I just received my Fly Pro, and I canít be happier. This is my second Moto (also have a Fantom Cross CX bike) as the Fly was bought to replace my 2004 Jamis Dakar Pro that was recently stolen.
Even though I loved the Jamis, I spent most of my time on my rigid singlespeed. So when I had to replace it, a hard-tail seemed the obvious choice. I had drooled over the Ti-Fly for almost a year, but didnít want to spend that sort of coin on a bike that was only ever going to get limited love.
I am 49 and weigh 185lb and rarely race. I wanted something lightweight but didnít break the bank. My only reservation was the Sid fork, as I had heard that it was best suited to lighter (<160lbs). I am not the most graceful rider and often end up taking the bumpiest option through rock gardens. So when I found out the 2009 Sid now came with 32mm stanchions and 4Ē of travel, it became a no-brainer.
OUT OF THE BOX Ė UPS manage to deliver the box without any major impacts/damage (a first for them). The bike was mostly built up. However what was disappointing was the front disc was not mounted to the wheel and the caliper was also not mounted. You were also left to figure out the best routing for the brake line. Not a big problem, but I have no idea why they did this (the back was fully assembled). As for the rest of the bike, whoever put it together did a first rate job. Not only did I not find a single bolt that needed attention, they nailed both the front and rear derailleur adjustments...perfectly. Remarkably, they also aced my saddle height as well as my saddle-to-stem position. However, they did fail on the seat angle (they had it perfectly level and I like it minus 5 degrees). As Meatloaf once said...Ētwo out of three aint badĒ.
COMPONENTS Ė I really think they aced this one with a great balance of quality, performance and budget parts. For a bike that sells for $1200, you canít have full XTR and Thomson/King components. You have to choose your parts wisely, and make compromises in the less critical areas. The XT rear D, and LX front D/shifters are a perfect example. As are the Ritchie bar/stem/seatpost. The jury is still out on the Vuelta wheelset, as I need to get a bunch of miles in before I am comfortable with the durability. My CX bike has Vuelta wheels and they have been outstanding. True out of the box and only one broken spoke (my fault) in approx 1,000 road miles. However, I am 185lbs and like to pick the odd fight with a large rock/tree etc, so I am interested to see how these light weight wheels stand up over the long-haul.
I never liked my XT hydraulic brakes on the Jamis, as I had all sorts of problems with them. My SS has BB7ís and they are bomb-proof, so I was excited to see the Juicy 7ís (until I read the reviews AFTER I bought the bike).
I did read a bunch of negative comments about the tires/saddle/cassette that to be honest, I did find this little puzzling. The FlyPro is a lightweight cross-country race bike, so what do you expect? If you canít climb a hill in 22/28, do you really think that you will save that much time dumping onto the 34t cog or even walking? Ride a singlespeed for a couple of months and learn how to climb.
The frame is by Kenisis, so I donít have any reservations about quality. I checked out all of the welds, and whoever glued these tubes together, sure knows who to lay down a sweet bead. Weld quality is outstanding.
THE TEST DRIVE ĖWOW...unbefreakingleavable. I have never ridden a bike that was so fast out of the blocks, cornered like it was on rails and climbed like a caffeinated goat. I just love the way this puppy performs. Shifting is effortless (although switching from dual-control, back to traditional shifters does require a relearning curve).
The SID was a piece of cake to set up, with the setting printed right on the fork leg. You really have to work hard to get it wrong. The blow-off settings are suggested, but of course you can experiment. The same for rebound pressure. The lock-out is manual (lever mounted on top of fork leg), but very easy to operate (better than my old Fox).
As I said, acceleration is instant and feels almost effortless. I ride a lot of tight/twisty areas and I found I was much faster through these sections. Coming out of corners I found I was able to get up to speed much earlier.
The Ritchie bars are a little narrower than my old bars, and will take some getting used to. On one hand, I think they help a lot in the tight sections (probably one of the main reasons it handles so well) but out of the saddle climbs feel really strange. I would guess they are 1Ē to 2Ē narrower than I am used to. I really like to ream on my bars when I stand and stomp, so the narrowness takes some getting used to. Iíll leave it a month or so before deciding their fate.
I did have some reservations about the skinny saddle. I love my Brooks and thought the Skye would take some getting used to. I have six rides under my belt, but to be honest I have zero issues. Certainly not as cushy as the Brooks, but more than adequate. Weíll see how my butt holds up after an epic ride.
If you read the Juicy 7 reviews you would have serious reservations about these brakes. Sorry to buck the trend but I love them. At the end of my first ride (1 hour road) they outperformed my XTís. Each subsequent ride they got a little bit better. Stopping power is fantastic and modulation great. I think this will get better with time. I havenít experienced any of the ďturkey gobbleĒ people have been complaining about. They do squeal when they get wet, but then again, so do my BB7ís/XTís. The minute they dry off...silence.
The other reviews that had me nervous were for the Kenda Klimax tires. Many people complained about side-wall tears and poor handling. I ride rocky/rooty terrain with a lot of hardpack clay/loose gravel. I donít have enough miles on them yet to give a fair assessment but from what I have seen so far I am impressed. I am sure there lightness is THE main reason for the explosive accelerated, but they are skinny, and no-way are they the claimed 1.95 I havenít taken the callipers to them but would guess 1.75/1.80 max. However, they handle remarkably well for such a skinny tire (except on loose gravel). Given I am now riding faster through a lot of these familiar sections, in the dry I have yet to see anything they couldnít handle . When it gets a little damp, it is a different story. They certainly arenít a great all-around tire, but on fast hardpack...they rock.
Climbing, this baby shines. It doesnít make much sense to me that a bike that is seven pounds lighter will climb ďthatĒ much better with a rider that weighs 185lbs. I canít explain the science other than...it just does. I fly up hills that once gave me trouble.
NEGATIVES Ė To be honest not many. The Ritchie Hex foam grips are gonna have to go. I donít think grips themselves are that bad, but Iíve had problems with sore hands for a long time, and had settled on Oury Rouges. I have been kicking around the idea of try-out the Ergon grips, I will also probably go with bar ends to see if that helps me with climbing, so I may end up trying out the GC2ís (grip/bar-end combo).
The front cable tabs on the top tube are quite close to the stem. This forces the cable housing to rub on the head tube. The brake housing was deliberately left off this tab, due to the tight radius required. Certainly not a biggie, just a minor annoyance.
UPGRADES/CHANGES - The Klimax tires donít have a lot of tread so I will save those for when I race. For everyday riding I will go with a slightly heavy/longer-lasting/wider tire. I will throw on a set of 2.1 tires for everyday use.
Grips, I will probably change to Ergon.
I did purchase 2x lightweight aluminum bottle cages (32g) in red...killer looking.
I also changed the no-name seatpost clamp (silver) to a Hope (red)...also killer looking and MUCH faster.
Thatís about it...
CONCLUSIONS Ė If you are looking for a lightweight hardtail race bike that is ready to race out of the box and at a killer price, look no further. I am Canadian so buying from a US-based, direct-seller does come with some inherent risk. Sure I may run into warranty issues that may result in me having to ship the bike back south. But for the money I have saved, in my humble opinion, makes it a risk worthwhile.
Something tells me the singlespeed bike isnít going to get as much love in coming months...
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Thread: Fly Pro Review
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