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  1. #1
    Senior Member sharpsandflatts's Avatar
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    better commuter: fantom cross uno or kilo wt?

    hey guys!

    i'm moving to portland in a few weeks and i've decided that i desperately need to buy a bike with clearance to run fenders and big tires in order to navigate through the rainy portland winters. my budget is pretty tight so i've narrowed it down to the fantom cross uno ($400) and the kilo WT ($440). at first i was set on the FCU but i've been drawn more and more to the WT because it seems to be better spec'd for the money and i'm not going to have a lot left over for immediate upgrades (new cog/lockring, that's about it). however, i do like that the FCU has canti mounts as i would like to maybe race cx some day. although that could end up being one of those things that i'll just talk about but never actually do. like these guys.

    anyway, does anyone who has experience with either of these bikes have any insight they can offer?

  2. #2
    Senior Member mihlbach's Avatar
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    The FCU w/canties is more appropriate for big tires and fenders and the geometry is more suited to it and can handle a wider variety of conditions. Due to the steeper geometry of the WT you are more than likely to have severe toe-overlap with fenders and the bike will not handle well offroad. A little bit of toe-tire overlap is not a big deal, but severe toe-fender-tire overlap can be dangerous. Your foot can jam the side of the fender into the tire and fold the fender through the fork, sending you over the bars. If you truly plan on running full fenders and want the option of going offroad the FCU is the better choice. If you just want a quick handling bike for road riding and don't really plan on riding in the rain much, then go with the Kilo TT or WT. The WT looks tempting with the steep angles and big tires, but its basically just a road frame that will take big tires and isn't going to perform well offroad and with calipers its really going to suck ass in the mud.

    Good luck!

    Edit: its worth noting that while the FCU seems geared a bit too low (for commuting), the WT is geared a bit too high for commuting. You are inevitably going to have to regear it no matter which one you buy. So, in that case, buy the FCU and spend the extra cash on a new ring and/or cog.
    Last edited by mihlbach; 11-29-09 at 05:03 PM.

  3. #3
    Seņor Member atoms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mihlbach View Post
    The FCU w/canties is more appropriate for big tires and fenders and the geometry is more suited to it and can handle a wider variety of conditions. Due to the steeper geometry of the WT you are more than likely to have severe toe-overlap with fenders and the bike will not handle well offroad. A little bit of toe-tire overlap is not a big deal, but severe toe-fender-tire overlap can be dangerous. Your foot can jam the side of the fender into the tire and fold the fender through the fork, sending you over the bars. If you truly plan on running full fenders and want the option of going offroad the FCU is the better choice...
    I had the impression that the WT toe-overlap issue was dependent on frame size? That is, it is a non issue at the largest of frame sizes and a huge issue at the smallest?

  4. #4
    Senior Member sharpsandflatts's Avatar
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    good input. i guess the fcu is a more practical choice. i already have a road conversion and a motobecane team track for my fair weather rides so this is just going to be my rainy day beater/grocery-getter. i just wish the fcu didn't have such gaudy decals. it makes the wt just looks so much sexier. ugh. i hate making decisions.

  5. #5
    Senior Member mihlbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atoms View Post
    I had the impression that the WT toe-overlap issue was dependent on frame size?
    That is true of any frame. However, the WT is going to present more toe-overlap than the equivalent size FCU and its going to occur at larger sizes than if would with the FCU.

  6. #6
    Senior Member mihlbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharpsandflatts View Post
    good input. i guess the fcu is a more practical choice. i already have a road conversion and a motobecane team track for my fair weather rides so this is just going to be my rainy day beater/grocery-getter. i just wish the fcu didn't have such gaudy decals. it makes the wt just looks so much sexier. ugh. i hate making decisions.
    In that case, the FCU is going to expand your riding capabilities more than the WT. I agree that the WT looks sexier, but I learned long ago that when you divorce yourself from your emotions when making purchasing decisions, you end up with bikes that serve you better and that you ultimately like better in the long run.

    BTW, I have an IRO Rob Roy, which is very similar to the FCU. I've been using it for a few years for commuting on rainy days, but recently I removed the fenders, slapped on a smaller chainring, and installed some cross knobbies and rode it offroad for the first time yesterday. Its like a whole new bike.

  7. #7
    Team Beer Cynikal's Avatar
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    I have a FCU and my only complaint is that it's heavy. Due to that I probably won't ever race it (I do race CX geared), but it is a very stable and fun to ride. I wish it took 130 wheels and had different cable routing but for the price I couldn't complain.

    All in all, get the Uno, you will love it.
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  8. #8
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    I bought a WT to use a a foul-weather commuter and have been very very happy with it. Bike is extremely well-equiped for the price. Only changes I've made were fit and gearing related.

    That said, the comments above regarding toe-overlap are spot on. I have a 56cm frame and it's still a serious issue. With a properly-mounted front fender and 700 x 32 slicks on the bike, the toe overlap is pretty bad. I had to move the fender mount bracket to the front of the fork, which isn't such a big deal but means I don't get as much coverage from the front fender as I should. My feet and bottom bracket/crank get soaked with crud by the end of a ride. With the fender mounted properly with a "sheldon" nut (fender mount behind the fork so fender hangs lower to the ground and provides better coverage), I had bad enough toe-overlap (even riding clipless) that I almost flipped the bike when my foot pushed the fender into the tire while making a tight turn in traffic. Exactly the situation mihlbach described above. Easy to live with if you pay attention and set the bike up right, but it is something to note when deciding between the WT and UNO.

  9. #9
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    I am a happy Uno owner.

    I've ridden it almost every day since last winter through snow/sand/salt/ice/singletrack/fireroads/grocery runs/beer runs/bar runs/etc... I added hoods to the drops (they used to come with cross levers), have some mustache bars for the winter, risers for playing polo and fooling around, 32c tires for cruising, 35c studded tires for winter, 40c tires for trails. No real complaints other than the saddle (I always ride on leather). It is extremely versatile and a bit on the heavy side, but seems to really take a beating. As with any mail-order bike, you have to go over it and make sure everything is adjusted/lubed/tensioned (including wheels).
    Quote Originally Posted by Santaria View Post
    because physics has more street cred than tarckstars.

  10. #10
    Senior Member sharpsandflatts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rohmen View Post
    I bought a WT to use a a foul-weather commuter and have been very very happy with it. Bike is extremely well-equiped for the price. Only changes I've made were fit and gearing related.

    That said, the comments above regarding toe-overlap are spot on. I have a 56cm frame and it's still a serious issue. With a properly-mounted front fender and 700 x 32 slicks on the bike, the toe overlap is pretty bad. I had to move the fender mount bracket to the front of the fork, which isn't such a big deal but means I don't get as much coverage from the front fender as I should. My feet and bottom bracket/crank get soaked with crud by the end of a ride. With the fender mounted properly with a "sheldon" nut (fender mount behind the fork so fender hangs lower to the ground and provides better coverage), I had bad enough toe-overlap (even riding clipless) that I almost flipped the bike when my foot pushed the fender into the tire while making a tight turn in traffic. Exactly the situation mihlbach described above. Easy to live with if you pay attention and set the bike up right, but it is something to note when deciding between the WT and UNO.
    yikes, i didn't realize that the toe overlap was that bad with fenders. i'd be getting a 56cm as well. so when people say the fcu is heavy, how heavy is heavy?

  11. #11
    Team Beer Cynikal's Avatar
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    My SS comes in around 20 lbs. I bought the frame and fork and built with parts on hand. I could be spoiled by my CX9.
    I'm not one for fawning over bicycles, but I do believe that our bikes communicate with us, and what this bike is saying is, "You're an idiot." BikeSnobNYC

  12. #12
    Senior Member mihlbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharpsandflatts View Post
    how heavy is heavy?
    I seriously doubt that its much different, weightwise, than than other budget steel SS/FG entries. Keep in mind that it comes with larger cross tires which may make it barely heavier. If you are used to riding a high end aluminum or carbon racer you might think its a tank, just like any other bargain basement TIGed steel frameset, but a few pounds of frame weight really doesn't make a difference.

  13. #13
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    i had a black fcu that got stolen. it was a great bike alot better than the conversion that replaced it(gonna be built back up with gears and given to my dad)

    anyay i got some car decal vinyl and covered the logos and you could barely tell they were there

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mihlbach View Post
    I seriously doubt that its much different, weightwise, than than other budget steel SS/FG entries. Keep in mind that it comes with larger cross tires which may make it barely heavier. If you are used to riding a high end aluminum or carbon racer you might think its a tank, just like any other bargain basement TIGed steel frameset, but a few pounds of frame weight really doesn't make a difference.
    Actually, a cheap set of cx tires will add a decent amount of weight. But... if you are planning on commuting, a little extra bike weight just means a better workout. Once you add fenders, rack(s), pannier(s), backpack, lights, water, change of clothes, winter gear, beer, food, etc into the equation, the extra weight is pretty much negated.
    Quote Originally Posted by Santaria View Post
    because physics has more street cred than tarckstars.

  15. #15
    "Every day is Superbowl!" Davemutt's Avatar
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    I am also trying to decide between these two bikes.

    I'm not concerned about bars, stem, saddle, or pedals as these will likely be changed to suit me. I plan on leaving the other components alone if they are functional. I'll be riding the bike both on the street and light offroad, but it probably won't see mud.

    My thoughts so far:

    Kilo WT
    -Better quality frame?
    -Lighter


    Moto Uno
    -Crank length and gearing are better suited to my terrain and riding style
    -Better wheels?
    -Better brakes

    Can anyone help?

  16. #16

  17. #17
    "Every day is Superbowl!" Davemutt's Avatar
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    Thanks for the suggestion. That bike doesn't show up on the BD SS menu, so I hadn't considered it. That's the best looking of the bunch IMHO.

    I'm wondering why it is so much cheaper than the Kilo WT. I'm guessing the frame is much lower quality?

    Does anyone know if any of these frames are from Taiwan or will they all be from China at this price?

    TIA

  18. #18
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    The Kilos are made in Taiwan. The others are made in China. The frame, cranks and wheels on the Kilo WT are better quality than those on the Timeline.

    All the bd "track" bikes are on this page >>> http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/trackbikes.htm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
    I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.

  19. #19
    Senior Member mihlbach's Avatar
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    The quality of all of these BD frames seems to be pretty good. I wouldn't worry much about frame quality (or place or origin) and just focus on what bike will work best for you geometry-wise and component-wise.

  20. #20
    "Every day is Superbowl!" Davemutt's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback guys.

    Looking at the geometry charts leads me to believe the Uno and the Timeline share the same frame with different brake mounts. I think the Timeline makes more sense for me since I don't need the canti's. Plus I really prefer the look with the silver components. So i need to decide between the Timeline and Kilo WT. The Kilo WT is more expensive, but it still looks like a good value.

  21. #21
    Utilitarian Boy Gyeswho's Avatar
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    I was wondering, myself, what the difference was to make the price a $140 difference. It seems the WT comes with slightly better parts, but I don't feel it warrants a $140 difference. You could get the Timeline and use the $ saved from not getting the WT to upgrade parts.

    I own a WT and am very happy with it. The Timeline's price is very attractive for what you get so it's all a matter of your preference. If you're not going to go really big on the tires or use fenders and don't want to deal with toe overlap, get the Timeline. If you prefer a more nimble handling ride with a bit more versatility, get the WT.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gyeswho View Post
    I was wondering, myself, what the difference was to make the price a $140 difference. It seems the WT comes with slightly better parts, but I don't feel it warrants a $140 difference. You could get the Timeline and use the $ saved from not getting the WT to upgrade parts.
    Note also the very careful use of words in the product descriptions. The Uno and Timline have "custom butted" frames, whereas the Kilo WT has an explicitly double-butted frame.

  23. #23
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    No comments on the FCU, but I have a Kilo WT and love it. I'm beaten the crap out of the bike riding rough trails, in bad weather, through mudpits etc and never had any problems. The bike rides very nicely: it's stable and quick handling, but not twitchy. Also, it has the vaunted "live" steel feel in spades (I'm used to carbon).

    I've ridden the WT in snow, clotted the bike with an inch of mud, ridden it on group rides (with the stock tires) and hit it with my garden hose all with no problem. It's pretty fast on the road: I did some 26MPH pulls on it last year. The paint has held up well. The wheels are really tough and I like the included Kenda tires. I kept everything stock on the bike even though the saddle is pretty cheap-o. The included pedals are completely worthless garbage, add the cost of some good pedals (I put eggbeaters on) to the purchase price. These are all minor concerns, for $430 the WT is a terrific deal.

    Toe overlap is a legitamate concern: I have a 53 and simply can't run a full front fender safely. Also, bear in mind that sizing runs large on these bikes: I ride a 55 road bike and the 53 kilo fits perfectly. The stem is strangely long (110, I think) as well.

  24. #24
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    I love my Phantom Uno although I do not ride it as much as I should. I think the Uno would make fender mounting much easier with the cantilever brakes.

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  25. #25
    Sausage King
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    One neat thing about the WT is the frame geometry is an exact rip off of a Surly Steamroller. So you can search for steamrollers and see how people are setting them up for commuting.

    I have a WT5 that Ive been commuting on. I'm a fair weather commuter so no fenders or me -I don't make the 26 mile round trip if it's raining. There is some toe overlap -maybe 1cm. I use MKS GR9 pedals with clips and straps.

    I run Schwalbe Marathon tires which are 38's. Fender clearance would be really tight. In the back there isn't much room between the tire and the seat tube, especially with he tires I have.

    If you are going to run a rack on the rear or panniers, the clearance would also be pretty tight due to the really short chainstays. I use a seat bag with a Carradice Bagman, which handles all the stuff I need to carry pretty well.

    I'm pretty happy with mine.

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