If you find a list of “10 things a mountain biker should do“, building a bike is there among them. I honestly didn’t understand why you would do this. I had been looking for a new hard tail for some time and often came to the same conclusion most do, that “you couldn’t build that spec for that money”. The buying power of bike manufacturers means that its very hard to beat them on price if you want to go down the self build route.
EDIT – I’d like to quickly add that I am not suggesting that this bike is a bucket list super duper machine that everyone should own, I am suggesting that the process of building a bike is a bucket list activity. . OK?
So why do people do it? Of course we know the answer – there are compromises on factory built bikes for numerous reasons. One is making the list price competitive and this results in many cyclists buying and upgrading, thus instantly negating the apparent vale for money. And this is why custom bike builders are out there, why some smaller manufacturers now offer the chance to customise when you order, and is of course a reason why “we” build our own bikes.
The bike wasn’t supposed to be a dream build, but a budget build, for a second bike – spreading the cost and scouring the sales over Christmas for the best parts I could get for my money. I picked up some second hand (but hardly used) Shimano SLX brakes and Alex Rims wheels – the wheels costing £50 kept my price down, however I know that its only a matter of time before an upgrade occurs in this department (Hope, Spank, Mavic….).
Fork choice was easy. The RockShox Sektor Gold are light and at a pocket friendly £250 were a no brainer. So far they feel great and the black is perfect to go with the army green frame of the Surge.
Keeping the colour scheme in check with tricky. You can see from the pedals I was tempted to add some red splashes and it was only a stock issue that stopped me buying the red Charge Spoon. However, I am very happy with the brown saddle – even though my son said it looks “old fashioned”!
Completing the build was a standard Shimano 1×10 set up, driven by an UberBike 32t Narrow Wide chainring and RaceFace Chester Cranks. And the faithful SuperStar Components Nano flats provide a grippy large platform for my feet.
Steering is done my the FUNN Full On bars and Stem. I hadn’t really heard much about this brand but the stem came on my Vitus and with some research I found that their bars are used by the likes of Sam Hill and Brook Macdonald.
So once it was all put together, there was the small task of riding it and of course getting it dirty!
Last week I managed 45km in the wet and mud – not the best test of such a fun machine, but it is nice to clean a the simplicity of a hard tail in the winter.
The bike feels light and spritely and I am looking forward to some drier conditions and hopefully building the confidence to throw it about a bit.