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  1. #1
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Inexpensive bike choice advice for a poor grad student

    Hi, longtimer lurker, new member, and first time poster. I'm looking for a new bike and was wondering if anyone was familiar with the Motobecane brand of bikes, specifically the Motobecane Fantom XC. Specs can be found here: http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...m_cross_cx.htm

    I've finally come to the point (after planning to a couple of years back and then having other financial obligations take priority) that I'm going to buy a new bicycle (after 19 years on a ~17" 10 speed mountain bike that I got for my 10th birthday and really doesn't fit me as I'm now 6'2, 230). I have to say that the old Schwinn Woodlands of mine held up really well through a lot of abuse over a lot of years, but I'm tired of my knees hitting my wrists/handlebars as I ride.

    I can really only afford to get one new bike, so I've decided that a cyclocross style seems like the way for me to go. I'd mainly be using it to commute to and from work (5-6 miles each way 10-12 round trip), but that means some rough roads with the occasion pothole, having to deal with some curbs, and (depending on the route) the possibility for a mile or two of dirt road so I wanted something up to a bit more of the rough conditions than I think of traditional road bikes being able to handle. Also, I weigh in at ~230, and would like to put some panniers on it for commuting, so I'd need a sturdy frame able to take on some weight. On weekends on the other hand, I'd like to get back to going some longer distances on roads and light trails, so I don't want to sit fully upright like on a mountain bike (plus I'm not going to be doing those kinds of trails), so it seems like a cyclocross bike is the best bike to fit my needs if I can have only one. (I know people would suggest I get one for each type of riding I do, but that's not really in my budget, unless I shop at walmart.)

    The thing is, after like 6 weeks of the occasional e-bay search and regularly trolling craigslist in my area, I haven't seem to come up with any used cyclocross bikes with a 58 cm frame (this seems to be the best size for me based on talking to guys at the local bike shops and using several online sizing calculators, but none of the guys at the local shops either had a bike of that size built up or they just weren't willing to waste the time letting someone who wasn't looking to buy today and was only looking at the lower end bikes try one out to see how it fit). So I decided I'd have to look at new bikes, but the thing is my budget has a pretty hard ceiling at ~$700 and I'll like to go for less if at all possible.

    As I see it, as far as cyclocross bikes go, that leaves me with the aforementioned Motobecane Fantom XC and the Redline Conquest Sport. Since we don't have a Redline Dealer around here and the Motobecane is only sold online, I can't really try out either one. The Redline barely comes in at the top of my price range while the Motobecane would leave me with some money left over to get the rack, panniers, pedals, and fenders I'd want and still stay within my budget. Does anyone know of any other options?

    The thing is, I don't really know anything about the quality of the Motobecane bikes. They tend to get bashed around on certain online forums because a vendor apparently used to use some less than desirable advertising techniques at some point in the past on one or more of those sites (don't know if it's the same guy who currently sells them, if this even really happened or what). Whatever the reason, it seems hard to get an unbiased review of them (some people really seem to like them, but those posts are often called spam by people who really seem to hate them). I've done a lot of repairs on my current bike myself (just about anything that can be done without speciallize chain/spoke tools), so I'm not afraid of the amount of setup that come from a bikesdirect.com bike.

    So anyway, I'm looking to hear from anyone with experience on the topic. Are the bikes of good quality? If so, why are they so cheap? Is it just the fact that they don't have a brick&mortar presence? I also notice that there are only 2 chainrings up front on the bike I'm looking at (the fantom xc). Is the fact that it only has 16 speeds going to provide me enough gearing to do all that I want to do? (I don't see myself going much over 50 miles at a time and while I sometimes hit [to me] steep hills, they're always paved.)

    If you can think of some other options that I should be looking at instead, that'd be great too. As a poor grad student, my budget is pretty tight and dropping what to me seems like a lot of my on a wrong bike that I couldn't ride (because it doesn't meet my needs/doesn't fit/etc.) would be worse than getting a bad deal on the perfect bike, though I really can't exceed $700. Is it even possible to get a good bike to fit my needs in this price range?

    I'd greatly appreaciate any and all advice anyone would like to provide.

  2. #2
    Senior Member c_m_shooter's Avatar
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    That bike looks like a great value. I think you may need the 61 cm though. You will end up with a lot of drop from the seat to the handlebars with the 58. Gearing will be fine, it should have a compact crankset with something like 34/48 or 34/50 on the front. If you find that you need lower gears, you can swap out the cassette with an 11-28 or 11-32.
    Most of the people who actually own Motobecanes say they are great bikes, as long as you understand that you will have to do the initial setup and adjustments yourself. It's not hard and can all be done with a good multitool that you will need to have anyway. Park tools website and Sheldon Brown's website can be very helpful.
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
    May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey

  3. #3
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    I'm sort of in the same budget situation and having checked out cl & ebay for a couple weeks as well, I haven't really found anything below $700 except for the two that you mention (redline & motobecane). Same thing with no dealers in my area with bikes in stock to try. One thing you might want to think about though is a choice between steel / AL frame. I've decided to get a steel frame, so that eliminates the above two options. I'm debating between the poprad, cross check and masi. If I could find a used poprad or crosscheck in my area I'd go with either of these. Unfortunately I can only find them on ebay, whereas a local dealer has the Masi (which also happens to be the cheapest). The dealer also offers free service for a year, so I'll probably go with this. Anyways, from my research the redline is supposed to be a nice bike, but look into the differences between steel versus AL, since it seems alot of people with larger frame bikes who want to load it up go with steel. Good luck with your search!

  4. #4
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input both of you. Odoyle81, if you're looking for an all steel cyclocross bike, I think the bianchi volpe also has a steel frame (could be wrong about that though) and that has an MSRP of like $850, which is a bit less than the Masi (a quick google search turned up an MSRP of $980). That Masi in the burgandy is a heck of an attractive bike though (I'm a big fan of the retro look it's got going on). If you've got a dealer that'll let you try it out to make sure it's a good fit, that sounds like it may be the way to go for you. If I could convince my wife to let me increase my budget (not gonna happen), I'd look for one of those too.

    C M Shooter, you think I should go up a size to the 61 cm? A friend had me try out the fit calculator at: http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za...LCULATOR_INTRO (which I did with a yardstick by myself--admittedly not the most accurate way and I'll try to get my wife to help me repeat it tonight with a tape measure) and that said I should be looking for a 59-60 cm c-t measurement (using either the Eddy or French Fits--having never ridden anything other than a flat bar mountain bike before I doubt I'll get all the way down to the most aerodynamic position possible) and I'd read somewhere that you should drop down a size for cyclocross bikes (and bikes in general as it's easier to raise the bars/seat than it is to shrink a frame so going smaller rather than bigger is better). Am I misrembering this, do those frames run a bit small, or does it not really matter that much between the two sizes. I like the color options at 61 cm better, but color's not really the driving factor for me.

    Or are the handlebars not likely to be adjustable in height on this bike? I'm not really sure what you mean about getting a lot of drop from the seat to the handlebars. Like I said, I've never really ridden a bike with the drop down bars like this before other than sitting on one in a showroom several years ago (a 55 cm) and having the salesperson tell me I needed to go up a size or two.

    Do most LBS's not regularly stock 58 or 61 cm bikes? It seams like every time I've gone to one, once I tell them my size or try out the bike they want to show me, they say I need a bigger size, hand me a couple of catalogs and price lists and say it was nice meeting me. I can't tell if I'm giving off a vibe that I'm not a serious customer, if they just don't want to waste time for someone who'll only give them a low commission, or if they don't have anything remotely similar to what I'm looking at in my size for me to make sure of the size I want.

    They do say that the front rings are 36/50. If memory serves (really showing my ignorance here) the larger the teeth number on the front rings, the harder I have to work at the same level right? So does that mean what I'm missing out on is the easiest gears for going up the toughest hills or would I be missing out on the hardest gears for going downhill really fast (or is this all more a function of the rear gears anyway)? Or does the 3rd ring some bikes have up front come between the two for a more even gradation? Really, I'm pretty much a novice for anything other than hopping on and pedaling when it comes to the theory behind bikes.

    On the other hand, I'm not too afraid of doing the initial setup of the bike itself as I've changed multiple tires (and even more inner tubes), adjusted/changed the brakes a couple times, put on and took off an old cheapy analog spedometer/odometer several times, and raised, lowered, and otherwise adjusted the seat and handlebars many times trying to get the perfect combination as I totally outgrew my old bike. So that sort of stuff I'm completely comfortable with. Anything dealing with trueing the tires or otherwise dealing with the spokes, or dealing with the gears/chain, I'm not so comfortable with, but I don't think there's much of that involved as that part of the bike is supposed to come preassembled (and it would be good to learn to do that eventually anyway.

    Again, thanks for your suggestions and I'll definitely have my wife help measure me before I purchase anything, but it would be good to know if they run small and I should be ordering a size up, so if you have any experience with that, I'd greatly appreciate it.
    Last edited by himespau; 06-30-08 at 08:12 AM.

  5. #5
    Junior Member DaRocketeer's Avatar
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    I actually just ordered the Motobecane Fantom CX from bikesdirect.com, I'm 6'2" as well and i went with the 61cm. I should have the bike by next week, so I'll report back then.
    High gas prices are good for something...

  6. #6
    All Bikes All The Time Sawtooth's Avatar
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    58 Kona JTS at $500.
    http://boise.craigslist.org/bik/735474202.html No relation to me at all....I just saw it this morning.
    I am willing to buy it for you and ship it (craigslist tends to be a cash-only market) but you would have to send me $ first and include shipping, as with any ebay deal. I tried to get my buddy to buy this earlier today. It comes with extra wheels as well. I realize this is risky on your end (especially as a newbie here so just PM me if you are interested). If you really wanted to do it, we could arrange a BIN or something on ebay so you at least know I have some skin in the game.
    Just an option. I had a guy do me a big favor (sent me some free tires; I just paid shipping) on these forums and am willing to reciprocate.

    FYI, the Kona's run a little large. I run a 54 and it feels more like a 56. I ride a 54 road bike though, and LOVE my Major Jake.

    I see Jake The Snakes go all the time for between $500 and $700 used. I bought my Major Jake at 2 years old for $1000 off ebay covered with Dura Ace Parts (swapped to my road bike) and Bonty Race Lites. The deals are out there, you just have to be pretty patient.

    I believe the motobecanes to be decent values for those who are not caught up in brand consciousness. Most guys who have bought them seem to like them. My neighbor bought one and we had to do some work (about 2 hours) to get it road worthy but it has been a great bike for him. I also have a buddy on my cycling team that regularly podiums on his motobecane mtb.

    I tend to be pretty brand conscious but I would buy a BD bike (I am convinced that the value is there). In fact, I recommended them to my brother this weekend.

    Where are you at?
    Last edited by Sawtooth; 06-30-08 at 01:58 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Sawtooth, thanks, but I'll keep looking. It's just a bit hard to do that kind of deal online, plus the bike's been taken down. Looks like it was a good deal though, someone else must have thought so too. If it'd been in my area, I definitely would have bit on it...

    DaRocketeer, I hope you like it. I'm really leaning toward pulling the trigger on one myself, but my measurements keep coming out a bit small on top tube length when I measure myself (really need to get the wife to help me out with that tonight), so I'm wondering if the 58 would be better. It's weird that I keep measuring my arms as short because I have to get extra long (36/37) sleeves when I buy dress shirts. What color did you go with?

  8. #8
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    The new Schwinn Letour would cover all of your commuting, rack and fender needs and is pretty cheap at around 600$. It's not a cross bike, but it will do what you are after. Otherwise, the complete Surly Crosscheck is pretty spectacular.

  9. #9
    Senior Member c_m_shooter's Avatar
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    C M Shooter, you think I should go up a size to the 61 cm? A friend had me try out the fit calculator at: http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za...LCULATOR_INTRO (which I did with a yardstick by myself--admittedly not the most accurate way and I'll try to get my wife to help me repeat it tonight with a tape measure) and that said I should be looking for a 59-60 cm c-t measurement (using either the Eddy or French Fits--having never ridden anything other than a flat bar mountain bike before I doubt I'll get all the way down to the most aerodynamic position possible) and I'd read somewhere that you should drop down a size for cyclocross bikes (and bikes in general as it's easier to raise the bars/seat than it is to shrink a frame so going smaller rather than bigger is better). Am I misrembering this, do those frames run a bit small, or does it not really matter that much between the two sizes. I like the color options at 61 cm better, but color's not really the driving factor for me.



    If you are going to be using this as a road bike, you should probably ride the biggest size you can stand over. The rumor about going down a size for cyclocross bikes is so you have little more standover room when in sketchy off road situations. You should try several fit calculators if you want to go that route, not just the one, but remember that they are generally for fitting racers. Racers tend to ride the smallest frame they can. The frame size chart on the Bikes Direct Website puts you on a 60cm. The handlebars are not adjustable for height on bikes with threadless headsets, except for maybe 1cm or so worth of spacers on the steerer tube. Changing cockpit length or raising handlebar height means buying a new stem at your LBS. It is easier to get a shorter one at a reasonable angle (5-15 degrees) then to find one with much more rise than that. Sorry for being long winded, I hope it helped.
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
    May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey

  10. #10
    Senior Member c_m_shooter's Avatar
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    A road triple will have rings of 30/42/52. Most road cassettes are 12-25. With the compact crank and a road cassette you lose one gear on top and about two on the bottom. If you run a compact double with an 11-32 intended for a mountain bike, you will have the same range as a regular road triple, and less shifting up front. I like my compact cranks on my Cross Check, because I can leave it in the big ring 95% of the time on the road, and shift mostly from 3-7 in the back. I use the small ring mostly on mountain bike trails or riding around town with my wife.
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
    May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey

  11. #11
    Senior Member sfcrossrider's Avatar
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    I'm 6'1 with monkey arms, and I would fit a 58 (my race bike is a 57.5). For a cx bike a 61 might be on the big side.
    Quote Originally Posted by BikeIndustryGuy View Post
    I guess the feel good aspect of this story is that the perpetrators did this as a couple. It's nice to see people coming together with a common love of cycling and assault.

  12. #12
    Junior Member DaRocketeer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by himespau View Post
    DaRocketeer, I hope you like it. I'm really leaning toward pulling the trigger on one myself, but my measurements keep coming out a bit small on top tube length when I measure myself (really need to get the wife to help me out with that tonight), so I'm wondering if the 58 would be better. It's weird that I keep measuring my arms as short because I have to get extra long (36/37) sleeves when I buy dress shirts. What color did you go with?
    I went with the matte gray, I almost went with the yellow, but it looked a little too bright for my taste. The electric blue was never an option, just too.... um..... blue.
    High gas prices are good for something...

  13. #13
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acorn_user View Post
    The new Schwinn Letour would cover all of your commuting, rack and fender needs and is pretty cheap at around 600$. It's not a cross bike, but it will do what you are after. Otherwise, the complete Surly Crosscheck is pretty spectacular.
    That does look like a decent bike, thanks for the suggestion. Are Schwinn's in that price range ok bikes? I grew up with one that I could beat on and just loved, but I'd heard since they moved over to being sold in the walmarts and targets of the world, they'd gone down in quality. I'd looked at touring bikes, but hadn't seen that one. I think I'm still leaning toward the Motobecane as I can't find the Schwinn without having to pay shipping and (while it does have a third ring up front) it doesn't really increase the quality of the components for what will be an extra $100 with shipping. I have to say I like the paint job better than some of the options on the motobecane though. That suggestion did make me look at touring bikes though, and bikes direct is selling this one: http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/windsor/tourist.htm with an all steel frame in my price range. I wish I could afford the cross check, but I just don't see it happening.

    Quote Originally Posted by c_m_shooter View Post
    If you are going to be using this as a road bike, you should probably ride the biggest size you can stand over. The rumor about going down a size for cyclocross bikes is so you have little more standover room when in sketchy off road situations. You should try several fit calculators if you want to go that route, not just the one, but remember that they are generally for fitting racers. Racers tend to ride the smallest frame they can. The frame size chart on the Bikes Direct Website puts you on a 60cm. The handlebars are not adjustable for height on bikes with threadless headsets, except for maybe 1cm or so worth of spacers on the steerer tube. Changing cockpit length or raising handlebar height means buying a new stem at your LBS. It is easier to get a shorter one at a reasonable angle (5-15 degrees) then to find one with much more rise than that. Sorry for being long winded, I hope it helped.
    Thanks, that's a lot of help. It didn't occur to me that I wouldn't be able to adjust the handlebar height. The two or three fit measurements I've seen have recommended a 57-58 cm top tube length which is what the 58 cm bike has, the 61 cm has a 59 cm top tube which really isn't that much longer, so maybe it'd be better to go that route.

    Quote Originally Posted by c_m_shooter View Post
    A road triple will have rings of 30/42/52. Most road cassettes are 12-25. With the compact crank and a road cassette you lose one gear on top and about two on the bottom. If you run a compact double with an 11-32 intended for a mountain bike, you will have the same range as a regular road triple, and less shifting up front. I like my compact cranks on my Cross Check, because I can leave it in the big ring 95% of the time on the road, and shift mostly from 3-7 in the back. I use the small ring mostly on mountain bike trails or riding around town with my wife.
    Yeah, I doubt I'd be using most of the gears anyway, so that would probably work...

    Quote Originally Posted by sfcrossrider View Post
    I'm 6'1 with monkey arms, and I would fit a 58 (my race bike is a 57.5). For a cx bike a 61 might be on the big side.
    Is that a clearance issue, or more of a reach thing? I always thought I had long arms, but that's not seeming to be the case according to these calculators. Maybe I should try another one. That's the problem with these online retailers, you're getting a deal, but losing the service of having someone make sure it fits you...

    Quote Originally Posted by DaRocketeer View Post
    I went with the matte gray, I almost went with the yellow, but it looked a little too bright for my taste. The electric blue was never an option, just too.... um..... blue.
    Yeah, the yellow's a bit too bright (and with black makes a bumblebee thing), and the blue is just well, as you said very blue. I really wish they had the gray in 58 cm. I am glad to hear quality isn't as much of an issue as I'd feared...

    Sorry for the crazylong posts...

  14. #14
    Fred-ish rogerstg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by himespau View Post
    It didn't occur to me that I wouldn't be able to adjust the handlebar height.
    Between flipping the stem and adjusting the spacers you have about 10cm of adjustment. How much do you think you'll need?

    FWIW, you can't adjust the length of the stem. If you need a different length, you can contact BD and they'll swap one out for you.

    BTW, I bought that bike as a winter beater and it held up very well. Also, it'll probably come through as a 9 speed instead of an 8 since Sora is now 9 and mine was a 9 in February.

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    The cheaper Schwinns look pretty solid. I have not ridden one though, just eyed them up in Performance bike. Btw, the Windsor Tourist looks like a good choice too. The complete Cross Check is only 900$, but it has bar-end shifters. Some like them, some don't. Horses for courses!

  16. #16
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    I`ve had a Moto Fantom Cross for about a year now and have been very pleased. And I`ve beaten the livin` crap out of that thing, too. Everything still works fine and it compares favorably with my other bikes. Hell, I haven`t even needed to true the Vulta wheels, which has kinda surprised me considering the way I ride it.

    The Windsor Tourist also seems to be a pretty good deal, too. From what I`ve seen and read, most people who`ve bought a BD bike have been plenty satisfied with their purchase. I wouldn`t hesitate to shop them again if I was(gulp!) looking for another bike. Oops, I better stop while my bank account`s ahead.
    We`re all Bozos on this bus.

  17. #17
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input. I've recently been reading more about Bikes direct on the forums and people seem to be really down on them and what you get in the mail (seems like there were lots of problems/bad customer service) and how they're taking money from the local bike store. Made me wonder if I should rethink buying online. Then it sounds like the bike store people get all upset if you bring one in for servicing, but it sounds like people posting here haven't found that to be the case. If my budget were a little higher, I'd definitely try the LBS for better service/proper fitting/tune ups and all that, but I'm sort of pushing the top end of my budget as it is and I plan on moving when I graduate in 3 months, so it's not like a lifetime service contract would do me much good. Still though, all this BD bashing on other threads is making me feel a bit guilty for considering buying online.

    Anyone on this thread have a problem with people at their lbs when they need repairs they can't make themselves? Or do you all do your own repair work? I can do some mechanical work myself; I have the generic toolset - metric and sae allen wrenches, metric and sae sockets, crescent wrenches, channel locks, that sort of thing, but no bicycle specific tools. Is that enough to do most of the necessary repairs/tuning?

    Has anyone bought the bikesdirect dvd/toolset? Is that useful for doing the additional necessary tuneups on my own, or is it really better to go to an LBS for that? I like the idea of being mechanically independent if at all possible (partly because I like using my hands, partly because I'm frugal, and partly because it fulfills my "me man, me fix things" basal desire), but I don't have much (if any) bike specific mechanical knowledge or tools. Is there a better (and inexpensive) dvd/book and set of tools someone could recommend?

  18. #18
    Senior Member c_m_shooter's Avatar
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    There is a line of books called Zinn and the art of Road bike maintenance, Zin and the art of Mountain bike...... I have flipped through them at the bookstore and they seem pretty thorough. If you don't need a manual in front of you while working, Parks tools and Sheldon Brown's website can guid you through just about anything. The bike can be assebled and tuned with allen wrenches, screwdrivers, and a 15mm open end wrench for the pedals. You only need the special tools to remove the cassette, cranks, bottom bracket, headset and adjust the cones.
    If you can swing it, and plan on doing your own maintenance down the line, it is cheaper to get the specialized tools as a kit. You can get some that have cone wrenches, crank puller, bottom bracket tool, cassette lock ring tool, and a spoke wrench. That would cover just about anything you would realistically ever need to replace. The book a mentioned earlier gives instructions with pictures of how to do most jobs. Even if you just look at the book and decide that the job is over your level of confidence it is worth it I think.
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
    May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey

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    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice. That book definitely sounds like a good investment. As an alternate plan, I'm talking with a guy who's selling a couple of old steel bikes on craigslist about whether they'd be suitable to modifying for my needs. Not sure if that's the way I want to go yet as that'll definitely push my mechanical capabilities to their limites and will take more time than ordering a ready-made bike, but it may end up being less expensive and would result in a bike that's mine, not just one like everyone else has. Unfortunately, my lack of experience might lead to me not getting a good deal (or even getting a bit screwed over), but I guess that's how you learn too. On the other hand, a ready made bike from bd, is just so easy sounding. Not sure what's right for me yet.

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    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Well, thanks again for the advice all. After a sudden decrease in my budget (my wife was, "you want to spend how much on a new bike?"--hers was a target bike that she thinks is good enough), I went another route entirely and bought an older steel-framed mountain bike (no shocks) off craigslist that someone had modified with drop-down bars and skinnier tires. Wow, the sudden lack of effort to push pedals when they're beneath me where they belong rather than in the 6 inch two small moutain bike I'd been riding makes a wold of difference. My one concern was when I took it out on the road I got up to a point where I was spinning my pedals pretty fast on the hardest gearing settting without feeling too much resistance. I could only keep it up for about half a mile as I don't have the endurance to keep my legs moving that fast for long periods of time, but I'm wondering if I should have gotten something with a bigger gear up front. Maybe that's something I'll have to change eventually...

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    After just reading through these messages, I was thinking to myself that you could use an old steel rigid (no suspension) mountain bike. The smaller wheels will prove generally stronger for a rough commute or trail riding, and tires are cheap and common.

    If you want to go faster, count the number of teeth on the largest cog in front and the smallest in back. I would guess that your front has a 42t ring--for about $20~30 you can put a 46t or so on here, depending on the model. Your rear might be a 12t, you could get an 11t small cog on there. That makes a noticeable difference. You could also hunt up a new/used crankset on ebay or from some blowout internet site with bigger rings. But then you have to worry about bottom bracket compatibility, maybe the front derailer, and chain length.

    Eric

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    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Thanks seat_boy. The front has 48/38/28 rings and the back is a 6-speed with 28/24/21/18/16/14t rings. So if anything I'd probably want to have a smaller cog in the back. Since it's only a six speed, I wonder if it would be possible to fit more gears back there or if that would be a problem with the size of the frame. I guess it'd also screw with the shifter unless I switched it over to friction to have more than 6 speeds in the back, and I don't really have the cash to drop on new shifters deraileurs at the moment (as I'd probably want to upgrade to some nice brifters from the stemmounted shifters I have now). I might look into getting a (or several) smaller cogs on the back though. I really don't think I want to mess areound with the front rings because they're some sort of special rings Bio-Pace (?) that are ovals and I'd probably have to switch them all out if I was going to do one.

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    Junior Member msteather's Avatar
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    Same sort of questions for a different sized person

    Hi. I'm also brand new. And I actually signed up to ask a similar question about motobecane.

    I've been deciding to try a cross bike and get involved. I don't want to be on a team (at least not yet...too much fuss), just ride around the mountains and have fun messing around and playing hard. I used to downhill a lot and I feel I'm getting too old to enjoy the risk and my favorite trails are closed/closing. I also commute all over. In fact I've had to drive my bike up to downhill ranges to get a good ride in. This has struck me as crazy from time to time. A fast enough bike to take me 15-20 miles out of town and into the mountains to play is ideal. have a cruiser for short trips but I really am a sucker for performance, and thae charm of my clunker wears very thin. I mostly just lend it to friends. Hucking a bike around town (my downhill) that weighs nearly half what I do gets pretty old.

    My issue is that I'm a small woman. Riding downhill I had to ride a hardtail and mess around with my front suspension quite a bit because I weigh right around 100llbs(Generally 5 pounds under or over(though I've been adding muscle mass and I'm up just a bit)). and they don't seem to make adult bikes with suspension for people under 120 llbs. I am a bit over 5'4", so I'm not child sized. There's a whole section for big people that love bikes, but I get frustrated at times looking for myself.
    I want a light bike but am concerned about the shock that aluminum delivers, even with carbon forks, for someone without enough density to just absorb big jolts, but steel is heavy and carbon is risky/ short lived when you beat it up as I plan to and I can only dream of being able to afford titanium.

    Finding used bikes is more challenging for women my size as well. Apparently it isn't common for small women to like to have fun outdoors on bikes and not shopping and tanning. jk. But in all earnestness I've found bikes even in my size category to be slim pickings at best.

    I have been looking at the motobecane Phantom Cross pro. It seems that for a "first" cross bike, it's a pretty good bargain, and a nice way to get all the performance from a componenent/weight standpoint to keep me motivated and encourange me to improve my skills/ learn what I really wnat out of a cross bike. I can't beleive that all those components come in at the price offered and I'm not a beleiver in getting more than you pay for. How can a bike have a frame worth 2 poos and come with all that luscious gadgetry?

    I see that a lot of people in this forum seem to think that it's a pretty good way to go, but I would love feedback from anyone that is more informed. Any suggestions for frame material/ makers/buildups would make me very happy! Thanks so much!!!!

  24. #24
    cs1
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    Quote Originally Posted by himespau View Post
    The thing is, I don't really know anything about the quality of the Motobecane bikes.
    They're nice but not state of the art bikes.
    Quote Originally Posted by himespau View Post
    They tend to get bashed around on certain online forums because a vendor apparently used to use some less than desirable advertising techniques at some point in the past on one or more of those sites
    While advertising wasn't at all dishonest, it was kind of like a used car salesman would use. The elitist over in the road forum didn't much care for him. Don't worry, we don't care for elitists either.
    Quote Originally Posted by himespau View Post
    (don't know if it's the same guy who currently sells them,
    It is, he's been doing it for over 20 years. The roadies are the only guys who seem to have a real hard on for Mike. Everyone else likes him.

    Tim
    1999 Waterford RSE-11, 1995 Waterford 1200, 1989 Specialized Rockhopper Comp
    1989 Raleigh Technium, 1989 Schwinn Traveler, 1986 Specialized Rockhopper
    1984 Specialized Stumpjumper, 1986 Specialized Stumpjumper and just way too many projects to list.

  25. #25
    assonfire Heyduke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msteather View Post
    Hi. I'm also brand new. And I actually signed up to ask a similar question about motobecane.
    Try the search function for opinions. Keep in mind...they are only opinions as are my responses.

    Quote Originally Posted by msteather View Post
    I've been deciding to try a cross bike and get involved. I don't want to be on a team (at least not yet...too much fuss), just ride around the mountains and have fun messing around and playing hard. I used to downhill a lot and I feel I'm getting too old to enjoy the risk and my favorite trails are closed/closing. I also commute all over. In fact I've had to drive my bike up to downhill ranges to get a good ride in. This has struck me as crazy from time to time. A fast enough bike to take me 15-20 miles out of town and into the mountains to play is ideal. have a cruiser for short trips but I really am a sucker for performance, and thae charm of my clunker wears very thin. I mostly just lend it to friends. Hucking a bike around town (my downhill) that weighs nearly half what I do gets pretty old.
    CX bikes are the most versatile bikes out there. You can set them up for just about anything with fender and rack eyelets.

    Quote Originally Posted by msteather View Post
    My issue is that I'm a small woman. Riding downhill I had to ride a hardtail and mess around with my front suspension quite a bit because I weigh right around 100llbs(Generally 5 pounds under or over(though I've been adding muscle mass and I'm up just a bit)). and they don't seem to make adult bikes with suspension for people under 120 llbs. I am a bit over 5'4", so I'm not child sized. There's a whole section for big people that love bikes, but I get frustrated at times looking for myself.
    I want a light bike but am concerned about the shock that aluminum delivers, even with carbon forks, for someone without enough density to just absorb big jolts, but steel is heavy and carbon is risky/ short lived when you beat it up as I plan to and I can only dream of being able to afford titanium.
    I'm on the other end of the spectrum and I agree that extreme sizes are sparse. Keep looking and be prepared to make some minor compromises. Aluminum doesn't have to be harsh, especially if you're riding CX tires which really take much of the vibration.

    Quote Originally Posted by msteather View Post
    Finding used bikes is more challenging for women my size as well. Apparently it isn't common for small women to like to have fun outdoors on bikes and not shopping and tanning. jk. But in all earnestness I've found bikes even in my size category to be slim pickings at best.
    See above. Again, just keep looking and make friends with LBS employees.

    Quote Originally Posted by msteather View Post
    I have been looking at the motobecane Phantom Cross pro. It seems that for a "first" cross bike, it's a pretty good bargain, and a nice way to get all the performance from a componenent/weight standpoint to keep me motivated and encourange me to improve my skills/ learn what I really wnat out of a cross bike. I can't beleive that all those components come in at the price offered and I'm not a beleiver in getting more than you pay for. How can a bike have a frame worth 2 poos and come with all that luscious gadgetry?
    High volume component orders and cheap (although at least decent) frames by the 1,000s.

    Quote Originally Posted by msteather View Post
    I see that a lot of people in this forum seem to think that it's a pretty good way to go, but I would love feedback from anyone that is more informed. Any suggestions for frame material/ makers/buildups would make me very happy! Thanks so much!!!!
    I've ordered bikes from bikesdirect.com and have always received prompt, pleasant customer service. I'm not shillin'....just sayin'. In all likelyhood you will not "outgrow" Phantom Cross Pro but may graduate to more of a boutique/custom/independent frame depending on where/if you go with the sport. For the value, you can't go wrong.

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