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  1. #1
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    2015 Motobecane 529ht quick review. (and evolution!)

    OK so I bought the 529ht from BD last week. Received it yesterday and built it last night. Adjusted and tightened everything up this morning and went on a quick ride to make sure everything was good.

    For 399.00 dollars shipped this is an awesome bike. It has far exceeded my expectations for what I wanted. It is solid with good welds and decent components for a bike in this price range. Also it is BIG at least in my opinion and this is my first 29er. I'm 6' 2" and weigh 210lbs. I purchased the 19" and it fits me perfect.

    A couple of draw backs about this bike is you will have to upgrade a few things out of the box. Tires are very cheap and don't hold very well, the seat wasn't for me so swapped my seat out, pedals are very cheap and should go as well. Then you have the items you will just want to upgrade like seat post, spem and handlebars.

    Good points are the frame is well built, drive system is solid, brakes work well but a little squishy (maybe need bleed), front fork is solid in my opinion and didn't have a whole lot of sag and didn't over compress from my experience so far ( 25% sag on second setting and maxed at 55% on first ride with some good brake testing). Also the front fork is a 2014 with 100mm travel. Site says 2013 and doesn't tell if it's 80 or 100.

    All in all I'm very happy with this bike. And am looking to do the "Iceman cometh challenge" this fall with it. I hope this helps anyone who is looking at this bike. Let me know if I missed anything.

    Edit: I wrote off the WTB saddle without even looking at it. Just swapped it with mine and it is very comfortable and seams well made. Trying to get my head back into mountain biking not pavement pounding and trimming weight.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 2015 Motobecane 529ht quick review.-img_20140918_134847.jpg  

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    2015 Motobecane 529ht quick review.-img_20140918_134112.jpg  

    Last edited by TheMaxwell; 10-10-2014 at 08:58 PM.

  2. #2
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    I have a very similar fantom 29 sport and am pretty happy. I don't think many will agree with your assessment of the fork. I have been riding for a few months and am beginning to see what people are grousing about with the suntour coil forks.

    What did you find inadequate about the saddle? Mine is a WTB Sport V and I have found it to be excellent. The WTB saddles get pretty good marks even at the entry price point and I guess its serendipity that it fits my keister well.

    What tires did it have?

  3. #3
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    I also have a fear of the spring losing its form but rite now its better then I expected from other reviews.

    Tires are Forza very cheap one even had a 3" crack in it (BD had a replacement out within an hour of emailing them)!

    Seat was a WTB speedV and rite after posting this I was looking at it and thought it might not be as bad as I originally thought. I took it off before even assembling the bike. I may have been a little overzealous on that one.
    Last edited by TheMaxwell; 09-18-2014 at 01:04 PM.

  4. #4
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    Put it this way, I haven't been on a bike consistently for years until I got the fantom (and yes it's a speed v not sport v). I ride 3-4 timesa week and have had zero arse pain. None.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwiceHorn View Post
    Put it this way, I haven't been on a bike consistently for years until I got the fantom (and yes it's a speed v not sport v). I ride 3-4 timesa week and have had zero arse pain. None.
    I updated the OP. It is a nice comfortable saddle I guess I just expected it not to be. I'm going to try it for a while and nice for bike shorts to be an option instead of a must.
    Last edited by TheMaxwell; 09-29-2014 at 05:17 PM.

  6. #6
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    2015 Motobecane 529ht quick review.-img_20140929_165500%7E2.jpg2015 Motobecane 529ht quick review.-img_20140929_203230.jpgUpgraded a couple things to make my 529HT work better. Put some proper tires on it Continental Trail Kings. A Ritchey 710mm riser bars and a Ritchey 100mm stem. In my opinion these were needed to have control over the bike on the trails.
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  7. #7
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    So to continue with my bike after a few rides and the XCT fork breaking in I started looking for a replacement fork. Originally I was looking at the SR Suntour Epicon but due to changes made in the 2015 line decided against it. Didn't want to go with the upgrade program as the Raidon wasn't enough of an improvement for the money. So I stumbled across a Manitou Tower with 120mm travel. It was to good of a deal to pass up. So this weekend I will be breaking in a whole new bike. And the 529HT will be all set for the Iceman Cometh 2014. Also I was very happy to buy a part from a Midwest company instead of overseas. Yes I know they are all made overseas but still.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheMaxwell View Post
    So I stumbled across a Manitou Tower with 120mm travel. It was to good of a deal to pass up.
    Would love to hear the details as well as a review of the fork. While I already have last years epicon, and am very pleased with it, I do need to find a good budget option to suggest to my friends and family.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitsBoy View Post
    Would love to hear the details as well as a review of the fork. While I already have last years epicon, and am very pleased with it, I do need to find a good budget option to suggest to my friends and family.
    I will receive the new fork tomorrow and have a single track course I'm going to Sunday. Will let you know how it does. I picked up the LDT model (2013 expert) for 260.00 shipped from a bike shop in Wisconson. Manitou and the shop were both great about responding to some technical questions for me. Seams like a very good company and good support.

    SR Suntour wasn't very much help when I called to inquire about the upgrade program. Seamed like I was waisting their time with my call.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheMaxwell View Post
    SR Suntour wasn't very much help when I called to inquire about the upgrade program. Seamed like I was waisting their time with my call.
    Well, suntour is still in teh process of getting their operations online in north america. This just goes to show that they still have a long way to go before they will be accepted as a viable choice and serious competitor, especially at the prices theyre asking. At a steep discount, people are willing to overlook the difficult customer service and availability of parts. But if youre charging teh same price as the big boys, you better bring comparable customer service and parts availability, not to mention distribution through LBS and online vendors, not just at the corporate website.

  11. #11
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    So got the Manitou Tower installed still breaking it in so won't really have an opinion till after the weekend. Though this is really a nice upgrade. If not just due to the tuneability of the fork. You can easily swap out the spring with soft to extra firm. Compression and rebound dampers are far better quality then anything in this price and far above (shim based and highly tuneable). Travel seams good but waiting for it to break in. Ordered a medium spring but probably won't put it in till its first service. 30% lighter then the XCT makes a huge difference.2015 Motobecane 529ht quick review.-img_20141010_101500.jpg
    Last edited by TheMaxwell; 10-10-2014 at 11:43 AM.
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  12. #12
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    I've been amazed with Manitou's customer service. Been going back and forth with the since before I purchased the fork and have never made me feel like my questions were dumb or I was waisting their time. Props to them. Also they want contact. The guy I've been chatting with asked me for follow up after the weekend to let him know how his suggestions worked out.
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    OK so I was able to get some miles on the Tower LTD/expert. After a few quick laps on the shorter single track loop I didn't see a whole lot of difference in performance. It did a good job a soaking up roots and small bumps. Rebound I think is about dialed in. Still working on air pressure haven't got it just rite yet. Didn't bottom out at all on my ride but the short loop doesn't have any real hard hits. In the middle of our rainy season here so getting it out to finish breaking it in is hard. Only had time for about 14 miles on the course. Cable routing has been problematic due to it running up the back and the cable not being long enough for putting it were I want to. Overall it is a lot lighter and the damering and rebound seam to work perfect.
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  14. #14
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    So one of my last packages arrived for my Moto 529HT build. My zero set back Ritchey carbon seatpost. Finaly can get behind the seat on a tricky downhill. And a really nice post. Still waiting for my spring and remote lockout. But feeling very confident about my set up.

    Any suggestions for a wheelset that doesn't cost as much as the bike?
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    All set up. Very happy with the finished product.

    Also should add that I weighed the bike last night and it just breaks 32 lbs. Not super lite but not bad for a budget 29er.

    2015 Motobecane 529ht quick review.-img_20141029_134816.jpg
    Last edited by TheMaxwell; 10-30-2014 at 05:50 AM.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheMaxwell View Post
    All set up. Very happy with the finished product.

    Also should add that I weighed the bike last night and it just breaks 32 lbs. Not super lite but not bad for a budget 29er.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Nice!
    Mine is same frame size and it looks like you saved close to 3 pounds with the upgrades.

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    I really do hope not to see any more end of season deals. Just purchased a new drivetrain for the 529HT. Why? Well for me I'm not a huge fan of the 3x8 set up and the XCT cranks. Also the rear derailleur made for some serious chain slap. So found a deal on a Shimano SLX 2x10 groupset for 226.60 USD shipped to my door (NEW). Can't beat that and I was planning on doing it next year but figured why not just get it and get it done.

    Edit: SLX drivetrain all installed. Very nice system would recommend to anyone looking. And the shadow+ system is so nice.
    2015 Motobecane 529ht quick review.-img_20141111_135312.jpg
    Last edited by TheMaxwell; 11-11-2014 at 01:45 PM.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheMaxwell View Post
    I really do hope not to see any more end of season deals. Just purchased a new drivetrain for the 529HT. Why? Well for me I'm not a huge fan of the 3x8 set up and the XCT cranks. Also the rear derailleur made for some serious chain slap. So found a deal on a Shimano SLX 2x10 groupset for 226.60 USD shipped to my door (NEW). Can't beat that and I was planning on doing it next year but figured why not just get it and get it done.

    Edit: SLX drivetrain all installed. Very nice system would recommend to anyone looking. And the shadow+ system is so nice.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Did you have to change the real wheel in order to get the 10 speed cassette to work? I always thought you couldn't put a 10 speed cassette on an 8 speed hub.

    I've been considering this bike for couple of weeks thanks to your thread, but I don't want to feel compelled to spend $400 in upgrades to make it trail worthy. So I have been on the fence for a while.

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    8, 9, and 10 speed all use the same cassette depth. 11 speed is special.

  20. #20
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    I can also confirm the hubs work with 10 speed cassette. Youll need a 10 speed chain, shifters, derailleurs (front mech may still work), and you may or may not need a new crankset. I never tried my xct cranks, but the chainwheel thickness and spacing matchs up perfectly to my x7 10 speed part.

  21. #21
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    Varider, It is a very nice bike, but you have to know what your buying. At its price I stand firm on its the best bang for your buck. For me I really dislike a triple front and the only 2x10 set ups are $1500+. Out of the box this bike is a great greenway / rails to trails bike. No its not a CX race bike or a singletrack demon. Now with a few upgrades I don't see anything on the BD website I would rather have that is a reasonable price. I am at about 900$ on my bike and I feel good about riding it in a race or day trip out mountain biking. Just know what you want to do with your bike. This is a great beginners bike you can upgrade as you get better or more experienced. I really do love mine. I wanted to continue updating the thread to show what you can do with this bike not exactly what you have to do.

    Also the 10 speed SLX cassette fit with no issues 8-10 speeds are all the same size as stated above.
    Last edited by TheMaxwell; 12-04-2014 at 07:54 AM.
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    Thanks for the all the input.

    I could see myself getting one of these and then upgrading the fork to the Manitou fork or maybe one of the less expensive RockShox coil spring shocks ($150 price range). I understand they have better damping than the Suntour XCT.

    Ideally I would like to eventually have at leaset X5 or deore level shifters with corresponding derailleurs.

    It seems like BD has a price gap between $400 to maybe $700 where additional spending does not get you a better fork, only better components. For example the $600 Fantom Trail has the Suntour XCT fork, but if you spend an extra $100 you get the Fantom Comp with a Rockshox XC 28Mg. From what I've read that's actually a trail worthy fork.

  23. #23
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    For under 200 bucks, take a look at the suntour upgrade program for a raidon fork, or roll the dice on a chinese epicon. Id put both well above a low end coil rockshox. Looking past suntour, you might find a deal on a manitou or an xfusion velvet, but youre looking at closer to 400.

    You can get an x5 shifter and derailleur set for 99 on the slow boat from china. But dont discount spending a few bucks more to get x7 or x9 shifters, and x5 derailleur purchased separately.

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    My progression on forks would be from the XCT to the recon silver (or equivalent epicon or manitou) The rockshox XC series of forks are ok, but quality wise, it's worth it to spend more. Normally, spending more for a good fork will get you a better drivetrain. I have an XC32 TK, and it works, just not as good as the recon silver.

    This is a case where Airborne bikes did a good job or upgrading the fork to a higher level and leaving the component group at a lower level. I'd rather have a good fork over a 10-speed drivetrain any day of the week.

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    A little update after putting the bike on the work stand for the winter. Headset needed to be torn down and cleaned (sand got into the bearings). Very weak seals this will definitely be my next upgrade. New wheels just installed. The set that come on the bike were very weak I could twist them out of shape very easily and had to true them frequently. Actually cracked two nipples after trueing for the third time so they had to go. I'll do the headset next time it gets gunk in it. A little more then I wanted to do so soon on upgrades but grew out of it pretty quick.

    I've been eyeing a Chinese carbon frame and just doing an organ transplant from the 529HT but not till maybe next winter maybe. Still scared to pull the trigger on a carbon weighing over 200lbs. But I would like a little more aggressive geo at this point.
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