Cheap Mountain Bike Parts | Are these bike parts safe and would you use them?

Cheap Mountain Bike Parts | Are these bike parts safe and would you use them?

Are these cheap bike parts worth using?
What parts should I buy and test out for you?

Look, we all know it’s a PITA to get bike parts right now (2020 – 2021). Because of this I thought I would try out some low end (cheap) bike parts. I’ve have a few I want to show you and more importantly I want to start a conversation on the topic. What cheap parts have you tried and had success / no success with?

โ€”โ€” ๐˜พ๐™‡๐™„๐˜พ๐™† ๐™๐™Š๐™ ๐™‚๐™๐™€๐˜ผ๐™ ๐˜ฝ๐™„๐™†๐™€ ๐™‚๐™€๐˜ผ๐™ โ€”โ€”โ€‹

โ€”โ€” ๐˜พ๐™‡๐™„๐˜พ๐™† ๐™๐™Š ๐™๐™„๐˜ฟ๐™€ ๐™’๐™„๐™๐™ƒ ๐™๐™Ž โ€”โ€”…โ€‹


โ€”โ€” ๐™๐™‚๐™ˆ๐™๐˜ฝ ๐™๐™ƒ๐™€๐™ˆ๐™€ ๐™Ž๐™Š๐™‰๐™‚ โ€”โ€”
Music by: Robb Quartararo
Audio engineering / Music Production by:
IG: HB_Audioworks

#mountainbikeโ€‹ #rgmtbโ€‹ #dropperlever

Readers Comments (50)

  1. Great point me Gene. I have some eBay parts on my bikes. Imas a mechanic I think I am taking a calculated risk on my own bikes. Plus I am careful. Great topic and each individual needs to decide on their own. True to your point. A regular guy like you and me. We will look to save some bucks.

  2. I wouldn’t skip money on important and heavily abused parts like breaks, suspension and bearings. Stems, cranks and so on can be cheap. But for example I used cheap bearings and my old bb lasted for 8 years and the cheap bb lasted half a year. On breaks and suspension I would try to find something used. I got a good fork for 100 bucks that was 380 bucks new.

  3. Bruce Gudmundsson May 23, 2021 @ 1:09 am

    That is a very tough call in many cases. If I’m building up a cool kids bike, then I’d throw all the cheap parts at it, unless that kid is a ripper.

    If it’s a cockpit item, then my anxiety can’t handle it. I need to know my stem and bars are not going to fail me. This is why I don’t run carbon bars for example.

    I have had disastrous experiences with non-brand-name brake pads and rotors, so I’m basically a lifer when it comes to Shimano stopping hardware.

    But non-critical items like valve-stems, bar ends, and top cap, I’m all for the cheap color coded stuff.

    I have also had too many friends with cheap pedals have failures in the field, and I gravitate towards longer more rural rides.. So.. Reliability is just too important to cheap out.

    Forks and more complex suspension items are another level. I can’t imagine that some aftermarket knockoff has the same internals as RockShox/Fox. I have disassembled low-end forks and it’s a disaster in there. I’d go with SR-Suntour long before I’d go with some no-name knock-off.

    But if the bike is not for ‘serious’ MTB usage, then I feel free to cheap out, especially if the looks are important.

    But… At the end of the day, it’s more important to get out on something cheap than it is to stay on the couch due to the price of bikes and parts.. So go cheap.. Buy some tools.. Fail, succeed, learn.. It will be an adventure just as long as you get outside. So go ride your bike and quit worrying about it..

  4. humm..I would say this would only go for people building from frame up.I dont know why anyone would get cheaper "iffy" parts to replace OEM parts already on a pre built bike? AND I just paused the video around the 4:20 mark. Ive wondered the same thing..What is the difference in the cheaper parts vs expensive? Names? Quality? I bet in most cases its just the name…ok and maybe an oz here or there. Im willing to bet that people are drawn to names and colors more than anything. AND this goes all the way to cars,shoes,clothes,razors,bikes,stereo equipment,etc etc etc…Nice video Gene

  5. The best rule of thumb If the part fails catastrophicly would you get extremely hurt thatโ€™s how I figure out if I would cheap out

  6. felix Winkler May 23, 2021 @ 1:14 am

    scimp on the stem etc but not not on the brakes as they are quite complicate like suspension or a bike frame as they are the most important

  7. Johannes Nilsen May 23, 2021 @ 1:14 am

    Keep in mind that even a big brand does not mean its good. Shimano brakes that leak Trek bikes with various absurd problems. These are just two examples.
    I’ve had 2014 Trek Fuel ex, it had over tightened bolt, probably tightened using a electric screwdriver way past 10nm, one nut came loose it was under tightened.
    Too flexy frame set.
    Hanger bent on every ride.
    Bad selection of parts. A Vitus is a much better value now for example and for less money
    Shimano M552 cranks, spider bent and it bent the strong raceface chainring i out on, I ha dto of same bike pedal fell off same crank model too. That happen twice, eventually I combined the crank from each bike until I got proper cranks.

    Shimano M615 brake sleaked and eventually got bent cover and internal plate holding the seal, threads in lever body for bolt holding it on failed so they leaked, the seals in caliper leaked too.
    3 sets of. 615 brakes and a set of 396 leaked before warrant yperiod was up. M396 had same thread issue and leaked same spots, used only few rides on spare bike the 3 others were use used more, I got m6000 as warranty replacement, all of them leaked some took few months some few weeks some few minutes. And 2 years after I sent some brakes in still no answer, and I sold it as spares along with some too small shorts and bike parts, cus a guy needed the hoses.

  8. Wanna Ride Bikes May 23, 2021 @ 1:18 am

    The zoom breaks are tricky to bleed. I bought them for a budget build and yeah front is nice but has fluid by the bolt the rear stays squishy no matter what. I rode them but not in a trail yet. But maybe Iโ€™m gonna change out of them.

  9. Johannes Nilsen May 23, 2021 @ 1:19 am

    I dotn skimp on performance, durability, longevity on anything.
    For me that’s not good idea. As I would destroy garbage parts.
    But that does not mean you can’t get cheaper and decent components. Also going secondhand is a good idea. I’ve got sunrace cassette , absolute black oval chainring, Renthal stem second hand. All were in good shape unused chain ring. ๐Ÿ‘Œ Stem was at a decent price. But I got lucky i grabbed it as soon as it came.

  10. Wanna Ride Bikes May 23, 2021 @ 1:20 am

    Budget parts are used in mid trails budget parts canโ€™t do downhill like. I would not cheap out on breaks and bars. Now break pads yeah cheapo tubes yes I use tubes. Where ever a sale is. Grips no cheap move there. Saddle a must. But would say a lot of budget parts do work.

  11. ArmaniFlyHigh May 23, 2021 @ 1:21 am

    I dont do compromise on the breaks any more…Had Tektro, XT and the best breaks that works for me is the Magura MT7 with 203 rotors F/B for the same feling and byte…..

  12. Johannes Nilsen May 23, 2021 @ 1:22 am

    Zoom rotors:
    These rotors seem to be rebranded or copy, I know Clarks have rotors looking like it, but rebranding is quite common.
    but I suspect the cooling won’t be as good as on Hope, cus they have more and smaller venting holes, they might also be more flexible, but they will be better than stock rotors on most cheap bikes, and resin only rotors. I see BrakeStuff have regular non floating rotors, with tiny venting holes, the rotors are thicker too, so cooling should be good, and less prone to warping, but they also do custom rotors, so you could have RGMTB sign machined into the rotor. So I am curious how they perform. it will be heavier for sure, but no rivets that will get creaky after few years of use. I forgot the price.

    but I share it cus it’s interesting.

  13. No carbon parts. Got some valve stems and a fake absolute black oval ring . Work great

  14. Bobby Debobadibob May 23, 2021 @ 1:22 am

    If you just want ya bike to "look good" – then fit what ya like
    On the other hand if you ride a bike hard enough to brake thing off it, you might want higher grade metals and workmanship and quality control

    I’ve broken 4 sets of bars.. all were brand name, I know how much force it took to brake them
    with cheap parts you have no idea what pressure they can take, til they fail on you

    I learnt the hard way.. but alas, most folks will never find out

  15. I have the Wake stem and a few other non brand items. Iโ€™ve learned that many of the โ€œhighโ€ end parts are made by the same companies in China. What would I not skimp on? Anything that has bearings like bottom brackets, hubs, and things f that sort. Besides the Wake stem, I bought. P90 carbon handlebar, an Action crank set with an oval crank, and not so cheap or off brand, a Suntour Epixon Air Fork. This was all to upgrade my very basic GT Aggressor Pro and converting it to a 1X 8.

  16. Johannes Nilsen May 23, 2021 @ 1:25 am

    Secondhand market is pretty good in Norway ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด, bit less now cus of corona virus.
    But I can get fox rockshox forks second hand for decent price. But if someone is desperate to get rid of something price can be insanely low. Not common but happens.
    But mostly prices are pretty good.
    But finding drivetrain parts was never easy as msot wear those out.
    But if they did not use them or they have drivetrain parts or even cockpit parts they don’t need anymore you can get high end stuff for decent price.
    Fox and Rockshox forks are easy to get every year. Fox 36 factory, various fox 32 are the most common forks. I won’t have an issue getting fork for future build if I want to build a xc bike, trail bike, enduro bike, but getting a frame that fits is impossible as I want sizing of Large Geometron G1.
    26er forks are common, and can get them cheap even a Sid World Cup for about twise the price of one of those junk copy cat forks. ๐Ÿ˜
    So building kids or small bike is easier now with good suspension for 26er bikes.

  17. Johannes Nilsen May 23, 2021 @ 1:27 am

    For dropper post bikeyoke Divine is a great value, but there ar e probably other good posts out there.
    I got mine for 40 or 50% off I think think it was a Xmas sale. But it already was good value.

  18. Johannes Nilsen May 23, 2021 @ 1:28 am

    Some parts I am willing to go cheap on:
    Chains, they are heavier but not by much. And performance is not reduced enough. I’ve tried Kmc Dlc chains when chains were out of stock most places for some reason years ago, but I did not find any difference in durability, longevity, mabye there was some difference but not enough.
    There are decent handlebars and stems. 6000 and 7000 series aluminium that can handle a lot. So if you have to save buy alu handlebar from any decent brand. I’ve tried these: Race Face Turbine 31.8, Bontrager race lite 31.8, and cheaper 6000 series Bontrager that came on my old bike.
    Look for deals on tyres. You might find some decent tyres.
    As for saddle Fabric Scoop was a really good value, especially at a high discount, I bought 4, so I have spare in case I smash a saddle, it cna happen. But they they can seperate at the tip, but glue can fix that. But durable construction, no wood screws to pop out. I see SDG. Nukeproof have same tech. Same type of construction. This seems to be becoming a common saddle type. So nice to see more options.

  19. dopeassbikevids May 23, 2021 @ 1:30 am

    I’ve been using the wake,it’s fine

  20. Tristan de Sade May 23, 2021 @ 1:30 am

    I already cut corners on non-essential and non-structural parts (valves, inner tubes, bottle mounts, seat-post collars…).

    I would not cut corners on brakes or forks (or anything structural). First, I trust my health (and ultimately my life) on my bike, and I have only one body. Besides I am not rich enough to experiment with cheap low-quality components. When I buy something, I want it to function as long as possible and not buy the same stuf twice if unnecessary.

    Also I do not buy anything premium because: 1) I am nor rich; 2) Second or third tier stuff work as good as โ€žpremiumโ€œ; 3) Brands and nice components are cool part of MTB but they should not be the goal themselves.


  21. Stopadoodledoo May 23, 2021 @ 1:32 am

    Not sure I’d go for cheap brakes as they are rather a key component. I am a bit of a skinflint in other places though; the rear tyre on my hardtail is the one that came on the front of it. Took it off because it was a bit bald and put a Minion on it (as well as the back – both hand-me-downs from my other bike). When the rear Minion gave in, I put the aforementioned front tyre on the rear, despite it being pretty bald, having done about 3k miles.
    My ‘justification’ is that the rear doesn’t need much tread as it just follows where the front goes although I kind of got a bit caught out at the weekend, riding the steep, wet and muddy trails at Eastridge (Shropshire, UK) ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

  22. Johannes Nilsen May 23, 2021 @ 1:34 am

    there are cheap frames, forks and other components that are decent, if you are smart about it you can build a 1000 dollar hardtail, especially if you buy secondhand, in Norway getting secondhand forks is easy, especially fox 36, usually 5000-12.000 depending how old, and condition and how desperate the person is, and which model, so still pricy, and 32, and rock Shox Pike, Lyrik, usually those tend to be cheaper, and various xc forks. so I can get a cheap xc fork that is worth new as much as 5 or 10 cheap junk copy cat forks for the price of one of them. like 500-2000 Nok for a basic xc fork.
    and for 26er bike you can get a Rockshox sid world cup for example for the price of a low end fork. and basic low end Rock Shox forks for 100-600 NOK. so not pricy at all.
    but getting frame in my size is nearly impossible. drivetrain parts are rare, most very old stuff, which I sold some of.
    but if you don’t have to have as big bike as me you are have more options.
    so until long reach and modern geo becomes very common, I won’t be able to get cheap second hand bike.
    but I got some sweet stuff secondhand. I will see what else I can get this summer, still not much of good parts, not summer yet. that’s when most parts come or at the start of winter.

  23. Johannes Nilsen May 23, 2021 @ 1:34 am

    I see there ar emore good value hubs and wheelset sout there now. Nukeproof horizon v2, Spank Hex hub. Higher engagement than Chris king on both. Price on Hex is lower than Hope pro4 so better value i guess.

  24. Hi Gene, I have wake stems. They do the job bottom line. Question, which bike wall mounts are those?

  25. Ryan B McKnight May 23, 2021 @ 1:38 am

    This seems to be the battle for all building a budget minded bike. I personally have the wake bars and stem on my bike, as well as some cheap JG bike cranks and love them, but as I find more trails with bigger jumps and I get back to more of my BMX roots style riding, I do ask myself quite often "will this break if I land too hard?" I have yet to see any "consequences" from buying these cheap parts & they seem to be of decent quality, but as many have mentioned, you should be bolt checking your bike prior to riding and not overtighten these or any parts. When it comes to most parts, the first thing I do is search marketplace for higher end used parts that could maybe use a rebuild. Nice thing about the higher end parts is exactly that, you can find rebuild or service kits. So when it comes to brakes, fork, shifter etc. I chose used name brand (Tektro, SR Suntour, Shimano Deore) and they were acquired for what I would say is cheap, but needed a bit of love. I find nothing wrong with certain cheap parts, but you should choose wisely and ask yourself as I did, "would I rather be riding or fixing this part because I tried to save a few bucks". On a side note, every company you love was small and cheap at one point in their cycle, so who knows, the "cheap" company of today could be the "high end" company of tomorrow!

  26. Johannes Nilsen May 23, 2021 @ 1:42 am

    I ordered Shimano M51000 11-51T HG cassette it was the only cassette I could get in Norway that was a big cassette, no matter the mounting standard. and it was the only one, I ordered two, but they checked they actually only had one in stock. I but I will continue to test SunRace but with M6100 SGS for a while to see it will be, to conclude my review of Box One X-WIde and the Sun Race cassette. and the I will use the M5100 cassette and see how it compares. I want to see if I will continue to get bent cogs, and if Box Rd had anything to do with it, probably not, but I will see how shifting is during riding.
    I see some rear derailleurs from both Sram and Shimano are back in stock in low numbers. but there will be more coming in July.
    but the cassettes I’ve been told won’t come before end of summer.

  27. Ol' Roy MTB, etc. May 23, 2021 @ 1:43 am

    I’ve had good luck with the wake stems and bars. Have both on 2 bikes, one ht, one fs, for the last 2 years. Things to remember, don’t over tighten, I use blue thread lock on most all nuts and bolts, after crashes – inspect parts for damage and replace when necessary. Any riding I can handle, so can these parts, at least so far. Cheap forks just haven’t worked for me. Ability to find parts and rebuild kits works better for me than total replacement when failure occurs. Truth be told, I love cheap things that work, but, truly appreciate the high end stuff. Mr. Wallet has final say on my bike parts purchases…

  28. I’m a roadie but fancied building a mountain bike up from an old GT frame that I had. I’m coastal with very few hard trails, these parts for what I want are brilliant. Buy crap, buy twice yes… But also buy something’s cheap and of you use it enough and it feels then buy the best quality you can the next time

  29. Iโ€™m a fan of the Wake stems. They hold up great. I have them on 4 of my bikes.

  30. Regular Guy Mountain Biking May 23, 2021 @ 1:45 am

    โ€”โ€” ๐˜พ๐™‡๐™„๐˜พ๐™† ๐™๐™Š๐™ ๐™‚๐™๐™€๐˜ผ๐™ ๐˜ฝ๐™„๐™†๐™€ ๐™‚๐™€๐˜ผ๐™ โ€”โ€”โ€‹

  31. Johannes Nilsen May 23, 2021 @ 1:46 am

    Here are some cheap frames.
    Dartmoor Hornet, 64 head tube angle, largest frame is at 480mm.
    254.09 euro
    Mor eof a enduro oriented frame.
    Dartmoor primal 27.5 and 29 version. It’s a more trail oriented frame.

    Not super cheap but still not pricy.:
    Ragley Martley at ยฃ349.99
    I don’t have any experience with thse. I only share these cus they look robust and are quite cheap.but no clue on tolerances, manufacturing methods.

  32. MissingLink MTB May 23, 2021 @ 1:47 am

    It really depends on the bike and it’s intended purpose. I’m leary of cheap chinese carbon, especially handlebars. I like my face too much perhaps. I think a lot of the difference in products though is quality control. Off brand products really have no oversight and you can be in for a bad day, such as carbon. Big name branded carbon can fail from defects, so imagine the potential for off branded carbon with little to no qc. The Zoom brakes and most things are probably fine for zero to middle of the road trail use. Case in point being the difference between my Avid single piston to my SRAM Guide 4 piston setup. Forks, eh. I’ve seen some really cheap construction, skimping on overall quality. On a fork I believe you pretty much get what you pay for. There’s also the issue of sourcing service parts for rebuilds or repairs.

  33. fortunately, i’m not saddle picky…so i skimp on saddles. Origin 8 has some comfy saddles in many colors for cheap.

  34. Hey Gene, all those parts you mentioned have been a staple of another channel I follow called wolftick videos. Zoom, wake and even those forks have been tested on his GT and multiple schwinn bikes he buys and tests on diamond trails he rides. Check them out.

  35. Bryan Mccauley May 23, 2021 @ 1:53 am

    I ask myself this before going cheapo….โ€if this part catastrophically fails, could I die?โ€. If answer is yes, I pass.

  36. I’d skimp on grips and pedals. You have to factor in maybe they do wear out sooner but how much sooner than the quality part. I don’t think people realise a lot of frames are also made in the same factories. I buy cheap batteries they don’t last anywhere near as long as the top brand but I get 4 times the quantity of cheapos for a quarter of the price of top duracell ones. This is the same for bike parts, unfortunately mtbers are fashion oriented and have to have the best branding.

  37. Johannes Nilsen May 23, 2021 @ 1:53 am

    Fork with good support but need remote to deactivate lockout, which is a flaw. Do anyone know if this is still the case on newer Rock Shox forks? I know they did a model with a dial instead of remote.
    2015 Rock Shox Recon Solo Air gold. it was much more supportive than the 32 Fox Evolution, yet with 20mm less travel. but bolt on lockout wire was soft, the lock out is needed for the fork to not be locked out, absurd Thea reversed the damper mechanism.
    very supportive, but came leaking lower leg oil, was covered in it, seals popped out during transit on one fork, due to bad tolerances, I could use my fingers to pop it in and out.
    I sold one fork already, I still have one on my old hardtail, but the plan is to build at least one more bike, transfer parts over.
    My review:

  38. Stravaiging MTB May 23, 2021 @ 1:54 am

    I tend to buy a good to medium quality second hand part over a ebay/amazon no name part. For example, if that stem cracks when torqued correctly or if those bars buckle, what is the after sales/warranty support? Probably nill. So in that case a second hand stem from a known brand is safer in my eyes than a new but unquantified one. great video as always Gene and a great question.

  39. Jamesthebikeguy May 23, 2021 @ 1:55 am

    I challenge you to refresh an old/neglected mountain bike using only "cheap/no-name" parts. I’ll build one too, and at the end, we ride each other’s bikes, score them based on function/weight/style/modernization and total price. In the end, someone wins and the other one has to donate $100 to a cycling-related charity.

  40. I would not skimp on absolutely anything, defeats the purpose of a high end bike

  41. Leonardo Dominguez May 23, 2021 @ 1:55 am

    why the brakes are too expensive (even to my country prices) in comparison with some entry level shimano models??, the stem and valve are good options

  42. Thanks Gene. I have the Wake stem and no issues over the year on bike. I was thinking about elliptical sprocket.

  43. Johannes Nilsen May 23, 2021 @ 1:57 am

    Getting cheo stuff shipped from China takes several weeks, and there is added value tax of 25%and shipping cost. So might as well go for realnparts and spend slitgtly more or even same price or even cheaper and get a better product, especially if at a good deal, and will be faster to arrive.

  44. Trail Features May 23, 2021 @ 1:58 am

    The tricky thing is a lot of the parts do come from the same building, but they don’t use the same staff/materials/QC.

    A frame could be welded by an experienced welder, using quality metals, and verified by an inspector sent to the factory by the brand that ordered it. Whereas the generic frame was welded by an apprentice, with cheaper tubes, and maybe given a quick glace before getting pack up.

    It’s a bit of a dice roll.

  45. Ludde Seeervin May 23, 2021 @ 2:00 am

    I bouhgt a low end frame and it snapped in half

  46. There is a difference between cheap and inexpensive.

  47. I think it all about how you ride. If you do more dangerous stuff (jumps, higher speed rugged knarly rock gardens, etc )which by its nature , is more taxing on components, I would not go cheap. It you do more basic trail riding ( typical xx stuff) in a non aggressive mode, go cheap. All the guys that talked about getting hurt if components fail are making a lot of sense.

  48. Conor Verbruggen May 23, 2021 @ 2:05 am

    Go cheap on saddles. A โ‚ฌ16 one I got is one of the best I have, and no issues after jumping on/off and crashing during CX. This was "German website" cheap, not "Chinese website" cheap, if that makes a difference. Bars I wouldn’t skimp on. Cassettes or chain rings sure, I might try it on a bike that’s just for "fun"

  49. Had the wake stem. For searching the feels on short stem. Then decide to buy a better looking one… Lolz

  50. Johannes Nilsen May 23, 2021 @ 2:05 am

    drivetrain is one of the areas you can save a lot of money on.
    no need to get the most expensive stuff, and some of it is not even that great. Box One X-Wide was a disappointment. bushings wear out in few tens of kilometers. so swapping those that often is way too often, I am still working on finish up the review. but I got Shimano Deore M6100 SGS 12 speed Rd on my bike now.
    you don’t need the most expensive chain, I go for the cheapest chain I can get.
    I’ve tried the KMC DLC chain and it did not make much difference., and it had a hefty price tag, I can’t recommend it.

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