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  1. #1
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    Motobecane 529HT out of box experience

    I have been lurking and read several posts on the 529HT or other Motobecane Bikes as I awaited my shipment from Bikesdirect (thanks for a lot of great info!). I will attempt primarily to comment on anything that supplements those posts.

    Weight
    The first thing I noticed is that the box wasn’t light. When I had checked the UPS tracking info, the package was listed as 30lbs shipping weight. This sounded too good to be true, and it was. I guess they use 30lbs as a nominal weight for any and all bikes they ship and this value is not updated when UPS actually weighs for shipping cost.
    I weighed the box before opening it and it comes in at 44.6lbs (this includes the box, manuals, and any other shipping materials). After assembly, the bike (19” or large frame) tips the scales at 34.4lbs. This is about what I was expecting. After all, this is a $400 bike!

    I am no bike mechanic, but have turned enough wrenches along the way to feel confident taking on anything a bike might require (with the help of youtube). I watched a couple of youtube videos on unpacking and assembling a bike.
    I was interested in how the 529HT would differ since bikesdirect asserts that this particular model is sold inexpensively because it is packaged to European spec (instead of their normal “90-95% assembled”).

    European spec. packing differences (as compared to Youtube videos on unpacking/assembling mountain bike in USA):
    -The first obvious difference was the rear wheel was not mounted.
    -A cable about two feet long was loose in the box (no shroud). That is a bit disconcerting! I checked the derailleur cables and they were both in their shrouds and the brakes are hydraulic, so it was just trash.
    -Next thing different was the brake levers were not mounted - they were tie-wrapped to either leg of the fork.
    -Last, the chain and rear derailleur are wrapped in bubble wrap and tie-wrapped in between the rear stays. The front derailleur was mounted and the chain runs through both derailleurs, so no chain tool is needed.

    Unpacking and assembly tips:
    I separated both wheels from the frame. The videos removed all packing next, but I noticed a rectangular chunk of foam tie-wrapped under the BB which allowed me to stand the bike up. Without a work stand, this block of foam is best left on while installing the seat and the handlebars. Once seat and bars are installed, you can flip the bike upside down for more stable support and lose this foam block.
    Also, since the chain is not yet on the sprocket and the rear derailleur is not mounted, it makes sense to leave the protective packaging on the rear stays until rear wheel is mounted.

    Components on MY bike (I suspect one reason BD does not specify brand or model of many components is so the manufacturer can use whatever is “convenient” so no guarantees another bike will be identical):
    Tires are marked “Forza” “40 to 65psi” and “29X2.25” Tread is blocky for dirt, not city or cross.
    Tubes have Schrader valves.
    Fork is labeled SF15-XCT-DS-HLO-29-100 – This is a newer model than spec’ed on the BD website - I believe “SF15” simply means “suspension fork, 2015” and “HLO” is hydraulic lock out – cool!

    Tonight, I took my time (I enjoy this) and assembled the bike. It will probably be Thursday before I can tune/adjust the bike. The brakes are dragging. Not enough to stop the spinning wheel quickly, but you can hear them. The derailleurs need to be adjusted. The rims seem pretty true, but I really can't tell if they are acceptable until I use some twist ties off of the forks or stays as truing gages. Last I need to look at the fork manual to determine if I need to make any adjustments before hitting the trail.

  2. #2
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    I attempted to find my fork's specification using the serial number via the Suntour database. It came up as not listed. Hopefully it is a simple matter of their database not being updated to include current production.
    Does anyone know if this is a tapered or straight 1-1/8" fork?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by kewlfewl View Post
    I attempted to find my fork's specification using the serial number via the Suntour database. It came up as not listed. Hopefully it is a simple matter of their database not being updated to include current production.
    Does anyone know if this is a tapered or straight 1-1/8" fork?
    Its a new 2015 fork and you can find it through the catalog on the website. Its also a strait 1 ⅛. You can see my review of the bike and what I did to mine a post or two down. Nice bike I love mine. Congratulations on the new bike.
    ***** Don't tell ask! *****

  4. #4
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    A few things to look out for as well. Make sure rims are seated and tightened down before adjusting the brakes. Look over everything the stem was upside down on mine you can see from my original pics in my thread. Also might want to grease the drive cables before adjusting everything. Get some different tires anything you can find are better then those. Oh and have fun.
    ***** Don't tell ask! *****

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    Congrats on the bike. Let us know how it rides after hitting the trails.

    I prefer it when they ship the rear derailure completely disconnected. Less chance of damage to the derailure and hanger in shipping. If it's gonna get messed up, I wanna mess it up. Also, congrats on the better fork. It's no REBA, but it's better than the base XCT. In time, if you swap out that fork to something better, you'd probably be able to loose over 2 lbs just on the fork alone.
    On spoke tension and wheel truing, I went to an open shop night at one of my LBS. It was nice to learn it from the people who do it as a job every day. Great learning experience if you can do it. If you can't get your hands on a spoke tension meter, be careful of the ping test. I thought I was pretty good on spoke tension with a ping test, but it turned out almost all my spokes were too tight.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheMaxwell View Post
    Look over everything the stem was upside down on mine you can see from my original pics in my thread.
    I had read through your post a couple of times when buying the bike, but didn't notice the upside down stem! Nice catch, I might have gone years or never realized it.

  7. #7
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    I'm sure a lot of people on this forum will say "duh!", but anyone buying this bike needs to plan on cleaning and lubing the chain, chainrings, cogset, and pulleys. I took it on a quick ride in the empty lot next to me and the entire drive-train has dirt all over it. Current lube/protectant is dirt magnet!

    Adjusting the derailleurs went without any issues.
    I barely loosened the front calipers at the fork, grabbed the brake lever, and tightened the caliper back. After the second time doing this, the front brakes are completely silent.
    After doing this with the rear brakes, there is still a soft shhhh noise where the pads touch the disk. It is not noticeable when riding and the wheel coasts freely, so not much reason to worry about it (especially until I get a bleed kit).

    I lucked up and got a good wheel builder on the assembly line! Both wheels were true!
    Last edited by kewlfewl; 10-31-2014 at 07:39 PM.

  8. #8
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    Riding impressions.
    I just took it for a quick spin and there is good news and bad news.
    The good news is the bike feels good. It fits well and the transfer of power from legs to dirt seems strong. In this sense it felt great.

    On the bad side, I felt a bit precarious as if perched too high. I was riding over a bunch of debris where trees had been felled and while the logs had been removed, there were 1 to 2 inch limbs shifting under the wheels the 29's rolled over it nicely, but I was white knuckling the handlebars. Part of this is inexperience - I have only ridden road bikes, but the 29" was feeling precarious. I mainly wanted a durable bike for riding rails to trails and the greenway with my GF and this will do that no problem. However, until I get more time in the saddle, I'm not sure if I will get double duty out of it for riding some of the medium level mountain bike trails.
    To be clear! - This is my personal experience and first impression as a novice MTB'er. The bike does what it should, and does it well.
    I welcome any thoughts on this. It is raining tonight and I already have a greenway ride planned in my spare time this weekend, so it will be several days, maybe a week before I get the chance to put it back in the dirt.

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