So todays episode will require a little bit of audience participation, no, I don't want yer money. I'm looking for advice, and I know this will come as no surprise to most of you, but I have no idea what I'm doing!
Now then, some friends of mine who are more into mountain biking than me have been on at me for some time to come and ride some trails with them during the Summer. Were all roughly the same age, but they're not the crappy junk mountain bike type riders like I am, they all ride bikes with 29" wheels and tyres, suspension, and in some, but not all cases, carbon fibre. They're no Sam Pilgrim, but when they ride trails they ride quite briskly, and do small(ish) jumps etc, and although I should be able to keep up with them without too much drama on one of my crappy old mountain bikes, like maybe the Reebok Evolve, or Real Easy, I just feel like I'd be a little better off with something a little larger. Furthermore, I have recently become reacquainted with an old friend who it appears is also into mountain biking, and talks about going riding with me, but her bike is also a newer machine with 29" wheels, and front suspension. My initial thoughts were to go into Halfords, and buy myself a cheap mountain bike to fit the bill. But, I don't really think thats my way to be honest, and I felt that my cheap new mountain bike would probably lead to disappointment, and I'd probably end up spending out on better components to make it good. I then thought about hitting fleabay and buying a good second hand mountain bike. The problem here is that I don't really know what a good modern secondhand mounting bike is. This left me in the field of dreams browsing what they had, and they had a good few bikes with 29" wheels and suspension that I thought would fit the bill, but again, outside bikes like the Magna Fugitive, and Univega Rover I really didn't know what I was looking at, and if they were any good. As I looked at them, really not knowing what I was looking at, or more importantly if they were asking too much money for them I started to think that I might already have a good starting point at home in my collection of junk, so that leads me to here, the Indi Release 29...
I actually bought this junk just over a year ago, on February 06, 2020 from the tip. The main reason that I bought this was because it was the first bike with 29" wheels that I have seen at the tip, and I really fancied having a bike like this. My feeling was that this bike comes from the budget end of the budget market, it would appear to be a really cheap machine, and I would guess that its the sort of bike thats most likely sold in supermarkets. When I got it I didn't think it had seen a lot of action, infact I'd say that it's barely been ridden because nothing was really worn out, but everything was seized solid. Well, leaving it sat outside in the garden for a further year it hasn't made the situation any better. The damn thing is now rusted even more solid. The good news however is that the frame and wheels seem to be in good shape being aluminium, just everything thats bolted to them needs to go, and to be fair, I pretty much felt that way about it when I picked it up in the first place.
So where do we go from here? Well I reckon that what I need to do is to remove everything from the frame, stick it all in the bin, and replace the lot. I think that the frame is fine, it's just all the bits bolted to it are the cheapest parts that could be sourced, and I think thats what will make the difference between this being a cheap ride that I hate, or a sweet ride that I love. So a quick run down of what I've got.
As you can see the handlebars aren't the best, cheap steel everything, with cheap plastic brake levers, and grifter-shifters which I hate, and the hardest plastic grips I've ever felt.
The forks, they don't exactly fill me with confidence, and are clearly more about the budget than the performance. Furthermore, they're rusted solid, and even with my hefty old ass pushing down on them they still refuse to budge. They've gotta go.
The wheels look pretty good to be honest, but my feeling is that like the rest of the components they're cheap as chips and probably made from Chineseium. Plus, they don't really go with what I've got in mind, so much like everything else bolted to the frame, they've gotta go.
The crank is pretty much a steel affair, although the arms almost have a cast iron look to them, but I doubt they are as I think they'd just be too brittle. But whatever they are, they're heavy. Much like the wheels, it appears to be servicable, but it doesn't go with my plans, and so its got to go. Actually, it's already been fitted to another bike I was building last night, so despite being heavy and cumbersome, it's been recycled onto a bike I put together just to sell in order to raise the funds for building this thing.
The rear mech doesn't look too bad either, so although I'll not be throwing it away, I'll not be keeping it on this bike either, again, it doesn't go with what I've got in mind for the finished bike.
The brakes... Just look at them! No... Junk, although, much like the rest of the components they look to have been hardly ever used. I reckon this bike has only ever really been sat in someones garden just waiting to be used. Hopefully when I'm finished it will get ridden a lot.
So that's what I've got, or atleast it's what I had. After her Worshipfulness went to bed last night I stripped the thing right down in our lounge and filled our recycling bin with the rusty seized metal parts I took off, and the rest just went in our regular bin. So what I now have is this...
And it's pretty light too. But this is my starting point, and this is where you guys come in, this is where I need your input. Now, I don't want to spend a lot of money, because I've really just not got the money to spend, so this is going to be a budget build. Besides, I see very little point in splashing out a huge amount of money to build this cheap low budget bike that ends up costing me as much as it would to buy a new half decent bike in the first place. But, I do want it to be good, or even very good. Not just to ride, but also to look at. This is what I want to create with my budget of 50p. A bike with good components, I need good wheels, good forks, good handlebars. Disc brakes, decent tyres, a 1 x 8 or 9 drivetrain, and a decent bottom bracket, and headset bearings. Lastly, a good saddle, comfy for long rides, but light. My feeling is that this little shopping list could take this budget build far out of the realms of budget really quickly, so I'm thinking that for the most part I'll be scouring fleabay for some second hand bargains. But thats the thing, what am I looking for, which are the good brands, and what should I be buying? This is where I need your help, because honestly I've not got a clue what I'm building when it comes to a bike like this. hopefully I can have this thing pieced back together in a far better manner than it was originally by May at the latest. but time will no doubt tell. Updates as they occur.