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Building a mountain bike pitfalls?

Old 12-02-15, 01:56 PM
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LouisianaRider
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Building a mountain bike pitfalls?

This might belong in the mechanic section, but...

Im considering building a mountain bike from the frame up. Buying a frame and, over time, buying the parts to complete the build in my spare time. Im interested for a few reasons:

-just moved to Louisiana and my Yeti 575 is too much travel for this area. Want a hardtail
-want a project for my spare time
-Ive worked on my bikes, but havent even built one all the way before and I just wanna see if I can

Any pitfalls I need to be on the lookout for? Common mistakes on things that dont work together? Etc.

My Yeti is a 26" and Im not quite up to speed on all the new 29er sexiness...

TIA
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Old 12-02-15, 06:46 PM
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Start with a frame that's currently In production, modern geo and all.

Think of wheel size as a bike fit Issue first, a smaller person may find the 29er's cumbersome,,,
Larger wheels need to be lighter and stronger,,

Then get to it and remeber:

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Old 12-02-15, 07:16 PM
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Go for it, it is fun!
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Old 12-02-15, 11:10 PM
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Build a new bike -- but dont be surprised if your Yeti still works better if your suspension is set a tad stiffer .

I'm in Oklahoma and i roll an SB-95 --- the bike just excels in most situations --- a tad heavy for full on XC duty, but everywhere else it flat rocks

Given my Yeti fan-dom , i would say that a Big Top or a 29'er ARC is a damn nice hardtail and when complete, weighs about what a decent road bike does -- but with no rear travel , it will be faster on smooth trails but slower and more harsh on chopped up rooty trails
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Old 12-03-15, 02:48 AM
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Only pitfall I can think of are some of the specific bike tools you may need. Like a cassette lockring tool (a chain whip to remove the cassette), to install the cassette. If you get a press fit bottom bracket, you'll need a press for the bearings. Chain breaker to shorten a chain. Things like that can really slow you down if you don't have some bike specific tools and need to go to a bike shop. Other than that...building a bike isn't rocket science...especially a hardtail.
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Old 12-03-15, 03:10 AM
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The biggest pitfall in building yourself will be the cost difference between what you will pay, and what you can get from a complete bike, the 2nd, being the compatibility issues, with just about all parts available today.

If looking at getting a bike for 2016 now, would look at a minimum standard of tubeless 27.5+ (29ers are very old news now) wheel size , tapered steerer, a dropper post, drive train is a personal choice, but would look at 1x11 either Shimano or SRAM (keep with one brand to avoid compatibility issues)
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Old 12-03-15, 10:33 AM
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29rs are old news? Too bad nobody told Yeti that just spent money developing the SB4.5c. And should we expect Niner to change their name to 7.5pluser? And what fools at Specialized spending the money to make a $10,000 Sworks hardtail!


To the OP: for Louisiana (I lived there) I would pick a 29r hardtail. Unless you need a small or extras mall Frame.

Building a bike is easy. Make sure derailleurs and shifters matc brands (shimano shifters=shimano derailleurs) everything else is pretty much interchangeable. I would recommend having a shop install the headset and you will need some specialty tools (cassette tool, BB tool, chain tool, cable cutters) But you should already have most of those if you do work on your bike and they aren't really that expensive.

One more thing I just remembered: bottom brackets, there are quite a few standards now and some are press fit. If you get a frame that takes a press fit BB I would again recommend having a shop install it.
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Old 12-05-15, 02:36 AM
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Originally Posted by FrozenK View Post
29rs are old news?
Well vs 27.5+ which looks to the the standard for 2016, they are. There are still a lot of good 29ers around, but if looking to build today, unless I could get 29er parts are a nice price, would be looking more at 27.5/27.5+ as this is the way the bike industry is going (or maybe wait a few years till 26" is the next best thing!)
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Old 12-05-15, 05:04 AM
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Building up a bike can be fun and affordable if you are a good bargain shopper and are ok with using some used or older but new parts. Otherwise, it will be much more expensive to build up a bike over buying a complete bike. If you are wanting to build up a bike as more of a project- go for it!

I think you should absolutely go with a 29er or 27.5+ hardtail. IMHO, there is little need for a FS bike in most areas of Louisiana. I mostly ride in North Carolina (big roots, ruts and rocks) and I reach for my 29er hardtail over 80% of the time vs my 26" FS Yeti.
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Old 12-05-15, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by jimc101 View Post
Well vs 27.5+ which looks to the the standard for 2016, they are. There are still a lot of good 29ers around, but if looking to build today, unless I could get 29er parts are a nice price, would be looking more at 27.5/27.5+ as this is the way the bike industry is going (or maybe wait a few years till 26" is the next best thing!)
You keep saying that, but the truth is that 27.5+ is still a niche wheel size. Many brands are adding maybe one model but for the most part they are sticking to 650b and 29 inch wheels.
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Old 12-06-15, 12:30 AM
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For a first-time builder....the only pitfall is getting it all tuned-up and correctly dialed-in. This is when you bring it to your LBS and closely WATCH how they do it correctly. The knowledge gained from shopping for your own, hand-picked parts is simply priceless.
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Old 12-06-15, 02:08 AM
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Originally Posted by FrozenK View Post
You keep saying that, but the truth is that 27.5+ is still a niche wheel size. Many brands are adding maybe one model but for the most part they are sticking to 650b and 29 inch wheels.
At least I'm constant!

For wheel sizes, the OP asked about building a bike, for building today, would look at a bike which is future proofed with the best ability that can be seen today, which is 27.5+

For it being a niche, most people I ride with are still on 26", a few on 29ers or fattys, but almost everyone who got a new bike in the last 18 months or so went 27.5; as the + version really has only just got on the market for the 2016 season, will be interesting to see what people get next year. I'm looking at a build for next year which will have a 27.5/27.5+ option in one frame.
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Old 12-06-15, 08:16 AM
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The wheel size debate is interesting and fun to talk about...but I have to say I really don't see plus sizes being anything more than a niche. A fun niche, but still a niche. Kind of like the all mountain hardtail niche.

OP, I have a 26" hardtail that is from the mid 90's that I've been accumulating parts for a build and I would strongly recommend not getting a frame that old to build up. What you run into besides for geometry differences is that the brakes are different, the rear spacing is different, through axles weren't on the radar then, 80mm of travel at most and you are stuck running 26" tires. Not that I'm not going to finish building this bike up and riding it until it breaks or my smiles go away, just that there are better modern options.

I would be choosing a 29'er if going hardtail or shorter travel FS, or a 27.5 if going for a longer travel bike. I'm a relatively short dude and still really like 29'ers for speed...the 27.5 is fun to turn, whip around, jump and the ones I've ridden have all had a decent amount of travel and have been really fun on the downhills. I see a need for both, honestly.

If I were shopping for a frame to build up today if new or used, I would for one be making sure it uses disc brakes (and most modern ones do); two, that it has a tapered steer tube; three, that it can accept modern bottom bracket standards (and honestly, IMHO, threaded is the bomb); four, have a wide enough seat tube to accept a dropper post like a reverb and internal routing is great for that; five, it has the geometry for the riding that I intend on doing with it. So, if more of an xc rider on relatively smooth flowing singletrack, a steeper head angle would be fine, but if I plan on doing jumps and downhills a lot I'd be looking at slacker angles. I would also be looking at getting the appropriate amount of suspension for the riding that I did. Around me, a 160mm bike is fairly useless where 120mm is wonderful.

Good luck...it will be fun.
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Old 12-06-15, 02:03 PM
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And most of the people I ride with are on 29rs and most of those who have bought bikes on the last 18 months have bought 29rs.

Also for someone buying today, what 27.5+ frames are available?
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Old 12-06-15, 11:46 PM
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Yeah same here more or less. Everybody is still rocking 29ers with the rare 26er or fat bike. I have the only 27.5er I've seen around here though one guy did just buy a specialized 27.5+ two weeks ago. I honestly can't really tell much difference between my 29ers and my new 27.5er at least not from the wheel size. They are all very different bikes.
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Old 12-07-15, 02:20 AM
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Originally Posted by FrozenK View Post
Also for someone buying today, what 27.5+ frames are available?
A couple to start

Salsa Cycles

Kinesis Phase Frame - Kinesis Bikes - should be available in the US, and Scott are pushing 27.5+ heavily, it is new, so would expect quite a few options to come out over the next few months
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Old 12-07-15, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by jimc101 View Post
A couple to start

Salsa Cycles

Kinesis Phase Frame - Kinesis Bikes - should be available in the US, and Scott are pushing 27.5+ heavily, it is new, so would expect quite a few options to come out over the next few months
one is full suspension the other is not available in the US. So neither applies for the OP.
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Old 12-07-15, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by FrozenK View Post
one is full suspension the other is not available in the US. So neither applies for the OP.
from going on other post on BF, MTBR etc, Kinesis frames do turn up in the US, not just the UK, and for both, they were examples , as you, not the OP asked for, you just asked about frames (as I took it in general), the OP asked about HT; and as I said, it's new, so expect more this coming year.
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Old 12-07-15, 11:05 AM
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I'd expect 29+ to be bigger than 27+ here just for the simple fact that Trek is pushing the design.

I've seen two 29+ bikes recently, both Treks, and they look fantastic and the owners say they are really fun to ride....but, still a niche.
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Old 12-07-15, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by jimc101 View Post
from going on other post on BF, MTBR etc, Kinesis frames do turn up in the US, not just the UK, and for both, they were examples , as you, not the OP asked for, you just asked about frames (as I took it in general), the OP asked about HT; and as I said, it's new, so expect more this coming year.
So there aren't really a lot of options because 27.5+ is a niche market. Got it.
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Old 12-09-15, 07:31 AM
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Slightly used parts on Ebay will be your best friend. I've got killer deals and offered up killer deals when building out bikes.
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Old 12-10-15, 12:35 PM
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My impression from looking at offerings is that most 27.5+ bikes are widened versions of 29er bikes, and some didn't even need widening.
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Old 12-10-15, 01:43 PM
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Yes, the outside diameter of a 27.5+ tire is about the same as a 2.0/2.2 29r tire. Width at the chainstay is usually the problem.
That's one of the reasons why 27.5+ is attractive, it gives you a lot of what 29rs have and it works without tweaking desings much. But it has the same limitations geometry wise as a 29r (more really, but...) and the overall result is a heavier wheel. Because while the rim weight may be about the same as a 29r (wider vs larger diameter) those big tires will be heavy. The WTB Trailboss 27.5 by 3.0 is 1125 grams. The equivalent 29r tire is 795grams for the 2.2 and 917 grams for the 2.4. So all the complaints about 29rs (sluggish, slow to accelerate, etc...) will be magnified with a 27.5+ bike. But hey, they are the future. Right?
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