Trying to put together a budget full suspension. Have found great deals and want to keep everything truly trail worthy. I have already collected the frame, fork, shock, wheels and some cockpit (let’s say $1,150 in so far). I know what I want to do for almost everything else except drivetrain and brakes.
For drivetrain been thinking about:
1) Advent X – 10 speed 11-48 and Raceface Aeffect crankset but doesn’t completely match my budget mindset but I did splurge on fork a bit.
2) Advent 8 speed 11-42 and Alivio crankset with narrow-wide. I like the idea of keeping the 22t inner ring for a super bailout gear.
Brakes just puzzle me. I’m a bigger rider so i probably need the power but dont want to spend more on brakes than the frame.
I’d really like to try the new Advent X drivetrain! I’d go for the 10sp personally in the interest of staying as modern as possible, and it’s not like it costs a whole lot more! I’m not sure about the Alivio crankset though, I think you’ll have trouble finding a chainring for it on the affordable side of things. Race Face Aeffect is probably one of the cheapest cranksets you’ll find, and the steel chainrings are super cheap. One other option you might try is to find a Sram NX eagle crankset new as a take-off from a stock build from some mtb classifieds. It’s the sort of thing that many people will upgrade right away and you’ll be surprised how cheap you can get them brand new.
As for brakes, Shimano MT520 or Sram Guide RE brakes are both super powerful for the money and would recommend either. You can see what I think about both here and here
For brakes, larger rotors and metallic pads can vastly improve the braking performance of even the cheapest brakes. So use 200mm rotors with metallic pads. Avoid resin pads, small rotors, and resin only rotors. Some rotors are not compatible with metallic pads. My current bike came with budget Sram Guide R brakes, 180mm rotors, and resins pads and had poor braking. Just switching to metallic pads solved 95% of my braking problems but I’m still considering adding a 200mm rotor to the front to add just a bit more bite. I weigh 165 pounds. If my bike had come with 200mm rotors and metallic pads right from the factory, it would have added little or nothing to the initial cost.
My first 1x drivetrain had a 1×11 10-42 420% cassette and mostly, I hated it. It just didn’t have enough range. My next 1x drivetrain had a 1×12 10-50 500% cassette which was a great improvement range wise but I still wouldn’t mind if it had more range. I don’t think I could ever be happy with less than a 500% range. If you can afford it, get the 1×12 500% Sram Eagle GX or 510% Shimano SLX drivetrains. I prefer the SLX because it’s cheaper than GX, replacement cassettes are about half the price of GX cassettes, and it has a 510% range. If you can’t afford 1×12, I would go with good old Shimano 2×9 with 11-36 cassette with 22-24T and 36-38T chainrings which will give you an ~535% range. 9 speed Shimano is inexpensive, easy to get, and works great.
As to range, I’d sooner use a smaller chainring than add weight with a cheap 12 speed. I never use the 30/11 when riding trail on my current bike so that ratio wont be missed if I go with the narrower range 12-42 I’d use a a 28t.
Follow up question: I just found out my frame is designed for a 34t ring and a 42t cog. How much am I messing with things if I go smaller on the ring or bigger on the cog? This may make my decision for me.
I also found that the Alivio is the cheapest 24mm hollowtech crankset with bolt on rings going (not counting questionable stuff on Amazon, Alibaba or eBay) and is in either 96/64 bcd or 104/64 bcd and narrow-wide chainrings are easily found. I think I am going with that, it will be cheaper all in than just the cranks in SLX or Aeffect.