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Is buying a used aluminum frame ok?

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Is buying a used aluminum frame ok?

Old 06-20-10, 04:30 PM
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Is buying a used aluminum frame ok?

And if so, is there anything I should look out for?

I was thinking about picking up a Trek 4500 frame from craigslist to build my first "real" mtb. Feel free to comment on if this is a good idea or not.
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Old 06-20-10, 04:39 PM
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Actually, I just found a RockShox Indy SL fork with 63mm travel, syncros headset, and a Dean 120mm stem for $80. Unfortunately since I'm Just getting into mtb-ing I'm not sure if this is a good deal, but it seems decent. If the fork would work with the 4500 frame, would it make a decent base for my bike build?

EDIT: Well, after some more searching, I think I'm finding that the Indy fork is really outdated. Hmm...

Basically I need to know if this frame is a good idea ($60) and what I should look for if I go to buy it.

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Old 06-20-10, 09:02 PM
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I would suggest that you come up with a realistic estimate on what it's going to cost you to buy all the components - and I mean everything right down to the cables and housings. Building from the ground up usually only makes sense if A) you already have some of the major parts on hand or a donor bike, or B) you're doing it for fun/educational purposes. It can be done if you're patient and know how to spot good deals on viable components. Just try to make sure that you don't end up spending $400 only to end up with a $300 bike.

If you do decide to buy the frame, inspect the welds for hairline cracks, especially around the head tube and bottom bracket shell.

Best of luck with it.
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Old 06-20-10, 10:43 PM
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Thanks for the reply. I was going to see if I could find a used bike locally, but it seems that the only ones are in the $500+ range.

So my plan changed to using some parts from a trashed lower grade Giant "Yukon" that I found by the road on garbage day. I was thinking I could buy a decent/light frame, a suspension fork and headset, and a decent set of used wheels. Then get some new cabling and transfer the brakes, trigger shifters and derailleurs, etc from the Yukon.

Hopefully in the end come up with a fairly decent/light bike to start out and get into things.
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Old 06-21-10, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by 3speed
And if so, is there anything I should look out for?
Cracks.
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Old 06-23-10, 10:36 AM
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If this is your first bike build be wary of how easy it is to spend much more than $500 when building up a bike from new or used parts, even when going with budget used parts. Some of the pitfalls:
Drivetrain components that arent compatible - Is the Freehub/cassette on the wheelset going to work with the chainrings on the used crank? Bike parts wear together and replacing the cassette, chain and chainrings may be needed depending on the wear condition and compatabillity.
Freehub that isn't compatible or shifters that aren't compatible- Is the freehub the correct one for the style of index shifter/cassette you plan on using. There are some remedies using spacers but it can be frustrating.
Fork - A reasonable fork, even a used one, will be a few hundred dollars and you need to make sure the steering tube hasn't been cut too short, is the correct diameter and has the dropouts and brake style you want.
All cables and housings will probably need to be replaced.
Headset size must match the steertube diameter.
Stem must match the steertube diameter and handlebar diameter.
Seat Post needs to match the frame seat tube inside diameter.
Crank and Bottom Bracket must be compatible.
These are just off the top of my head and I'm sure the compatabillity check list is much longer.
My suggestion is keep looking for a used steed that fits you budget and then start upgrading over time. Upgrading is a less costly way of learning about what parts are compatible and how to keep things running smooth.
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