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  1. #1
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    Gravity Zilla MCX (Bikes Direct) a review

    So I had been looking for a do-it-all sorta all season blaster bike and came across the Gravity Zilla on BikesDirect.com. I know there are alot of CX purists that will inevitably poo poo this bike, but being on a tight budget and a bike wrench with 20 plus years of working experience, the Gravity seemed like a good bet. I should mention that this bike makes my 3rd purchase from BikesDirect.

    Frame Choosing the correct size frame is key here. Do your homework! If you are not familiar with bike sizing have someone who knows help you out, or skip this bike and visit your LBS. I am a hair under 5'11" and chose the 50cm frame. Theses frames are described as semi compact and recommended by BD that they be chosen based on that description. BTW, the 50cm frame fits me like a glove.

    The bike arrived well packed and intact without any injury to the carton. This is a good thing considering that UPS has a propensity for handling packages like the Samsonite Gorilla. Upon unpacking the bike and initial inspection I noted a few small dinks on the top tube with one down to bare aluminum. I determined that this as a factory flaw as the area had been covered with cardboard tubing packing material. Not a deal breaker for me, but I will admit that I like to be the one applying the dinks and scratches.

    The frame overall is very nicely constructed with its hydro formed top tube and integrated, cupless head tube. The welds are top notch throughout. and the added machined rear drops and 135mm spacing were welcomed features. The Fork is a lackluster straight ga. cromoly affair set up for disc only. Nothing to write Aunt Edna about, but decent enough.
    Tire clearance is said to accommodate a 29x1.75 size. That seems accurate. The frame geometry is also tweaked to accept a 80-100mm 29er suspension fork. Cool!

    The cockpit components are clunkier aluminum and are decent enough to use as is. I may consider swapping them out for some race face stuff down the line.

    The drive train component selection on this bike is hard to beat at this price point. While no single piece is top shelf, the overall spec reflects a well thought out and sturdy parts pick. The shifters are Sora brifters that are what they are and work admirably. It will remain to be seen how they fair in the rough. I am guessing that after a season or two they will be baggy enough to want to change out. The front derailleur is also Sora bottom pull rigged with a pulley to be actuated via top pull. This too could be suspect as to it's long term durability. The rear derailleur is a 9 speed compatible Deore MTB unit. Deore sets itself about middle of the road in Shimano's MTB groups. It has nbee my experience that Deore is plenty tough and unless you NEED to have an XT derailleur, the Deore will prove it's worth in the rough. The crankset is a Truvative splined unit attached to a cartridge sealed BB. Nice, stiff and sturdy! The gearing is ala hybrid with 28/38/48 removeable chain wheels. The cassette is SRAM PG-950 11-34T 9speed with low enough gearing to tackle some hefty climbs IMO. The chain is a KMC 9 speed compatible silver unit with a quick link. Adequate if nothing else.

    The wheelset is a sturdy mix of WTB 29 All Mountain speed disc rims laced to kinda cheapo but fully serviceable Formula hubs. Nothing to get too excited about here, but nonetheless a decidedly sturdy spec for a wheel set on a bike at this price range!
    Tires are kevlar beaded 29x1 5/8" Kenda Happy Medium CX and roll well on pavement as well as gravel and hardpack dirt.

    The Tektro Lyra Brakes on this bike are some of the crappiest discs I think I have ever had the displeasure of using! Totally useless (as of right now) if you are in a stop or die situation. I am still trying to get these things dialed. my opinion may change a little, but not enough to keep me from slapping a set of BB7s on post haste!

    Overall impression of this bike is favorable. Look, if you can find a better parts spec in a bike in this price range anywhere then go for it. The bike performs nicely in a wide range of scenarios. Could you use it as a part time CX steed? Probably if you bag the atrocious Tektro disc brakes and upgrade a component ot two down the line. The weight of the bike stock as shown for a 50cm frame is 26# and some change. Not a feather weight by any stretch, but light enough to carry up a flight of stairs to your apartment.
    If you are looking for a competition ready CX racer, look elsewhere. If you are like me and want a bike that will tackle a wide variety of uses including some singletrack without folding in half or flattening your wallet, then this could be what you have been looking for.





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    Last edited by fattybikejones; 10-15-2012 at 09:59 AM.
    GIANT TALON 27.5, MOTOBECANE USA MIRAGE SLX

  2. #2
    CS2
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    How can you beat it for a budget build. Nice job
    1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1992 Stumpjumpers. 1995 Waterford 1200, 1999 Waterford RSE, plus a garage full of steel frames.

  3. #3
    WI. Big Boy MTBer
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    Should mention I paid $500 shipped for this bike.
    GIANT TALON 27.5, MOTOBECANE USA MIRAGE SLX

  4. #4
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    Congrats on the new bike. Not bad for $500. Enjoy it!
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  5. #5
    CS2
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    They were blowing out the frame/forks earlier in the year. I almost pulled the trigger. I'm sorry I didn't now.
    1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1992 Stumpjumpers. 1995 Waterford 1200, 1999 Waterford RSE, plus a garage full of steel frames.

  6. #6
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    Why the **** did they go for such an ugly frame though? And what is up with the handlebar set up?

  7. #7
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    i picked up the XX version of the bike. to me it was worth the extra couple hundred to go with the sram components and avid BB5 brakes...far better IMO. i outfitted the bike with racks to be my touring bike, and it performed amazingly..couuldnt be more happy with its touring performance. As an offroad/singletrack bike..i feel like the geometry just isnt right. ive had it on rocky singletrack a few times and just wasnt feeling it.

    the only thing i swapped out was the saddle (not a fan of the big squishy saddles) and stem, to a shorter one that would fit. other than that its stock. great bike!


  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by fattybikejones View Post
    Should mention I paid $500 shipped for this bike.
    Mind if I ask the weight for the bike?

  9. #9
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    thanks for the review, very cool bike!

  10. #10
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    Liking it

    I also bought this off BD this fall. I didn't get to use it as much as I'd hoped, did a couple of single track rides (sketchy, but made old trails very interesting) and a bunch of gravel roads. I was out a couple nights ago and was really suprised and impressed by the Kenda Happy Mediums on the hard packed snow that is covering all of the area gravel roads.
    Fun just to be out this time if year in MN though

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by axcxnj View Post
    i picked up the XX version of the bike. to me it was worth the extra couple hundred to go with the sram components and avid BB5 brakes...far better IMO. i outfitted the bike with racks to be my touring bike, and it performed amazingly..couuldnt be more happy with its touring performance. As an offroad/singletrack bike..i feel like the geometry just isnt right. ive had it on rocky singletrack a few times and just wasnt feeling it.

    the only thing i swapped out was the saddle (not a fan of the big squishy saddles) and stem, to a shorter one that would fit. other than that its stock. great

    Hi. What rack is that? Friend needs a compatible rack and apparently the one he bought wasn't compatible with the Zilla. And what pannier bag is that? Thanx much in advance. And sweet looking ride, looks like you're putting it though some fun use

  12. #12
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    My bike (50cm) weighs in at about 25# For the low cash outlay, the bike is pretty darn nice. I have since swapped out the stocker fork for a Salsa 29er and before the ice and snow melt, I will have tossed the still ridiculously weak Tektro Lyra discs in the pargs bin in favor of a bb5 or bb7 set up.
    Once tension and trued and trued a second time, the WTB speed disc wheel set is pretty solid. I made some set up and fitment opposed to my original pics in that I flipped the stocker rise stem and moved the wonked out angle I originally had on the bar.
    I have to say that bonestly, if you can turn a wrench and like saving money, most anything you will get from BD is worth its weight. I just ordered a road bike from them a few days ago and will no doubt be ordering a dirt only rig later around spring.

    Sent from my SGH-T999 using Tapatalk 2
    GIANT TALON 27.5, MOTOBECANE USA MIRAGE SLX

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by fattybikejones View Post
    I have to say that bonestly, if you can turn a wrench and like saving money, most anything you will get from BD is worth its weight. I just ordered a road bike from them a few days ago and will no doubt be ordering a dirt only rig later around spring.
    I have to fully agree with you. Granted, the frames don't have the pedigree but the quality is great; maybe not the lightest but built well. I own a Gravity mtb and a Motobecane cx and have been very pleased. I can't see paying a few hundred extra bucks for a brand sticker slapped on the side.
    Just because you can't hear them scream doesn't mean they don't. Save a plant, eat meat.

  14. #14
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    Just finished sfripping the bike to bare frame. Gonna sell the frameset and salvage what I can to snap together a 29er MTB.
    Nice bike for sure, but now I must move on.

    Sent from my SGH-T999 using Tapatalk 2
    GIANT TALON 27.5, MOTOBECANE USA MIRAGE SLX

  15. #15
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    fatty bikes jones . what road bike did you order from bd ?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by lunna View Post
    fatty bikes jones . what road bike did you order from bd ?
    Picked up 2 more bikes from BD/Bikeislanddotcom.... A Windsor Wellington 2.0 roadie and a Dawes Haymaker 2900 to which I added some component uogrades. Great stuff for the cash!

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    GIANT TALON 27.5, MOTOBECANE USA MIRAGE SLX

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