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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

I'm a newbie in this forum, also not very experienced MTB rider, but I decided to build my own bike. I selected parts I want to put on it, but since I'm not very experienced, I thought I'd ask for help here.
The idea is to build a carbon bike (unable to buy aluminum FS frame in my country), but on the budget end of the spectrum. I plan on buying most of the items from aliexpress. Here is a list:

Frame: SERAPH FM038 or SERAPH FM158 (I like the FM158 better)
Fork: BOLANY 32RL
Rear shock: SR SUNTOUR Raidon with lockout
Groupset (Shimano Deore M6100): Crankset, Bottom Bracket, Rest of groupset
Brakes (Hydraulic): Shimano MT200
Stem: TOSEEK Carbon
Handlebar + Seatpost: TOSEEK Carbon
Wheels: PASAK LOCA 29" Aluminum
Tires (outer): MAXXIS 29x2.1"
Rest of the stuff I can find locally

If you have suggestion for improvement without drastic cost difference, I'd like to hear/read.
I would like a second, third, ... 23rd opinion before I go and spend around $2000 online.
Any help is appreciated, thanks in advance,
Kiko
 

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I do not like that Bolany fork. You can find a Manitou (Machete?) on aliexpress that would be a lot better. Will be a lot more expensive, though. Other stuff looks OK to me.

It's going to cost more than you think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Any thoughts about which frame would be better?
I will go on cross country rides, no or minimal jumps, that's why the bolany fork too. Because I read that carbon frames cannot take much torture with higher jumps.
 

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  • Go with the SERAPH FM038... its got a slightly slacker Head Tube (68 degree) so itll be more stable and modern for an xc bike.
  • Go wider on the tires (2.3 width)
  • Go with Deore brakes (M6100) - These brakes are awesome! Better to go less money with the shifters over brakes.
  • Agree with Manitou Machete fork (dont worry about the remote lockout)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I wrote above that I like the FM158 better, but that's only because the width of tubes on back part of the FM038 worry me a bit, I see the FM158 has bit wider tubes. I just worry about the durability.
Also, maybe I need to mention, I have 170cm height, 83kg weight, if it affects things.
 

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I wrote above that I like the FM158 better, but that's only because the width of tubes on back part of the FM038 worry me a bit, I see the FM158 has bit wider tubes. I just worry about the durability.
Also, maybe I need to mention, I have 170cm height, 83kg weight, if it affects things.
I wouldnt worry too much about the frame durability based on the picture. Generally these chinese carbon frames are pretty solid. As long as you are avoiding special carbon lay ups for reduced weight or flex stays you should be fine. Sure there are stories of cracked chinese frames, but same can be said for top of the line Specialized and Trek.
 

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I don't know anything about those frames or wheels etc. and what is available in your country, but a few observations

1) you're a beginner and say you don't know much about bikes or components. IMHO, you should be buying a bike rather than building one. Not saying you can't build it, but if you want to get things that go together well and built for an intended purpose.... if you buy a whole bike, it will be.

2)) you have steep head tube angles compared to the current flavor of bikes. I would be looking for 65-66 degree HTA.

3) The wheels you selected are on the narrow side by current standards. I'd be looking for something closer to 30mm

4) 1 of the frames has a max tire of 2.2" the other 2.35" Generally speaking 2.2 is narrow. 2,35 is OK, but still on the narrow end of what is sold in the trail/downcountry bike category. For a rear tire I'd consider 2.3-2.4"

5) your fork and shock are low budget items. Not saying you have to spend $1K for your fork, but if you're building a bike, I would think you should get something better that absolute entry level.
 

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Not going to comment on the parts because I don't know anything about hardly any of them. I'll just echo they you should probably be buying a complete bike at the price point you're at. Not only are you missing some parts on your list, but you need some special tools for things like bottom brackets and pressing in headsets. That stuff adds up and will just cut into your budget.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
@Koogs yes, I am a beginner, and yes, I don't know much about building bikes. That being said, I'm a quick study, I love learning new stuff and satisfaction from being able to say I built my own bike will be great.
Also, I already have a cheap FS bike that I bought as is. I don't hate it, it works just fine, but it has 26" wheels, and I'd like something with 29". What I mean is, I have something to ride while working on the new build.

About the frame, if you have the time, can you look at this link, specifically FS frames, tell me what you think will suit me best?
About the fork and shock, I agree, I chose absolute entry level, thinking I'd ride them while I can, then upgrade to better from budget a year or two from now.

Ex. I can buy the Bolany 32RL for ~$150, Manitou Machete for $450+, that's quite the difference. If anyone has other suggestion about fork and rear shock within about $100 difference, I believe I can spend a bit more.
I'll do a research into which forks I can afford to buy, but I believe I'm limited at:
  • SR SUNTOUR XCR 32 AIR
  • RockShox Recon Silver Air
  • Manitou Markhor M30(?)

@SingleSpeedSteven about the tools for specific parts, I'll have a professional do that, so I don't accidentally break the frame or fork. That will cost a fraction of buying the tools to use them only once.
 

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I respect the desire to build your own bike, but you'll get waaay better spec buying a complete bike. Companies get bulk pricing individuals just can't access. If CRC ships to Macedonia, at $2K I'd recommend taking a hard look at something like Vitus Mythique 29 VRS Mountain Bike 2021 | Chain Reaction Cycles especially since every size but small is in stock right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
@looks easy from here that is a very nice bike, would love to buy that. And CRC does ship to Macedonia, but then the shipping + tax + customs fee would add another 1000 euros. That's what is stopping me.
Also, let me point out that it's either extremely difficult to find a nice FS MTB here, or it is extremely expensive, like 7000+ euros expensive. The alternative is to buy a used bike for the money I plan on spending to build mine from scratch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
After reading suggestions here and advice from manufacturer, I decided to go with the FM038 frame.

About the rear shock, I saw very good reviews on DNM AOY-36RC, so maybe I should use that one instead?

About the fork, it's difficult to find a RockShox Recon, I can buy a Manitou Markhor for about 215 euros (with future possibility to upgrade to remote for additional 35 euros). If not, the Bolany 32RL Magnesium (137 euros) is last resort.
 

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The Markhor will be miles ahead of the Bolany fork. From what I remember of watching tear down videos, they don't have real dampers, just orifices and needle valves.
"Just orifices and needle valves" -- you must be getting them confused with Rock Shox. Ha Ha! :)

From what I've seen, the Bolany dampers are unserviceable cartridge dampers, similar to what Suntour uses on their cheap forks. In the teardown I saw, it looked like the compression and rebound damping were equal... odd for sure.

It looked like the air spring in the Bolany doesn't really have a negative spring.
 

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One thing not mentioned is parts and service information for the off brand fork and shock. Unless both are available, they will be paperweights once they need a service.
 
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