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New bike time (What would you build?)

By Pete B - Posted on 20 April 2015

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

The wife has hinted that when tax time comes round I can get a new bike Laughing out loud

Now, what to do? I've always liked the idea of building my own but know that it rarely works out cheaper than buying a ready made bike but at least I'll get what I want. The olny thing is, I don't know what I want!

I know I want a dual sus, race inspired, carbon xc bike that is reasonably high end, but not sure how to get there.

If I did a self build I was thinking of the following but I'm happy to take alternative sugestions:-

Yeti ASR C or Niner Jet9 RDO or Whyte M10C or something else?

New 1x11 Shimano XT (hopefully to be released soon)

RS1 but maybe above budget so happy for cheaper alternatives

Shimano XTR? Easton EA70 XCT?

Stem, post, bars
Easton ec70 or something else?

I know there are other items - headset, cables, etc but I'll sort them later.

What are your thoughts on the above? Any better recomendations, or just go buy an off the shelf bike?


I am far from an XC racer but the geo of the Whyte looks like the most fun bike of the bunch, 68 deg HA 74deg SA(guessing effective) and a decent ETT would mean you could run a 50-60mm stem so it is actually fun to ride.

The Niner, good lord 70-71 deg HA, it's not 1994.

Yeti, well it's a yeti, you'd have to buy the full kit buy a VW transporter and ride in a Yeti only group or at a minimum stop to talk to one Yeti rider about how good Yetis are on each and every ride. Geo looks okay and it's good to see people waking up to the fact that bikes for taller people need steeper seat tube angles to climb properly.

Can't help with the yeti or the whyte, but ridden a few others. My 2 bikes are a tallboy and a jet rdo, have ridden the epic, owned an anthem for a couple of years and have ridden the scalpel. Out of all those, the niner is the fastest and funnest through turns and downhill - it also has a higher bottom bracket which to me is a big advantage for rocks, and g outs etc. The rip is also an option.

The tallboy is a great bike but isn't the bike of choice for me. If you are tall enough though, I'd definaelty recomend a 120 fork on the front for these sort of bikes. Really changes what they are capable of - I'd stick to bikes that include 120mm fronts as options ( probably not relevant if you are 5'6" though

Good point with the fork travel, I'm 5'11" so 120 would be an option.

What's the Niner like at climbing when compared with the Epic?

If I was in a position to build a nice XC race bike (which I'm not, unfortnuately...) I'd go as follows;
- 4"dual sus carbon frame; hopefully with 2 bottle mounts like the epic.
- Carbon rims with quality hubs.
- XT 1x11.
- I would also seriously consider a 34mm fork as I find my current 32 too flexy but it may be the light alu wheel on the front as well.

That's exactly what I'm after, Ian. Just looking for some component recommendations.

Carbon frame - of course. But 29er or 650b??
Carbon lefty with plenty of travel.
Carbon wheelset (light industries or other)
Xtr 1x11 (it's actually not that expensive if you shop around)
Dropper seatpost or not?
Wide bars or not
Comfy seat.
Tyres to suit.

Pete, the epic feels fast because when you stand and pedal hard it pushes back a bit like a hardtail, but when I did timed laps it was the same as the anthem even though it felt faster ( it was a few seconds slower, but close enough to be the same.)

For the niner to get close to that feel, it needs some pro pedal - I run it on pro pedal 1 generally, 2 gives a better platform though, so standing and riding uphill I'd give it to the epic for sure, seated climbing, the same - down or across with fully open shock, the niner feels like it's a 130mm bike - none of the harshness of the maestro or 4bar. ( oops forgot I owned a camber as well) or the scalpel.

The yeti looks very similar in design to the scalpel to me, so will gave that racey back end as opposed to the niner and the santacruz which feel like far more travel than you have

Component wise - shocks just bought a sid rct3 and it's way more useable than the xx I had.

Drivetrain - I run xx1 , have managed over 4000km on the cassette so far with frequent chain changes, it was a no brainer for me when I was building, now shimano are offering nearly the same range (2/3rds of a gear less range for shimano)- depends if you are loving sram or shimano.

Brakes - we all know the answer is cheap reliable known quantity xt.

Wheels -CK, hope or dt swiss hubs, carbon rims - hell, save the cash on the rs1 and get zelvy wheelset.

Bits - narrow Q factor cranks if you can get them to fit ( good for the knees and power).

Stuff the weight, get a dropper post - heaps useful on unknown trails

Does it get any better than contributing to someone else's wish list. You get to dream and they get to spend Smiling

Pete, I noticed that the Easton wheels and the XTR's are a 19mm internal width. Is that a deliberate choice of rim width or do you just like those wheels? I don't know you so I can only judge from your initial post (and other posts I have read in the past) that you are a serious XC rider. Therefore, I assume you'll be running relatively skinny rubber, but it still might be worth considering a slightly wider rim if it doesn't hurt the scales too much.

I've got a set of Stan's Arch EX rims on my 26" hardtail (be nice people) and run a tubeless 2.2 Bontrager XR2 Team Issue tyre on the rear. While the Arch rims may be a bit heavier than you are looking for the Crest is an option if you are not a solid unit like me (100kgs) Or the carbon Valor if you want to spend a dollar. The point is that the extra support the 21mm internal width provides for the tyre over my original 17mm rims is amazing. Also lower pressures offer more compliance and more grip. After nearly 20 months of my kack-handed riding my Arch EX still spin beautifully and are perfectly - and I do mean perfectly - true.

For stems, seat posts and bars I am becoming a big fan of 3T. I have an older 3T Dorico zero setback seat post on the hardtail and very recently a Stylus 25mm setback post on the flat bar roadie. Also have a 3t zero rise 3deg back sweep bar on the roadie. Might change the stem on the hardtail soon and the new one will be a 3T. These are all the Pro (alloy) models as I am not a weight weenie and I think they represent good value if you shop around. You can, of course, go nuts with the Team and LTD carbon models.

This is fun. Thanks for letting us play Smiling

I found Crest rims a bit light and flexy and I managed to flat spot mine, so I swapped over to a set of cheap Arch rims from CRC and laced them up myself. The bike seems more planted. I'm about 85kg kitted up.

But I prefer the 22mm internal width Light Bicycles hookless carbon rims on my other wheelset.

The only downside with carbon rims is they get scuffed up quickly on Sydney sandstone trails and start looking pretty rough. Another reason besides the training effect to go for alu. rims for general trail riding.

However I do agree wholeheartedly that wider rims are better. Two years ago I'd never have contemplated running 20psi or less on the front because the narrower rims would have rolled all over the place.

I like Easton bars and posts but their hubs seem to be a source of problems. Not very well shielded from mud and water. Hope Hoops with Stans rims would be markedly better.

Thanks for the replies guys, loads to work with so far. ☺

As I say, it's not till July so plenty of time to research (which is half the fun).

I thought about the XTR wheels as I've had a set of XT wheels for 3 years and never had a problem with them. They've never needed trueing and I'm no lightweight rider at 90ish kg with camelback.The Easton wheels were only a thought to keep in suit withe the bars etc. I like the idea of the wider rim though - time for more research.

Does anyone have experience of Whyte bikes? I can find good reviews of their bikes but can't find anyone selling frame only.

Keep the suggestions going, the more firsthand knowledge, the better. I always get the feeling that most stuff reviewed on line gets a good review as the reviewer doesn't want to slam a product and not be sent anymore product.

Pete, what are you riding now and will you be keeping it? For example, if you have an all mountain dually and are keeping it then I guess you could afford to go more race orientated. I have an Epic and for me I would say its a great race bike but I wouldn't call it a fun all round bike.

I'll add one more bike to the list - my top wishlist choice at the moment: The Turner Czar. Have heard nothing but great things about it; 100/120mm fork support; DW Link suspension; reasonably light; a little bit of unique on the trail too

XT 1x11 for sure
Carbon rim wheels - there's no excuse not to these days: look at light bicycle for rims etc (Zelvy Curve if you want local)
Fork - depends: Pike 120mm for a bit of burl is an option here
Dropper post is always on my list - even for an XC/marathon bike (I only have one bike!)

I think pivot do frame sets, so 429sl would be on my list to demo. Never ridden a pivot but hear good things. Not many manufactures sell frame only but I think it's the way to go building up your own dream bike.

Brian, I have an Intense Spider 29 at the moment. I'd like to put a 2nd hand 140mm fork on it (currently got a 100mm Reba) and keep it as a play bike but I think I'll need to sell it to fund the new bike. This means that the new bike needs to be a bit of an all rounder, so 120mm travel should do that.
I thought that may be the case with the Epic which is one of the reasons I hadn't really considered it. I also like to ride something that's a bit less common - no offence intended! I drive a Commodore so got to own something a bit different Eye-wink

I'd not thought of the Turner, I'll check them out.

I thought now owning a Commodore was considered being different Sticking out tongue

There's quite a good thread on the Czars on rotorburn:

I try to avoid reading it too often.

Canfield Brothers EPO, a hard tail but WOW!!! ~$2400 landed

New 1x11 Shimano XT (hopefully to be released soon), Yep or XX1 $?

RS1 but maybe above budget so happy for cheaper alternatives or 120mm SID/Fox 34 ~$1200

Light Bicycle 30mm internal with Wheelsmith spokes and Hope hubs, ~$900 built up locally.

Stem, post, bars
Thomson stem, post. Enve bars $ker-ching

Whatever suits your booty.

This is more AM than full XC but still under 12kg

Very nice bikes but a bit more trail/enduro than I'm after.

Keep the frame/component suggestions coming though Smiling

Ibis Ripley, no more to be said.

I've got one with 120mm in both ends and it is an awesome bike that can be setup for a XC feel or more trail oriented.

Hey Leopafe - how do you find the ripley in comparison to your mojo sl?

The Ripley feels harsher, much more efficient, climbs better and corners the same as the Mojo, but descending is a bit more "involved", but not too bad at all.
It does feel much more XC ish than the Mojo and I pretty much destroyed my segment times in my local rides. Overall, I'm pretty impressed with it as I thought it would be hard to find anything much better than the Mojo for what I do (XC/Trail).

Of the ones you have listed, and if you wont go 'main stream', then go with the Yeti with a blend of Sram X01 and X1, dont bother with the XT brakes - run the Sram Guides (trust me on that on) and some solid but reasonably prices Thompson finishing kit.

Light Bike rims, or Nextie carbon, or a crest front, Arch rear (if you are really worried about stiffness.
That would be a great bike. Solid, fast, and fun.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to use the Niner RDO frame. I love the look of it, can't find a bad review about it and there's a dealer just down the road should anything go wrong.

I'm still deciding on wheels but Light bike and Stans Arch Ex are top contenders.

What are peoples thoughts on the RockShox SID RCT3 120 fork? I wanted the world cup model but that only goes to 100mm and I'd like 120mm travel.

Pete, for wheels make sure you research the litebikes rims well. There are more than a few reports of failures followed up by crappy after sales support. I know a few people here run them and abuse them without issue but it would seem that LB source them from different manufacturers and quality cn be a bit hit 'n miss. Chances are there won't be an issue but... Check the thread in the 29er forum on mtbr.

Now for Stans, I have a flow rim on a front wheel, I also have Pacenti rims, DL31 rear and TL28 front and for my money, the Pacenti's win out hands down. I will not buy another Stans rim over Pacenti again. The Pacentis are a little harder to source and as such you will probably end up paying more for them but for me the difference in quality is light and day.

PM sent (or will be in a few minutes)

Hi Pete, I did have the 120 xx on my jet rdo, the changed recently to the RCT3 because of a good deal on wiggle. Hardly ever used the lockout on the XX, so much prefer the rct3- it's pretty adjustable and the 3 position fork actuated platform and lockout is a better idea in the real world

Stu, what's the difference in outcomes from the Pacenti over the Stans that leads you to say that?

I'll be looking to replace the rims on my Trigger at some stage as it's got those lightweight Crests on it (*why* would you put them on a size Large AM bike? Puzzled ) so I'm interested in your findings.

The advantage of the Arch EXs is they have the same ERD, so spokes can be re-used.

Do Pacenti make 29er rims?

I have seen a few positive views on Pacenti rims now, I think there was even a set in the dirt 100 for 2015. I am still going to try the WTB Frequency rims next, they look the goods. I'm not a fan of hookless rims, they don't seem to offer any advantages to me I read the pros but I don't believe the hype(just get a wider rim if it has bead nips).

commenting from a sample of one Stan's rim.

On paper,
Reinforced eyelets
Like for Like, internal dimensions of Pacentis are wider
Smooth welds at the join. I remember at the time noticing this wasn't the case on the Stans but looking now I can't see it so it must have been internally that the Stans weren't that smooth.

The bead seats better on the Pacenti than the Stans
In the hand they have a more "solid" feel. I don't know how else to describe it.
Again a subjective thing but they just feel better quality, that may have something to do with the more solid feel.

The down side is comparing like for like the Pacenti rim is heavier.

Yes they make 29er rims

The Pacentis look like a good choice but I'm also considering a set of TWE carbon rims. Does anyone have any experience with these?

I've got some wheels going cheap cheap. $1 no reserve on the auction. They weighta ton (well, 2kg) but I figure that will help with the training effect Eye-wink

And if you take the decals off, nobody will know Evil

have ordered yourself a pair of Pacenti rims?

Nah, these are a pair I picked up at a community garage sale. They're off a Giant XTC 29er but can be un-decalled if anyone is fussy about mixing OEM branded gear.

The profits will go to support the cause the garage sale was in aid of. Figured someone here might be interested in some cheap wheels for a build.

Giant tcx advanced pro 0 2015 in black something about it caught my eye

Not sure if you got your bike already or not, but I've been wrestling with your idea of a "race inspired xc bike" that's also an "all-rounder" and I remembered that the guys at Bike Mag really like the Salsa Spearfish.

It's a bit less travel than you wanted, but really it's more about how it rides than a number isn't it? It's also a bit left field, which fits your urge to ride something uncommon.

If I was replacing my HT with an XC dually, I would definitely want to test ride one of these.

I picked up the frame yesterday.

 photo 20150623_171656_zps5aofckbv.jpg

I now have the shock, post and bars. The saddle is on it's way. Still need to decide on wheels though.

LBS recommend Stans arch on DTSwiss 240 hubs, they know their stuff and do a good price on s package inc tyres so may run with that.

 photo 2015-07-15 09.21.27_zpsafykyv2y.jpg

Now just waiting for XT 1X11 to be released.

At this rate I'm going to put my current XT on until the new stuff is released.

Johnny Sprockets in Qld have sets if you want the 40 tooth (not 42 yet) and have just under 500 clams incl postage (shifter, der, cassette, chain - all XT)

I'd be quick and give them a call if you are interested

CCrests were a bit flimsy.

looks pretty fast for trails you don't have to pedal or brake on Smiling

When's the break-in session?

Think I'm going to put my 3x10 on this week. I can't wait any longer!

I always hold the idea of building my own too,at the same time ,always give up halfway.Because it takes me —a novice too much time,money and energy to assemble a bike.So I just suggest that buy a ready made bike.

Too late - It's nearly finished!

Most of the fun is researching the parts and building the bike, a lot of time does go into it but what else would I be doing, watching The Voice or some other load of crap on TV?

Anyway, brakes now ordered and should be on by Friday evening and maybe it's maiden ride (in 3x10 guise) this weekend. Fingers crossed!!

How nice does that look?!!! Probably similar to an Ibis but so much better looking, God those things look awful.

As near as damn it finished!

I ended up putting my 3x10 on until 1x11 goes on sale so at least I can ride it. Other than a couple of laps round the back yard she's not turned a wheel yet so hopefully I'll get an afternoon ride in today as long as the weather holds out.

 photo 2015-07-24 10.15.54_zpsbnc5izn6.jpg

Sure looks the goods mate - fast!
I notice that TBSM has 1 x 11 stuff in stock except the i-spec shifter
Fingers crossed for the weather

Sweet as a nut, mate... If only it was a 26" Eye-wink

Looks like a weapon Smiling

Interested in your thoughts on the tyre combo too when you've had a chance to put some kms on them

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