Fantom 29 Pro SL First Impressions- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Fantom 29 Pro SL First Impressions

    Rider: 41 yrs old, 225 Lbs, ex BMX'r, Freestyler ramp rider in my 20's
    Experience level: medium, riding regularly again 2009 season

    15" Frame for 5'10" Rider with 32" Inseam in shoes.
    Stand over is good, arm stretch is good, leg room 1" tight by standard measurements.
    I assume every 26" frame is slightly different but I can say for sure the 29ers measure differently.
    I would go with the guideline of getting one size smaller than you normally would, as stated on the Motobecane "help in sizing" area.

    Packing: good
    UPS: left package without signature because I left a note - they placed it around back on my deck, thank you UPS for saving me a headache!
    Condition of bike/parts: perfect
    Rims: Both need true, 1 decent bend in each - Ridable?- Yes, perfectly ridable.
    I will pound them for about a month and then get them trued up.
    Spoke tension: Decent tension, can hear occasional pops when hitting obstacles etc. Rider weight 225
    Setup: Easy if your up on the current technology, seek help if your not.

    The look for the bike is classy, clean with unobtrusive decals.
    The downtube is thicker than it appears in the photos.
    The frame looks better in person than on the website. (brushed aluminum)
    Frame welds are not quite Cannondale perfect, but not bad at all and overall frame quality appears in line with Trek and similar. Made in Taiwan sticker on front, great MB logo on front.
    The stock pedals are too small to inspire confidence. I swapped mine for some plastic platforms I had from my Trek, until I go clipless.
    The overall weight feels good, not too heavy at all.
    Drivetrain is pure butter, gear changes are precise and lightning fast and silent.
    Brakes are nice, breaking them in now, so much better than pads, quiet so far.
    Seat, small but very comfortable.
    Tires: Good on hard packed dirt, loose in the loose, bad in wet slick dirt and fast fast fast on street. Running about 35 psi.
    Grips: Nice taper thicker in middle, comfortable.
    Bars, Levers: Feel great.
    Fork Reba SL: Running 140 PSI getting about 3" of travel so far. Pumps a bit while standing, may go higher in psi, but not too much more.

    Great granny gear and really quick to get moving on bigger chainrings.

    It took less than 2 minutes on my local practice loop to know the 29er movement is not hype from the bicycle companies. Longer wheelbase, larger wheels, whatever it is...it is noticeable in the ride right away. The bike gets going very quickly and really rolls smooth and maintains momentum well. Roots and other annoying issues are now non issues. Without a doubt much easier to run over things and keep moving.

    Downhill it accelerates smoothly and really is confidence inspiring and stable. Tight turns at lower speeds are a bit less easy than the 26, but I never had to put a foot down or anything. I was really happy with its ability on switchbacks etc. There is no steering flop over in tight turns at ultra low speeds.

    The front/back weight balance seems better, maybe my 26 was too tight, but I feel like my weight is less on my arms now. The downtube angle is drastically different than my old Trek, so maybe that's why. I can really throw the bike around between my legs well when standing.

    I am very relieved the sizing of the 15" worked out. I am more than satisfied with this purchase at this point. Bikes Direct was responsive to all emails and pm's on this board and I ended up speaking with three employees. I was assured if the size was off or anything else I could return the bike within 30 days.

    The only glitch is the rims and it clearly states on the site expect to need setup help and rim truing. I wanted to support my LBS, but was unable to find any 29ers that were not $2500 or an ugly color/decal locally. Even ordering a 2010 from KHS or Raleigh would have left me with a bike that I thought was ugly. In the end, I got a great bike with better parts for a better price.

    I look forward to getting onto the rest of my local trails (Outback Trail Portage Indiana) and going over some logs, down some fast hills, up some slow hills and through the flowing stuff tomorrow. I was hoping to like the bike, but it is beyond that. This is money well spent and is going to make riding much more enjoyable, less bone jarring and more controlled.
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    Last edited by mikecazzx; 08-02-2009 at 02:40 PM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikecazzx
    Rider: 41 yrs old, 225 Lbs, ex BMX'r, Freestyler ramp rider in my 20's
    Experience level: medium, riding regularly again 2009 season

    I look forward to getting onto the rest of my local trails (Outback Trail Portage Indiana) and going over some logs, down some fast hills, up some slow hills and through the flowing stuff tomorrow. I was hoping to like the bike, but it is beyond that. This is money well spent and is going to make riding much more enjoyable, less bone jarring and more controlled.
    This morning ride was just as good or better. I was able to climb some hills that I could not before and generally rode smoother. So far so good.

  3. #3
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    Hi Mike,
    Great looking bike. I'm going to be buying a Moto hopefully this week. Can you tell me how long it took to get the bike once you ordered it. I"m in somewhat of a time crunch as I'm planning a trip to the Black Hills in Sept. Based on you height is sounds like a 17" would be just about right for me at 6'1".

    Thanks,

    Brian

  4. #4
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    The bike shipped very quickly, but I was told they are out of the 17" and possibly 19" as well.

  5. #5
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    If I get a 29 it will more than likely be the pro. Hopefully they have that model in stock.

  6. #6
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    I've been thinking of buying one of these bikes recently. I've been trying to find some specs and have come up short. Do you know the largest width tire that will fit on the rear? Will a 2.3 or 2.5 fit? Also, what size is the seat tube?
    Thanks.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasquatch1413
    I've been thinking of buying one of these bikes recently. I've been trying to find some specs and have come up short. Do you know the largest width tire that will fit on the rear? Will a 2.3 or 2.5 fit? Also, what size is the seat tube?
    Thanks.
    I will try and get some photos tomorrow, I think it will take a slightly wider tire.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikecazzx
    This morning ride was just as good or better. I was able to climb some hills that I could not before and generally rode smoother. So far so good.
    Another quick update. Bike is working well, no issues after a few hard rides and one minor crash. Shifting well, no chain slippage, no rim pings, no surprises.

    One flat rear tire, unsure if tube was bad or stem was leaking.

    It handles great and on the hill climbs I finally made "Hydes Seven Hills" for the time at my local trail. It is a good climber in the granny gear.

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