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  1. #1
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    This is me showing my noobie status...

    I've been lurking around the forums and have even posted a couple of topics in order to help myself get a better idea of what kind of bike would best suit me, and I've decided that a cyclocross bike would be perfect for me.

    Now the tricky part is finding out which cyclocross bike is perfect for me.

    I thought I'd decided upon the Specialized Tri Cross Sport Triple with the Tiagra shifters, but I heard that Ultegra shifters are better and decided to rethink my strategy.

    Here's where I might be outcast from BikeForums before I even know enough about bikes to be a valuable members around here... I found a Motobecane Fantom Cross Pro with Ultegra shifters on a certain website that seems to be constantly bashed around here for cheaper then I could get theTri Cross bike.

    Is there any sound reason that I shouldn't spend less money on the Motobecane with better components? Like I said, I might be showing my ignorance here, but it seems like a win-win situation...Getting a (presumably) better bike at a cheaper price.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Senior Member DDYTDY's Avatar
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    If you know bikes, can build and tune a bike. Know how to fit a bike. Yeah, go for it. You'll get a lot of bike for the $$$

    If your not a good mechanic and are not so hip to bikes go to your LBS.

    Its good to have a relationship with the local guys. They'll help you where the online people can't

    That being said. I have a Motobecane Le Champion Team and I'm very happy with it. But I worked in bike shops for years in another life.

  3. #3
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    thanks for the input. could i not assemble the bike myself and then take it to a bike shop for a tune up so that they ensure it's in proper order? i know that a while back i borrowed a friends mountain bike to commute to and from school and had to take it to the local bike shop to get it tuned.

  4. #4
    Senior Member euphoria's Avatar
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    how much are you saving after tune-up + pedals + fit session + routine LBS maintenance?

  5. #5
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    I'm justifying it mostly by looking at the fact that I'll be getting Ultegra components versus Tiagra components. If I wanted to go the Ultegra route via the bike shop it would be substantially more, so the cost for a tune up seems like a small price to pay...

    ...if my line of thinking is wrong at all please correct me because I am relatively new to the cycling scene.

  6. #6
    M_S
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    If you're really new to cycling you won't be able to tel the difference between Ultegra and Tiagra, and the 9 spd Tiagra will require less maintenance.

  7. #7
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    You're probably right about me not being able to tell the difference, but in the future once I've been cycling for a while I'll probably look to upgrade to a nicer set of components.

    I could go ahead and buy the Motobecane that has Ultegra components already on it for a sub-$1000 dollar price tag, so spend $1300-1400 for a Specialized TriCross that I will end up overhauling later on.

    I just went on the Specialized website and their tricross with Ultegra components retails at $2200...that's a large sum difference. Is there some fault with the Motobecane that I'm not noticing? Is the frame subpar?

  8. #8
    M_S
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    The fault is that you won't have the experience to set it up properly. The Moto is considered one of the best deals out there with the MAJOR caveat that you have to know what you're doing when assmbling it. Bikes are not as simple as many people assume. Also, some shops may resent working on the bike when the inevitable problem occurs because you bought it mail order.

    If you wer emore experienced I'd recomend the Motobecane.

    Do you have a Kona dealer nearby? The Tricross is a little too expensive for its specs. But the Kona Jake the Snake is 1300 dollars with 105 and good wheels. I'd look at that.

  9. #9
    Senior Member DDYTDY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M_S View Post
    The fault is that you won't have the experience to set it up properly. The Moto is considered one of the best deals out there with the MAJOR caveat that you have to know what you're doing when assmbling it. Bikes are not as simple as many people assume. Also, some shops may resent working on the bike when the inevitable problem occurs because you bought it mail order.

    If you wer emore experienced I'd recomend the Motobecane.

    Do you have a Kona dealer nearby? The Tricross is a little too expensive for its specs. But the Kona Jake the Snake is 1300 dollars with 105 and good wheels. I'd look at that.
    +1
    I'b be embarrassed to bring a bike I bought online to my LBS. Try not to offend the local support crew. They will be your best recourse for information and emergency repairs.

    Shop around and get to know the guys who will work on your bike(s)! Bring them coffee and beer.

  10. #10
    Senior Member ilmooz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M_S View Post
    Do you have a Kona dealer nearby? The Tricross is a little too expensive for its specs. But the Kona Jake the Snake is 1300 dollars with 105 and good wheels. I'd look at that.
    Agreed. Kona seems to routinely sell better equipped bikes for less money than their counterparts.

  11. #11
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    I'd get the Motobecane. These days, a LBS won't care to much if they're working on a bike bought mail order. Most shops around here make most of their money doing maintenance, anyway. I work at a shop here and I would much rather work on a mail order bike with Ultegra than a Specialized with Tiagra. It's so much easier to work with it. Once everything is built up (and built up well) it's the quality of components will really show itself, and you'll be much happier with the Ultegra.

  12. #12
    Member fourpunk's Avatar
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    it would take a lot of coffee and beer to make me happy building a mailorder bike for someone who was otherwise considering buying a bike from my shop--regardless of the componetry. a proper assembly is not cheap either.

  13. #13
    Senior Member DDYTDY's Avatar
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    Bring coffee and beer to the guys who you bought the bike from is what I was trying to get across. Tasty baked goods are a plus.

    Support the local guys and maybe they'll show you something,

  14. #14
    semifreddo amartuerer 'nother's Avatar
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    A shop that gives you attitude for asking them to perform service on a bike you didn't buy there is a stupid shop, and one you should really reconsider doing business with. Sure, a tip or 6-pack or something for a job well done or for something beyond the call of duty never hurts, but you should not feel like you need to do that for regular service, whether you bought the bike there or not. That is just ********.

    That having been said: learning to do your own maintenance is an extremely valuable skill, and something you should look into doing anyway. There are lots of problems with the "I'll-just-take-it-to-my-LBS" maintenance model, the biggest ones being: 1) they are frequently closed at key times when you wish they were open, i.e. the night before a ride/race, Sundays & Mondays; and 2) Even if they are open, they frequently have a backlog of other work that is ahead of you and you end up having to wait days or even weeks in prime season.

    I recommend that you spend the $50-$100 or so for a decent basic bicycle toolkit and study http://parktool.com and http://sheldonbrown.com and experience LBS Independence. You will not regret it.


    Oh, BTW, the Tiagra is fine, but there's nothing wrong with going for a little Ultegra bling, either.
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  15. #15
    Member fourpunk's Avatar
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    if you walk into my shop w/ an internet bike i will NOT give you attitude, i will gladly assemble it--but beer helps.

    there is, however, a difference between tuning a bike purchased elsewhere and assembling an internet-discount bike. many times i have fit and worked long with a potential bike buyer only to have them take their new found knowledge to interent to buy a cheaper bike. this is frustrating and makes it much harder to remain in business.

    if you are mechanincally inclined, more power to ya fixing your own bike. but if you spend much time on the bicycle mechanics forum you'll see that the LBS model does serve a purpose. you might not need us all the time, but when you do, you might REALLY need it. every internet sale only makes it harder for the LBS and less likely that we will be there when the time comes.

    IMO tiagra is fine but mirage is better.

  16. #16
    semifreddo amartuerer 'nother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fourpunk View Post
    if you walk into my shop w/ an internet bike i will NOT give you attitude, i will gladly assemble it--but beer helps.

    there is, however, a difference between tuning a bike purchased elsewhere and assembling an internet-discount bike. many times i have fit and worked long with a potential bike buyer only to have them take their new found knowledge to interent to buy a cheaper bike. this is frustrating and makes it much harder to remain in business.

    if you are mechanincally inclined, more power to ya fixing your own bike. but if you spend much time on the bicycle mechanics forum you'll see that the LBS model does serve a purpose. you might not need us all the time, but when you do, you might REALLY need it. every internet sale only makes it harder for the LBS and less likely that we will be there when the time comes.

    IMO tiagra is fine but mirage is better.
    Actually I do spend a lot of time here (not necessarily posting anymore...the same answers to the same questions over and over). The purpose I see the LBS model serving is for them to make money. Any other purposes are secondary to that.

    Indeed there may be times I do need a skilled mechanic for some exotic problem with ancient components, but thankfully, assembling a bike is not one of those times (it's actually not that difficult if you have half a brain + some patience and can read...especially when working with new and modern components). The days of me calling and begging my LBS to fix something at the last minute are long gone. I constantly inspect and maintain my bike, which results in fewer surprises. Now *I* get to drink the beer

    If the internet is really cutting into sales, you are not working hard enough to earn your customers' business...not giving them enough of a reason to want to buy from you instead of through the internet. It's not going anywhere, you should embrace it and figure out how to make your business work in conjunction with it, not in competition with it. For example, raise your prices for out-of-house assembly, reduce your prices for in-house bikes, have better service hours (like: don't be closed on Sundays, hello?!) and so on.
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  17. #17
    Member fourpunk's Avatar
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    my point in referencing the mechanics forum was to show that not everybody has half a brain (not by a long shot it seems).

    we bust our ass to provide service that the interent does not (like free pro-fitting and FREE builds for bikes ordered through our shop)--but it seems that people flock to cheap prices and forget the hidden costs of their interent purchases. this thread was doing a good job explaining some of those costs to an admitted newbie--whether the costs be at the LBS or in purchasing tools.

    i was trying to make the point that internet purchases also have hidden costs relating to the long-term availabilty of bike service (be it simple or exotic).

    no matter how hard we work at the LBS the fact remains that the internet will continue to gain in market share. most people just seem to care more about saving a buck rather than being helped to find the best product for them.

    now that we have travelled far OT let's hope we've given the OP something to think about in purchasing the right bike.

    cheers.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by fourpunk View Post
    there is, however, a difference between tuning a bike purchased elsewhere and assembling an internet-discount bike. many times i have fit and worked long with a potential bike buyer only to have them take their new found knowledge to interent to buy a cheaper bike. this is frustrating and makes it much harder to remain in business.
    That's retail. You work at any store that sells stuff, customers will price you to death. I worked at an old At&t store, customers would walk in, learn about the phones, then go across to the mall and buy the phone at Sears. Happened all the time.

    The problem is you need a hook, like 'nother said, offer better service plans for 'your' store bought bikes. The LBS where I got my bike gave me 10% of the bike sale price in store credit. I ended up spending more money!!

  19. #19
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    I appreciate all the help that you guys are giving me. I'm not going to be purchasing for another month or two most likely, I just want to have a good idea what direction to head in when the time comes to make the purchase.

    I'm taking everyone's opinion into account and I appreciate all the feedback, thanks!

  20. #20
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    One more quick thing...on the webpage that has the listing for the Motobecane it states the bike is shipped 90% assembled. What exactly does that mean? Is the remaining 10% of assembly the really important and hairy stuff?

  21. #21
    Senior Member euphoria's Avatar
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    The final 10% of the assembly is basic stuff that you'll have to learn sooner or later anyway. Tightening down the handlebar and stem, tensioning the cables, adjusting F/R derailleur and brakes

    You are new, though, so this will be tricky at first and I heartily recommend attending a bike repair clinic if your LBS offers them. Otherwise expect to pay about $60 to have them do it for you. The Fantom Cross Pro does come with manuals for the components, however

  22. #22
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    here is my two cents from a relative bike newbie myself, it's your money, spend it how you like. I'm all for having a good relationship with your LBS and supporting local businesses and all that jazz but it is wholly dependent on YOUR local shop/s. There are lots of LBS in my town, but most cater to tourists and many of the kids who work in there don't really have enough knowledge for me to pay much of a premium for. Plus they just charge too much for some things IMO. I'm not paying my LBS $30 to press in a headset that cost me $20! (what they wanted to do so - for what, 15 mins work?) Let's face it, when you are alone on the road or trail, the bike you have (and you alone) will make the difference in how you ride.

    my two pence...
    -Tony O
    Last edited by Tony O; 09-29-07 at 01:29 AM.

  23. #23
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    are there any books that would serve a useful purpose for getting me familiarized with doing minor bike repairs and dialing in my bike and stuff of that nature? ...like is there a "Road Bike Maintenance for Dummies" book?

    as i said, i'm still a little ways away from making any purchases (gotta have the scratch saved up), but you opinions are definately worth their weight in gold. thanks!

  24. #24
    semifreddo amartuerer 'nother's Avatar
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    Zinn's has kind of become "the bible"

    Also check out parktool & sheldonbrown websites as pointed out above; they're free and incredibly useful resources.
    Can you pass the test?
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  25. #25
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    TonyO

    on the rates charged for "simple" jobs like pressing headsets--hey, nobody is saying you can't do your own wrenching, including buying a reamer/facer, crown race installer, and headset press along with the knowledge of how to not totally bollix up your tubes. Oh, you don't like spending $200+ for a bunch of one-time use pieces of equipment?

    I'm not saying it's rocket science and undoable, but just like any other mechanic, you are paying for their knowledge and ownership of specialized tools that get the job done properly. The job is the same, regardless of whether they're installing a $20 generic poo headset or a $100 chris king.

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