:

For those folks who don't like Shimano drive-trains, is this based on the older 9 speed stuff? Did you ever use the shadow rear deraillers, or specifically the 11 speed clutch deraillers? IMO it isn't as cut and dry as the breaks, and preference between Shimano and SRAM drive-trains are largely personal preferences now, unlike a couple of generations ago when SRAM was clearly better. 

Agreed, I just like am used to the ergo or lack or ergo of Shimano. Whenever I ride a friend's SRAM I spend the whole ride poking the air with my thumb or using the backside of my hand to up shift. 

Edited by RedRider3141

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5 hours ago, bestbike85 said:

I’m going to do an upgrade sometime over the next 12 months, and I keep looking over all options and demoing when I get a chance. 

Some things are weighted heavier than others, and I’m debating if I'm going about this the right way. 

I suppose I’m not really willing to budge on wheel size and the suspension/dropper I have in mind, but a ton of flexibility on drive train, brakes, cockpit and even an aluminum bike is fine in my book.

There’s also just building it up completely how I want over time, which I’ve never done but It seems like I can get everything I want in the ballpark of my budget. 

Where do you compromise? What’s the most acceptable thing to be willing to upgrade/change immediately (or over time) from your experience? Just build it up completely for nearly the same costs, but a bit more time and effort with exactly what you want? 

I've held off on making an announcement on this because we are essentially still in a beta format.  However, this thread and topic seems on point, therefore I figured it might prove useful to some of you who are contemplating custom builds and want to play around a bit.  I've been working for this company for the past few years and we recently brought on @Teamsloan to help us move things fwd.  You can create a profile and then save build lists, set pricing searches for specific parts, and share your builds with others.  Later on I may give it its own thread, but for now feel free to jump in and you can give feedback in our forums.

https://cyclingbuilder.com/

Thanks, CJB

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I will say this about tires. The thought of casting new tires aside or giving them away was never fathomable for me because I just couldn't come to grips with the waste. Last week I had a brand-new Magic Mary 2.6 and Nobby Nic 2.6 in my garage waiting to be mounted on my long-travel bike for Spider Mountain. Instead I reasoned that I should at least get one experience at Spider Mountain with the stock Bonty XR4 Team Issue tires that came on the bike because they were still relatively new. Suppose I shouldn't blame that decision on the predicament I face now, thousands in medical expenses and 6-month recovery time, but I'm fairly certain that big ol' Mary would have hooked up on that loose turn and possibly prevented me from washing out. Moral of story - tires matter when it comes to your safety.  

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Posted (edited)

First consideration, for me, would be how and what kind of trails I ride most often.

Which brings you straight to Cafeend said... Frame fit (geometry,size).

Some like a tighter fitting frame because it works well for them regarding what they ride most. Also, not all bodies are built the same — short arms, long arms, short bodies, long bodies... Slack frame angles for more downhill riding, less slack frame angles for more singletrack cross country riding.

Long wheelbase for more stability, less for more maneuverability.

Top tube length for me is always crucial as I ride with a more laid out position rather than an upright position. And at 6'4", with a long arm span, it has always been hard to find the right frame.

Carbon or aluminium... Speak with Seth.

Frame budget... Shoot, that's the biggie. (Budget $1,000-$2,500)

From what I've read... Might want to stay away from press fit bottom bracket frames. But maybe problems are being resolved. 

Wheels... 29" for easier rollover, 27.5 for quicker handling. Rim, 25mm inner width minimum, 30mm preferred. But again depends of what you're riding. 2.4 minimum tire width, 2.5-2.6 depending on need. (Budget $250-$650)

Shifting... Depending on what you ride. Moving from 10-speed 11/34 to 11/36 was huge for me... And I expect moving from 11/36 to 11/40 (or 42) to be a ginormous leap. Honestly... At this point I don't see the need for more than a 10-speed drive train for my needs. And I always think Shimano first, but have never really had a problem with 9-speed SRAM. Always been a middle-ring rider. Very rarely used any other, but never lived anywhere with real mountains, so 1x was a no-brainer for me. Middle ring seems to be leaning to 30t rather than the 32t I thought I'd be happy with. (Budget $250-$550)

Brakes... From everything I've read recently, points to Shimano, unless you're springing for Hope or other similar brands. Cranks... Many good choices. (Budget $75-$200)

Front fork... 34mm, unless you're hitting really big jumps. FOX, RockShox, Manitou all getting good reviews... Shoot, even SR Suntour forks are winning on the pro circuit (not sure about using them for big jumps though). (Budget $250-$750)

Rear... Take your pick. FOX, RockShox, and even certain Manitou all getting good reviews. (Budget $150-$400)

Travel... 120mm minimum. But if downhill is an important part of the need, then 140-160mm depending on % balance of riding flat versus downhill. Wheel size choice will also influence things. 

Bars... Depends on your body size, but I'd say upwards of 720/740mm. (Budget $75-$150)

Stem... Short, but up to 90mm works. (Budget $15-$100)

Seatpost... Dropper or no dropper... Depends on what you're riding and want. (Budget $75-$250)

High end build (but not anywhere near highest end)... $5000

Low end build... Maybe a little less than $2,500

Where to compromise???

Not the frame... That's the heart and soul of your bike.

I think the drive train would be my first area... Good stuff is most easily available on the secondhand market. And it's easy to resell pieces.

Wheels come next... Except for tires if you're running downhill.

Brakes... Start with mid-priced tried and true.

Suspension... I'm thinking you want to be careful, and build according to what makes the frame work best. But you don't need to go thousand dollar forks.

The other stuff... Except for a dropper post (always seem to have issues), start low and buy up as time passes.

But I'm thinking that overall... The savings from compromise won't be that much in the grand scheme of things. Not if you're looking for something up-to-date. The real savings in today's bike world is in older bikes... 2015 and back.

As we've seen here in Austin... Folks will drop $2,500 off a four year old bike, some hardly ridden.



 

Edited by RidingAgain

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On 7/12/2019 at 7:57 AM, bestbike85 said:

I’m going to do an upgrade sometime over the next 12 months, and I keep looking over all options and demoing when I get a chance. 

Some things are weighted heavier than others, and I’m debating if I'm going about this the right way. 

I suppose I’m not really willing to budge on wheel size and the suspension/dropper I have in mind, but a ton of flexibility on drive train, brakes, cockpit and even an aluminum bike is fine in my book.

There’s also just building it up completely how I want over time, which I’ve never done but It seems like I can get everything I want in the ballpark of my budget. 

Where do you compromise? What’s the most acceptable thing to be willing to upgrade/change immediately (or over time) from your experience? Just build it up completely for nearly the same costs, but a bit more time and effort with exactly what you want? 

I  buy frames and then add the parts from old bikes. So I compromise on parts and yet I dont because I love the parts I have.

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I don't compromise on anything except maybe time. If there's a bike I want, I might wait until there's a deal. There is a pleasure in owning something and knowing you got a deal on it.

There are a lot of other areas in my life that I don't care much about yet spend a lot of money on compared to bicycles - house, cars, health insurance....but none of these brings the pleasure of a nice bike, or keeps me strong or healthy.

I built the last five bikes from the frame up with new parts.

 

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On 7/12/2019 at 2:50 PM, CBaron said:

I've held off on making an announcement on this because we are essentially still in a beta format.  However, this thread and topic seems on point, therefore I figured it might prove useful to some of you who are contemplating custom builds and want to play around a bit.  I've been working for this company for the past few years and we recently brought on @Teamsloan to help us move things fwd.  You can create a profile and then save build lists, set pricing searches for specific parts, and share your builds with others.  Later on I may give it its own thread, but for now feel free to jump in and you can give feedback in our forums.

https://cyclingbuilder.com/

Thanks, CJB

Pretty cool. pcpartpicker for bikes!

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Posted (edited)

Decent hubs, and Shimano brakes.  Hubs are hard to change, Shimano brakes are easy to work on.  

Drivetrains all work pretty well these days.  Most other parts are easy/cheap to swap.

 

 

Edited by kpomtb

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12 hours ago, jcarneytx said:

Pretty cool. pcpartpicker for bikes! 

Yeah, really nice.  And Sloan is there "component research guru" 

They are owned by the same company.

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Posted (edited)

I learned long ago that I would never be satisfied with a stock bike, so every "bicycle" I have owned has been an evolution of the same three bikes: BMX, singlespeed mtb, road/gravel/ CX bike. I started riding BMX in the mid 90s on a bike that I cobbled together out of parts I literally found in the trash. I bought a used mtb in 2009, then put the best parts on a plain old 2010 Monocog. Within a year, I had replaced everything on the 'cog except the frame, hubs, and stem. I can't see myself ever buying a regular new, complete bike for this reason.

Edited by mack_turtle

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Shinerider said:

Yeah, really nice.  And Sloan is there "component research guru" 

They are owned by the same company.

You got a bike part question...I've got an answer. It may not be the one you want, but I'll tell you something!

 

Seriously though, sizing is everything. If the frame doesn't fit well, you're gonna hate it.
Second, is the frame geometry. Is the steerer slack/steep enough? BB high/low enough? Chainstays short enough? These are all things that effect the way the bike handles and there is no way (besides a flip chip, angleset, or fork travel) that you can change it.

So, pick the right frame.

Then, fork. I would compromise on the shock way before the fork purely due to the cost. Make sure you get one you're going to be content with for the life of the bike.

Me personally, I am a big fan of Hope brakes. So, any bike build of mine is going to have those. But, other than avoiding SRAM brakes, there's lots of good choices out there and they're easy enough to upgrade later as long as you are comfortable with cutting brake lines and bleeding.

With drivetrain, the great thing about building custom is the freedom to create your own drivetrain group. Often, you can spec a lower end derailer and invest in a higher end shifter to drive it. This is often the opposite of what manufacturers will spec. You can also save money on the cassette while putting on a nicer chain that will extend the life of your cassette/chainring(s).

Places to compromise on the build IMHO:
- Stem
- Handlebar
- Crankset
- Headset
- Saddle

 

Edited by Teamsloan
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59 minutes ago, Teamsloan said:

 you can spec a lower end derailer and invest in a higher end shifter to drive it.

 

Super solid advice, XT/XTR shifter with a SLX derailer for instance, saves money and you'll feel the difference much more at the shifter than at the rear mech.

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Choosing every piece of a custom build can be fun, but you're fooling yourself if you think it's cheaper unless you already have some of the parts you need from other bikes. New complete bikes are really, really good these days and manufacturers can spec out a bike way cheaper then an individual building a custom bike. Just choose the frame you want and buy the best level complete build that you can afford. Give it chance with the factory spec (don't assume that you'll need to change stuff based on preconceived opinions of brands). Chances are that you don't have to make any compromises at all.  

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Lately I’ve seen so many great takeoff deals on wheels. Everybody with the cash to blow wants to upgrade to carbon rims on top flight builds. There’s always brand new DT350’s and I9’s with decent Al rims for the price of the hubs or less on FB sales groups. I got my I9’s from a bro deal, but my low end GX drivetrain has been as good as XTR stuff I had 6-8 years ago.

Frame that fits, suspension platform I like, good fork. Not going to blow the extra $1k+ for Eagle vs GX drivetrain or bling wheels. Especially if I can pick up better wheels later.


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14 hours ago, rockshins said:

Super solid advice, XT/XTR shifter with a SLX derailer for instance, saves money and you'll feel the difference much more at the shifter than at the rear mech.

Really? I had always run SLX on the shifter and XT on the derailleur because I figured the smoothness came from the back, not the front. Upgrading the Niner this week but it is XT end-to-end so I guess I will not know. In the past shops had told me to use the SLX shifter because it was essentially the same as the XT at a lower price.

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It’s a minor difference. But as long as the cables and housing are good and everything is performing as designed, the shifter has a bigger impact on the shift quality and feel. The way it “clicks” through the shifts is determined by the shifter not the derailer. Also, at least with SRAM when you bump up from GX to XO, you get adjustable lever positioning.

The difference between levels of derailers usually just comes down to weight. The features are the same. And the price difference is greater.


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