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Building S-Works Epic from scratch...need opinions

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Old 12-09-03, 02:39 PM
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Mo-Tay
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Building S-Works Epic from scratch...need opinions

(I also posted this in the mechanics forum...not much response...so I am posting it here as well)

I am looking to build a S-Works Epic bike from scratch. I am looking for a XL frame (if you have one, let me know!)and then looking to buy the components and assemble the whole bike. I have some basic knowledge of bike mechanics but will definately be on this board quite a bit to get some insight from you all.

One of my first questions is in regards to the different options that I have. I am racing so I want stuff that lasts and works in bad conditions. Do I get straight XTR components or what are some other high-performance options that are as good or better than Shimano's products?

Also, would any of you recommend that I bring the bike into a dealer for part of the assembly?

Finally, are there any good web resources on bike mechanics/bike building? If not, what books do you recommend?

This is my first effort in building a bike but I would rather do it this way so I will know how to fix it. I look forward to your responses!

GO GOPHERS!!!
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Old 12-09-03, 04:05 PM
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Good choice, Mo-Tay! My S-works frame just arrived and is it sweet!! I'm having the bike shop do it as part of the purchase. They're stripping down my Enduro - anyone wanna buy a L Enduro frame? - and swapping over everything but the fork (got a new Fox Float RLC) and seatpost (frameset comes with a Thompson post). Looks like everything'll fit, too. One advantage, from my perspective at least, is keeping my rapid fire shifters. I didn't like the feel of the STIs, though I haven't ridden them on a trail yet.

I can't wait to get it dirty!!! Got the anodized silver... mmmmmm.
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Old 12-09-03, 05:11 PM
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Good choice, both in frame and in doing it yourself. I've done this a few times and it's worth the effort. You will need a few special tools, but most can be done with "regular" tools. It's pretty easy as long as you read the directions for each component that you get. A few tools that are handy: assorted sizes of cheap spanner wrenches, a chain whip, a cassette socket (get the one that works for both cassettes and bottom brackets), and metric allens. I am building a new Yeti ASR right now, I am going pretty much XTR along with a few things I already had. I like ISIS drive BB's/cranks, and I did already have a good set. I ordered my frame a couple weeks ago, and wouldn't ya know it, I work 12 hour days this week and it arrived last night. Bummer. I did get to work on it for about an hour last night and this is about as far as I got:

http://www.geocities.com/mdwsr/yeti.html
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Old 12-09-03, 05:32 PM
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I chose to buy a complete bike since the S works frame was as much as the entry level Epic. The difference is the tunable brain shock. Hardly worth the price in my opinion.

The local Specialized rep said there are some leftover 2003 Epic frames that need to be moved so you might get a deal on one.
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Old 12-09-03, 05:35 PM
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I will upgrade the components over time. First up will be a stiff/light wheelset.
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Old 12-09-03, 07:31 PM
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Thanks for the input. I have been looking on Ebay for a XL frame as a new one from a dealer is 2000 bucks! I think I can get a one for around 1 grand on Ebay. The problem is the XLs are fairly rare. I recently starting look at the Intense Spider and Santa Clara Blur as equivelent frames. Any input here? I have read some reviews.

For the components, figuring out what I need is another big task. I am am looking at full XTR but would love to do something else if it is just as good/better and cheaper. I am looking at SRAM as it is an American company but when it comes down to it, I want what is best. Here is a list of my current ideas and an alternative solution:

Hubs: XTR vs. ???
Rock Shox SID Race vs. Fox Float F100X
Disk Brakes: XTR vs. Hayes/Avid
Shifters: XTR vs. SRAM Rocket Shifters
REAR DERAILLEUR: XTR vs. SRAMX.O.
FRONT DERAILLEUR: XTR vs. ???
CRANKSET:XTR Hollowtech II arms vs ???
CASSETTE: XTR vs. SRAM
Pedals: Time ATAC vs. ???

I could go on and on...but these are some major issues
Like I said, I will we racing this ride next year (my first year) and anything worth doing is worth doing right...hehe.

I also am looking for stuff on Ebay such as the tools I will need to build/maintain it. As you can tell, cost is a concern. I want to spend no more than 3 grand on the bike and another 500 for tools.

Thanks for any input/expereinces you can give about some of these products.
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Old 12-09-03, 08:14 PM
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XTR hubs are very cool but XT is nearly as good and WAY cheaper.

How much do you weigh? I am around 200 and the SID Race is way too noodly for me. Look for something with 32mm stanchions, you'll be much happier.

Brakes - debatable. I'll let someone else tackle that one since hardly anyone agrees with me here.

Rear der - either is good. You want quality here.

Front der - I have XTR but the new '04 XT's are probably as good. '04's should be out by now.

Crankset - Truvativ ISIS drive. Just as strong (maybe stronger) than Shimano and much cheaper. You can get a crankset and BB for under $200.

Cassette - one place to go cheap. XTR is way too high for what you get.

BTW - you can get all the tools you need for $150 or less. Look at the catalogs for kits.

Also, I bought a XT hub/Mavic 517 wheelset for $175 on special. I have ridden the snot out of them and they're still good. You can find worthy bargain wheelsets.

Edit: when I was shopping for this latest ride, my choices were 1. Intense Spider, 2. Yeti ASR, 3. SC Blur. The deciding factor for me was cost. The Spider is probably best of all but way more expensive. The Blur limits you to 2.0 tires on back. I have 2.24's on this Yeti and still have a little clearance. Plus, I saved $700 by buying it over the Spider. All good choices though.
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Old 12-10-03, 10:36 AM
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I ride an Epic. My BF rides a Blur. You can't go wrong with either bike, although I have an advantage on climbs. His bike is really plush like a cadillac while mine is quite a bit stiffer and less bulky like a Rally Suburu WRX, which I like. It's all about preference. Epic is a xc race bike, Blur is an xc bike. They're both excellent bikes. I race my Epic with a combo of XT/LX components, and a nice fox fork, and it served me well this season.
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Old 12-10-03, 01:35 PM
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O.k., If I were building up an Epic as a race specific bike I would go with the following:

Epic frame:
Chris King Headset (expensive, yes, but worth it!)
Either a new FOX Terra fork or a Manitou Skareb
Thomson or Race Face Stem
Easton Carbon bars (flat or riser, your choice)
I would run SRAM X.0 rear derailleur and shifters (for low weight)
I would run an XT front derailleur
My preference is to run Race Face Cranks and Chainrings
Chain would be a SRAM w/powerlink
Cassette would be an XT
Pedals would be TIME A.T.A.C.'s or Crank Bros. Candy's
Thomson Elite Seat Post
Selle Italia Seat (Seat's are very personal items)
For brakes on an XC bike I'd stick with Vee brakes to keep the weight down. I go with Avid's. Model of your choice, but IMO all Avid's are better than comparable Shimano's.
I'd spend most of my budget on wheels. This is one place that will make a good bike ride great! I'd either get a set of CROSSMAX's from Mavic or build a set with Chris King hubs laced to Mavic X3.1 rims.
Tires (go tubeless) again, are a personal choice and very dependent on your terrain so I'll opt out of a recommendation.

Did I forget anything? Grips? Again personal choice! I like the dual compound ones with the YETI logo's on them.
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Old 12-10-03, 02:50 PM
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Mike, you gotta let me know how that AS-R works out for you. Thats my dream bike
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Old 12-10-03, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by a2psyklnut
O.k., If I were building up an Epic as a race specific bike I would go with the following:
Good choices, nut. I'm moving parts over from my Enuro mostly, but some of those have been upgraded already.

Epic frame: (S-works is the only frameset you can buy, currently)
Chris King Headset (expensive, yes, but worth it!) - That's what I've got
Either a new FOX Terra fork or a Manitou Skareb - Fox Float 100RLC
Thomson or Race Face Stem - Specialized, maybe S-works
Easton Carbon bars (flat or riser, your choice) - Generic Specialized
I would run SRAM X.0 rear derailleur and shifters (for low weight) - XTR Rapid Rise with XT rapid fire shifters
I would run an XT front derailleur - Yep
My preference is to run Race Face Cranks and Chainrings - new XT, w/ XT BB
Chain would be a SRAM w/powerlink - definately
Cassette would be an XT - SRAM 7.0, I think, maybe 9.0 - 12-34
Pedals would be TIME A.T.A.C.'s or Crank Bros. Candy's - Frogs
Thomson Elite Seat Post - Comes with the S-works frameset
Selle Italia Seat (Seat's are very personal items) - Spec. seat that came w/ my Enduro
For brakes on an XC bike I'd stick with Vee brakes to keep the weight down. I go with Avid's. Model of your choice, but IMO all Avid's are better than comparable Shimano's. - Hayes Hydraulics (came w/ my Enduro)
I'd spend most of my budget on wheels. This is one place that will make a good bike ride great! I'd either get a set of CROSSMAX's from Mavic or build a set with Chris King hubs laced to Mavic X3.1 rims. - Mavic 517 Disc w/ Spec. Hubs. Came on the Enduro, definately room for upgrade here. They're red, but it actually looks pretty cool on the anodized silver frame.
Tires (go tubeless) again, are a personal choice and very dependent on your terrain so I'll opt out of a recommendation. -semi-slicks right now, probably Michelins if I get back to real mud.

Can't wait to get out on it!!!
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Old 12-10-03, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by PeterG1185
Mike, you gotta let me know how that AS-R works out for you. Thats my dream bike
The deal worked out great, I put up an ad to sell my Bullit, then this one came up for sale a couple of days later. The very day I sold the Bullit I bought this one. Should have it finished tonight or tomorrow, I'll post after a good ride. Looks like it will be a nice ride. I got it from Trailblazer's Bikes in upstate NY. They still have a few closeouts up for sale. Good deals and good people to deal with.

By the way, I found good prices on the things I needed to finish it up at wheelworld.com

In fact, Chris King headsets are $89 there (cheapest place I found). I did an online order there, and forgot one thing. I called them right away and the dude was real helpful, he checked for in stock stuff while I was on the phone and he was out of stock on the seatpost I wanted, said he would check at another store and ship if they had one. 4 days later I got all my stuff, including the seatpost.

a2 - what happened to the "For Sale" sub that used to be here?

Oh, and one more thing. I still believe in dealing with Local shops, but I still go for the best deals when they can't come close. Thoise people definately need our support. Trailblazers is local to somebody, just not me
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Old 12-10-03, 03:58 PM
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a2 - what happened to the "For Sale" sub that used to be here?
Joe started up www.bicyclebid.com he's the owner of the site. Like eBay but just for bikes!

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Old 12-10-03, 09:16 PM
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Oh yeah... bike shop just called. Bike's done. Unfortunately, I can't get there 'till Monday (working this weekend). Crap!
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Old 12-11-03, 03:08 AM
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Originally Posted by a2psyklnut
O.k., If I were building up an Epic as a race specific bike I would go with the following:

Epic frame:
Chris King Headset (expensive, yes, but worth it!)
Either a new FOX Terra fork or a Manitou Skareb
Thomson or Race Face Stem
Easton Carbon bars (flat or riser, your choice)
I would run SRAM X.0 rear derailleur and shifters (for low weight)
I would run an XT front derailleur
My preference is to run Race Face Cranks and Chainrings
Chain would be a SRAM w/powerlink
Cassette would be an XT
Pedals would be TIME A.T.A.C.'s or Crank Bros. Candy's
Thomson Elite Seat Post
Selle Italia Seat (Seat's are very personal items)
For brakes on an XC bike I'd stick with Vee brakes to keep the weight down. I go with Avid's. Model of your choice, but IMO all Avid's are better than comparable Shimano's.
I'd spend most of my budget on wheels. This is one place that will make a good bike ride great! I'd either get a set of CROSSMAX's from Mavic or build a set with Chris King hubs laced to Mavic X3.1 rims.
Tires (go tubeless) again, are a personal choice and very dependent on your terrain so I'll opt out of a recommendation.

Did I forget anything? Grips? Again personal choice! I like the dual compound ones with the YETI logo's on them.
I perfectly agree with A2s choices though i would put sram X9 new shifters in,,,,and the new X9 rear mech. For forks i would rather have a Marathon SL from Marzocchi...imho better than the Fox.
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Old 12-11-03, 08:16 AM
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WOW!!! Thanks for all the info! I am 6'4 195 but will be hopefully getting down to 185-190 for the season so that info on the forks is great!

The info you guys are giving in conjuncture with the reviews on mtbr.com is painting a clearer picture of what I want to do. This is a great stage: planning. Picking EXACTLY what you want is so fun.

I think I am leaning towards the SRAM XO products for a variety of reasons, but mostly because it is a great product. Anyone know if I need a MED or LONG cage? What is the difference? I have had the rapid fires in the past so the XO twist shift is going to be an adjustment.

Skiahh, one of the main reasons I want disks is because I want to limit the beating my wheels take. If I buy nice wheels, those Vs will abuse those spendy wheels when mudding. So that is one reason. Plus, I don't think they are as much hassle once they are set-up.

As far as the forks go, I am thinking the Fox Float 100RLC will the forks I get. Spendy little buggers...

I have much more to discuss but I best get to work....thanks again all. Keep it coming!
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Old 12-11-03, 08:33 AM
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Anyone know if I need a MED or LONG cage?
It will depend on the cassette you use. If you're going to be racing and have a tight cluster, then a medium will work. However, if you get a cassette with a bail-out gear (like a 32), then you'll need a long cage.

As far as brakes, if you're committed to discs, you should check out the Hayes Mag+. I'm SOLD on Hayes brakes. I get great stopping power from mine, very little maintenance after initial set-up, and they work flawlessly all the time. I did swap out the stock pads for some EBC GOLD aftermarket pads and it made the brakes even better. The Mag+ are Magnesium and a Carbon Fiber lever. Not the lightest available, but still light!

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Old 12-11-03, 03:33 PM
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For racing if you want to go light yet durable and not break the bank completely I'd go with:
Chris King Headset
Marzocchi Marathon SL (my preference) or RS SID fork
Race Face Deus Stem
Answer Pro Taper Carbon bar (a bit lighter than the Easton Monkeylite I think) I like riser bars but a flat Easton carbon bar would weigh even less.
XT shifter pods or SRAM X.9 triggershifters (havn't tried them but only hear good things, I don't like the XTR integrated brake/shifter personally)
XTR rear derailleur (or X.0 if you go SRAM)
XT front derailleur
XTR or Race Face Next LP Cranks
XT Cassette
SRAM chain
TIME ATAC carbon pedals
Thomson Elite Seat Post w/ Selle Italia saddle
Disc Brakes--Hayes Mag Plus or for less $$ Avid Mech's w/ Avid Speed Dial Ti levers & IRD Metawire brake cable. This set up modulates 99.9% as well as hydro brakes IMO.
Chris King Hubs & Mavic 3.1 rims (I wish)
my .02

FYI Universalcycles.com has been having a wheelset clearance since september. I got a XT/Mavic 317 wheelset hand built on the cheap from them. Probably still have some good stuff left.
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Old 12-11-03, 03:35 PM
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actually I guess that still does break the bank, oh well!
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Old 12-13-03, 10:43 AM
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Hey Skiahh, post some pics when you get a chance! I love the silver and want to get that color as well. Black would look cool too but that silver looks sweet. I would think it would be a bit more resistant to scratches and abuse.

Again, thanks much for the feedback. I am going back and forth on what I want to do, but in the next month or so, I will be finalizing my wish list and getting the stuff.

I will keep you all posted...

GO GOPHS!!!
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Old 01-12-04, 09:07 AM
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Update!!!

Well, I FINALLY got my frame. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...ory=22679&rd=1

I will be lining up all the parts I need and will keep you updated on that process. Should be a blast. All of your input is appreciated. I will also be on when I start putting the thing together.

Later!
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Old 01-12-04, 10:44 AM
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Nice choice for a frame.I'd break the bank and train like a fool starting today.I'm 5'8" and weigh 130.I'd build it up light but strong and safe.
WTB ti.rail saddle.
Easton carbon post or the Thompson.
XTR rear derailleur,XT front.
RaceFace or Action Tec bottom bracket.(I'd get Ti. but you'd probably flex it).
Race Face Next cranks(lose the granny if you don't need it).
Ti.Eggbeater pedals.
Dura-Ace chain.
Dura-Ace 12-27 cassette.
Chris King or XTR hubs.
Dt spokes.
Mavic rims.
Light tubes or tubeless system.
Conti. Twister tires.
I'd get whatever fork works for your weight.
King headset.
Ritchey WCS stem(you might flex it).
Easton or Maxm carbon bars.
Avid Single7 brakes.
Ritchey WCS barends.
Titec Pork Grinds or cork tape.
Oh yeah.
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Old 01-12-04, 01:10 PM
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Yeah, I will be training like mad. I have a decent cardio base base and will be doing some spinning classes at my local health club to get some more intense training in while I wait for the MN winter to go away. I am at 6'4 195 now and hope to get to 185 by season start. I am tall and slim now but feel that I can still lose some weight.

I am so excited to start building it. This will be my first build. I have some expreince working on bikes but this will be sure to push me. I have a LBS that I can use when I need to, but hope to do it all myself. I figure that if I will be racing, I better know the bike top to bottom. What better way than to build it. So now I need to get the tools and a bike stand. Then I will start getting the components I want. I will be using Ebay quite a bit for things like tools and the components in an effort to save money. I will also be checking out the various on-line retailers as well.

Again, all your input is greatly appreciated. Any general bike building input would be appreciated too!

I will keep you posted!

GO GOPHERS!!!
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Old 01-12-04, 01:38 PM
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If you need specific step by step "how to" guidelines, feel free to PM me with ?'s.

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Old 01-12-04, 02:34 PM
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Mo-Tay
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http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...category=27953

Nut, thanks for the offer. It is appreciated and I am sure I will take you up on it. Do you think this tool set will allow me to put together my bike? If not, what else will I need?

Also, Limba makes referrence to me flexing certain components. I am 6'4 195 and want to aviod flexing anything. Any thoughts on components to avoid (such as the BB or stem) due to flexing?

I am getting all psyched now....

Later!
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