I had no idea there was a forum just for Motobecane - cool!
THE BIKES DIRECT DECISION:
I had decided that I wanted a mountain bike to ride local trails around my home. Im usually a road bike guy but with winter approaching I want to switch to something a little more stable for the upcoming winter.
I started looking at my Local Bike Shop (LBS) and though they had bikes in my price range - $700-$800, the components were lacking. The LBS bikes were good-looking bikes but had a gathering of low-level component the worst being frame brakes and Suntour shock. Im 280lbs and 6'0" and so I needed more stopping and shock-absorber power. A bike at the LBS with disc brakes and Rock Shox fork jumped the price to $1100 + tax, so a total of around $1250
I then looked at Bikes Direct and after a few days studying my options (26" v 29"), I decided on the Motobecane Fantom Comp at $799 - no tax and free shipping:
Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Motobecane 2012 Fantom Comp
The bike arrived in 5 business days via UPS. The packaging was excellent and the bike arrived 100% undamaged and on time.
I am mechanically inclined so assembly was straight-forward for me.
The bike went together in 45 mins with me taking my time and checking everything. Assembly required:
Attaching the disc rotor to the front wheel (a few small bolts)
Mounting the front wheel into the frame (uses quick-release)
Mounting the front disc drake (two bolts)
Mounting the handlebars (pre-assembled with levers etc, one bolt to fit)
Inserting the seat (one bolt)
Mounting the pedals (easy mounting with wrench)
Pump the tires
I think that was about it. I did do a 'sanity check' that all bolts were tight that were on the bike and not assembled by me. I used the following tool for every bolt on the bike but needed a wrench for the pedals:
Amazon.com: Topeak Hexus II Multi-tool: Sports & Outdoors
Driving around my neighborhood, the bike could get every gear (30 of them!) and the brakes could stop me on a dime.
FIRST TRAIL RIDE:
My first ride (not very exciting to watch) was at Duthie Hill and it allowed me to test the bike under this newbie.
First MTB Ride - Duthie Hill, Bootcamp Trail - YouTube
The 'Bootcamp' trail at Duthie Hill (in the above video) is setup for new riders but I still found it very challenging as a new rider. I took my time as I was still getting used to the bike. What I did do was attach a zip-tie to the base of the Rock Shox fork leg and this allowed me to see how much compression was taking place as my body-weight compressed the shock on the trail. At the end of the trail the zip-tie had moved half-way up the shock and so it looks like Im good to go as far as getting the shock dialed in. The shock has 'lockout' and is fully-adjustable though I received no literature explaining how to do this. However, the internet is your friend and a quick google search finds most answers.
The bike was overall awesome with only a very minor rear derailleur adjustment being needed. As I panicked on the trail and REALLY pressed on the gear shift to get into my granny-gear, the chain went over the lowest gear and off the cassette. A half-turn on the derailleur low-range screw fixed the issue permanently.
For me, the bike handles like a dream. Its like riding a motorcycle! The front-suspension evens out the holes and tree roots of the trails and the disc brakes lockout the wheels at a blip of the levers - and Im heavy! I have since ridden another local trail that was less technical than Duthie Hill and Im not exaggerating that the ride took my breath way (but in a good way ). The bike swoops into downhills and flies up the uphills. The ride reminds me of ski-ing. I work to climb the hills but the ride down is breathtaking.
Everything works great and I have had a half-dozen trail rides on the bike already without a single glitch. I did switch out the saddle for a Titanico X as my rear-end and WTB saddles have never gotten along. It was recommended that I dump the Gravity pedals that come with the bike but they have been great so far so Ive left them on the bike.
I believe I got an excellent buy and Id do it again in a heartbeat.
Here's a few more pics of the bike on the cleaning stand:
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