I am a high-school student who has previously loved slamming around on the bikes I could get my hands on for a day at the summer camp (Usually a Hardrock w/disc brakes etc...). I am finally going to break down and get a MTB. I intend to buy a frame and build it myself. Just to get started, due to my lack of funding, I am considering buying a bike at a thrift shop and salvage parts. Once again, these would be augmented over time, but my budget is pretty small, and I want into the fun NOW!
Just curious about others opinions on this...
Be careful. Building a bike yourself can get expensive quickly......
Originally Posted by hippiejesse
You sure you ain't got $340 lying around somewhere to get this :
It's not much, but it'll get you into the sport and last you a long time.
From what I can tell, building yourself has a higher baseline price and costs a little more unless you get really good deals. That being said, if you know what you want and what you need, you can customize the entire thing and that's quite empowering.
I would say even with some cheaper/used parts off of ebay, a custom build would cost no less than $500 including decent parts (name brands, a step above department store generics) for a hardtail. Then add in the cost of tools, which could easily be $100 or more even for cheaper ones.
Given that, and the fact that you're on a budget, it's probably a lot more economical to buy a used bike in good condition or a closeout new bike if it's available, then upgrade a couple of parts to your liking. That means less in tools and parts, and you get a good functional bike to base your build off of.
That being said, I really enjoy working with my hands and customizing things, I went for a ground up build buying all the required tools on my current bike. I don't regret spending for it and I don't regret spending the time on it.
Thanks for the replies,
Do you have any reasonably priced bikes that have disc brakes? I feel that it is necessary due to some bad situations I have been in with V-Brakes when wet...
Also, what is your opinion about getting my drivetrain (Gearing, cranks, etc...) and wheels from a secondhand bike that I could get from a thrift shop for <$20 (Some of the bikes can be pretty decent, like trek, giant, or specialized, but most are older) I thought that if I could get some wheels and gears to get started on, I would not mind shelling out a little more money for forks, cranks, headtubes, etc... in exchange for the enjoyment of building a bike myself, to my own specifactions.
It would certainly work, but you'd have to pick wisely. You'd need to find a bike without too much wear to really make it worthwhile, especially with a cheaper wheelset, there could be dramatically less lifetime in the hubs than you expect. And while the drivetrain can usually last a long time, even with fairly low end parts, if the chain hasn't been taken care of it could have damaged the cassette and crankset irreprably.
I've also bent my cheaper-end crankset before, so I'd make sure all the drivetrain is in at least fairly good working order before using it as a base for other parts.
Provided all that works, my preferred order of upgrade would be: wheelset, fork, brakes, then other stuff. Not sure how to find the disc setup.... maybe if you find a frame/fork that's disc compatible on the cheap bike it would be easier (just wheelset and the actual brakes), but that could be difficult given that thrift store bikes are often older and lower-end. Of course, V-brakes get much more effective with a proper braking surface (machined rims) and a good pair of brake pads. I'm all to familiar with cheap v-brakes crapping out, but they still work just fine for a lot of people in a lot of applications.