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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I figure it's time to make a thread here in this section of the forum. I had a thread running in the suspension section about a fork that eventually turned into a thread about what frame and whatnot.

Long story short, I got a Marz Z1 130mm fork for cheap and I wanted to put it on my trek 3700. Consensus was to buy a new bike, which I cannot do. So I've decided to do some frame hunting. I would prefer a full suspension frame, as I can easier justify the purchase (just gotta say something along the lines of "my ass hurts!"). Plus I figure, if I'm buying a new frame, might as well try a full suspension one.

I am a college student living at home with the parents (bills paid and free food), but they always have issues with spending money I don't have or shouldn't be spending on my bike or motorcycle. My budget is sub 200 dollars (if that's even possible)

I really like the look of the Trek Liquid 55 (photo attached below), since the rear shock is positioned in an area of the frame which leaves room for a bottle cage and possibly a frame bag. I've attached a photo of my "Franken-Bike" also.

I want a bike that I can improve my skills with, something that can take a beating but is still a great climber and doesn't weigh a ton (wow, I want what everyone wants!). Most importantly, something that can work with my Z1 fork (with a steerer tube of about 8 inches). Currently the headtube on my frame is so long that the steerer tube of the fork doesn't even reach the top clamping area of the stem. I'm looking to invest in a shorter stack stem to try and remedy the problem for now. I think an All Mountain type of bike would suit me well - something that can do everything.

I am 22, 6' 190lbs, and have longer legs than torso. My Trek 3700 is a 21 inch frame and I can raise the seat about 3 inches above the top of the seat tube. I'm considering getting a 19 inch frame - so the bike isn't as large and my friends or family can ride it.


Some bikes that I like and would like to build off the frames are:

K-2 Attack 2.0 (It's a bit out of my budget for now, but I can save up and get it assuming that it's not sold by then)

Kona Stinky (It's local on CL and comes with the stock front fork - maybe I can rebuild my trek 3700 with that fork and have another bike to loan to friends. The frame is totally affordable but has a crack in the rear triangle which is kinda a turn off)

04 Trek Fuel - assuming it's bid price doesn't get too high.

Motobecane Fantom Pro - also above budget but can save up (assuming it will still be available by then of course).

If anyone has any more suggestions on frames or where to look for frames (The only sources I know of are CL, Ebay, and Pinkbike) please let me know.

Also, does anyone happen to know the handlebar diameter on an 04 Trek 3700? I'm looking for a shorter stack stem as a temp fix.

Thanks!
 

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At the $Amount you are looking at, you will be faking/finagling to make it happen. You sound like you have enough knowledge to do it. I have seen some crazy deals come from CL....just make sure they aren't stollen. I would avoid the broken frame, unless you know a good AL welder....that is not an easy fix. If you do it, you should see how cheap you can pull it off, and post pics, even if it's a Frankenbike.
 

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So I figure it's time to make a thread here in this section of the forum. I had a thread running in the suspension section about a fork that eventually turned into a thread about what frame and whatnot.

Long story short, I got a Marz Z1 130mm fork for cheap and I wanted to put it on my trek 3700. Consensus was to buy a new bike, which I cannot do. So I've decided to do some frame hunting. I would prefer a full suspension frame, as I can easier justify the purchase (just gotta say something along the lines of "my ass hurts!"). Plus I figure, if I'm buying a new frame, might as well try a full suspension one.

I am a college student living at home with the parents (bills paid and free food), but they always have issues with spending money I don't have or shouldn't be spending on my bike or motorcycle. My budget is sub 200 dollars (if that's even possible)

I really like the look of the Trek Liquid 55 (photo attached below), since the rear shock is positioned in an area of the frame which leaves room for a bottle cage and possibly a frame bag. I've attached a photo of my "Franken-Bike" also.
There are two different main Liquid frame designs, one has a flexing carbon rear stay and one has a pivot. You want the one with the pivot. I had a Liquid 65 for a while and though it wasn't a great climber it was a fun bike. The carbon stays... well their longevity has been questioned.
I am 22, 6' 190lbs, and have longer legs than torso. My Trek 3700 is a 21 inch frame and I can raise the seat about 3 inches above the top of the seat tube. I'm considering getting a 19 inch frame - so the bike isn't as large and my friends or family can ride it.
I am also 6' and wouldn't consider riding a 21" Trek, 19" frames have always fit better. I think you should test ride one and see.
K-2 Attack 2.0 (It's a bit out of my budget for now, but I can save up and get it assuming that it's not sold by then)
If it's new it's probably an ok buy, otherwise avoid.
Kona Stinky (It's local on CL and comes with the stock front fork - maybe I can rebuild my trek 3700 with that fork and have another bike to loan to friends. The frame is totally affordable but has a crack in the rear triangle which is kinda a turn off)
RUN AWAY! Never even consider buying a cracked frame. I wouldn't even buy a new frame that had a history of cracking.
04 Trek Fuel - assuming it's bid price doesn't get too high.

Motobecane Fantom Pro - also above budget but can save up (assuming it will still be available by then of course).
The Fuel was a decent bike in its day and the Moto was a decent bike when it was designed in 1996.
If anyone has any more suggestions on frames or where to look for frames (The only sources I know of are CL, Ebay, and Pinkbike) please let me know.

Also, does anyone happen to know the handlebar diameter on an 04 Trek 3700? I'm looking for a shorter stack stem as a temp fix.

Thanks!
Ok, since I'm being the bringer of bad news I can't suggest trying to transfer parts from an entry level hardtail onto a random full suspension bike. First you have to make sure that parts like the steerer tube length, BB dimensions, and front derailleur clamp are all compatible. You have to make sure that the brakes you have will fit your next frame and you will have to remember that you'll have to re-cable all the controls which isn't a huge cost but a cost none the less. Plus you will need to spend the money to buy tools or have a bike shop swap parts and that wont' be free.

Maybe you should be considering saving longer or selling your current bike and buying a complete bike. Your budget screams "hardtail". There simply isn't another reasonable option unless you're willing to start spending big bucks. You can get a really solid hardtail frame in your budget and still have some money left over for the parts that won't transfer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks so much for the replies.

ghglenn, hopefully I'll be able to pull it off with my budget. I just started at my university's bike shop, but I'm in an unpaid training phase right now. I don't think it will last much longer since everyone likes me a lot and (not to toot my own whistle, but) I'm a pretty decent mechanic. Of course not nearly as good as the other guys, but good enough to be offered the job without asking, haha.

Zebrahum, I appreciate your honesty with the realistic news. Makes me glad that I work in a bike shop and own most all of the tools required for the job. I honestly didn't even realize I had to consider bb size. That is something I will have to check out.

The motobecane is a 2010 model and will be within budget soon (hopefully), haha.

Found another one - Cannondale Jekyll 400 - assuming the bid price stays within budget haha.

Also found a 95 Trek 6500 frame for 15 dollars on CL! It's a HT frame, but can't beat 15 dollars - would that frame work with a 130mm fork?

The problem with a hard tail is justifying the cost to the parents, particularly my dad. I'm sure you guys remember those days. At least with a full suspension, I can try to justify it.

Looking at my bike setup now, do you guys think a shorter stack stem that has 0 degree rise and is about half the length of the current stem would solve the issue of the bike being way too high up? It's a wheelie machine.

Thanks.
 

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Thanks so much for the replies.

ghglenn, hopefully I'll be able to pull it off with my budget. I just started at my university's bike shop, but I'm in an unpaid training phase right now. I don't think it will last much longer since everyone likes me a lot and (not to toot my own whistle, but) I'm a pretty decent mechanic. Of course not nearly as good as the other guys, but good enough to be offered the job without asking, haha.

Zebrahum, I appreciate your honesty with the realistic news. Makes me glad that I work in a bike shop and own most all of the tools required for the job. I honestly didn't even realize I had to consider bb size. That is something I will have to check out.

The motobecane is a 2010 model and will be within budget soon (hopefully), haha.

Found another one - Cannondale Jekyll 400 - assuming the bid price stays within budget haha.

Also found a 95 Trek 6500 frame for 15 dollars on CL! It's a HT frame, but can't beat 15 dollars - would that frame work with a 130mm fork?

The problem with a hard tail is justifying the cost to the parents, particularly my dad. I'm sure you guys remember those days. At least with a full suspension, I can try to justify it.

Looking at my bike setup now, do you guys think a shorter stack stem that has 0 degree rise and is about half the length of the current stem would solve the issue of the bike being way too high up? It's a wheelie machine.

Thanks.
Ok, what's your budget? It's always the first place to start. No one can help you if we don't know what you're attempting to spend.

I'd probably buy that frame (if it's the right size and not broken) just to have it around at that price.

I know you're not talking about a 1996 Moto, I was saying that their design is outdated. Here's something that looks very similar, the 1996 Turner Burner


And I don't like the Jekyll but many people do (for whatever reason). The issue I have with buying one used is that proprietary shocks can be hard to find replacements for. That means that the longevity of that bike is capped with the availability of parts for the shock. Probably won't be an issue if this is just a "stepping stone" bike but if you're looking for something to hang with for a while then you're probably out of luck.

I suspect you should be able to come up with something working at a bike shop. Doesn't anyone have any bikes they're trying to get rid of this season? One of the manufacturers have any left-over stock they're liquidating?
 

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I bought my 2008 GF Procaliber frame for $300 including headset and rear shock.
Using a drivetrain and misc. bits from my broken hardtail (Sram X9) seat, post, handlebars, I had laying around, and buying only wheels ($60 used) Brakes (Shimano Deore SLX $250 new) and a fork ( Marzocchi Marathon $245 new)
I'm looking to have a pretty nice full suspension for under $1000. See my build in the Gary Fisher forum.
 

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Ok what you are planning to do is...doable...but I would strongly suggest raising you budget to about 250 or 300. DO NOT buy a cracked frame...ever. Just don't. Also, running a bike with the steerer tube top any more than 5mm below the top of the stem can be extremely dangerous, also don't do it. Your only real options are pinkbike and ebay. I recently bought a badass frame off pinkbike on a massive bargain, so give it a look, be smart, and get lucky. Here are a couple of things I found to help you with some options and get you started. Also remember, running a frame with a fork anywhere beyond 10mm above or below what is recommended can have dramatic effects on handling and furthermore, be very dangerous.

Pistol 2/Rockshox Recon - Pinkbike.com

2004 Cannondale Prophet Mountain Bike Frame Large **Mint** in *RACE RED* | eBay

MOUNTAIN CYCLE BATTERY 5" XC Bike Frame MSRP $1144.00: 347472 Random Bike Parts

MOUNTAIN CYCLE FURY 5" Medium Bike Frame MSRP $1288.00: 347475 Random Bike Parts

Please note, I am NOT advertising for any of these sellers. Note that that cannondale frame looks like a badass deal. Let me know if you have any other questions!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone.

Zebahum, my budget right now is $200. The longer I wait, the higher it can possibly go - assuming that I don't have to spend any more. I guess I kinda like the outdated design. I guess as long as it works and I can do everything I want to do with it then I'm happy. I had thought you mistook the frame I was looking at as an older one. The trek 6500 from 95 was posted in Feb so probably a very low chance of getting it.

Unfortunately no one at the shop is getting rid of anything I'd want. We're just a small campus bike shop set up in a 1 room apartment with no restroom or plumbing. Most of the bikes we see are wal-mart bikes or the **** rental bikes we rent out to students for $30 a semester. We are about to get in a bunch of bikes from the local police department (bikes that have been sitting around or were abandoned or were recovered from theft and never claimed), that we plan to turn into the orange rental bikes. I saw the stash briefly yesterday while at work (we paid a visit to the police to take a look) and most seem like walmart bikes. There was one nice road bike that caught my eye, but road bikes arn't my thing. Maybe there might be some hidden jewel in that stash, who knows.

Indianadave, that's exactly what I hope to do someday, haha.

Dirt Bringer, how can I know what size fork the frame was designed for. Most of the sellers I've messaged say yes the frame works with my fork or beat around the bush on the question. They could just be saying that it will work with the fork just to make a sale though. I really like that Pistol 2! The fact that it comes with a fork is a real bonus.

I like all of the frames you posted. The only 2 things keeping me back are the prices (cause there is also like 50-60 dollars shipping cost) and the frames arn't open for a bottle cage or frame bag.

I really wish I could bring up the budget, but as I'm working for free right now (until I can take my own shifts), I really can't bring up the budget. If anything it might have to go down since I'll have to buy some new tires too. I'm running on Specialized Crossroads right now. Great for commuting, not so great on the trails. The shop I'm working at can get me dealer prices on lots of stuff though, so tires will be much cheaper. Apparently most shops double or triple the price above dealer price.

Perhaps that's why I like the idea of that 15 dollar frame. It's a HT but will still fit my fork (hopefully the geometry won't be too horrible) and I won't break the bank. Also it's local so there's no shipping cost, only gas...

Thanks everyone. more suggestions and advice are always welcome.
 

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Perhaps that's why I like the idea of that 15 dollar frame. It's a HT but will still fit my fork (hopefully the geometry won't be too horrible) and I won't break the bank. Also it's local so there's no shipping cost, only gas...

Thanks everyone. more suggestions and advice are always welcome.
Well my 1996 Gary Fisher rides horribly with a 100mm fork, so I wouldn't expect that Trek to be even close to ridable with that monster fork on it. Most frames of that era would have been spec'd with a 65mm fork (if able to run a suspension fork) and the max people typically recommend that you exceed stock travel is 20mm. That leaves you with a max "recommended" travel of 85mm. And for a bike of that vintage, exceeding travel by even 20mm might be hitting the point where the structure of the frame is called into question.

Have you looked into lowering it? I am not familiar with that fork but it's probably worth doing a search to see if it's possible.
 

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Thanks everyone.

Zebahum, my budget right now is $200. The longer I wait, the higher it can possibly go - assuming that I don't have to spend any more. I guess I kinda like the outdated design. I guess as long as it works and I can do everything I want to do with it then I'm happy. I had thought you mistook the frame I was looking at as an older one. The trek 6500 from 95 was posted in Feb so probably a very low chance of getting it.

Unfortunately no one at the shop is getting rid of anything I'd want. We're just a small campus bike shop set up in a 1 room apartment with no restroom or plumbing. Most of the bikes we see are wal-mart bikes or the **** rental bikes we rent out to students for $30 a semester. We are about to get in a bunch of bikes from the local police department (bikes that have been sitting around or were abandoned or were recovered from theft and never claimed), that we plan to turn into the orange rental bikes. I saw the stash briefly yesterday while at work (we paid a visit to the police to take a look) and most seem like walmart bikes. There was one nice road bike that caught my eye, but road bikes arn't my thing. Maybe there might be some hidden jewel in that stash, who knows.

Indianadave, that's exactly what I hope to do someday, haha.

Dirt Bringer, how can I know what size fork the frame was designed for. Most of the sellers I've messaged say yes the frame works with my fork or beat around the bush on the question. They could just be saying that it will work with the fork just to make a sale though. I really like that Pistol 2! The fact that it comes with a fork is a real bonus.

I like all of the frames you posted. The only 2 things keeping me back are the prices (cause there is also like 50-60 dollars shipping cost) and the frames arn't open for a bottle cage or frame bag.

I really wish I could bring up the budget, but as I'm working for free right now (until I can take my own shifts), I really can't bring up the budget. If anything it might have to go down since I'll have to buy some new tires too. I'm running on Specialized Crossroads right now. Great for commuting, not so great on the trails. The shop I'm working at can get me dealer prices on lots of stuff though, so tires will be much cheaper. Apparently most shops double or triple the price above dealer price.

Perhaps that's why I like the idea of that 15 dollar frame. It's a HT but will still fit my fork (hopefully the geometry won't be too horrible) and I won't break the bank. Also it's local so there's no shipping cost, only gas...

Thanks everyone. more suggestions and advice are always welcome.
Well the way I check to see if a frame works with a fork is I see what its default spec is from the manufacturer. Most 5 inch travel bikes use 130mm forks, 120-140 will usually work fine though. If I cant figure it out I call the manufacturer and ask. Also check the head tube length, calculate for the headset stack height as well, to make sure your forks steerer tube will be long enough. Why don't you use a camelbak rather than a watter bottle? For your uses...I would strongly recommend spending the extra and doing this right, or going with a hardtail. Hardtails are awesome and will make you a better rider in the long run anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks.

I haven't heard anything back from the 95 Trek 6500. The fork has ETA adjustment. So I can pump it down to around 80mm or so. Unfortunately the ETA doesn't keep it locked down for a long period of time without pushing it down again. I left the ETA on once and went to class, when I came back, ETA was still on but the fork was back to the full 130mm travel. I don't know if this is just the way the fork is supposed to be or if it's wearing out. I got the fork second - or even third - hand from CL. The price was good though. It's also missing the rebound adjust knob... But I figure for the price it was well worth it. My bike's stock fork was 83mm travel. I guess a 50mm jump was too much, haha. I still have the stock fork and will put that back on for now. Though it's an RST 191 and seems to have blown the seals over the years.

I just used a frame calculator and found that I should actually fit an 18 - 19 in frame much better than a 21 in frame. Which is funny since the guys at the lbs sized me for my current bike when I was 14. I guess they were trying to give me room to grow - I only grew about an inch more after that.

That's a good tip to check frames. I checked out that Pistol 2 again and was really thinking about it. I was even considering to offer to trade my fork since it comes with a good fork. But then I realized the frame is a 16 in. I don't think that would fit very well.

I'm going to try to save up for that motobecane fantom.

I don't own a camelbak and haven't invested in one. I've borrowed one before and found that I'm more satisfied gulping water from a bottle than sucking it from a little tube that doesn't give much water. My ideal situation would be to have a big bottle and a camelbak. Water is water is water is water. Inconvenient water supply is better than no water, haha.

Unfortunately a HT would be hard to justify with my parents. Unless I get one that's similar color and they don't notice, haha. That might be hard since my dad knows I ride a Trek 3700 - he bought it after all. Is there really a difference in HT and FS in regard to skill?

Thanks
 

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The Mud Stud
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Thanks.

I haven't heard anything back from the 95 Trek 6500. The fork has ETA adjustment. So I can pump it down to around 80mm or so. Unfortunately the ETA doesn't keep it locked down for a long period of time without pushing it down again. I left the ETA on once and went to class, when I came back, ETA was still on but the fork was back to the full 130mm travel. I don't know if this is just the way the fork is supposed to be or if it's wearing out. I got the fork second - or even third - hand from CL. The price was good though. It's also missing the rebound adjust knob... But I figure for the price it was well worth it. My bike's stock fork was 83mm travel. I guess a 50mm jump was too much, haha. I still have the stock fork and will put that back on for now. Though it's an RST 191 and seems to have blown the seals over the years.

I just used a frame calculator and found that I should actually fit an 18 - 19 in frame much better than a 21 in frame. Which is funny since the guys at the lbs sized me for my current bike when I was 14. I guess they were trying to give me room to grow - I only grew about an inch more after that.

That's a good tip to check frames. I checked out that Pistol 2 again and was really thinking about it. I was even considering to offer to trade my fork since it comes with a good fork. But then I realized the frame is a 16 in. I don't think that would fit very well.

I'm going to try to save up for that motobecane fantom.

I don't own a camelbak and haven't invested in one. I've borrowed one before and found that I'm more satisfied gulping water from a bottle than sucking it from a little tube that doesn't give much water. My ideal situation would be to have a big bottle and a camelbak. Water is water is water is water. Inconvenient water supply is better than no water, haha.

Unfortunately a HT would be hard to justify with my parents. Unless I get one that's similar color and they don't notice, haha. That might be hard since my dad knows I ride a Trek 3700 - he bought it after all. Is there really a difference in HT and FS in regard to skill?

Thanks
In regard to skill...I've been beaten by people on both, I've beaten people on both. The only real thing hardtails will really teach you to do better is to pick your lines better and also handle the bike better when its flailing around. Other than that no, none. You really should invest in a good camelbak though, most frames come with water bottle mounts and I would never decide against one if it didn't. That said, unless you are riding hard in the forest, there isn't a major difference between one or the other.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I c. Thanks for the info.

I found a GT I-drive 1.0 for $75 dollars on CL. It comes with two wheels and has a rockshox deluxe plus (which I've researched to have poor reviews). It was posted just last week (could be sold by now for all I know), but I'm a bit iffy on the frame size (I'm 6' with 32in inseam while barefoot, so I guess 33 with shoes on).

Was it a good bike? I did some research and read some good reviews on it, but it doesn't exist any more. Is there a reason why the design isn't around today? From my understanding the I-drive feature is where the bottom bracket moves separately from the front triangle. It obviously does something to help pedaling efficiency, but how? And why isn't the design more widespread?

But at $75, it might be worth it just for the wheels. Could always use another wheelset (I only have one).
 

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I c. Thanks for the info.

I found a GT I-drive 1.0 for $75 dollars on CL. It was posted just last week (could be sold by now for all I know), but I'm a bit iffy on the frame size. Was it a good bike? I did some research and read some good reviews on it, but it doesn't exist any more. Is there a reason why the design isn't around today? From my understanding the I-drive feature is where the bottom bracket moves separately from the front triangle. It obviously does something to help pedaling efficiency, but how? And why isn't the design more widespread?

GT I Drive 1.0 frame and wheels

Thanks
The i-drive wasn't more widespread because GT owns(ed) it so only their bikes had it for many years. It has its drawbacks and its advantages but in the end they don't make it anymore because it is a complex system that solves a problem that has been more or less solved through shock technology on modern bikes. There's nothing wrong with that system and lots of people are still out there loving their bikes today. There are lots of in-depth discussions on how it functions, you can probably google that one.

No bike is a good enough deal to ignore frame size. You could be paying $50 for a brand new frame but if it's the wrong size it's a terrible buy. Make sure you know the size before you buy. Bringing a tape measure with you to verify is a good idea.
 

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I dont know how much this helps but I just got my motobecane fantom ds 2 weeks ago for $1000 and don't think you can find a FS with similar component for much less. I read a lot that worries me about warranty but found a thread list of just amazing reviews of warranty claims and took a risk. Couldn't be happier
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well, my paypal payment went through today. I think I'm going to go for the Motobecane frame. I really like the style of the frame and it's got great reviews.
 

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Well, my paypal payment went through today. I think I'm going to go for the Motobecane frame. I really like the style of the frame and it's got great reviews.
Remember that for your fork to work, the frame must be designed for it (in hardtail terms) and the same goes on dual suspension. Most dualies have as much travel in the rear as they are supposed to have in the front so as not to overdrive the shock or fork. Make sure to pay attention to this. I think pinkbike is your best option, I saw a bunch of nice rides on there including a cannondale prophet which I believe would fit your fork.
 
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