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  1. #1
    Chieftain
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    Aluminum frame ideas for budget build?

    I'm just starting the shopping process for my long-desired cyclocross/winter bike/commuter build and am trying to keep the entire thing below $1000, or not much over. I know that for that price, the BD mail orders will surely come up, and I'm keeping that as an option. However, the fun, pride, and reward that comes with doing it all yourself makes me want to build ground-up if possible.

    I want aluminum to keep the build light, cheap, and give the same feel as my road bike. So far, I've priced ebay for Sram Apex shifters, RD, cassette, chain, brakes, and tires (all about $700 or a little less). I have a FD, bars, seat post, and some crap wheels to get started, though I'd really like to replace the wheels. All in all, I'm left with $300-$400 for a frame to keep me around $1000 and still need pedals (probably SPD), MTB shoes, and in the not-so-distant future, wheels.

    So far, the only frameset I've found in this range is the Scattante XRL Cross on Performance. I just used the road version of this frame as a build for my girlfriend and was actually impressed with the overall quality for $300. However, I know there must be others similar or better that I've just not found. Thus, I consult y'all - what did you use for a build on the cheap?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    I very recently got a Motobecane Fantom CX aluminum frame on Bike Island for $200, which includes frame, fork, and headset. It's the same frame and fork that come with the Fantom CX triple on BD. The fork is steel, but you could probably come up with an aluminum or carbon fork and stay under $400 for the set. I'm happy with the steel fork, but many would prefer to save some weight by going with something else. The alignment was good. The welds are on the ugly side, but par for the course with budget aluminum frames.

    I had components transferred over from a bike I had with a damaged frame. I have less than 100 (mostly commuting) miles on it, but I like it so far. I'll probably post some more detailed impressions at some point, but I need more miles on the bike first.

    I have a SRAM Apex drivetrain on a Fantom CXX I bought from BD. The Apex stuff has worked very well for me so far.

  3. #3
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Planet X has a low cost CX frame: http://www.planet-x-usa.com/pUNCLE%2...-Frameset.aspx
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  4. #4
    Chieftain
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    Ooh, that Planet X frame is pretty clean - thanks for the link! Paired with a Nashbar carbon CX fork, I'm not much over $400...

  5. #5
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    Check out bikeman.com

  6. #6
    Riding like its 1990 thenomad's Avatar
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    Built a Moto Fantom CX for my bro, built a Scattante XRL for my wife. Both are nice but for only a little bit more the Scattante is better because of the fork. It comes with a CF fork already. Frame is nicely made and will last a good long time while being able to take any upgrades. Just get the fit right and you're good.
    My blog about rides, bikes and builds: ridesgoneby.blogspot.com

  7. #7
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    I was just going to mention Bikeman! That's where I got my Redline for super cheap a little over a month ago. Looks like the Kona JTS has replaced the Redline Conquest Pro as their bargain deal CX frameset now.

    Realcyclist.com still has the Stevens CX for a shade over $500 (which is over the OP's price range, and oddly enough, $40 more than they were charging a couple months ago. It was $479 previously)

    Sometimes Nashbar gets a hold of some old-stock frames and sells 'em dirt cheap, but limited sizes. I didn't see any right now, though.

    The Scattante frame held up for one of the racers on my team through an entire season, but we're talking about a smaller rider in the beginners series, so it wasn't quite a horrible pummeling that it got for the season. But it's still a decent starting test.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  8. #8
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    I'd look for a used frame. You can probably find something nice and you probably won't need to add your own headset. Sellwood Cycle Repair has a few good options, depending on your size, and would probably ship to you for a reasonable cost.

  9. #9
    Chieftain
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    Thanks for all the replys guys. The KHS frames on bikeman are a tempting deal as well.Clifton - thanks for the brief breakdown of the Moto and Scattante frames. As I said, I was actually quite impressed with the Scattante overall quality for $300.Andy - great recommendation. I'll have to check there regularly.

  10. #10
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by humboldt'sroads View Post
    Ooh, that Planet X frame is pretty clean - thanks for the link! Paired with a Nashbar carbon CX fork, I'm not much over $400...
    The Planet X framest includes a CF fork with canti studs for $299.
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 04-25-12 at 04:50 PM.
    2014 Trek DS.1: "Viaggiatore" A do-it-all bike that is waiting in Italy
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  11. #11
    cs1
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    Quote Originally Posted by humboldt'sroads View Post
    Ooh, that Planet X frame is pretty clean - thanks for the link! Paired with a Nashbar carbon CX fork, I'm not much over $400...
    You can buy a Moto frame, fork and headset from Bikeisland for that much or less. Shipping is only $20
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  12. #12
    cs1
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    Quote Originally Posted by flargle View Post
    Check out bikeman.com
    KHS is nice. But so is the Moto. Check out the photos. Mike at BD told me that his frame is a KHS. The similarities are amazing aren't they? The only difference is Moto gives you a CF fork for the same money. Good luck on whatever you choose.



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  13. #13
    Chieftain
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    Quote Originally Posted by cs1 View Post
    KHS is nice. But so is the Moto. Check out the photos. Mike at BD told me that his frame is a KHS. The similarities are amazing aren't they? The only difference is Moto gives you a CF fork for the same money. Good luck on whatever you choose.



    Wow they are quite similar. They look identical actually!
    Last edited by humboldt'sroads; 04-25-12 at 05:26 PM.

  14. #14
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spld cyclist View Post
    I very recently got a Motobecane Fantom CX aluminum frame on Bike Island for $200, which includes frame, fork, and headset.
    That would be the deal if you can find it, because when I was researching it I never saw it for less than $299. Which is about the rock-bottom price for all the CX framesets.

    For some reason touring frames for about the same purpose have more choices and variety for budget builds.

  15. #15
    Chieftain
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    I see on Bike Island that the Dawes unbranded frame (silver one posted by cs1) won't accommodate external bearing cranksets due to the wide chainstays. *Is this a common problem with budget CX framesets? *Forgive my ignorance; I'm new to CX builds!

  16. #16
    cs1
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    Quote Originally Posted by humboldt'sroads View Post
    Wow they are quite similar. They look identical actually!
    I actually emailed Mike at BD a year ago and he said they were closeouts from KHS. They probably bought them from Kinesis or whoever made them. I have to say the price is very attractive.
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  17. #17
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    FWIW a Cross frame will have a level top tube,
    to get your shoulder under it for the steep run-ups.

    sloping top tube is a Hybrid , to go with what Mountain-bikers
    have become familiar with, but have the 700c wheels .

  18. #18
    Yup pyze-guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    The Planet X framest includes a CF fork with canti studs for $299.
    They are nice frames. My only issue is that the web page is not upto date, as the 2011 model has an internal headset and the site lists it as external, and it lists the wrong seat tube and front deraileurs clamp size.

    That said I love mine and am on my 2nd uncle John frame.
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  19. #19
    Chieftain
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    The Planet X framest includes a CF fork with canti studs for $299.
    Nice - thanks for pointing that out! I thought it strange they called it a frameset, but didn't show a picture or give any mention of the fork until you click on add'l pic's. I think I've arrived!

  20. #20
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    That would be the deal if you can find it, because when I was researching it I never saw it for less than $299. Which is about the rock-bottom price for all the CX framesets.

    For some reason touring frames for about the same purpose have more choices and variety for budget builds.
    It's still there for $199 with free shipping: http://bikeisland.com/cgi-bin/BKTK_S...ls&ProdID=1238

    But as I noted above, this is the one with the steel fork. As an aside, for some reason at Bike Island you have to look at the "road" frames if you want a cyclocross frame... because there are no frames at all on the cyclocross page.

  21. #21
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    I have the full Scattante CX bike version that uses the XRL frame. I like the frame a lot. It's very stiff and responsive. The bike came with entry level stuff across the board but I would not hesitate to put top level components on the frame. I already upgraded the wheels to Pure Aero's with Ultegra Hubs.

    It's a very nice frame.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member WickedThump's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by humboldt'sroads View Post
    Thus, I consult y'all - what did you use for a build on the cheap?
    1. Kona Jake the Snake frame from Craigslist $150
    2. Diamondback Apex- Deore DX component donor $115
    3. Specialized Crossroads Cruz wheel donor $30
    I hope to recoup some $$$ by selling the #2 and #3 frames and unwanted parts.

  23. #23
    Riding like its 1990 thenomad's Avatar
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    what I used for myself are also deals

    Redline Conquest Team Scandium Frame - $150?
    Surly Cross-Check Frame w/CF fork - $175

    Went with new frames for my wife and brother. Figured they'd appreciate new
    My blog about rides, bikes and builds: ridesgoneby.blogspot.com

  24. #24
    cs1
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    Really great thread so far.
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  25. #25
    Cottered Crank Amesja's Avatar
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    Nobody has mentioned the Nashbar X -is it not considered a decent CX frame? It's only $99. Still needs fork and headset though at that price.
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