Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 20 of 63 Posts

40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Budget Hardtail XC Build USD$1000 - 100% COMPLETED

PS: I have posted this on Starbike Weenie Forum

After a hiatus of nearly 2 years, I have started a new project in October with following requirements/restrictions/specification:

1. USD$1000 on Bike Parts all inclusive. Would like to spend more but that's what I have
2. Built around a VERY specific frame (I LOVED this frame so much despite the obese weight)
3. Bike must be reliable and dependable to race 10 XC events in 2018. Mostly XCM type race and limited XCO
4. Bike is a Hill Climber XC variant with short travel and wide range gearing ratios
5. Built to suit my riding style and sizing
6. Must be 100% DIY - backyard project sort of stuffs
7. Buy cheap policy, NOS and good conditioned used components are preferred

It will be a sized 17" 26er XC Hardtail. Why 26er? well I am 164cm tall and with a steady weight of 57-58kg - rather on the smallish side. Yes I have raced a 29er before in 2015 and 2016 but ultimately to ride a 29er, I was forced to use a sized 15.5" frame which I found to be a bit finicky to my bones. I did switch to a 650b somewhere in between but still it was a sized 15.5" frame. Late 2015 I switched to a sized 16.5 26er and have been getting better results in XC races - with less punishing after effects post race. So I made up my mind that I will stick to 26er 16.5-17".

Let's start into the juicy parts then.

Stage 1: The Frame

I have been eyeballing this frame for quite a while. It was a NOS BMC TeamElite 05 Aluminum 6061 Sized 17". The perfect size and geometry that I have been craving for. I have had great experience before with Giant XTC 26er 16.5" and I was confident that this BMC would be better suited for my use. And the price was definitely spot on.

Price: USD$ 123.00

However, there's one BIG problem. It has the weight of an elephant!:eekster:

1883g for naked frame is outright obscene for any weight weenies. Apparently BMC decided to go for Apocalyptic durability for this frame with much thicker gauge than you would normally see on Taiwanese brands. Probably can support a rider up to 200kg without even creaking...LOL

And so begin the extensive diet program - with the dark arts of Drillium, Hack, Grind and Shave of the good old 80s come into practice. The time when racers drilled and hacked their metal bikes to death....carbon fiber was probably exclusive only to NASA Space programs back then :)

Paint Strip:

Yep, it's 65g of solid paint scraped off, and that's not all of them. Some were swept away earlier

And so I ended up still at 1.8kg after paint stripping - that's still 69g shaved by just removing the paint

Many many hours later after extensive Drillium, hack, grind and shave - with removal of cantilever bosses, cable brake bosses, shortened headtube, shortened seat tube ends, drilled headtube, drilled BB housing, removed hydro hose bosses, grinded edges etc.......the bare Frame now weighs 1650g

Yep I know, it is insanity to drill holes on frames......but I am doing this with full acknowledgement of the risks and implications. Bike builders of old has been drilling gaping holes on BB housing and headubes - I am just applying the idea to practice

Next, finishing the frame with a pretty coat.

Complete with decals and coat - Yamaha Star Grey color code

And I am penalized with 16g of weight added in the final product. A weight penalty I am willing to absorb for a bit of eye-candy

In the end, I managed to reduce 217gm from the original weight - not too shabby eh? XD

Stage 2: Front Suspension

Due to limited budget, I decided to use SR SunTour EPICON X1 100mm. I have had very good experiences with 26er EPICONs before so this was a no brainer.

Price: USD$ 147.00 NOS Gen 1

Weight: 1610g (1593g after steerer cut)

Lower housing modification & hack

40g shaved off the lower housing with removal of excess ridges which was meant to support heavier riders. Now this fork can only support 65kg max riders

And so the initial weight after re-assembly was 1475g. Final weight is 1463g after further tune-ups. Oh yes, plain RED because I love the contrast vs the gunmetal frame color

In total, 147g was removed from the forks. Now operating 80mm travel and without rebound dampening springs which I can live without:cool:

Stage 3: Drivetrain

I have decided on running 1X11 Mega Wide Range for this XC Climber.

The Crankset:
The cheapest option for a Shimano Hollowtech Crankset was an Alivio M4000 Triple. Totalled at USD$85 (Crankset + 32t Oval Chainring + Aluminum Chainring Bolts + Ti Bolts)

Shimano Alivio stuffs are made to be used through zombie holocaust so it is impossible to break this thing :D. The weight at 1004g matches the sturdy built

Initial attempt at conversion to 32t single ended up at 615g - NOT good enuff...

That's more like it!. Crank Arm length was reduced to 165mm from 175mm - this primarily because I am more of a Spinner than Cruncher - spinning higher cadence with shorter cranks is less painful to my Hip Flexor. And shorter cranks are lighter too. The spider was totally reworked and substantial chunks of aluminum were shaved from the assembly. The Chainring gets traditional Drillium treatment too

For a $85 crankset to weigh a mere 487g makes me a happy man indeed :D thats 517g gone from the original assembly!

The Cassette:
I jumped into the Mega Wide Range bandwagon and the cheapest 11-50t available in the market was a Bolany 11-50t 11 Speed priced at USD$42

WHAAAT!!!! 660g! :eekster: this thing weighs as much as someone's full bike here...LOL!

And so I spent over 40 man hours on getting rid of the overtly excessive weights...with extreme Drillium, Grinding and MORE grinding hahaha

First the Mega Cluster gets extreme makeover which resulted in 157gm removed


395g isn't exactly a Weight Weenie standard, but for $42 cassette with a weight reduction of 265g overall...I would not complain :p

The rest of the Drivetrain:

Rear Derailleur - Shimano Ultegra RD-6800 SS Short Cage! got a bargain deal at USD$49.00 for an almost new RD sold by a Roadie fresh from his new bike. I have always suspected that a short cage RD would perform better on 1X system due to the stronger Cage springs and shorter chains, for as long the reach problem is solved for giant cogs (of which the RD Extender addresses) - now is the time to test my theories...

And so the RD was originally 197g and I decided not to go ape **** on modding this unit. Just grinding works on the cage and replacement of Pulleys to Meroca Aluminum. End results is 182g. (Once I have the funds I will go for DuraAce version)

The Rest -

The remaining drivetrain parts are:
- Shimano tuned length shifter cables (Free - already owned)
- RD Extender ($7.30 New)
- Shimano Alivio M4000 BB51 (Free - already owned)
- KMC X11EL 116 Chains tuned length ($35 New)
- Shimano Ultegra SL-RS700 1X11 Shifter ($74) Purchased practically new from an owner of folding bike. This shifter actually uses the same shifter chassis for XTR M9000 11spd. So at this price it was quite a bargain

Assembled Groupset!: Mocked up dry run with my spare training wheels

Hahaha, so a short cage RD does work on giant cogs. In fact the shifting performance was crisp and smooth. Even at 50t, the RD actually still have a bit of play to stretch flatter. And this means I don't really need a clutch RD because the SS cage tension was adequate to prevent chain slap.

40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Stage 4: The Brakeset

And so I went to buy a new Shimano BR-M477 new for USD$62. Pretty much the most common Non Series Shimano on most new bikes.

As expected the brakeset is way over 500g at 561g to be precise.

Inline with the insane modfication theme of the whole project, the mod for this brakeset took another gruelling 40 man hours to reduce the weight. Stage by stage pics below:

The end product weighed at 365g exceeded my expectations. That is like 30g lighter than an XTR M9000 Race set hahaha. But honestly I do not know how it will perform, only time will tell.

Mods were:
- Four Ti Bolts tuned to length on calipers
- Two Ti Bolts tuned to length on levers
- Removed steel pivot bolts and replaced with Aluminum Rivets
- Extreme grinding on every surfaces

And also due to the VERY slim profile of the Chassis & Levers, I expect a hard crash on the handlebar would snap those things off. This is a risk I am willing to absorb and if it does happen I will just send it over to my Radiator repair man for Aluminum welding hahaha - rinse and repeat until to a point it is beyond repair.

Other components.

14,449 Posts
"And this means I don't really need a clutch RD because the SS cage tension was adequate to prevent chain slap. "

I'd put some testing in on bumpy downhills when you're not pedalling. You may need a guide when you're in the mid to smaller gears.

40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
fxrextreme, RS VR6, jrhilado & all - Thanks. New updates due to upload in 30 minutes from now.

eb1888, yep I will surely try that and see how it behaves. Thanks

moefosho, part of this project was to satisfy my craving for mods. I enjoy the satisfaction of transforming something nondescript into something exciting. Also I need to be very mindful to keep the whole bike cost within the USD$1000 mark. Buying parts are easy....IF I have the funds LOL!

40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Stage 5: Other Components

At this point. all the major work has been completed as you can see above - EXCEPT for wheelset of which for now I am running my old Training wheels. The Training wheels weighs 17XXg. When I have the time I will complete my custom built Stan's ZTR Podium MMX + DT Swiss Revolution Spokes + Affordable Hubs.

So here's the rest of the items:

Handlebar: $27

Toray carbon fiber flat bar from TOSEEK - a Chinese Open Mold component maker which makes very neat components at affordable Cost. The weight shown was after length tune-up to 620mm

Seatpost: Cost $29

From TOSEEK as well. Length tuned to usable heights and upgraded with Ti Bolts. This one is due for further weight reduction work when I have the time to further trim the aluminum clamps

Saddle: Cost $25

Another TOSEEK Product. I choose this one because it's flatter than the other available options - which I hope will mate well with my sit bones

Stem: Cost $36

I honestly forgot the brand name of this stem. But I believe it's a Taiwanese piece and I have replaced all 6 bolts with Ti. Some work done to shave and cut aluminum parts then painted in Flat Black

Seatclamp: Cost FREE

Stock BMC Seatclamp. No mods for now but I will shave it down to below 20g

Bottlecage: Cost $12

Very decent weight for Bontrager cage. No mods done here....yet

Disc Rotors: Cost $49

Quaxar 160mm rotors from Taiwan. Very similar to Ashima:cool:

Rear Caliper Mount: Cost FREE

Included in the brakeset package, this was a single unit rear caliper mount. I cut them in two separate pieces and trim down the weight. Then replace the bolts with Ti (4x)

QR Skewers: Cost $12

Chinese RISK Titanium QR Skewers. VERY well built despite the low price

Pedals: Cost $29

Another Taiwanese component, Zeray. Currently modded to operate on single sided cleat clamps. SPD compatible. Will work on to reduce the weight to just below 200g soon by grinding off excess material on the axis

Grips: Cost FREE

LitePro Taiwanese grips. Neat and comfy

Headset: Cost $13

Another very neat LitePro product - and very light!

And here's the current statistics on the build:

The target is 8.4KG operating weight on race setup with the ZTR Podium wheelset later. I got the rims, DT spokes and Alu nipples for an unbelievable $29 off another MTBer who was upgrading to 29er:p

And behold! I present you Osprey 26 - she's ready to rock


776 Posts
Wow. That is a lot of man hours. Couldnt you just work those hours and then afford lighter stuff to begin with?
Where's the fun in that?

Well it is fun, too, but we all have different tastes. Some of us would rather work on bike parts than the day job buying bike parts.

I'm nowhere near this extreme, but I get it.

40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Here's the tools that made this project possible :D

I use primarily 12000rpm Luxor rotary tool with a set of 10pcs 3mm tungsten coated deburring shanks. Easily available at eBay

I am a harcore hobbyist who used to build and mod my own drag cars, bike etc. So this sort of work was definitely a passion to me.

But it must be clarified that this sort of hardcore weight reduction takes into consideration with me being only 57kg. I believe this setup will not work for anyone above 65kg
1 - 20 of 63 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.