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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 09-09-11, 06:23 PM   #1
Javaslinger
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Motobecane Fantom CROSS Pro vs. Kona Jake

Yes, sorry.. my last new thread....

Just discovered bikesdirect.com and the rather amazing prices...

The Fantom CROSS Pro seems to trump everything with regards to components.. I could have it build relatively inexpensively by a LBS...

I'm wondering if there is some reason to go with the Kona Jake. That's my favorite in my $1000 price range as far a name brands...

Any experience with the Cyclocross Motobecane bikes?

Thanks,

Ken
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Old 09-09-11, 07:35 PM   #2
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Probably made in the same Asian factories. Certainly the components are off the shelf, common-as-buttered toast.

No support with the Motobecane, ie, no distribution/sales dealer to go back to if something goes wrong. You make the Motobecane work for you.
If you're alright with that, well...

Lots of people consider the Moto's to be good starter CX bikes. I thought about one as a commuter myself, actually.
But if you wanna spend new money and dont mind the self-sufficiency requisite, Mikes BD rides will get you rolling. They'll leave you some money for the other stuff people always forget to tell you about, too.
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Old 09-10-11, 06:10 AM   #3
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Go for the Kona in your other thread. It'll be a better investment. The bike's likely fine, like dahut said, no support. The Kona will be supported locally, and if you get in good with your LBS, you'll be backed up well if there's a problem. It being a well regarded name brand will also add value to it if you sell it later. The Motobecane isn't as well regarded in most circles. (read AMF era Harleys)
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Old 09-10-11, 03:48 PM   #4
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Would you be ordering the Jake through an LBS? If not, it loses some of its advantage over the Bikes Direct bike.

Here's the scoop with Bikes Direct. You have to be able to guess your size based on a geometry chart (or their rough guideline). The bike comes partially disassembled. You'll need to put the last few pieces together and adjust the brakes and derailleurs yourself. Sometimes the wheels need to be trued when you get them. Other than that, people seem to like them and it's hard to beat the price for the components.

If you can find an LBS that you like, try to establish a relationship with them. Tell them what your doing and why, and see if they'll help you. Bike shops don't make a lot of money on new bikes, so if you tell them you'll pay to have them do the final assembly and buy some accessories there, they'll probably be happy to help you figure out the size.

Failing that, you could try an online fit calculator, or BD's guidelines will probably get you in the ballpark. Learning to adjust the brakes and derailleurs is something you should do anyway. A good multi-tool will probably give you all you need for the assembly. If the wheels need to be trued, bite the bullet and take it to an LBS. They won't charge you a lot (probably around $25), and this isn't something a novice should attempt. You can easily ruin a set of wheels while trying to true them, and you might not know that you have until spoke start breaking.

You should also take a look at the Nashbar steel CX complete bike with 105 components for $799. (It was $750 recently, and they often have 20% off coupon codes.)

All that having been said, let me say that I'm a big fan of the Kona Jake line. I've got a Jake and a Major Jake (both 2008) and love them both. There's something intangible about these frame that just really feels right, especially in a CX race. No doubt the frames are still made in Asia somewhere, but Kona designs them and they're nice.
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Old 09-11-11, 02:51 PM   #5
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I'll play my role and weigh in for the Phantom Cross Pro. Unless youre a great mechanic yourself.. you need a shop that will help you work the whole thing out. "Built" is not really an accurate way to describe how it arrives... its more like "stuck together." That said... the components it comes with are worth the $1000 alone, even without the frame. I wound up discussing it with local shop first -- the same shop where I bring the rest of my bikes. And though they couldnt promise not to give me a hard time about it, they did promise to help me get it running (which of course meant business for them). Also.. be aware that while the wheels are solid enough, and the drivechain is great... some of the other parts are things you'll want to swap ASAP... seat, post, stem, bars. Those bits can add up after the fact. You may also wind up rerouting brake cables, etc... if you dont want bartop levers.

My 2010 CX season wound up with me in the hospital, and the bike with nothing more than a few scratches.
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Old 09-11-11, 04:20 PM   #6
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I'm in the process of building a Motobecane Fantom Cross Pro for my girlfriend right now.. and building is indeed the right word. As emayex says, it comes "90% assembled" but you should interpret that in the loosest sense possible. I've spent many hours now on the bike and it's almost ready to ride...

Things you'll need to do, as per my experience:

-Adjust hub bearings (the Mavic Aksium hubs were loose and clanking), requiring rear cassette removal
-True wheels
-Adjust rear derailleur (limit screws and b-tension.. ironically shifting adjustment was perfect out of the box)
-re-place and adjust front derailleur
-Remove massive black dork disk on rear wheel (with cassette off)
-remove brakes and lube posts, adjust spring tension, adjust brake pads
-wonder why front cantis won't center... realize that fork is slightly asymmetrical. Remove a washer from one side's brake pad post to compensate.
-trim cables
-install handlebar, stem
-adjust headset
-tighten brifter clamp bolts (left brifter was very loose)

That's where we are so far... I'm perhaps more meticulous (bike setup OCD!) and also slower (stopping to check instructions and guides online, etc) than most busy bike shop mechanics would be, but there's lots of work to do. I can imagine that some of Moto's bad rep is from people who believe the 'pop the wheels on and you're good to go' idea that Bikes Direct sort of sells.

That said, BD's reps were very nice and helpful with my emailed questions, as well as in dealing with a carbon fork that arrived chipped. I can't blame them for how the bike is. I think you basically get what a bike shop gets in the box from any manufacturer - you just do the work yourself and save some hundreds of dollars, or see if it works out price wise to pay a shop to set it up for you.

So far about the only obviously el-cheapo part is the handlebar tape, which is this very thin vinyl crap.. but that is easily replaced.

Last edited by robo; 09-11-11 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 09-11-11, 04:32 PM   #7
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Well, while the Fantom Cross Pro is exceptionally enticing, I think I'm going to go with the Kona Jake in the end. I intend to order it tomorrow.

What swung me in the end was the fact that I want a triple in the front. I have been 'heavily' advised by all bikers in the area that I will need the extra gearing range for the mountains and hills which are unavoidable around here.

As the Fantom Cross Pro only has dual rails in the front, and there is no option for a triple, I will go with the Kona, which despite inferior components, is still a terrific bike.

So you all have one more evening to lend advice, steer me in another direction, and/or lend credence to my decision.

Thanks for all the input!

Ken
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Old 09-11-11, 09:01 PM   #8
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I am just going to reiterate what everyone else has said here regarding the motobecane. It definitely is a good buy for the components, though you are getting a much inferior frame than the kona jake(which is what i recommend you buy), but you really need to know what you are doing to get it rideable, and if not you need to take it to your local bike shop. I work a bike shop and we had someone bring in a kestral tt bike after we spent 1 hour with him a week before figuring out what size tt bike he would need. If you do something like that to a bike shop, don't expect quick service. We relegated the assembly behind anything else we had on the board and an assembly like that is usually $100+(1 because he didnt buy it from us and two because even for is it takes about 2 hours to get a "90% assembled" bikesdirect bike built.

So do yourself a favor and your lbs a favor and get the kona. It may have inferior components but kona knows cross geometry and having a good driving bike will be much faster than a so-so driving bike with better components. Plus if you become a regular customer the bike shop will give you a break here and there.
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Old 09-13-11, 12:45 PM   #9
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Just curious, faire_du_velo - in what way is the Moto's frame "much inferior" to the Kona's, or are you just assuming that?
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Old 09-13-11, 03:18 PM   #10
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Kona is a road bike company second, mountain bike company first. The Motobecane uses a Fuji designed and manufactured frame. What are you basing your assumptions on?
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Old 09-13-11, 04:18 PM   #11
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I dunno, the parts lists on that Fantom is pretty darn good compared to the Jake...
Here's the list of parts for the Jake:
Frame Material Kona Race Light 7005 Aluminum Butted
Sizes 47, 49, 53, 56, 59, 61cm
Rear Shock N/A
Fork Kona Project Two Aluminum
Crankarms Shimano Tiagra
Chainrings 50/39/30
B/B Shimano Tiagra
Pedals Wellgo LU-A9
Chain Shimano CN5600
Freewheel Shimano Tiagra 12-28 10 spd
F/D Shimano Tiagra
R/D Shimano 105 GS
Shifters Shimano Tiagra
Brake Calipers Tektro Oryx
Front Brake Rotor N/A
Rear Brake Rotor N/A
Brake Levers Shimano Tiagra
Headset FSA No. 10
Handlebar Kona Road Bar
Stem Kona XC/Road Stem
Seatpost Kona Double Clamp w/offset
Seat Clamp Kona Clamp
Grips Kona Cork Tape
Saddle WTB Valcon Comp
Front Hub Formula
Rear Hub Shimano Tiagra
Spokes Sandvik Stainless 15g fr / 14g rr
Rims Alex AT-450
Front Tire Maxxis Mud Wrestler 700x35C
Rear Tire Maxxis Mud Wrestler 700x35C
Paint Color Orange/Black
Extras N/A

and here's the list of parts for the Fantom
Main Frame 2011 Butted CXPro-Aluminum alloy with Bi-Axle down tube, Integrated HeadTube, water bottle mounts Gallery of White and Black pics
Rear Triangle SuperCustom butted and tapered CXPro-Aluminum, forged road dropout with replaceable derailleur hanger REAR RACK BRAZE-ONS
Fork Motobecane CARBON FIBER Cross fork, Aluminum Steerer tube 1.125 inch
Crankset FSA Gossamer MegaEXO, External Bearing Bottom Bracket, CNC'D 36/46T Chainrings, 110BCD
Bottom Bracket FSA MegaEXO External cartridge bearing
Pedals None
Front Derailleur SRAM Rival
Rear Derailleur SRAM Rival
Shifters SRAM Rival, 10-speed (20 gears total)
Cassette/Freewheel SRAM PG1070, 10-speed, 11-26T
Chain KMC DX-10SC, 10 Speed
Front Hub Mavic Aksium Race, Black, 20H sealed bearing
Rear Hub Mavic Aksium Race, Black, 20H sealed bearing
Spokes Black Bladed Stainless
Rims Mavic Aksium Race w/CNC Sidewalls 6061 T6 Aluminum
Tires Ritchey SpeedMax Cross, 700 x 32c + presta tubes
Brake Set Avid Shorty 4 Cantilever
Brake Levers SRAM Rival Brake/Shift 10 speed (20 gears total), Carbon-Composite Levers
AND Tektro RL721 Cross Top Levers (brake from the tops of the bars)
Headset Cane Creek, 1.125" Threadless w/ Rubber Sealed Angular Contact Bearing
Handlebar Custom 31.8 butted Aluminum Road, Gloss Black
Stem Custom Forged Aluminum Threadless +/- 6 degree, 4Bolt Bar Clamp (Stem is GlossWhite, Clamp Face-plate is GlossBlack)
Tape/Grip Custom cork wrap
Saddle Velo UltraLite Racing with Cro-Moly rails
Seat Post Custom Race Aluminum, Gloss White post, Gloss Black Single-Bolt Clamp, 27.2mm
Seat Clamp Ultralite alloy, 31.8mm, Lazer etched
Sizes 49cm, 52cm, 54cm, 56cm, 58cm, 61cm, 64cm | Cross Geometry Chart
Colors Gloss White or Gloss Black Gallery of White and Black pics
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Old 09-13-11, 07:25 PM   #12
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I have a Kona Jake, I like it, and I recommend it.

Having said that, the component list on the other bike is impressive for the price. I have no experience with BD, and you will find strong opinions each way, but many people really like their BD bikes. For that price, I would seriously consider getting the BD bike, and if you don't like the frame, buy a Jake (or other) frame and transfer over the parts.

It seems you may already have ordered the Jake, and if so, I think you'll be happy with it.
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Old 09-13-11, 10:34 PM   #13
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Yeah, I have already bought the Jake. It'll be here sometime early next week.

Frankly I would have gotten the Fantom Cross Pro from Bikes Direct if it had a triple crank in the front (terminology correct?)... The Kona Jake was well reviewed and well as being highly and often recommended... And I don't know anything about making custom alterations to a bike, like changing a dual crank to a triple.. So the Jake it was...
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Old 09-14-11, 11:01 AM   #14
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I expect you'll be very happy
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Old 09-14-11, 11:43 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vertr View Post
Kona is a road bike company second, mountain bike company first. The Motobecane uses a Fuji designed and manufactured frame. What are you basing your assumptions on?
This is a rather misguided statement. It might mean something if we were comparing a Kona road bike to something made by Specialized, for instance. However, we're talking about cyclocross bikes, and Kona is perhaps the top cyclocross company in North America.

I don't know anything about the Motobecane. I'm sure it's a fine frame. However, I do have personal experience with Kona frames, and I know they are outstanding.
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Old 09-14-11, 01:43 PM   #16
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I have nothing against BD, but we'll miss our LBSs when they're gone.
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Old 09-14-11, 02:22 PM   #17
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I have nothing against BD, but we'll miss our LBSs when they're gone.
Our LBS's don't make much off the sale of bikes. They make most of their money on accessories and service; Two things that BD either doesn't influence or increases the demand for.
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Old 09-14-11, 04:48 PM   #18
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Our LBS's don't make much off the sale of bikes. They make most of their money on accessories and service; Two things that BD either doesn't influence or increases the demand for.
Well.... that's the theory, at least.
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Old 09-14-11, 04:51 PM   #19
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The reason i said that the motobecane is an inferior frame is because the geometry is not going to be as good as the Kona. Kona has been making cross bikes for a long time and they have the geometries dialed in. I have never ridden the moto but i don't know what kind of R&D goes into the frame. The kona is more than likely going to be a better driving bike.
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Old 09-14-11, 05:12 PM   #20
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I am not sure what "geometry not as good" means, but if you meant the Kona has more aggressive angles, shorter chainstays, and a taller BB but with a noticeably longer wheelbase you are correct. The MB is slightly slacker but the shorter wheelbase would negate some of this. I think it would come down to personal preference as they are both race worthy bikes. One true statement is the Kona will be a better investment for resale. Of course, you are getting better components on the MB.
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Old 09-15-11, 11:50 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by faire_du_velo View Post
The reason i said that the motobecane is an inferior frame is because the geometry is not going to be as good as the Kona. Kona has been making cross bikes for a long time and they have the geometries dialed in. I have never ridden the moto but i don't know what kind of R&D goes into the frame. The kona is more than likely going to be a better driving bike.
LOL, so your reasoning boils down to: "The Kona has good geometry. The Motobecane has different geometry. Ergo, the Motobecane is an inferior frame."

Glad I asked
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Old 09-15-11, 12:06 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by faire_du_velo View Post
The reason i said that the motobecane is an inferior frame is because the geometry is not going to be as good as the Kona. Kona has been making cross bikes for a long time and they have the geometries dialed in. I have never ridden the moto but i don't know what kind of R&D goes into the frame. The kona is more than likely going to be a better driving bike.
If there was a perfect geometry, everyone would use it. The Kona and the BD aren't THAT different. Comparing a 54 BD to 53 Kona: The BD has a slightly (5mm) longer chainstay, a steeper headtube (1 degree), a slightly slacker seat tube (0.5 degrees), is a little lower to the ground (3mm), and a has slightly tinier wheelbase (3 mm). The only significant difference I see is in the head tube angle - the BD will be a bit more responsive (ie, "twitchy") to steering input. Which one is better? I dunno.
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Old 09-15-11, 01:03 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmcgoy View Post
If there was a perfect geometry, everyone would use it. The Kona and the BD aren't THAT different. Comparing a 54 BD to 53 Kona: The BD has a slightly (5mm) longer chainstay, a steeper headtube (1 degree), a slightly slacker seat tube (0.5 degrees), is a little lower to the ground (3mm), and a has slightly tinier wheelbase (3 mm). The only significant difference I see is in the head tube angle - the BD will be a bit more responsive (ie, "twitchy") to steering input. Which one is better? I dunno.
Of course, there's more to a frame than geometry. Looking at the Motobecane frame (and here I'm judging only from the pictures), it appears to have a pretty level top tube and at least the main triangle appears to have fairly standard straight tubing. The spec claims a "Bi-Axle" (sic) downtube. I assume they mean "bi-axial" but I can't see it in the pictures. The Jake has custom shaped tubing and a sloping top tube (and thus shorter seatstays). These kinds of things contribute to the proverbial "laterally stiff yet veritically compliant" quality that you read about in reviews.
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Old 09-15-11, 01:59 PM   #24
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I'm not saying that the moto is going to be bad I was just trying to say that I would rather go with the frame that has proven geometry. Thats just me. I am sure that the moto is fine. In fact i was going to buy one but then i got a good deal on a used caad9 cross bike. I didn't mean to cause such an uproar.
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