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I am going to college in a few months and need a bike to get around. this will be my only way of transport while on campus so it will be ridden no matter the weather (yes, i have ridden in snow). it will also be used for weekends mountain biking trips. Currently, i ride something pretty department store-ish, some GMC branded thing. the only thing of note is some Avid bb7's and hs1 rotors i put on due to failure of the previous brakes.

I am guessing that by mid july of this year i will have $1000-$1500 to "invest". this allows me to go a few tiers up. obviously, i am not looking for the most kick butt stuff. I have done a little research on individual parts, so i can get an idea of what to look for if i buy this bike as a whole. For example, a bike in my price bracket will not have a sram xx1, drivetrain, i know that. Some of Sram's x7 components caught my eye

I need to ask some people with more experience: what are some components that would end up as a bike in my price range? i need suggestions for ALL components of a bike, but the big one for me is a frame. right now i am assuming a 26 inch wheel size.

There are a few requirements. i want the brakes to be hydraulic, and i would like a 2x10 drivetrain. the reasons for this are that i borrowed a friends bike for a week while he was out of town, and he had shimano xt brakes and i forget which exact drivetrain, but these work with me very well. i also have become used to full suspension, so tick that box. i am guessing 120 mm of travel will be sufficient.

Weight is not an issue, because my current bike is around 41 lbs and i am 170 in an improving state of fitness.

I also have a few questions
Do different drivetrain components work together fine? for example, will the x7 type 2 work with a shimano deore cassette? or with an x5 shifter with the same actuation ratio?

Centerlock vs 6 bolt- i am not going to be removing my rotors often so are there any other advantages?

The chain is going to need to be durable, above all else. Do stainless chains provide a benefit worth the price over regular chains? keep in mind that i am a college student and will not have time to obsessively maintain my bike.

Provide to me what you can, all of it will be appreciated. thank you all for your time.
 

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Campus and nice bikes are almost always a bad combo.The bike you have now would be a good campus bike. You are not going to build a F/S bike with those parts for $1500. Used would be the way to go.As long as you use the same brand shifters and derailleurs they will work together ,you can use either sram or shimano cassettes as long as it is the same number of gears as the shifter has .It would help if you could tell us about the type of riding you want to do. Can you go to some shops and test ride some bikes?
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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Having been to college, (a couple times! ;) ) I agree with rangeriderdave.

Keep your current bike rolling. That's it.

Have you picked a school yet?
 

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R.I.P. DogFriend
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Campus and nice bikes are almost always a bad combo.The bike you have now would be a good campus bike.
QFT.

To the OP, your current bike may even be a bit too nice for a campus bike IMHO. The best campus bikes are those that are too ugly to want, but are functionally pretty decent. Lock it up with a simple u-lock because thieves will most likely put their efforts into something nicer. If you lock up a nicer bike with a bunch of mega-locks, they're likely to sh!t-stomp your wheels and/or steal the small parts they can get their hands on, like your BB7 brakes.

Keep your nice bike inside your dorm/room/apt/house.
 

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When I was in college, I remember getting bulletins about bikes getting stolen all the time. There had to be at least 5 a week that were stolen, but that was quite a while ago. Depending on your school, I would just keep rolling that tank to school. Some schools around here have implemented an indoor storage facility where a keycard is needed to even enter which cost money, but its pretty slick. Then again, its a city that really pushes alternate transportation and tries to accommodate whenever possible.


For the higher end of your budget, you could probably get a really nice used bike with XT (or SRam X9). Not feeling the Shimano stuff? Just curious. Everyone has their preference.
 

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Campus and nice bikes are almost always a bad combo.The bike you have now would be a good campus bike. You are not going to build a F/S bike with those parts for $1500. Used would be the way to go.As long as you use the same brand shifters and derailleurs they will work together ,you can use either sram or shimano cassettes as long as it is the same number of gears as the shifter has .It would help if you could tell us about the type of riding you want to do. Can you go to some shops and test ride some bikes?
If you are happy to shop around for used/discounted parts & take your time, you can definitely build a FS bike for under $1500... I just finished building a 2008 Turner 5 Spot for 1200 from scratch including the frame & air forks...

Took me a couple of months of scrounging, but it has a mix of mid-top end shimano bits where it matters & runs hydraulic brakes (ok... I was given those FOC but even buying a reasonable set new it wouldn't bring it up to 1500) So with patience & willingness to do the work yourself, you can definitely build a capable FS for your budget... and it will be all yours :)

However, I agree with all the comments above RE campus... With the time, money & care I've put into this bike, there is no way I would be leaving it on a college campus or anywhere public for any length of time...I get nervous if I have to leave it locked up outside a shop for a few mins... I do use it to commute, but only because I have a fully secure storage solution at work...

Build a nice bike for the trails & keep the GMC for college :)
 
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