Thought Experiment: This Fantasy Build Is Just A Normal Bike With Parts That Are in Stock

by | May 19, 2021

Here’s one for the normal folks among us who just want… a bike. Not a light bike, not a heavy bike, just a good bike. These days, it seems that obtaining such an item is easier said than done, so the theme of this next fantasy build is pretty basic. It’s a bike, it’s not too terribly expensive (though it is also not cheap), and it is made up of only parts that are in stock, either from the companies themselves or their primary distributors.

Note that this excludes companies that do not sell directly to consumers, as stock of parts from those companies is quite geographically varied and is almost impossible to verify outside of going to my local bike shops and assuming that the rest of the world is exactly the same as my little bubble.

Another disclaimer is that things do change quickly, and while all of these parts were in stock at the time of this writing, the rush of people going to buy things after reading that those things are in stock may make this information outdated. For parts that seem likely to be bought out soon, I have included backup possibilities, but I can’t guarantee that they’re available. Also, as I’m writing from the U.S., availability may vary geographically.

Frame: Specialized Enduro Frameset – $2,900
For a price of $2,900, the Enduro frameset is a solid platform for putting together a nice but not entirely bank-breaking bike, at least relatively speaking. The bike comes with a Fox DPX2 Performance rear shock, solving that part of the equation as well. As of starting this piece, the frame was available in sizes S3, S4, and S5. It is now only available in S3. That said, for an extra $500, the S-Works version is currently available in all sizes.

Fork: Marzocchi Z1 Bomber Coil 170mm – $779

Forks are hard to come by right now. I almost went with a fork from a slightly smaller suspension company, although there was a warning that supply was low, but then I watched the “Out of Stock” message appear on the product page right in front of my eyes. So those dreams died there, and I was forced to find an alternative. As of right now, there are six Bomber Z1s in stock (though I’m watching them dwindle).

Just in case those Bombers disappear, I have a backup option. While it’s not 100% accurate to say that the MRP Ribbon 29 fork is ‘in stock’ because MRP builds all its forks to order, the parts for both the coil and air versions are currently available, and the expected shipping time is 6-10 days from purchase, so the Ribbon is as close to in stock as it gets.

Update: EXT ERAs are also in stock.

Drivetrain: Box Components Prime 9 Box Two/Three Groupset Combination – $285

When the larger companies are sold out, the underdogs have the chance to shine. Box Components has spent the last several years developing several iterations of drivetrains to compete with SRAM and Shimano, and the winning formula just might be there. While many companies have standardized to 12-speed drivetrains, Box has taken a different route by introducing the tagline ‘9 is Fine,’ producing a wide-range nine-speed cassette with an 11-50t gear spread.

Crankset: Rotor R-Hawk w/ Rotor chainring – $361

The Rotor R-Hawk cranks are solid aluminum and ready for anything. And yep, they’re in stock.

Bottom bracket: Rotor BSA 30 – $60

Brakes: TRP Quadiem – $340 pair

I love TRP brakes for the amount of modulation they provide. These stoppers have a respectable amount of power and incorporate features of the pricier DH-R EVO brakes into a more affordable — and in stock — package.

Rotors: TRP R1 1.8mm Thick Rotor, 203mm – $92 pair

While TRP is known for making 2.3mm thick rotors that are optimized for eMTBs and other heavy-duty purposes, the 1.8mm version works best with the Quadiem brakes and has plenty of substance for our imaginary bike building purposes.

Wheels: Spank 350 Vibrocore Wheels – $700 pair

Spank’s pre-built wheelsets offer great value and performance. They are more robust than many aluminum wheels (I know this from thoroughly abusing a set at one point), ride well, and are generally just a solid choice. The 32h version is in stock, while the 28h version is not.

Tires: Vittoria Mazza – $150 pair

The Mazza looks like a DHF, but the cool part is that you can buy it.

Seatpost: BikeYoke Revive 160mm w/ PNW Components Loam Lever – $476

Since dropper posts are popular and seem hard to find these days, my pick here is the BikeYoke Revive 180mm, for $407. While it’s on the expensive side of the seatpost price spectrum, it is one of the best ones out there. I originally chose a PNW Components Rainier Gen 3 post but had to swap it out once that went out of stock, hence the deceptive photo at the top of this post. Still, I’m a big fan of the PNW Loam Lever is the best one around ($69), so that’s staying in.

Saddle: SQlab 611 ERGOWAVE Fabio Wiber edition – $170

The SQlab 611 saddle is truly a blessing to humanity, but unfortunately, most versions of the perfect saddle are sold out. That said, the Fabio Wibmer edition is still around, even in the very reasonable and apparently very popular 14cm width. And who doesn’t want a Fabio-themed saddle? I can’t say it’s something that has crossed my mind before, but I do have to admit that the saddle is eye-catching in a very intriguing way. At nearly $200, you get what you pay for here.

Handlebars: Deity Topside – $57

The Topside is a sturdy aluminum bar that comes in several colors with a friendly price tag, making it a very appealing option.

Stem: Deity Copperhead – $99

A Deity Copperhead 35 stem in the 50mm length rounds out the Deity cockpit. It’s available in purple right now, which is neat, and comes in at just under $100 so is still relatively wallet-safe.

Headset: Wolftooth Components IS Headset w/ Specialized Upper -$100 (upper and lower assemblies sold separately but both currently in stock)
Grips: RaceFace Half Nelson – $27

Grips aren’t terribly hard to come by, though unfortunately some of my favorites are currently sold out. Luckily RaceFace has plenty of models in stock.

Pedals: OneUp Aluminum Pedals – $129

There are plenty of types of pedals in stock right now, and it’s hard to choose just one. I’ll go with OneUp, since their pedals are pretty nice and the other pedals I found that I like are from companies that are already on this list.

So there it is. Once everything is added up, this bike comes out to $6,328, which is by no means a steal, but also is not unreasonable for a nice carbon bike. Now I’m going to go ahead and publish this before these parts go out of stock.