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  1. #1
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    LBS Specialized vs. BD Motobecane?

    Hi Gang,

    Looking at getting my first semi-serious MTB to ride the local single track trails here is Houston. Just for fun, nothing too serious. Budget is $500.

    My LBS has a Specialized Pitch 27.5 for $450. Same price for a 2017 vs. 2018 model, with the 2017 apparently having better components. That's one option.

    Second option is a Motobecane 527HT - same price.

    I having done a part by part comparo as I'm not well versed on component quality, but the 527HT has hydraulic brakes. Looks like they have the same fork.

    I'm happy enough to do my own wrenching so I suppose it comes down to component quality and frame geometry (which i also don't know much about).

    What do you all think? This'll be my bike for the next 10+ years and no, I'm not bumping up my spend any higher.

    edit: Just realized that this was my first post, even though I've been lurking since 2014!

  2. #2
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    I think BD has some really good deals but nothing that special in the 400-600 range. I would be most concerned with fit so I would go with the local bike shop. It would be hard to give up hydraulic for cable brakes but if you look you can find new/take off hydros for next to nothing online. ride the crap out of it and when its time to replace the pads just get hydros

  3. #3
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    I was in your position five years ago. Now I work at a local bike shop and see why people steer beginners away from bikesdirect. There's lots of reasons to buy from a local bike shop and an established brand (Specialized) and really only one to buy from bikesdirect.

    Bikesdirect does spec their bikes with better components for the money. That's a big selling point, so let me outline why the bike from your lbs is a much, much better deal.

    - It is properly assembled. You can watch park tool videos and do it yourself, but without having experience working on bikes and knowing exactly what a properly adjusted hub or headset feels like, it's difficult to get your bike together right. I don't mean to disparage your abilities, but I had experience working on cars and dirt bikes and missed a lot of things when I started working on my own bike. Plus, out of the box, bikes need the wheels trued and hubs adjusted, and without cone wrenches, spoke wrenches, and a truing stand, you won't be able to get the job done.

    - You will be properly sized and fitted to your bike. This is huge, especially if you are in between sizes. You can actually ride the bike you want and know that it just feels right.

    - Bikesdirect does things that doesn't make sense. Their entry level hardtails have funky, old school geometry (short top tube, steep head angle), and having a good frame that you can upgrade down the road is more important than having slightly better components if you plan on keeping it for ten years. Also, I have seen road bikes of theirs shipped with forks that are too short so the frame slopes downward, leading to atrocious handling.

    - A bike shop acts as another layer of quality control. I have had customers bring in bikes purchased from bikesdirect only to find out that they were shipped with deformed headtubes or other issues. With that said, bikesdirect is good about warrantying items, but it is one less headache to deal with.

    - Depending on the shop, you get a free tune up and/or service discounts.

    So there it is. It's more than just component quality that makes the Pitch a better value. A lot of work goes into designing and assembling a bike, and bikesdirect skimps out where it's difficult to notice.

  4. #4
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    Sure glad I read your post Honda Guy! Not having ridden in about 15 years, I'm in the market for a bike again. I love to buy used and get a deal, but I know nothing about working on bikes. And I hate paying retail on anything like a bike that depreciates fairly quickly.
    But you pretty much made up my mind about where to make my purchase. The LBS that is a five minute walk from my home.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharp21 View Post
    This'll be my bike for the next 10+ years
    Good luck with that. I think I said the same thing before I upgraded twice. I vote for the LBS.

  6. #6
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    The local warranty is only as good as the LBS that has to process and execute it. I've had no luck at all in the last decade with any Specialized warranty. Most of it is the LBS in my case. Ask around and look up the reputation of the LBS if those things matter to you. In many respects I was better off with my kid's online fat bike than my last few LBS bikes.

    I think the post from the bike shop employee sounded balanced. Honda Guy didn't rip the online bikes for jest like many in the "industry" are fond of. He makes good points.

    I hope you find a new ride that works for you.

  7. #7
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    Donít forget, the BD bike will weight twice as much. Go Specialized, greater value and greater resale value in the long run.

    Edit: just compared the bikes back to back. The fork is a higher end version on the Specialized, the Shimano mechanical brakes will be 10x better than the Tektro hydraulics, the Shimano drivetrain is 10x better on the Specialized, etc etc etc.

    PLUS, you will get 1 year free service on the Specialized. Itís a no brainer.
    We don't ride to add days to our life, we ride to add life to the days we have left here.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Evil View Post
    Good luck with that. I think I said the same thing before I upgraded twice. I vote for the LBS.
    Lol no kidding!

    My Vote is LBS as well, and I started on a 520HT from BD, quickly sold it, and upgraded.

    I usually say BD "works" but having a good shop, is priceless.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thustlewhumber View Post
    Edit: just compared the bikes back to back. The fork is a higher end version on the Specialized, the Shimano mechanical brakes will be 10x better than the Tektro hydraulics, the Shimano drivetrain is 10x better on the Specialized, etc etc etc.

    PLUS, you will get 1 year free service on the Specialized. Itís a no brainer.
    I agree with the rest of what you said but take issue with your edit.

    Are you looking at the Pitch base model? Both bikes have the Suntour XCT fork, comparable drivetrains (whether you would rather have Shimano Tourney or SRAM X4 is personal preference though). Shimano mechanical disc brakes are definitely not better performers than the Dracos. You used to see those on entry level full sus mountain bikes 7-8 years back. Tektro's hydraulic disc brakes are also pretty reliable as far as hydros go; they just don't have the greatest feel. I have set up a lot of the Shimano mechanicals and they aren't anything special but they are simple and dependable.

    With that said, the frame's much nicer on the Pitch, which is very important especially if OP plans to keep the bike for as long as he stated. Saddle, stem, bars, and seatpost are also much better quality on the Pitch, which is a nice touch.

    Lastly, unless you know the shop for sure, that's not a given. For example, we do one free full tune and then "minor adjustments" free for a year - think minor shifting and brake adjustments.

  10. #10
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    I did the same thing as the OP back in January of this year. It is attractive to buy online and save a little money, but...
    1. My LBS is on a route I ride all the time and I can just pop in with any questions or niggling mechanical issues and they'll spend 10-15 minutes working on the bike, gratis.
    2. The component difference will amount to nothing in the long run if you actually ride your bike, because you will end up replacing drivetrain, fork, and brake components anyway.

    I'm happy I went with my LBS and happy with my Rockhopper.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the input everyone.

    I guess my hesitation with the LBS is that the last time I purchased a bike they let me ride out on an XL (I'm 5'11"). I still have the bike and have made due, but the standover height is at -1" and the reach is really far, making it pretty uncomfortable to ride.

    Saying that, I definitely want to get the best frame possible to accommodate future upgrades so it sounds like the Specialized is the way to go. The shop is right by the main trail system I'll be riding so if they provide ongoing service then that'll be a plus as well.

    Any comment on 650b vs. 29er? The shop (Bike Barn in Houston) carries Trek and Specialized, and I can get into a bike with either wheel size for the price. Again, it'll be for singletrack riding with minimal downhill.

    edit: The 29er in question would be a Rockhopper, also for $450.

  12. #12
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    Whichever you get the fork will be the weakest component. It's one spring with plastic bushings inside instead of metal. And no adjustable rebound damping. Suntour has an upgrade program to a Raidon air fork for about $200. And shop a couple dealers for that 17 Pitch. A manager only can give you a discount you can use towards that fork.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    Whichever you get the fork will be the weakest component. It's one spring with plastic bushings inside instead of metal. And no adjustable rebound damping. Suntour has an upgrade program to a Raidon air fork for about $200. And shop a couple dealers for that 17 Pitch. A manager only can give you a discount you can use towards that fork.
    Great tip, thanks! Iíll check that out

  14. #14
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    Is there a great single speed bike somebody can point me towards in that price range? Iíd be happy to forgo gears in favor of a great frame and decent shock right off the bat. Iím riding mostly with my 8 yo so donít need to crush him on the straights!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharp21 View Post

    What do you all think? This'll be my bike for the next 10+ years and no, I'm not bumping up my spend any higher.
    !
    Iíd stop laughing at this statement if one were still using a flip-phone, vcr, etc.

    Specialized v Bikes Direct? To me that is similar to Darth Vader v. Darth Sidious. I am always choosing Vader/Specialized.

    I have riddenSpecialized in past for many years and would go that route.



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  16. #16
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    I'd look on Pinkbike Buy/Sell and CL but you're in a tough price zone.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharp21 View Post
    Is there a great single speed bike somebody can point me towards in that price range? Iíd be happy to forgo gears in favor of a great frame and decent shock right off the bat. Iím riding mostly with my 8 yo so donít need to crush him on the straights!
    Since you are looking @ BD: Maybe rigid/plus tires w/gears?

    Save Up to 60% Off 29Plus, 27Plus Fat Bikes, Mountain Save Up to 60% Off New Bikes

    They do have a cheap SS:

    Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Gravity 29 SS Single Speed 29er Mountain Bikes
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    Giggity!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharp21 View Post
    Is there a great single speed bike somebody can point me towards in that price range? Iíd be happy to forgo gears in favor of a great frame and decent shock right off the bat. Iím riding mostly with my 8 yo so donít need to crush him on the straights!
    check the singlespeed forum. you probably won't find much quite that cheap, but it's possible. my first mtb was a rigid 26" singlespeed with v-brakes. my current bike is a 29er rigid SS with disc brakes. not much has changed in ten years, exept the eight frames i have swapped out in the time.

    you're going to buy one bike to last you for ten years? that's hilarious! for any rider, $500 bike is going to get upgraded beyond recognition in two year's time, or replaced entirely.
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  19. #19
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    It's interesting that an entry level SS costs more that an entry level FS bike. You'd think it would be the other way around.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharp21 View Post
    It's interesting that an entry level SS costs more that an entry level FS bike. You'd think it would be the other way around.
    Maybe a combo of smaller production runs and that shopping for a SS brand new instead of a conversion may signal something about willingness to pay?


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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjsb View Post
    Maybe a combo of smaller production runs and that shopping for a SS brand new instead of a conversion may signal something about willingness to pay?


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    Fair enough.

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