The start of how (or how not) to build up a new bike on the cheap

The start of a new series where I have a go at putting together a decent hardtail by using as many spares – and as fewer new bits – as possible.

The point at which you want a new bike is obvious. It’s all the time basically.

The point at which you decide it’s feasible to acquire one isn’t quite so clear cut.

I’ve known people (ahem) who have built up a whole new bike purely based around a having a spare chainset lying around that was ‘too good’ to leave languishing.

N+1

This time, my decision to actively concoct N+1 was based around two things. 1) I’m going to get a new (well, second-hand) suspension fork for my existing bike, and 2) I had a fairly big pile of spares lying around that seemed like it was pretty-much-a-whole-bike.

So I decided to go for it. A new frame that is.

What new frame? This new frame…

Weeds: model’s own

NS Bikes Eccentric Alu EVO 29 frame

  • 29in wheel size (or 27.5+)
  • AL6061-T6 aluminium
  • 130-150mm fork
  • 65° head angle
  • 460mm reach on L/19.5in
  • Threaded BB
  • Dropper post friendly
  • Boost 148
  • 2.2kg weight
  • Sizes: S, M, L (16in, 17.5in, 19.5in)
  • Colours: Night Sky, Flat Black
  • Currently £289.99 on Chain Reaction Cycles

Why this frame?

It takes 29in wheels. It will work with a 140mm fork. It will take a 30.9mm dropper post (via shim). It has a slack head angle. It’s not very expensive.

Those were my five main criteria.

Threaded BB and stealth dropper routing

Other icings-on-the-cake: threaded BB, stealth dropper routing, can run 27.5+ tyres, splatter paintjob.

It’s also aluminium. I like aluminium. Carbon and titanium are too costly. Steel is also expensive, heavy, rust-prone and – quite frankly – pointless on a bike like this. The subtleties of the mythical ‘steel feel’ won’t really be felt on such a tight triangled ‘ardcore ‘ardtail. Sure, steel tubing looks cool. But that’s about it.

There’s nowt wrong with aluminium.

Mmm… splattery

There are also some things that aren’t ideal however. As is ever the case when it comes to bike builds in my experience. Namely, my spare wheels aren’t Boost. And the 460mm reach isn’t hugely long these days.

Boosty McBoostface

Thankfully there are plenty of Boost conversion kits available. As regards the reach, on long-forked hardtails reach works a bit differently. It effectively lengthens in reach as the fork sags. My main bike has a 466mm reach and I’m happy enough with that.

Can fit 29 x 2.4in tyres (or 27.5 x 3.0in)

The ultimate goal is to end up with a hardtail that rides similarly to my full suspension bike. A hardtail for riding when the weather is persistently grim. A hardtail for riding with folk on social mixed-ability rides. A hardtail that is a worthwhile amount lighter than my full susser.

Spares box

Existing spare stuff I’ll be using in the build

This is the aforementioned pile of spares that I had lying around.

Wheels: Specialized Roval 29.

Fork: 140mm RockShox Revelation RC 29.

Stem: Pro Koryak 40mm

Handlebar: Spank Spike 800 Race Vibrocore (cut down to 765mm)

Grips: Supacaz Grizips Lock-on.

Seatpost: Specialized Command Post BlackLite 125mm.

Saddle: WTB Volt.

Tyres: Plenty in the shed!

Crankset: RaceFace AEffect cinch (needs a seized-in pedal removing!)

Pedals: Shimano XT SPDs (or my usual DMR Vault flats if I can’t hack riding clipless again).

Stuff still to decide

Brakes and gears mainly.

Like a lot of folk I imagine, I do have various old brakes and shifters and mechs kicking about. The thing is, they’re either all not-very-good or they’re probably slightly worn out or faulty. And I’m very wary of sullying the debut rides of a new bike by having malfunctioning brakes or gears.

I also still need: headset, bottom bracket, cables, bottle cage, seat collar.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a couple of other things I’ll need that I’ve not factored in but am hoping not too many!

In the meantime if you have any questions or comments about my hardtail build – particularly about what brakes and gears to go for – please leave a comment below or on our social media channels.

Stay tuned as the next few weeks as the build progresses.