My new Motobecane Fantom Elite Hardtail.
Well, about a month ago my steel 1995 trek 830 "mountain track" fully rigid bike was stolen. I bought that bike new with my paper route money when I was 12 at a price of 315 dollars and put thousands of miles on it without changing anything but tires, it was still in great shape except for a few scratches. So you can imagine it had a lot of sentimental value to me.
Anyways, I decided on getting a new mountain bike and considered a new trek and gary fisher, but I decided on bikes direct and motobecane after a month of research and seeing what I could get for my money.
Originally I had planned on getting the Fantom Pro with the xtr front derailleur and shifters, but when I went to order it was sold out in the 18 inch size.
I went with the Fantom Elite instead, saved 200 dollars and got a much nicer color. I really didn't want the white on the pro model and love the mat black on the elite.
Assembly was a snap, I would say unless you have absolutely no idea how to use a tool then you should have no problems at all.
I took it for its first ride and it was a little strange to get used to for about 5 minutes. This is my first bike with a suspension fork and I think I'm going to run with it at a stiffer setting until I get used to it. Also the crank arms felt longer than on my old mountain bike, which they probably are. After about half way through my ride my wrists were a little soar, so I rotated the handlebars forward and the problem went away.
I took it to the local park and went out on the trails and through the grass and up some steep hills all with no sweat.
I then went to my college and rode it down some sets of stairs and other obstacles. The fork ate them up with plenty of damping and didn't bottom out. I am about 180 lbs and the recon 351 felt great.
Right as I decided to go home I saw a rock trail for water drainage and decided to ride down it. The trail was about 60 degrees from the horizontal and ended with a 2 foot drop onto concrete. Unfortunately I didn't land the drop and flew over my handlebars, I was wearing gloves and a helmet so I only got a few scrapes on my knee elbow and stomach, but it felt good in a strange way.
This isn't really a complaint, but the only thing keeping the bike from being perfect is that the frame is aluminum. It's a great stiff frame, but I have always loved the ride and feel of steel.
Anyways, so that's my story. I had a freaking blast and fell in love with the bike. I am very glad I purchased it, I think it's the best $1000 I have ever spent and am glad I bought it instead of the new laptop I was looking at.
I ordered an SRAM991 cassette and an SRAM991 chain to put on it, so I can't wait until they come in. I am also considering hutchinson pythons or kenda small block 8s over the panracers already on it because I like smaller tread patterns.
Does anyone have any thoughts on the tires?
Yours is the healthiest flavor of bike lust. Tires--shmires, save your money for the laptop.
How much does this thing weigh?
I'm guessing it weighs around 28 lbs, but I haven't weighed it for sure. It's definitely not the lightest bike, but I've taken it out on the trails and the weight hasn't been an issue at all. I'm of the opinion the only weight that really matters is rotational weight, but I weigh 180 lbs and I probably wouldn't notice a non-rotational weight difference under 5 lbs when riding anyways.
I rode with the stock KMC chain for my first trail ride and like many have noted, it was awful. About 1/2 way through the ride the chain froze up at at least 5 different links. At first I thought it was a rear derailleur adjustment issue but after I spun the crank It was pretty obvious the chain had frozen up in several spots. I soaked it in lube and still couldn't work the links loose using plyers to work them.
I put an SRAM 991 chain and 990 cassette on since that ride though and haven't had a problem yet, the shifting is butter smooth. I highly recommend changing the chain to a shimano if you are keeping the stock shimano cassette, or going my route and changing both.
I also put some fatter oury lock on grips on it. The stock grips were o.k. but they were just too small for my hands, even with gloves, I just couldn't get comfortable with them.
Finally I put a velcro kevlar-lined chainstay guard on. The stock one is one of those thin paste on ones, and basically useless.
Do you know what is so heavy on it? I tried to guess on paper what that bike weighted and I was thinking more like 25-26. But someone else said 29.5 and I just can't figure it out. The fork isn't super light, but 4 pounds? I want an xc race / all mountain bike, but at that rate I'll go with a Fly.
Originally Posted by nickolassc
MTBR Asian Dude
Glad to hear you love the bike! =)
Your story sorta sounds like mine. I've been riding a steel frame bike forever, and just recently, i got myself a Motobecane 700DS (cheaper, but hey, my bike is perfect in my eyes especially after i've customized it). I can't wait until final exams are over so i can hit the baby on some hardcore trails (my biking buddy has a Giant Yukon, and i'm hoping to blaze him and leave him in the dust When i had my steel bike, he would give sh*t to me about how lame my bike was haha.)
Yah, motobecane is awesome. bikesdirect is also awesome. and the fantom elite is awesome.
good thing you got the fantom instead of a laptop.. isn't that a laptop i see in the background of that picture? you don't need another one dude haha
What college you go to? You an undergrad or grad? Just curious
Honors Chemical Engineering undergraduate student at the University of Washington
2008 Motobecane 700DS
I believe the significant differences between the fly and fantom series are the shock, the wheels, tires, and cassette are all significantly lighter on the fly series. Also the frame is made of a higher quality alloy on the fly series, and I believe about 1/2 pound lighter.
I considered the fly series myself, but I would have had to change too much to get the bike to my liking, I would have had to change the handlebars to riser bars, the fork to a more heavy duty one, the grips, the rear cassette (it comes with a road cassette), and the tires, and that was just too much for me.
If your bike makes you happy that's whats really important, I'm sure you will tear it up on the trails once finals are over, don't forget to take a study break when you really need one.
You're right, I do have a laptop, but it's getting a little bit outdated for me, I use it for engineering software such as Solid Edge and MatLab, and the programs sometimes run slow enough to the point that it really affects my productivity, but I can live with the one I have for a while longer.
I am starting on graduate school in the fall at Washington University in Saint Louis for mechanical engineering.