First full suspension steed – a big Q

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  • First full suspension steed – a big Q
  • glasgowdan

    The answer is a personal one and applies to all bike so it’s hard for anyone here to answer!

    It’s up to you…


    You need to narrow down your choice to either a bike, a rig or a steed. If it was me I’d go for a fully assembled bike but only because bike fettling for me rarely goes beyond pumping up the tyres and fitting new cables after I’ve ragged yet another rear mech.

    Premier Icon MussEd

    You need to understand that folk on here will rip the proverbial if you use words like steed/rig/dandy horse

    I personally love the freedom of speccing a bike but it can become all consuming and many is the time when I’ve awoken in the night thinking about stems(for example).

    Oh and I’m selling a rather spiffing Turner Sultan if you’re interested. Great spec so you’d not need to worry yourself AND under your total budget too!


    For my first full suspension rig, I’d be interested to know if buying a frame (from here or new) and assembling the components is worth the time and effort vs. buying an assembled rig, and ride until parts fail.

    Short list is:- Trek EX 6, Yetie SB66, Santa Cruz Bronson / Tall Boy.

    Total budget is £3k all in.

    Thoughts, advice, experience of this dilemma?


    Thanks for the responses – I’ve a couple of demos booked @ Coed Y Brenin, Cannock Chase on Yeti’s Treks and Santa Cruz’s, I feel that its a drop in the ocean £-wise to get a few ridden before taking the plunge.

    I guess the thread was to see if there was a general bias between “good” and “bad” experiences of going either route.

    The first think I swapped on my hard tail was the fork, as the shop blatantly told me that despite the frame being a corker, the fork was its let down. And that’s what I want to avoid. The WMB bike-of-the-year is a Mondraker Foxy R, and has a clear admission that the fork is “crap”. So you see my interest in the “project” route of a good XC ride.


    Rig and steed? Tut rut tut.

    Oh, and ignore what magazines say.


    I guess for £3k, unless you have parts from another bike, you will be either using second hand parts (which means you can probably get a better spec) or, if not, looking for a nice discounted model to maximise your £perlb ratio!


    Depends if you think you will enjoy doing it or if it will just be a hassle. I like doing stuff like that so it would be worth it for me.


    I’ve never been a great fan of “off the peg” builds, and tend to invest in a decent frame and move across all my bang for buck parts from old bike. As time passes these then tend to get upgraded.

    I’m a fan of Santa Cruz and the VPP suspension so Tallboy/Bronson would get my vote.

    Premier Icon nickdavies

    Generally speaking you won’t be able to build a bike to the same spec as you can buy it for off the shelf. This is only simple if you find one that’s exactly as you want it. Start changing a few bits and you can quickly be better off building, and check none of the parts are OEM scrimpers.

    TBH you’re listing expensive brands and 3K isn’t going to go very far. Money will go further with the likes of Canyon, YT etc but you won’t get a demo. If you stuck to established big brands like Spesh, Giant, maybe Trek then you could possibly demo the new models and then find last years similar geometry in the sales?


    Building your own bike tends to be very poor value (IMO) compared to buying “complete” – unless you shop around for deals, both new and second hand.

    Consider that this shopping-around might result in changes from your “ideal” spec, depending on whats available/on offer when you are looking. So you might not get exactly what you want components-wise…. which is one of the main points of building your own.

    It’s pretty simple to spec up a self build to see how much it would cost – then compare it to the likes of Canyon and YT (as an example of best-value ready-built).

    For me, for 3K, I would be looking at either the canyon nerve, or maybe their new carbon strive. They haven’t got the prestige of a Yeti or SC, but I’m not bothered about that.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    First it’s not a steed and unless your drilling for oil it’s not a rig.

    Full built bikes are generally good value for the kit hung off it. Unfortunately if that’s not the kit you want it can be very poor value. As an example I don’t want shimano drive train but you need to get to x01 with santa cruz to get away from shimano and then I don’t like the brakes they spec, and I’d probably want different hubs etc. My last bike was a full custom build, it was cheaper in the long run than buying and upgrading.


    I like to spec my own. But then I’ve never spent 3k on a bike and cheaper models always seem to scrimp in areas I wouldn’t just to put an xt mech on.

    Buying off the peg means you know that everything will work together and what the eventual sizing will be. Custom will let you spend money where you want and give you something unique.

    I’d look to see what was available and then see if you could do better self building. My last bike was an online parkwood.

    Premier Icon FOG

    I have just built a bike but I chose that route because I had a number of decent bits to use. Even with parts of my own I ended up spending a lot more than intended , mainly due to the ‘ I want the new bike to look nice ‘ syndrome. You can get some genuine bargains in new complete bikes at the moment as 2014 bikes will soon be discounted to make way for 2015. So, if you have loads of bits, buy a frame, if not ,buy a bike.

    Premier Icon mrhoppy

    I don’t necessarily think self build is that bad value, if a) you know what you want and b) you are prepared to hunt for the deals.

    I looked at full built options recently and they all had issues. Too many compromised on key parts like wheels or forks for the sake of fitting xt parts, I’d rather have good wheels &adjustable suspension than a replaceable drivetrain. Many companies are still speccing narrow bars & long stems which’d need changing and I wanted to run 1×10. By the time I’d made all the changes to standard spec there wasn’t much difference.

    Premier Icon mrhoppy

    That said I think you’ll be on a fairly compromised spec for the Yeti or Santa Cruz options to come in at £3k.

    Self build, if you know what you like, is great – you get the stem length, bar width, tyres, wheels, pedals, etc that you want on the bike, instead of buying a set build and swapping.

    But if you don’t know what you want, then it’s expensive.

    Premier Icon buck53

    For me self build makes sense at the two ends of the spend-scale, either to buy second hand or in sales and maximise specs for the spend. I built my bike up like this but I’m happy riding stuff that isn’t brand new and possibly a bit tatty. At the other end of the scale you’ve got (most probably a custom rather than self) build where you know exactly what you want/have loyalty to a particular brand or model and can’t find a bike close to that spec. To my mind these are normally done by people with a lot of experience of riding different forks/drivetrains/brakes etc. and not willing to compromise

    Outside of this I think that you can get far better value from complete builds if you’re willing to be a bit flexible on the parts that come on the frame you want.

    Premier Icon Pawsy_Bear

    Santa Cruz built to your speck so big advantage, 3K will get you a frame

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