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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm working on a Chameleon build, I have a 2010 Large frame.

Can you give me suggestions for components? I still need forks, stem, bars, seatpost and brakes. I have a Shimano XT crank with 32t and a few cogs for the rear wheel. (I think I want to go with single speed for now, and eventually get another rear wheel and a derailleur to have a 1x9.)

I am thinking a Thomson elite seatpost.

I'm not sure how to decide what size stem and what width/profile bars.

Fox has a lot of different shocks, I just want something with a good amount of travel. I'm not sure about the different axle sizes and what I should go with. (Maybe whichever is more common.)

I was thinking either Juicy 7's or Elixir R brakes. I probably want a 185 front so they are stoppie-strong.

Thanks guys!
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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I like two-bolt seat posts. I'm not sure it's that useful a place to spend a bunch of money, though - depends on your budget.

For handlebars - as long as they're a model that can be cut, I say start wide. Cutting a wide bar is easier than stretching a narrow one.

Elixirs are a bit better reviewed. I imagine you can get a significantly better price on Juicys, though.

What kind of riding do you want to do? Santa Cruz says the bike can take anything from a 100mm to 160mm fork, with 120 and 140 being preferred. That reads to me as a trail or AM hardtail (along with the weight of the frame,) rather than XC or FR/DH/4X. I guess if I was building up a Chameleon for non-competitive riding, I'd probably start long and adjust shorter, like with handlebars, and buy the Float, or get a Talas, so I could switch between long-travel and shorter-travel. Most of my trails roll a lot, so I like not messing around with a lot of adjustments to transition between climbing and descending. (And do your homework - I'm just assuming the Float can be travel-reduced because most forks can. You may be committed to a size with it.)

Since you already own the bike, stem sizing is very much a matter of experimentation. If you have a previous bike you can use to compare, I'd say go with a stem that gives you the same relationship between saddle and handlebars. If you don't, start with maybe a 90mm stem for trail and XC, or something shorter if you have more of an AM attitude in mind. Buy cheap ones, like new bike takeoffs, or out of a $10 stem bin at your local coop, until you have your length and angle dialed in. Then either keep the cheap one and be happy or buy something blingier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Is something like an Easton EC70 flat bar a good place to start?

Unless I find a killer deal on juicys I think I'll probably go with Elixirs.

I plan on doing some trail riding and some downhill riding. Smooth downhill, not anything extreme. Not a lot of cross country, but not a 5 minute ride in the back yard. What's the major difference between a AM and XC bike, mostly weight?

I'll think look around for something in the 70-90mm range then and try it to get a feel for the sizing.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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For me, the biggest difference would be attitude about climbing. AM riders climb because they have to to access a singletrack descent. XC riders consider it a part of the ride, and may even seek out specific climbs for the challenge or training value. XC bikes are set up to facilitate climbing faster, maybe even competitively. So they typically have longer stems and narrower bars, and used to have really long stems and really tiny bars, steeper head angles, and less travel. AM bikes have more travel, shorter stems, and wider handlebars. I also see people riding AM bikes on the jump and DH lines at one of my local riding spots, that actually has walkups built to access those lines. For some riders, ascending ability seems not to matter because they're pushing the bike anyway. A good XC rider can ride any DH line that doesn't have mandatory air, and some that do, but a good DH rider on a bike that's set up for it can do those lines a lot faster and some of the ones that an XC rider with a self-preservation instinct might decide to skip.

I don't know that a flat bar is a better or worse place to start than a riser. There's a shocking amount of vertical adjustability in a mountain bike cockpit, between spacer arrangement and stem angle, so which bar, exactly, you use doesn't matter except at the extremes. I'd get something inexpensive and wide if I wasn't sure what I wanted.

I found 65mm to be a silly length for a stem and 80mm to be a little annoying on short, steep power climbs. I currently use a 90mm stem and like it. YMMV.
 
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