26-inch wheel aficionados may be some luckiest riders right now because their wallet can stay fat while their bikes stay dialed. Thanks to the help of a friend of Vital, we've been turned on to some screaming deals on brand new parts to create a sub $3,000 trail bike that's worthy of a beating. Our builds feature 160mm of travel, an adjustable post and some legit wheels, too.
*Online sales and bargains come and go, so we can't guarantee how long these deals will last. Colors and styles may change as well. Prices and options listed below were available at the time of writing. If you find a bargain, post it in the comments! Happy shopping.
Yeti SB66 - Competitive Cyclist - $999.00 - was $2000.00
Santa Cruz Blur TR Alloy - Competitive Cyclist - $999.00 - was $1950
Nukeproof Mega AM with Monarch+ - Chain Reaction - $1026.00 - was $2021
We went with 20mm thru-axle options because they were the least expensive and most of you not wanting to give up 26-inch wheels probably despise 15mm axles. Just beware that the biggest risk with going 20mm is finding compatible wheels at retail outlets. There were some $450-500 15mm fork options which would open up the wheel selection quite a bit.
RockShox Lyrik 160mm RC2L 20mm with U-Turn - Bike Wagon - $399.00 - was $705
or Marzocchi 55 CR with 20mm - Jenson USA - $399.00 - was $679
Going single ring with the Narrow/Wide setup means no front derailleur or chainguide (if you dare). Ring prices may vary with tooth count and there are crank/ring combos that you could create yourself. We went with the existing Race Face combo that includes bottom bracket, too.
Race Face Evolve with 34t N/W - Bike Bling - $138.00 - was $180
Shimano XT Shadow+ - Chain Reaction - $61.99 - was $99.99
Shimano Zee - Chain Reaction - $20.99 - was $34.99
Shimano XT - Chain Reaction - $47.99 - was $84.99
Shimano Deore HG54 10-speed - Chain Reaction - $15.99 - was $23.49
BrakesShimano Deore M615 Disc Brakes - Chain Reaction - $47.49 x 2 (front/rear) - was $112.99 x 2
Shimano SLX RT66 6-bolt 180mm - Jenson USA - $19.99 x 2 (front/rear) - was $24.99 x 2
Gravity DX Pro Tapered - Random Bike - $32.97 - was $89.99
Race Face Evolve Low Rise 750mm OE - Jenson USA - $24.99 - was $47.99
Race Face Ride Stem (we'd choose the 60mm) - Jenson USA - $25.49 - was $29.99
RockShox Reverb - Chain Reaction - $260-ish (price varies with drop length, size etc) - was $459
Seat Post Clamp
Clarks CLO 275 Lock-ons - Chain Reaction - $5.99 - was $9.49
Crank Brothers Iodine 2 - Chain Reaction - $19.49 - was $93.49
Go to town and choose for yourself. Chain Reaction has a bunch of 26-inch tire choices that are 2.35 or 2.4-inches wide. We're budgeting $90 total.
Total cost: $2875.85
Total savings: $1997.52 off full retail which is $4873.37
(Online price if you choose the Nukeproof is $3002.85)