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My Mountain Bike Project


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With my old Wal-mart special mountain bike creaking and groaning over every bump or root I hit on the trails, I figured it was time to retire the old goat and look for another bike. I set a rough limit of $500 on myself, because if I have to sped more than that on anything it won't be for a bike. Well, I got tired of looking at new bikes in bike shops that had junk components on them, and craigslist and ebay were yielding mostly clunkers. So, I figured, hey, I have wrenches, screwdrivers, and a couple of bike-specific tools, why not just build one from scratch? The end result:



The specs:

1995 Giant Yukon frame

RockShox front fork

44-33-22 crank

12x32 8 speed rear cassette

GT platform pedals

SRAM X.7 Grip shifters, front and rear derailleuur

Wheels with Sun Rhyno Lite rims with Shimano Deore XT hubs

Avid SD-3 V-brakes

Seat, tires, suspension seat post

The build took just shy of three months - mostly due to me spreading out the cost of buying the parts and finding the time to put it together. The whole thing cost roughyl $400, and every component I bought, I thoroughly researched its reliability and durability. I finished it last Friday, and the pics above are just after its maiden voyage. Not to toot my own horn, but this is probably the best shifting, most solidly built bike I've ever ridden. I'm thoroughly sold on SRAM components - they took so little time to get adjusted right and they work perfectly every shift. Maybe Toyota should hire me to work on their transmissions, not that I's take the offer :P

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I swear by SRAM for chains. Don't know their shifters, and I'm quite happy with my Shimanos. Derailleurs too.

Grip shifters drive me nuts, gotta have click-push shifters.

V-Brakes also drive me nuts. It really scares me to ride a bike without discs now, it feels like I'm going to crash when the brakes don't respond.

My current derailleur is what's called a "rapid rise", which was known as a "retard rise" when it came out due to crappy components - but components have now caught up to the idea. Basically it flips around the shifting on the rear derailleur, so that both shifters go in the same direction - click down (less cable pressure) to make it more difficult to pedal, push up (more cable pressure) to make it less difficult. It takes some getting used to but it really helps... When you're leaned forward trying to make it up a big hill and you need an easier gear, you can just click on the front of the bars rather than trying to apply pressure from the back. Much easier to do.

My fork has been slowly dying on me ever since I bought my bike. I couldn't be bothered to fix it, time or money-wise. It's basically a rigid at this point. Maybe some day I'll shell out for a dual suspension setup, but personally I find the front without the back kind of pointless... or maybe my fork just always sucked.

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Nice bike, building from scratch seems like a great idea. I'm thinking of getting a new one in the spring, if I dont go Diamondback (they're cheap and feel like they're going to fall apart, yet they seem to stay together!) I may look into that route.

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I'd like to do that to my old Mongoose. I never did get it fixed, I just sort of borrowed my dad's for good. :P

Is there anything - anything at all - that works properly at your house?

Nice bike, building from scratch seems like a great idea. I'm thinking of getting a new one in the spring, if I dont go Diamondback (they're cheap and feel like they're going to fall apart, yet they seem to stay together!) I may look into that route.

Take a look at Raleigh, too. Only because they own Diamondback and they're basically the same bikes. If I did decide to go new, it probably would have been a Raleigh.

Oh and as far as frame makes go, I have a Kona and love it.

Also I'm impressed by the Canadian company Rocky Mountain.

It makes me think - if we can do such a good job competing in markets like that, what would a Canadian car company have been like?

I was slightly biased towards Giant because the frame on my Schwinn road bike is actually made by Giant, and for a steel frame it's pretty light. It's survived being thrown out by its previous owner, one century ride plus all training rides, and a spill from 16mph. I also had my eyes on Cannondales, pre-bankruptcy Schwinns, and older steel GTs.

You probably could rebuild your fork. Most of them are just springs (unless it's an air shock), and 90% of bike repairs can be done with a set of metric hex wrenches, sockets, and a flat-bladed screwdriver.

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