I rode my Fantom 29 Pro today for the first time. I'm very happy
My old bike is a 22" rigid Trek 830. It's been a good bike, but it's 15 years old. Over the years I've had pretty much every piece of it off the frame (cleaning and fixing) but it's mostly stock aside from disposable parts (bearings, brake pads, chain, etc....). It should be no surprise that almost anything made in the past 5 years would be a substantial improvement.
I originally ordered a 21" Fantom 29 and soon wished that I had ordered the Fantom Pro. I sent an email to BikesDirect, but knowing that time was important if I had any chance to change the order before it shipped, I also sent a PM to bikesdirect here. Mike (bikesdirect) quickly put me in touch with someone who was able to change the order before it shipped. I paid the extra and I'm really glad that I did.
The bike looked pretty much as I expected when it arrived. I took my time, double checking everything, getting to know the bike, and tweaking things where it was needed. I'm no pro bike mechanic, but it's not hard or expensive to buy the tools and learn to handle 95% of the things that come up on any bike. I added some bar ends, talc'd the tubes, the wheels were pretty good out of the box, adjusted the brake calipers, put on the handle bars, and set up the shock. I did have to buy a longer seat post. My old bike was a little on the small size. This one fits like it should.
Ridding the 29er was a true joy. The bike carried momentum and I was able to climb stuff that I am usually 50:50 on. Taller obstacles were easier to clear, and man....was it less bumpy than my old rigid fork. The brakes actually stopped the bike, which was a welcome change from the old cantilevers where I just squeezed hard and held on for the ride. I rode my usually circuit in 55min vs 1:05-1:10 without really trying or feeling like I was going that much faster.
I know that pretty much any bike would have been an upgrade from my old ride, but I'm really pleased with the Fantom Pro 29. I looked around for quite a while and couldn't find anything that was close to the same value for the money.
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