I started this build about 2 years ago and i'm happy its finally finished (nearly!!)
I started out with an old claud butler vantage that was my brothers before me, in the family for 14 years and about 4 years old when he got it! it had ok-ish components (mixture of deore & alivio) but had a 4" split in one of the chainstays so it had to go.
the first thing going through my head was "I want an orange" for no other reason than I could never afford one when I was younger and now I have disposable income, it was possible!!
at the time, ebay turned up a fair few patriots but not much else, especially nothing hardtail & sub £400 apart from some basket case looking bikes that I can only assume spent half their lives living in a canal. I went into the frames section and managed to turn up my frame, it was nearly mint, it was an orange and it seemed like a good idea at the time (don't drink and ebay folks..... its a bad idea!)
I took the frame down to my LBS along with the dead claud and we set about working out what could be salvaged. The first incarnation was a mismatched shambles featuring 18 year old deore hubbed wheels, new alivio rear mech, new deore front mech, my old deore shifters, new easton riser bar (complemented with my old bronze ano brace) my own triple trap platforms (have been on every bike i've owned since i was about 13 / 14) forks are bomber m2 supercomps and a raceface deus stem picked up for a steal on ebay.
The bike spent about 18 months in this state, rideable but in desperate need of new wheels so, another trip to ebay turned up a set of mavic rimmed, DMR hubbed wheels, dropped these on along with a new 9 speed cassette, sram x.9 rear mech and shifter (the only thing i've got left to do is an x.9 front mech and shifter). I also tidied up the bars by acquiring a matching stem and flat bar from one of my local shops, (Dave Hinde), with their own branding on it, a pair of stubby ritchey bar ends and i'm extremely happy with how it now looks and more importantly how it rides.
(i really must sort out a better picture of it because this doesn't do it much justice)