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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 09-04-11, 08:03 PM   #1
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Beginner - scattante x 330 vs motobecane fantom cx vs other cheap commuter

I know you guys hate these "I'm a beginner. Which bike should I buy?" posts, but I would really like some help. I don't want to buy something that I'll regret in a couple of months.

My family (myself, my husband & my 70 yr old mother) rides for fun, mostly around the neighborhood, park, or on a nice concrete path beside the river, usually 5-15 miles in the evenings. Mom and I both ride Schwinn Voyagers and my husband rides a Fuji Absolute... so you see we prefer to spend a few hundred rather than a few thousand.

My son usually rides 10 to 15 miles to/from college and around town most weekdays. He's currently riding a cheepo depot bike he's had for years and now wants to upgrade to a "real bike", but needs to stay under $500 if possible. Leaning toward a cyclocross as he'll be mostly on streets, paths, across grassy fields, etc. Also, he's 6'4" with about a 33-34" inseam. I don't really understand bike geometry and have just relied on the bike shop to fit.

Performance has the Scatt x-330 for about $500 with 15% off this weekend. It's only available at the local store in a 57, but is online in a 60. The online price seems to be about $100 higher than the store price. He rode the 57 and liked it, but admitted it felt a little small.

I just found this Motobecane Fantom CX on CraigsList I'm a little reluctant to buy used, but will if its a good deal. I recently bought the sons girlfriend a trek off craigslist and the performance mechanic was really great about checking it out for free and showing me how to make the needed adjustments, replace brake pads, etc.

I've seen that the scattante and motobecane brands tend to have a lot of critics here, but don't really know enough to know why. I'm really looking for value. Please don't yell at me that 'you only get what you pay for'. I would love to be able to spend thousands of $$ on something that will be super light, super fast and last forever, but I can't. Whats the very best bike I can get him for under $500 that will be fun and reliable?

Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer. I do really appreciate the help.
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Old 09-04-11, 08:54 PM   #2
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I'm very happy with my x330. Don't get caught up with the naysayers of house brands like Scattante; especially in the entry level price category. The entry level bikes are not all that different between any brands; whether they be house brands or well known retail brands. For the price you are looking at you are getting a lot of bike. I paid $599 for mine in the spring and think I got a good deal. The carbon fork really smoothes out the ride in the front but is a tad soft. I think the strongest part of the bike is the frame (made by Fuji). It is very stiff and responsive and as a result can be a bit rough on the butt. I've replaced the seat post with a carbon seat post and saw some improvement. However, I recently ordered a Brooks saddle to add even more comfort on long rides. The riding position is excellent and the bike handles very well. The cross top levers are a nice touch when approaching intersections. The brakes overall perform fine.

Overall, a heck of a value. Some weak spots include a 3 speed front derailleur shifter with only 2 chainrings. This makes shifting the front a bit kludgy at times. It took quite a few miles to get the Sora RD dialed in but now I have almost no issues with it. The wheels are also nothing special but with the price you're getting it you can upgrade to another set easily. I will be doing this and keeping the stock wheels for winter riding.

Last edited by knobd; 09-06-11 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 09-04-11, 10:46 PM   #3
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I will agree with knobd that there isn't a huge difference in bikes in this price range and you shouldn't be scared of house brands.

I have the Fantom CX and I really like it a lot. I usually ride on the road but I do take it through ditches and high grass with no problem. I'd definitely recommend a cyclocross bike if your son is going to be on a lot of different terrain but still wants decent speed and responsiveness on the road.

$425 isn't a bad deal for the Fantom if it's already set up well. If it needs a tune-up I would suggest just buying a new one.
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