I just wanted to say how surprised and impressed I am to find some of the comments in this forum. A while back, I was looking for a road bike. I was (and still could be considered) a total newbie to cycling. I found BikesDirect, and what appeared to be some great deals on their bikes. You all know the spiel...good components, in-house frames, good pricing, etc.
In the road forum, I was -hammered- for even -thinking- of buying such a "piece of crap". "support your LBS!" was the mantra, over and over. "you get what you pay for", "think about the Chinese sweatshops", etc etc. It was even argued that the components on the BD bikes (Shimano componentry) was not the "regular" Shimano stuff. I just got fried for asking, for considering the hardware, and I was even labeled a "shill".
A friend of mine recently purchased an '07 Trek XO1 cyclocross. He owns many bikes, but he's just giddy with this one. His gushing "do it all, and fun!" praise, and my lack of knowledge of cyclocross bikes, brought me back to BF. I wanted to figure out exactly what a cyclocross bike is.
And, while checking out the cyclocross forum, what do I find? Repeated references to the BD Fantom Cross Pro.
After my experience in the roadie forum, imagine my surprise...nay, SHOCK at hearing things like the Fantom Cross Pro "is sex", or "best deal going", or "amazing deal", blah blah blah. Not to say that that everyone loves it, but you know what? You don't hear people bashing it -just- because it's an internet ordered bike from BD. It seems like people here are willing to evaluate a bike based on the spec sheet, price, and realization that not everyone needs to have a mainstream logo on the tubes.
While I have purchased a BD bike, I ended up sending it back. Not due to issues with the bike, but simply due to the realization that the bike I ordered was probably not the best bike for me (at the time). A full-on, hardcore carbon roadie probably wasn't the wisest decision as an "entry" bike.
I ended up picking up a Specialized Sirrus Comp, my fiancee picked up a Trek 7500, and I've got the old Kona Blast! mountainbike for the kids.
BTW...on the "shill" thing...does it not make sense that someone new to cycling is looking for information? A quick Google search led me here, as well as roadbikereview, etc. Of course, BD has a huge ad on RBR, so it's not that big of a leap to expect newbies to click on that link as well. So you've got a newbie who sees (apparently) great prices on the BD stuff, when comparing spec sheets to their local LBS. Said newbie wants to find more information, and posts here. And is promptly accused of being a "low post shill", etc. Of -course- we're low postcount...we're still trying to get a basic knowledge!
Anyway...before I get too off track...I just wanted to say "thanks". I'm glad to know I -can- find a level headed group of cyclist, who don't judge you by the logos on your bike / clothes / carbon bottle holder / etc. Not to mention...a cyclocross -does- look like a great DoItAll bike.