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  1. #1
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    First impression Fantom 29er X5

    Been riding a motobecane century comp for over a year, and this was my first "real" MTB.
    She arrived on 11/4 and the box was in mint condition.
    It took me 3.5 hours and four bottles of new castle to assemble.
    Most of the time was spent on trying to adjust the disc brake, as I have no clues on MTB stuff.
    Also, this MTB came less assembled than my century comp.
    I had to install the shifters and the brake levers on the bar, and I had to mount the rear deraileur.
    All of which came installed on the road bike.

    First impression was that this bike is huge and feels huge. I literally have to "climb" on the saddle which I've never done on the road bike.
    I'm 5'11.5 and I thought I made the mistake of purchasing the wrong size. 19" frame didn't give much SO room. However, after some search on the forum, I found out that 29er's have a higher SO than 26, and that the moto fantom's have higher SO yet.
    I think I have about 1/2" of clearance from the top tube. Also I have the seat pushed all the way back, so going to 17" frame would probably mean that I'd be really cramped.

    I took her out on Pleasanton ridge ride on 11/6, day after the rain and it felt solid. I did struggle on the tight single track switchbacks, and I'm not sure whether it's due to a 29er or because it's my first time on a MTB. The tires were slippery on some muddy sections, so had to let out some air. I initially had it pumped to 60psi (again, coming from road bike, first time on MTB). It was much better but still slippery, so I may need to reverse the rear tire or just get better ones.

    The stem does look goofy as others have pointed out so I'll be swapping that out. Also the bike does feel a bit heavy and I struggle when I try to hang it upside down in our garage.

    Love the sram "thumb only" shifters which allow me to keep my hands on the brake. Hydraulic disc brakes felt very powerful on the steepest descents.

    Overall I'm very pleased with the bike and I think it's a great price for 700 bux. Name brand bikes with similar specs are at least in the $1100 range.






    Last edited by mrshinsa; 11-11-2011 at 11:14 AM.

  2. #2
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    Nice. I've been looking at that one on BD for a while. Out of curiosity what made you choose it over the similar priced Gravity Point3?

  3. #3
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    1. On paper that Gravity is a better bike with better components. However, that can be said about any bike on BD that is one level higher. Gravity 4 or fantom x7 is even better value for the money and you can keep going up the ladder. Basically, more you pay, better value you get for the money. You just have to put a limit on your self and evaluate what things you are looking for. From riding the century comp I wanted two things on my next bike, 10 speed in the back and external bearing BB (square taper would always come loose, and i dropped about 1/2lb when I upgrade to GXP).

    2. My road bike is a motobecane, and funny as it sounds, I personally think it has a better name than Gravity. (Yah it sounds stupid, since it's not the original motobecane and neither brand is bling status.) Plus, motobecane has higher level bikes(again stupid reason, I know), which makes me feel that they have better frame(again I'm probably wrong, please don't throw rocks at me).

    3. With two kids at home and a working man's salary, I just wanted something to hang out with my guy friends on the weekend, at the same time I wanted something to last about 10 years or so. Maybe when I'm in my midlife crisis, I can get one of them Titanium 29er, but as a 1st beginner bike, I couldn't be more content. Except for that goofy looking stem.

    4. Looking at the 19" frame dimensions, the Gravity is a bit more stretched out and has a lower SO than the fantom, so that should be taken into consideration when deciding. The fantom has a steeper, more aggressive angle, so it may feel more sporty, while the gravity may feel more relaxed and comfortable. This should be the biggest factor in deciding actually.
    Last edited by mrshinsa; 11-11-2011 at 11:15 AM.

  4. #4
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    mrshinsa,

    Thanks for this report! I have been looking at the fantom29er trail, which is $200 cheaper and has decent shimano components. Given that BD is out of stock of so much stuff, I have been considering the current Fantom29 X5 to get something more quickly. I'm glad to hear your impressions.

    I don't have enough posts to provide links, apparently, but if anyone could comment on how you see the Fantom29 X5 ($700) stacking up against the Fantom29 Trail ($500) I'd appreciate the input.

    From a beginner's perspective, it seems the fork on the X5 is better than the suntour which everyone bags on (I'm guessing they have a reason to.) Also, the brakes are hydrolic vs mechanical. I can't get a clear read on how the X5 maps to the shimano for the Fantom29 Trail, and I assume it's somewhat subjective and a matter of personal exposure?

    My budget is closer to $500 considering that I have to buy clothes, accessories, pedals and maybe shoes. But, $700 is possible if I'm sure I'm committing to the bike for a few years.

    ALSO, sorry to dwell on the BikesDirect.com angle, but the site says 90% assembled and all of the howto's and docs suggest that things like derailleurs and items attached to the bar are all pre-installed. Do you think you got an off/under-assembled bike, or do I really have to do a bigger bike install and tune than I think? I'm sure I could handle it but it might take more than 3.5 hours and few beers. I might be a couple of decent nights and *more* beer.

    -T

    P.S. I'm almost 5'10 with a 32" inseam and I'm thinking 17.5 frame might be the direction I have to go even if the SO height gives less clearance that I would ideally want?

  5. #5
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    Do the bike fit calculator and most focus on effective top tube and not stand over height. I would say as long as you can straddle the bike without mashing yourself there you are ok.

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