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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all

New to forum I was directed here from the Slowtwitch forum.

Well I just discovered the joys of down hill riding at Tamarack ski resort in Idaho and want to upgrade my mid-90's Trek 800. People said we were crazy riding no suspension bikes down a ski hill but we still had a blast.

I've been looking around and am considering buying a frame to build up instead of the entire bike. Right now there is a Kona Kikapu 2006 frame for sale for $200.00 that is new.

So the big Q would be what is everyone's experience in building up a bike vs buying outright from a cost perspective. I want to do it right and have a nice machine to enjoy for years. I have no issue with doing the wrench work. Mid level components probably or built to factory component level.

Would you recommend buying the frame and adding components or buying one complete?

Thanks in advance for input
 

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spec4life???..smh...
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From all iv ever read it is definently more expensive to build your own bike rather than buying one complete. The reasoning is that big brand compnies can buy parts in bulk and therefor get them at a lower price than we can puchase one at retail.

However when you build your own bike you can put the exact componets that you want. I think its every riders dream to eventually build a bike from the frame up but in the end buying one already complete is the way to go on a budget.
 

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Welcome to the forums. You will find there are some great people that try to answer all the questions quickly. In response to your question I dont know what you should do since im a newbie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:D
 

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Depends...

Before you start be honest about your motivation. If you plan to build just to save money - don't do it unless you got plenty of time and experience. The first time is usually a costly learning experience. If you do like wrenching - go ahead.

Building a bike can be done at a competitive price. Lot's of sales events and the internet provide ample opportunities to buy components at reasonable prices. It just takes time and effort as well as some patience to do the shopping. It also takes experience to avoid the expensive mistakes.

But don't expect to beat the bike vendors prices. In my experience the net/net price of a built-it-yourself bike is in the range of the stock bike. The advantage of the built-it-yourself bike is that you control which parts you spend more money on and which less. Your built bike for example may have a better fork but a lower quality crank set compared to the stock price.

Building your own bike at a competitive price likely get's easier the larger the budget for the new bike is. Main reason here is that the last bit of technology advantage is the most expensive. So compromising on quality of one part may set quite a bit of budget free. I've built low cost bikes as well as pretty nice ones at competitive prices. But low cost did require way more creativity and patience.

1) Create a complete parts list. Build the bike in a spreadsheet. Consider everything, from prominent parts like the brakes to small parts like cable housing and caps. For each part plan if you want to scavenge from an old bike or buy (plus where and at what cost).

To save money: Utilize sales events. Consider price breaks and discounts. Think of buying mature technology (e.g. tapered cranks & BB).

2) Consider shipment costs!

3) Check if you lack required tools or skills for the project. (If you do not know what building a bike entails, do some reseach). Add tools or tasks you need to outsource to the planned costs.

4) Double check if the specs will work. Are all parts compatible? Will the bike fit you? If you are unsure about this you are going a huge risk.

5) Latest here you should double check if simply buying a bike from stock wouldn't be better.

6) Start the process. Buy and assemble. Make sure you update your plan as you proceed and optimize your purchases as opportunities come up.

Sounds like a lot of work and stress? Well, back to the first paragraph of this diatribe... Don't do it unless you like wrenching. A "don't mind wrenching" ain't gonna do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Advice

Appreciate the advice from all.

Well I pulled the trigger and bought a Kona Stab Primo which showed up today thanks to Fed Ex. Ebay rocks for $800 plus ship.
Holy Cow talk about a machine. After a couple of hours in the garage I had it all put together and no missing parts. Had to take it down to the LBS for a new rear tire since it had knobs missing from the tire and nylon showing. I'm going out this weekend and want it to be in tip top and for the LBS to check my assembly.

Kind of discouraging or my suspicion is the LBS guy said I bought a bike that is extreme to my level. Completely agree that I'm a newb but I couldn't resist buying something I can grow into although probably never test limits.

So I was thinking that since the bike that I purchased will be great for it's downhill purpose should I put a front fork on my Trek 800 to use for the in between riding. Don't think the new bike will be that fun to ride up hill but I'm still game to ride it as much as I can.

Anybody have a recomendation on a fork for my old Trek? Not looking to spend a bunch of money but I know little about what is good/bad and how to size? I have knowledge of road bikes (limited).

Any advice is appreciated,
 

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A Stab! Well, you shouldn't have any issues on the decends with that one :D

As for a fork for the Treck 800: Measure the distance between the axle of the wheel and the bottom cup of the headset. The new fork should have the same distance plus an allowance for sag.

Most forks in the same range of travel have the approximately same crown height. Measure, post. And I'll check a few forks around me. That will give you an idea what kind of travel you need to look at. You can then purchase from eBay or a new fork from an internet store.
 
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