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Old 06-23-09, 09:44 AM   #1
jrdemasi
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Looking to build my own Mountain Bike (on a budget)

Hey All,

I purchased a Giant Boulder SE (I believe it's the 2008 model) about a year ago. I rode it on the road more than anything, and the main reason I had it was for bumming around town, or running small errands. However, recently I discovered a short (but fun) cross country course near my house, and I started riding it. The first time I just went through it slowly to see what it was like and make sure there wasn't anything I needed to be prepared for. It was relatively easy, mostly flat with small hills here and there. I rode the course one time and the chainring on my Boulder bent.

My dilemma is whether or not to upgrade the Boulder piece by piece, or build a new mountain bike. If I build a new bike, my budget is ~$1000. If I build a new bike it will probably be strictly for mountain biking, and the Boulder I will just fix as needed and ride it around town or whatever else. I have experience configuring road and track bikes, but I have never built a mountain bike before, so any advice would be appreciated. I'm looking for something that is durable, will allow me to ride easy to moderate trails, and isn't going to break apart piece by piece.

Any advice would be appreciated, TIA,
Jonathan
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Old 06-23-09, 10:42 AM   #2
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You can def. build a bike for a grand. If I were you though...I'd fix the chainring with something cheap and ride the trails a bit more to try to figure out what type of riding you like most so you can build a bike to suit your needs.
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Old 06-23-09, 11:50 AM   #3
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i agree with chelboed.

the frame interfaces on your giant boulder are all compatible with modern parts. all peices can be upgraded as they break or become insufficent for your riding including the frame.
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Old 06-23-09, 12:20 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by chelboed View Post
You can def. build a bike for a grand. If I were you though...I'd fix the chainring with something cheap and ride the trails a bit more to try to figure out what type of riding you like most so you can build a bike to suit your needs.
+1 the fix on your Giant is reasonably cheap and if you have $1000 you sure can get a pretty good mountain bike for that, if you are building shop around online to find the good deals.
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Old 06-23-09, 02:30 PM   #5
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If i had a grand to build a bike, i'd have a ton of fun with that. I think i built my SS for like $750 or so, totally dependable components.

If you've built road and track bikes, you have all or almost all the know-how you'll need, depending on what you use in the build. Some suspension set-up and hydraulic brakes would be novel stuff for you, but most everything else is basically the same concepts.

As Ed and others said, though, you might want to make the giant more trail-worthy and experiement on that, so you can figure out your likes/dislikes/requirements, and propoerly research the next build. Put some new tires on the giant, fix whatever's wrong with it, and stack the grand. Heck, you might even be able to save up a bit more, once you've got a more solid plan...

Definitely, if you're building your own, use shrewd online purchases to keep the bottom line manageable. And, yes, you can get alot of decent completes for a grand, but most of these will be shackled to some sub-par wheels and cranks and (usually) brakes. For my tastes, building from scratch with online suppliers, using only stuff that *i* like, is cheaper than buying a complete from a shop.

hth,
-rob
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Old 06-23-09, 04:15 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the input everyone.

I think the route I'm going to take is fixing the boulder, riding around some more, and seeing how it goes for me. Then from there I can decide what I like. I do know that the Boulder feels really nice when I'm riding, and the geometry fits me well. With that in mind, the question is - If I upgrade piece by piece on the Boulder, is the frame going to be the "weak link" in all of my components? Would it be wiser to just keep it in working order while I configure a new bike? I only ask because I do love the frame my boulder presents, but some of the biggest downfalls are the brakes, tires, cranks, and (obviously) chainring.
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Old 06-23-09, 08:17 PM   #7
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JRDEMASI:

I've been saying this for a while to people, it seems.

Don't upgrade the Giant. Just replace what breaks with something that will get you by for now. When you go on a MTB ride...try to decide what you like best about riding mountain bikes. Did you like "the scenery"...lap times and cranking hard up that hill to the point of vomit...shredding the gnarly sections and doing jumps and drops?

This will help you determine what type of bike will suit you. Then you can decide whether or not to upgrade the Giant. The Boulder would make a fair "Trail Bike" frame for riding trails at a social pace enjoying the outdoors. The Giant would not be well suited to GnarCore downhill riding, freeriding, dirt jumping, hardcore cross country racing / weight weenie'ing.

If any aspect begins to stick out for you...then you've got a plan.

Don't forget to take into consideration your terrain.

I started out on a rigid geared bike. Moved over to front suspension. Traded up to dual suspension. Took a hiatus. Got back into front suspension. Moved up to dual suspension again. Then I built a Freeride Hardtail. Downsized to a 5" front suspended trail bike. Now I find that I'm having more fun on the dadgum rigid singlespeed than anything right now.

Sure...my favorite type of riding would be choking on Dminor's dust on a Transition Blindside with a Fox 40, ballin' down A-Line or doing some CraZ fun shuttle or lift assist runs in Colorado or WA.

But I live in KS, man. My trails are far from A-Line and my friends are XC friends. I must try to keep up to have fun. Thus...the downsize.
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Old 06-23-09, 08:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by chelboed View Post
JRDEMASI:

I've been saying this for a while to people, it seems.

Don't upgrade the Giant. Just replace what breaks with something that will get you by for now. When you go on a MTB ride...try to decide what you like best about riding mountain bikes. Did you like "the scenery"...lap times and cranking hard up that hill to the point of vomit...shredding the gnarly sections and doing jumps and drops?

This will help you determine what type of bike will suit you. Then you can decide whether or not to upgrade the Giant. The Boulder would make a fair "Trail Bike" frame for riding trails at a social pace enjoying the outdoors. The Giant would not be well suited to GnarCore downhill riding, freeriding, dirt jumping, hardcore cross country racing / weight weenie'ing.

If any aspect begins to stick out for you...then you've got a plan.

Don't forget to take into consideration your terrain.

I started out on a rigid geared bike. Moved over to front suspension. Traded up to dual suspension. Took a hiatus. Got back into front suspension. Moved up to dual suspension again. Then I built a Freeride Hardtail. Downsized to a 5" front suspended trail bike. Now I find that I'm having more fun on the dadgum rigid singlespeed than anything right now.

Sure...my favorite type of riding would be choking on Dminor's dust on a Transition Blindside with a Fox 40, ballin' down A-Line or doing some CraZ fun shuttle or lift assist runs in Colorado or WA.

But I live in KS, man. My trails are far from A-Line and my friends are XC friends. I must try to keep up to have fun. Thus...the downsize.
Well - I started off just enjoying the scenery, but the more I got out lately I have been enjoying ripping the trails up. The trails around here are mostly overgrown with tree roots and brush. They aren't necesarily hard to ride, but you have to have a bike that isn't going to bottom out at all going over a giant root or a small jump. That's what I believe happened with my Boulder. I think I went down a small hill and over a root and I bottomed out somewhere in that time. So - Really I want to be prepared for anything. I'm a bit of a wrecker, and I like to go "my own way." Even if there isn't much of a trail, you'll find me riding.
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Old 06-24-09, 06:33 AM   #9
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Some of that is technique too. You don't wanna just smack a huge root dead on...you'll destroy wheels.
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Old 06-24-09, 12:20 PM   #10
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Well perhaps that was an extreme example, but hopefully you get what I'm saying. There is a wide variety of terrain here and I want to be ready for all of it.
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