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lol well I only just got a Canyon Spectral this summer but I want to build a hard tail for fun! Moving into SF so I want something smaller and lighter for commuting and more zippy MTB riding. Since my real MTB is a 29er I think I want to make this hardtail a 27.5. I’d like to keep cost around $2,500, and Id like SRAM GX for my drivetrain ($500). And I don’t want **** brakes. Can I make this build with my budget? any frame recommendations?
 

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since 4/10/2009
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lol well I only just got a Canyon Spectral this summer but I want to build a hard tail for fun! Moving into SF so I want something smaller and lighter for commuting and more zippy MTB riding. Since my real MTB is a 29er I think I want to make this hardtail a 27.5. I’d like to keep cost around $2,500, and Id like SRAM GX for my drivetrain ($500). And I don’t want **** brakes. Can I make this build with my budget? any frame recommendations?
possible, but you will have to be hunting next-to-nonexistent deals/sales and tracking down not-so-overpriced used stuff. especially if you already have some parts at home that you can use.

I wouldn't call $2500 a budget for a "sweet" build, either. A functional one, sure. But you'll have to make some compromises. Especially with current supply and availability difficulties. A friend of mine has had a MUCH bigger budget for a FS build and he's been waiting on stuff for around a year and a half. He's finally down to one item - the frame. The builder built it up but there was a problem with the build so it had to be redone. So waiting on that now. Getting brakes (Hopes) was a bit of a nightmare for him, too, but those finally shipped.

I agree that unless you're super patient, you're probably better off buying a complete that you know is available. Buying a bike right now isn't quite as bad as trying to buy a car right now, but trying to build one might be.
 

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A competent build can be done if you are hunting some used deals. A sweet build, by my definition would be tough. I built a 27.5 nukeproof scout in 2017 for $1300 and it was an awesome budget parts bin build. I had a similar goal for my new 29er build but with a larger budget of $2,300. A new hard tail frame, fork, and drivetrain put me at $1,900. So I am blowing right through the budget. One thing killing me are the little nickel and dime parts. my old town had an awesome bike co-op (shout out Boise Bicycle Project) for things like spacers, spare bolts, brake adapters etc. I have spent easily 5 times more on those bits for this build. I am going to end up near $4k, but that is with a rigid 27.5+ set up and a suspended 29 set up. That includes some luxuries like wolf tooth headset, onyx hubbed 29er rear wheel (bought used) and some other shiny bits.
 

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I thought about building a bike from scratch once and this was pre Covid times.
Decided:
A) couldn’t pass up the discount you get on parts when it’s a complete bike
B) realized what a hassle sourcing every single part would be
3) other than the fork and grips (Ergon GE1 ftw) I kind of don’t give a **** about parts as long as they’re “good enough” for the job.
 

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I thought about building a bike from scratch once and this was pre Covid times.
Decided:
A) couldn’t pass up the discount you get on parts when it’s a complete bike
B) realized what a hassle sourcing every single part would be
3) other than the fork and grips (Ergon GE1 ftw) I kind of don’t give a **** about parts as long as they’re “good enough” for the job.
This is valid. It is not as much fun now, but taking the time to find deals and get creative when sourcing components was a huge part of the fun for me pre covid.. I met a lot of cool people buying their old parts off of them. Now with covid scarcity and now living in a smaller community with a smaller mountain biking scene it has not been as much fun. I will still hunt for deals on components to replace what I have. But I doubt I will build from scratch again. One thing that kills me about complete bikes is that mid tier bikes come with crap tier wheels. I hate knowing that I have to spend money even more money off the hit to have what I think is decent.
 

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This is valid. It is not as much fun now, but taking the time to find deals and get creative when sourcing components was a huge part of the fun for me pre covid.. I met a lot of cool people buying their old parts off of them. Now with covid scarcity and now living in a smaller community with a smaller mountain biking scene it has not been as much fun. I will still hunt for deals on components to replace what I have. But I doubt I will build from scratch again. One thing that kills me about complete bikes is that mid tier bikes come with crap tier wheels. I hate knowing that I have to spend money even more money off the hit to have what I think is decent.
Agree about crap tier wheels but.
Adopted the philosophy I’d ride em til the wheels fell off then get decent ones
Still waiting/Durocs ain’t that bad shrug
 

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since 4/10/2009
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In the past, I have enjoyed the process of choosing parts for frames. I agree that right now with availability being iffy, that's probably somewhat less of a positive factor. But you kinda have to like that to go that route. For my previous builds, I've taken several months to accumulate parts, so at least I'm used to being patient.

If I was buying now, I'd certainly be more likely to buy a complete. I'd replace things like saddle/grips/pedals as needed and address anything else much more slowly...likely after beating the hell out of it for awhile and finding the limitations of the parts.

IME, the limitations of the lower tier wheels you get comes less from the rims (it doesn't take a whole lot to reach respectable quality alu rims), but rather with the build of the wheels followed by hub quality.
 

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I think you could build a good competent reliable bike for 2.5k. Go with a used fork and wheels would get you most value for money and new everything else. Used 27.5" wheels seem to be bargain priced nowadays it's a buyer's market there. Especially if it has a hyperglide hub. I'm seeing some good looking wheels with tires and rotors for less than $400. Throw on a 11-51 Deore 11 speed cassette ($100) and derailleur ($60) with last year's more reliable XT shifter ($60) for a dirt cheap bullet proof reliable drivetrain. Magura MT30 4 piston brakes ($90x2 = $180). Take off dropper ($100). Should be able to get a nice good used 27.5" fork for $600 or less. Cranks $100. Leaved you $900 for a frame, and finishing kit (bar, stem, grips, chain, cables, etc). Kona Honza is $700. Could find a used frame in your budget. Custom Marino frame would be in your budget. Chromag and Canfield look to have been hit with inflation and might be out of the budget unless you find a lot of value for your money with the fork and wheels. Ragley frames from CRC look really nice if you want aluminum. Marin San Quentin frame set is just $550. Pre-built at your budget you can get a pretty good bike too. I might lean pre-built unless you just want to build it up yourself, which I'm always guilty of.
 

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I thought about building a bike from scratch once and this was pre Covid times.
Decided:
A) couldn’t pass up the discount you get on parts when it’s a complete bike
B) realized what a hassle sourcing every single part would be
3) other than the fork and grips (Ergon GE1 ftw) I kind of don’t give a **** about parts as long as they’re “good enough” for the job.
this is mostly true. You can't build the same bike with same spec if you do it yourself. Not for the same money. And most of the parts are nowhere to be found anyway. I considered buying takeoff/gently used parts off marketplace/ebay...

Weight is my main complaint about cheap parts. You can have 3lbs. of extra crap on your bike with lower-tier parts....
 

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this is mostly true. You can't build the same bike with same spec if you do it yourself. Not for the same money. And most of the parts are nowhere to be found anyway. I considered buying takeoff/gently used parts off marketplace/ebay...

Weight is my main complaint about cheap parts. You can have 3lbs. of extra crap on your bike with lower-tier parts....
Don’t care about weight either tbh. Bikes today are weightless compared to bitd.

Don’t mind cheap shifter/derailleurs all that much either. My philosophy is what’s the point rn when the majority bad gear changes are my fault to begin with?

Also buying the cheapest NP Scout build let me justify “over forking” it.
They said it was designed for 140 and could take 150. I said “that sounds like a challenge to me” and haven’t looked back since I found a 160 on sale at Backcountry

no regerts
 

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Don’t care about weight either tbh. Bikes today are weightless compared to bitd.

Don’t mind cheap shifter/derailleurs all that much either. My philosophy is what’s the point rn when the majority bad gear changes are my fault to begin with?
I typically like SLX mech just fine, even Deore. The cassette is one place where you can make up weight for not a ton more, though. Cranks and wheels as well. I think a few hundred more for better and lighter parts on a bike you'll ride for years is worth it. I'm not a weight weenie, but you can go from 30-35lbs. by saving a few hundred bucks. It's noticeable.
 

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I typically like SLX mech just fine, even Deore. The cassette is one place where you can make up weight for not a ton more, though. Cranks and wheels as well. I think a few hundred more for better and lighter parts on a bike you'll ride for years is worth it. I'm not a weight weenie, but you can go from 30-35lbs. by saving a few hundred bucks. It's noticeable.
Word. That makes a lot of sense. I’m pretty sure Santa is going to be leaving some 27.5 Mavic Deemax Pro wheels under the Xmas tree this year lol
 

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lol well I only just got a Canyon Spectral this summer but I want to build a hard tail for fun! Moving into SF so I want something smaller and lighter for commuting and more zippy MTB riding. Since my real MTB is a 29er I think I want to make this hardtail a 27.5. I’d like to keep cost around $2,500, and Id like SRAM GX for my drivetrain ($500). And I don’t want **** brakes. Can I make this build with my budget? any frame recommendations?
$450
As of rn 4x Mediums left and a bunch of Larges.
Im 5’10”, 30 inch inseam and went with a L because of availability at the time. While it’s slightly less playful than a M, it’s also slightly more stable yet equally maneuverable in general if that makes sense. No regrets
 
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