Buying A Mountain Bike: Custom Build vs Spec Build

spec mountain bike build vs a custom mountain bike build with a specialized stumpjumper evo


The allure of building up your very own custom mountain bike with exactly the parts you want is hard to ignore, after all, what product manager is able to perfectly guess which parts suit you and your specific needs?

But, we’ve always heard that buying a complete bike is a better deal because those big companies are able to buy components in bulk at a fraction of the cost, and then pass on those savings to the consumer.... or so we thought!

I compared the price of a Stumpjumper EVO Alloy Elite build from Specialized to a custom build made of our favorite parts here at The Lost Co to see if we can get a similar value for the money, and I was surprised at the results!

stumpjumper evo alloy elite mountain bike

Stumpjumper EVO Alloy Elite

The Custom Build

The Elite Stumpjumper EVO Alloy build from Specialized is pretty fantastic, and leaves very little to be desired, especially considering the price of $6100. With Fox Factory suspension, a SRAM GX drivetrain, and workhorse components, this thing is ready to shred out of the box. But maybe you want to stand out a little more and an off the shelf build just isn’t going to cut it, so let’s check out the build list I’ve put together.

We’ll be putting all these parts on the same Stumpjumper EVO frame, which I rode for about a year and had an absolute blast on. With highly adjustable geometry, a storage box for trailside snacks, and great suspension performance, I am a huge fan of the Stumpy EVO platform.

The Fork

On the front of the Stumpy EVO, we’re running the 2023 RockShox Lyrik Ultimate, one of our favorite new products to come out this year. Coming in a smidge cheaper and lighter than the Fox 36 Factory, this fork will let you charge into any rock garden with reckless abandon without a single complaint.

rockshox lyrik ultimate in gloss black

2023 RockShox Lyrik Ultimate

fox float 36 factory kashima in shiny black

2023 Fox Float 36 Factory

The Wheelset

DT Swiss makes our favorite rims, the EX 511 for the rear and XM 481 for the front. When paired with the Industry Nine 1/1 hubs, you’ve got one of the highest quality wheelsets around, especially when our master wheelbuilder Russ laces it up for you.

This is our signature “Lost Co Wheelset”, and after giving this combo a thrashing for over a year, I can confirm that these hoops are ready for anything. When you wrap these in Continental’s new Kryptotal tires, your only concern will be maintaining consciousness when you start railing corners at 10 g’s.

ex 511 and xm 481 mountain bike rims laced to industry nine 1/1 hubs
industry nine 1/1 mountain bike hubs

The Lost Co Wheelset: DT Swiss XM 481 in the front, EX 511 in the rear, both laced to Industry Nine 1/1 Hubs

The Brakes and Rotors

Slowing down the whole operation are the Hayes Dominion A4 brakes. Hayes have redeemed themselves after years of being behind the braking game with the Dominion A4s. Their fantastic build quality and impressive power have left me recommending these to anyone who will listen. Especially when paired with the 203mm Hayes D-Series rotor, the performance from these brakes will rock your world.

hayes dominion a4 mountain bike brakes on oneup components carbon handlebars

Hayes Dominion A4 Brakes

The Cockpit

OneUp is dominating our cockpit, supplying their carbon handlebars, stem, dropper post, and dropper post remote. Ever since OneUp started making components, their design ethos has focused on no-frills performance and quality, with an affordable price to boot. Just about everyone at The Lost Co is running these components because of how much bang you get for your buck, and they look great too! Touchpoints are vital for comfort and are very preferential, but the WTB Volt and PNW Loam grips have been staples on our bikes, so they’re going on this build list.

The Drivetrain

Wrapping everything up is a combination of Shimano SLX and XT bits for our drivetrain. With the Hyperglide+ shifting performance, this drivetrain offers the same performance as its XTR sibling at a fraction of the price. The easily adjustable and replaceable clutch on the XT Derailleur is why we’re picking this over the SRAM GX drivetrain, and allows you to keep that derailleur feeling fresh for seasons of abuse.


This custom build features my preferred brakes, cockpit, drivetrain, and wheels, so it must be more expensive than what Specialized was able to piece together with their almost infinite purchasing power to get those sweet sweet discounts, right? This build is actually $200 cheaper than what Specialized offers! Coming in at $5900, you’ve even got some cash leftover if you want to add in CushCore and a lift ticket to your favorite bike park!

Or if you’re partial to the build Specialized has put together, we can put on SRAM Code RSCs, a GX groupset, Specialized tires, and a Factory Fox 36 with the price still $34 lower than what Specialized offers! And that’s with The Lost Co Wheelset and OneUp Carbon Bar as huge upgrades over the in house Specialized components. If this doesn’t have you considering a custom build for your next new bike, I don’t know what will, so let those creative juices flow and start putting together a parts list for your next build!

The Lost Co Custom Build Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Alloy Elite Build

- Stumpjumper EVO Alloy frame + $2100


- RockShox Lyrik Ultimate + $1107

- Fox Float 36 Factory + $42

- The Lost Co Wheelset + $800


- Hayes Dominion A4 Brakes + $500

- SRAM Code RSC Brakes + $28

- Hayes 203mm Rotors + $130

- SRAM HS2 Rotors + $20

- PNW Loam Grips + $25


- OneUp Components Carbon Bar + $160


- OneUp Components Stem + $90

- Deity Stem + $15

- OneUp Components Dropper V2 + $230


- OneUp Components Dropper Remote V3 + $60


- Continental Krypototal Tires + $130

- Specialized Tires - $20

- Shimano XT Chain + $49

- SRAM GX Groupset + $91   

- Shimano SLX Cranks + $103


- Shimano XT Derailleur + $118


- Shimano SLX Cassette + $105


- Shimano XT Shifter + $63


- Shimano XT Chainring + $65


- Shimano BB-MT800 + $34


- WTB Volt Saddle + $48




  Total: $5890

  Total: $6066

Got questions? Feel free to shoot us an email or give us a call!




Tor Weiland



Bellingham, WA

Current Bikes: Transition Spire

Bike Size: Medium

Favorite Trails: Oriental Express, Galbraith

About Me: Hailing from the sunny landscape of California, Tor headed north and landed here in the cloudy town of Bellingham, WA. His riding style is "PINNED" and he loves to scope out those seemingly impossible triples. He loves riding and also loves sharing his experiences with others. You can catch Tor in front of the camera or behind the keyboard, but best of luck catching him on the trail!