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  1. #1
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    Is less than 400$ for a single speed just a fantasy?

    So i got another bike, overall this year i bought a Specialized Expedition 7 speed and recently a Motobecane Cafe fixie.

    The cafe was 279$ and its unknown what it will turn out to be like in the long run.

    At least the frame manufacturing seems acceptable.

    With this much money spent, i probably could have gotten a higher end LBS single speed.

    Theirs start at 600$ if you're lucky.

    One idea behind the bikes direct bikes is that its in the labels for the LBS bikes that make them expensive.

    Can i really trust that?.

    Also bikes direct told me that many of their frames might be the same frames used on low to mid range bikes from major brands.

    Same or similar geometries and only just painted different colors and covered with logos.

    For example in looking at the trek marlin vs the gravity 29er single speed bike, i think they could be the same bike.

    Yet does trek and specialized actually manage the crafting of their frames even on the low end products?.

    Bikes Direct tells me that many of their bikes are mass produced and just slapped together raw unpainted frames. as generic as it gets.

    The welds on the Expedition cruiser look cleaner than the weld work on the Cafe road bike.

    i took the Cafe to the bike shop today to measure the triangle and dropout alignment, since if those are not close to an acceptable alignment, you will have all kinds of problems such as hubs constantly loosening, faster bearing wear and stripping and uneven tire wear.

    Made that mistake once already and the bike shop guy kept adjusting the wheels when it was the blasted frame 😲.

    He's nice and cares about his customers, but there are areas where you have to have awareness and question and explore different possibilities.

    So really without this long possibly unnecessary story i think the question here really is if it's possible that i can get a good deal for less than 400$ or even 300$ and down?.

    If the 279$ bike i mentioned could be worth it's mark?.

    maybe it's only a luck of the draw that the frame seems to be made this well at this price?.

    BD also sells some of their bikes with a carbon fork for just 50$ more and i feel that has got to be a fantasy.

    Is there any way it could even be a safe carbon fork at that low of a price?.

    Most carbon forks and parts cost more than the bikes people put it on.

  2. #2
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    Buy used.
    My first singlespeed was a few-year-old On-One ScandAl with a Reba fork and Stans wheels I bought for I think 450.

    BikesDirect bikes are probably better than the Specialized or Trek or Giant comparison at a given price when you consider the drivetrain, but we’re talking singlespeed so that’s less true.

    Shop Craigslist and Pinkbike classifieds. Buy used.
    Don’t modify the trail to match your skills, modify your skills to match the trails.

  3. #3
    Not really fixed.
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    FWIW, some Bikesdirect frames might come from the same factories as Trek/Specialized/etc. but they are most definitely NOT the same frames. I spent half a decade working for some big companies managing/designing for domestic and overseas production.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ARandomBiker View Post
    Buy used...
    Very good advice. There's very little on a singlespeed to go wrong.

    If you buy used and spend money on either upgrading some parts or fixing whatever, you'll be way ahead of the curve on buying new.

    I'd suggest looking at a Surly for a bike that holds value.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57º36' Highlands, Scotland

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ARandomBiker View Post
    Buy used.
    My first singlespeed was a few-year-old On-One ScandAl with a Reba fork and Stans wheels I bought for I think 450.

    BikesDirect bikes are probably better than the Specialized or Trek or Giant comparison at a given price when you consider the drivetrain, but we’re talking singlespeed so that’s less true.

    Shop Craigslist and Pinkbike classifieds. Buy used.

    So the bikes in the 400$ price range of a trek or specialized mountain bike are better than those?.

    But the single speeds are junk?.

  6. #6
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    I got a 2011 Kona Unit a few years ago for about $250us.
    People who try single speed and don't gel with it are a great resource

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bykesick View Post
    So the bikes in the 400$ price range of a trek or specialized mountain bike are better than those?.

    But the single speeds are junk?.
    A cheap alloy or steel frame is just that, regardless of the sticker on it. BikesDirect bikes are unremarkable frames that have conservative geometry, pretty much like the entry-level Trek or Giant, but the value that makes BikesDirect ‘better’ than a Trek is the drivetrain is at least a step higher. E.g. a $400 BD bike might have SLX parts, and a $400 Trek has Deore and Alivio.

    But we’re talking singlespeed, so that’s moot. The quality in a singlespeed is in the frame and wheels.

    Buy a nice used singlespeed. Your dollar will go so much further is almost ridiculous
    Don’t modify the trail to match your skills, modify your skills to match the trails.

  8. #8
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    I just perused the local CL and did not see much for less than 600. Lots of good stuff for around 800.
    I'm sick of all the Irish stereotypes, as soon as I finish this beer I"m punching someone

  9. #9
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    So are you talking about buying another bike, a single speed mountain bike, or are you questioning the purchase of your motobecane fixie? There are a ton of cheap fixes available, since riding one became hip several years ago. The cheap ones are probably fine for what most people use them for, riding around reflectively flat urban environments. But take them to the velodrome and race them and the will probably not perform so well.

    In regard to the carbon fork, the $50 carbon forks are probably ok. But carbon is like most other things, the cheaper products are lower quality. One of the "benefits" of carbon is light weight, but if you look at a lot of the cheaper carbon bikes, they are not any lighter than the aluminum bikes. But for more money, you can get a lighter carbon bike and it rides better, too. Takes more engineering and more time to manufacture.
    "I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." -Douglas Adams.

  10. #10
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    I recently re-purchased (don't ask) a Trek Marlin SS off of C/L for $300 and it was stock, besides a handlebar upgrade that I did a couple years ago. Purchased a new Bonty Rhythm Comp [tubeless] wheelset off eBay for $160 and a new chain and n/w chainring off eBay for a total of $30. The bike was perfectly rideable mostly stock (even ghetto tubeless) at a little over $375 and a lot of fun. Just heavy at @ 31lbs.

    I'm upgrading this bike and most recently put a Surly 19t cog on the back and purchased a used Reba Race 120mm for for the front. I need to overhaul the fork for now and am still running the stock Suntour fork which has been clean and re-greased internally. Besides the weight, it actually isn't *that* terrible over the rough stuff. Coil forks are good at handling harsh terrain.

    Bottom line, I found a SS worth upgrading and I ride this 'dog's breakfast' build more than I ride my full carbon Jet 9. It's a Rig AL frame and actually pretty comfortable over harsh terrain.
    Please donate to IMBA or your local IMBA chapter. It's trail karma.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBeing View Post
    ...Bottom line, I found a SS worth upgrading and I ride this 'dog's breakfast' build more than I ride my full carbon Jet 9. It's a Rig AL frame and actually pretty comfortable over harsh terrain.
    Which is much the same as happened with me.

    I came to the UK 15 years ago on a temporary visit so didn't want to spend the money on a new bike.

    I bought a secondhand 1x1 frame and then built it up with good quality components, The temporary bike became my long term bike and I'm still running it although new shiny fancy bikes have come and gone in the meantime. Maintenance boils down to an occasional hose down to remove the more egregious dirt and chainlube.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57º36' Highlands, Scotland

  12. #12
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    5 years ago I lucked into a 2008 Monocog, stock except with an upgrade to BB7 brakes and Deore levers. Best $250 I've ever spent, and the only thing I've ever bought off CL.
    ¯\(°_o)/¯

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by NordieBoy View Post
    I got a 2011 Kona Unit a few years ago for about $250us.
    People who try single speed and don't gel with it are a great resource
    This is an excellent point--many people try SS for a season or two and go back to a geared bike. There are some good deals out there on SS frames if you troll CL for a few weeks.

    My opinion about Bikes Direct is you get what you pay for. The savings on their bikes come from somewhere--the lack of advertising and sponsorship is part of it and they're probably buying old overstocked components in bulk but I have to assume they're cutting corners in design, build quality, and QC in anything they're producing or contracting. You're probably not going to see much in the way of customer service or support either. Nothing wrong with getting one of their bikes if you keep these factors in mind.

  14. #14
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    My primary ride is a 2012 Kona Unit. I bought a G29 for riding road in wet weather. It's a surprisingly nice bike when I compare it to my daughter's old $450 2010 GF. However it doesn't even come close to the Kona. The biggest issue is toe overlap. An easy fix for a company that's actually constantly improving their design. When climbing it feels that my weight is too far forward.
    So it works great as a wet weather trainer that costs less than a good wheelset, however the geometry issues make it worthless on technical singletrack.
    18" rigid Unit

  15. #15
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    Nashbar also has cheap singlespeeds

  16. #16
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    My opinion about Bikes Direct is you get what you pay for. The savings on their bikes come from somewhere--the lack of advertising and sponsorship is part of it and they're probably buying old overstocked components in bulk but I have to assume they're cutting corners in design, build quality, and QC in anything they're producing or contracting. You're probably not going to see much in the way of customer service or support either. Nothing wrong with getting one of their bikes if you keep these factors in mind.[/QUOTE]

    Now i think i know just where they cut corners on this bike.

    I have tightened and adjusted everything several times and it all continues to come loose.

    Even the bottom bracket. Maybe too much flex there.


    So i went with a KHS single speed and i would have chosen this over BD in the first place had their darned site told me there was in fact a dealer nearby.

    Maybe KHS is a brand that is what i was looking for.

    Bikes Direct tries everything to avoid a return and will send parts that do not actually fix the problems.

    Then they blame me and say that i probably did it, when it was already a problem in the first place.

  17. #17
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    Next time use blue loctite thread locker. It won't come loose.

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