I have two mountain bikes that I use for my rides with my kids. At one point, I had as many as four bikes. I built up the two bikes using parts that I took off other mountain bikes. Except for a brand new Bottecchia, all Campy, road bike that I owned many years ago, all my bikes over the years have been purchased used.
Right now, I have a 1x9 drive train hardtail setup built up around a Fetish Cycles Discipline aluminum frame that I purchased on eBay, and a 1x8 drive train hardtail setup built up around a Jamis Exile steel frame.
I like the simpler one ring up front setup a lot better than the usually three rings. There is one less piece of gear to adjust since there is no front derailleur. Most of the parts on the mountain bikes are middle of the road, nothing fancy or too expansive, just parts that will take the wear and tear of off road riding and are cheap to replace.
I do have Shimano XT rear derailleur, and decent wheels and tires on both mountain bikes, a Rock Shox SID front shock on the Fetish, the Fetish Disciple frame, and a Shimano XTR cassette on the Jamis. These parts would be considered expansive if they were purchased new but I got these parts used and at great prices – at eBay. Thanks to gear heads and eBay, I will always be able to get decent replacement parts at cheap prices.
I think a responsive rear derailleur, a set of light wheels, light responsive front shock and good brakes add to my MTB riding enjoyment and I don’t mind spending a few more dollars for better quality on these parts. In future posts, I’ll go into more details about where I spend my money on parts on a mountain bike.