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Familar with Motobecane??

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Familar with Motobecane??

Old 08-09-00, 08:30 PM
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covenant
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I know it's an old French brand, but how good are the new Motobecanes? Bikesdirect has them for 1/2 list. All the components are shimano, so the real question is frame quality.
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Old 08-10-00, 07:47 PM
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I'm afraid I can't answer your question about the new MBs, but my first real road bike was a Motobecane about 25 years ago. It was built extremely well, with great lugwork, and was one of the most comfortable bikes I'veever ridden. It was a little on the heavy side, however.
I think the Harris Cyclery articles pages might have some info on the new MBs.
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Old 11-01-00, 07:50 AM
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'Becane la Reine

I lived in France for a while, and I go back on business two to three times a year. Motobecane is to French cyclists and commuters what Schwinn has always been to Americans: A sturdy, good value, brand name alternative to department store bikes. Not much in the way of high-tech or glamor though...

Generally, 'Becanes are kind of heavy, compared to American and far-eastern bikes, and have run all sorts of gruppos, from Mavic, Sachs, Campy, Suntour, and most recently, the inescapable low-end Shimano stuff. Steel rims are still common on the cheaper models. Brakes are always awful.

One sees 'Becanes kitted out in commuter style... Mudguards, rear rack, generator driven lights, and a bell. The typical rider is a middle aged professional type, in suit & overcoat, briefcase bungeed to the rack, polished Italian loafers spinning in toe clip pedals. Any beat-up, rusty, nondescript old bike seen chained to a lamp post or tree is going to be either a Peugeot or a 'Becane.

(Incidentally, if you're of a certain age, Motobecane is synonymous with cyclomoteur, or moped.)

Buy one for touring Europe in style, otherwise, spend your money more wisely on... errr, just about anything else!

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Old 11-02-00, 09:39 AM
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Motobecanes were pretty popular around here in the 70s and 80s and their top end bikes were just as good or better than anything else available, Ocana won the tour on one. I had an entry level race frame, a "Grand Record", it served me quite well. Just like any bike line there's good and bad, heavy and light. Ride a few other bikes in the same price range, compare equipment on them etc. Are the welds small, "puddle overlap" uniform and are they concave? good quality tubing? If lugs are used are they finished nicely or have any gaps? Can you ride it comfortably with "no hands"? get what works best FOR YOU!

Getting the lightest bike is not always the best thing to do, as a general rule "the lighter it is the weaker it is".

Consider a steel frame, if you bend something in a crash it can be fixed, usually not so with aluminum, it becomes dramatically weaker when bent, or scored, and has a tendency to break when realigned. Most aluminum frames have a harsh ride as well.

[Edited by pat5319 on 11-02-2000 at 10:53 AM]
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Old 02-05-01, 09:47 PM
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Come on people. If you aren't up to date, don't give erroneous information. MBK has completely restructured and now is back in the road race game. They equip the French Cofidis team. They are exclusively aluminum and are not heavy bikes with mud flaps. Their 5 principle frames use either 7005 DB or Columbus Altec2+. They have switched from Shimano to Campagnolo and offer 18 different equipment mixes. They may not be the best, but they are good bikes at good prices. They are better than most bikes made in the U.S. and are certainly better than anything coming out of Asia.
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Old 10-04-02, 12:00 AM
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Originally posted by Jon
Come on people. If you aren't up to date, don't give erroneous information. MBK has completely restructured and now is back in the road race game. They equip the French Cofidis team. They are exclusively aluminum and are not heavy bikes with mud flaps. Their 5 principle frames use either 7005 DB or Columbus Altec2+. They have switched from Shimano to Campagnolo and offer 18 different equipment mixes. They may not be the best, but they are good bikes at good prices. They are better than most bikes made in the U.S. and are certainly better than anything coming out of Asia.
Actually, this is not entirely true...The Grand Record has a Tiagra rear derailler and Sora front derailler, both made by Shimano. And from what I understand they are made in Taiwan as well as France. The comments about the frame being weaker and harder to fix than steel is a moot point. MB offers a lifetime warranty on their frames AND parts. As long as you're not jumping 6 foot ramps they will replace the frame at no charge. I have a feeling it's one of those "easier said than done" type of things, but at least they claim to provide replacement.
-BT
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Old 10-04-02, 06:50 AM
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Jon....maybe you along with the rest need to get some facts straight and update your data base too...The Motobecanes sold by Bikes Direct have no ccnnection to the old French company.The name was sold to a Canadian outfit and the current crop is made in Taiwan. ....the French company now goes by the name MBK.The current crop of Motobecanes are decent bang for the buck,but are sold direct via the internet with no dealer support.You save some money,you take some chances.
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Old 10-04-02, 09:03 AM
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another point with the 'new' motobecanes. The drivetrain may be shimano,but everything else tends to be generic no name.
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Old 10-04-02, 09:20 AM
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You can do a little search on this topic. It's been gone over before.
MBK (the real Motobecane) and "motobecane" (in the USA) are different companies.
motobecane is about offering cheaper bikes- nothing wrong with them and they are fine bicycles. It's just not MBK.
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Old 10-04-02, 09:27 AM
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'Fine' is relative and pretty nebulous too.
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Old 10-04-02, 09:35 AM
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'decent bang for the buck', 'you take some chances' is relative and pretty nebulous too.
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Old 10-04-02, 03:42 PM
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Originally posted by pokey
another point with the 'new' motobecanes. The drivetrain may be shimano,but everything else tends to be generic no name.
Oh yeah? Alex double wall rims, Maxxis tires, Kinesis carbon fiber fork/AL frame, Cyclone crank, Shimano levers and brakes. Not sure what the headset is, but if you're implying this is a "cheap" bike I will tell you I've seen bikes with lower specs for more $$. Also, they are not a "mail order only" bike. The local Cycle Spectrum here carries them. If you can find me a negative review of the Motobecanes please send me the link, because I have yet to find one.
-BT
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Old 10-04-02, 03:45 PM
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I actually contacted them and it is basically like this....
There are now 2 motobecane's
1) MBK - that sells to europe and has at least one pro team riding them.
2) Motobecane - licensed by MBK to sell in US.
Motobecane is VERY CHEAP in quality compared to MBK.
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Old 10-04-02, 04:30 PM
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Sure Cycle Specturm is everywhere. Alex,Maxxis,Cyclone,=cheap stuff. Tell me about saddle,bar, stem, post and HS.The specs are all at bikes direct.....If you buy bike reviews,how about some Enron stock?
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Old 10-05-02, 02:11 AM
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Originally posted by pokey
Sure Cycle Specturm is everywhere. Alex,Maxxis,Cyclone,=cheap stuff. Tell me about saddle,bar, stem, post and HS.The specs are all at bikes direct.....If you buy bike reviews,how about some Enron stock?
How much is the stock going for? Don't kid yourself, Enron is coming back baby!! I take the bike reviews with a grain of salt. If I see that 20 people like a particular bike and I'm trying to decide between two different models, I might go with the one that has good reviews over the one that's negative. You may not read them, but alot of people do and I think they have their place.
As far as the no name parts, you got me on that one. The MB lists M Wings Systeme for the seat, post, HS, bar and stem. But wait a minute here...The Giant OCR1 has an "alloy anatomic" handlebar, an "alloy adjustable" stem, an "integrated" headset, and an "alloy micro adjust" seatpost. The OCR sells for roughly twice the cost of the MB. What do you get for the extra 400-500 bucks?? Deore hubs, 105 drivetrain, a good seat and disc brakes. I don't personally think the extra cost is worth it, especially for a 3 day a week rider like me, but that's just me.

I guess my long winded point is, yes MB may use "no name" parts, but so do bikes that cost twice as much. Obviously like anything else the more money you pay the better the parts(usually). Motobecane included.
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Old 10-05-02, 09:43 AM
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Well if you want to buy some Enron stock, now is the time to do so! They are selling for about $0.10 a share give or take a nickle. It used to be like $60? Even if it goes up to $1 a share that would be an increase by 10 fold. You could make some serious dough if they came back, but I don't think they will.
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Old 10-06-02, 06:33 AM
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As somebody who got burned with Lucent @ $17US I have to admit I'm thinking about trying again now that it's at $.75US but Enron.....

To the actual topic. The "Motobecane" label is out of Asia nowadays. Their bikes may well represent one of the better bargains around but I have no direct experience. Their #1 is DuraAce with some no-name stuff in areas that, IMO, don't really matter and had Bicycling magazine marvelling at the price.

As something of a retro-grouch I like their butted steel framed roadies with d/t shifters. At around $400US it would be hard to go to wrong for a newbie.

I saw some MBK bikes in the TdF but I've heard that, at least in the past, they were rebadged Litespeeds. I don't know that for a fact and if it was true may no longer be.
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Old 10-06-02, 12:50 PM
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Yes, anyone that is going to fault Motobecane for "generic" parts in relatively insignificant areas (seatpost, stem,etc) is just stupid.
This is the exact same marketing strategy employed by ALL the volume cycle manufacturers. Cannondale, Specialized, Giant, etc.
Generic bars,stem, post, etc in exchange for solid derailleurs and wheels is a pretty good plan. Especially at this pricepoint. The fact is that others get away with doing this at $1500-$2000 pricepoints.

In that pricerange, if you like the bike, Motobecane offers alot for the $ and is a fine bike.
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Old 10-06-02, 01:52 PM
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Bubba thinks his Wally-cycle is a 'fine' bike too.
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Old 10-06-02, 11:55 PM
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Pokey, do you not like MB's in general, or do you not like the word "fine", or are you pissed at RacerX for some reason? As was stated previously MB uses no name parts but so does Trek, Cannondale, Giant, etc...at least MB offers a Tiagra derailler and a carbon fork, good luck getting that anywhere else for that price. How many people go into a LBS and ask "What kind of handlebar is this? Are those cranks FSA? Tell me about the seatpost." And how many LBS workers actually know the answers? All I care about is frame, drivetrain, and good rims. The rest can be upgraded quite easily and is secondary IMO.
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Old 10-07-02, 06:31 AM
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A little background on Motobecane....
The name means "Motorbike" in french, and the company was originally a small manufacturer of motorcycles.
Motobecane, in the late 60's-early 70's pioneered the modern method of marketing bikes by having custom-built racing bikes wear the company name, and also by sub-contracting most of the assembly to smaller firms. The best Motobecane bikes were really made by Vitus, and the cheapest Motobecanes (the majority of those bought by quality-ignorant American department store shoppers) were made by gawd-only-knows-who. Motobecane designed many American market-specific models, and ended up bankrupt when the cost of European-made bikes became prohibitive when the US dollar slid lower in relationship to the Franc. At this time, Japanese made bikes (like Fuji) first came into the American market.
When I was a kid, we all thought that Motobecane was the greatest thing since sliced bread, due mostly to those few, high-dollar Vitus-made bikes, and many of my friends convinced their parents to buy them whatever cheap Motobecane was available at the local sporting goods store.
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Old 10-07-02, 07:12 PM
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Hmmn....

A Moto was my first real bike so I'm a bit tainted by nostalgia but I recall the company a bit differently.

During the Boom of the 70s Moto imported a wide range of "10 speeds" to be sure. The top of the line and those near the top were quite nice, the entry levels less so but they all had pretty good quality workmanship and particularly nice paint. More than 1 Peugeot fan has admitted that Motos were finished better. My Nomade came with steel Rigida rims and Huret derailleurs but had a beautiful metallic blue paint.

I don't ever recall seeing Motos in a dep't store or anywhere besides a shop but maybe that was just b/c of where I lived. Also, I'm pretty sure Vitus is a brand of tubing, not a bike mfgr in and of itself. Motos from the middle of the line to near the top used Vitus tubing and then Reynolds 531 or sometimes Columbus on their top bikes.

Of course all of these historical musings aren't particularly relevant as the "Motos" that started this thread are Asian aluminum framed bikes.

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Old 10-07-02, 08:36 PM
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Vitus is or was also a bike manufacturer.There was or is also Vitus tubing.

Last edited by pokey; 10-07-02 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 10-07-02, 10:48 PM
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Originally posted by Walter
Hmmn....

Of course all of these historical musings aren't particularly relevant as the "Motos" that started this thread are Asian aluminum framed bikes.
Maybe not relevant, but very informative and interesting IMO. If you search some of the "classic" bicycle sites you will find that there were definitely some high quality MB's back in the 70's-early 80's, most notably the Grand Record and Champion models. I don't understand why people are saying the new MB's are cheap, maybe it's because they don't cost 2 grand??
-BT
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Old 10-08-02, 05:56 AM
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I don't ever recall seeing Motos in a dep't store or anywhere besides a shop but maybe that was just b/c of where I lived.
Around here, Ski and sporting goods stores sold Motobecanes-mostly the cheap ones.
Also, I'm pretty sure Vitus is a brand of tubing, not a bike mfgr in and of itself.
Vitus has been making bikes for many, many years, as well as tubing. They've even built bikes (such as the Vitus 979) that have won the TdF. You are an ignoramus.
http://www.vitusdirect.com/ . They have another site, but that one is entirely in French.
Motos from the middle of the line to near the top used Vitus tubing
Actually, many straight-gauge frames (the very low-end ones) sold by Motobecane and Peugeot used Vitus tubing. Vitus sold this cheap grade tubing to all sorts of low-end assemblers. As a result, the fact that a frame uses Vitus tubing means little-in fact, when talking about early '70's french bikes, it often means that the frame is cr@p.
...came with steel Rigida rims and Huret derailleurs...
The identifiers of a low-end bike. Even the mid-range bikes had aluminum rims. The thing is worth, at best, $50 on a good day. These things can be bought for $20 at garage sales, thrift shops, etc.
As far as the "new" (American labelled) Motobecanes are concerned-I haven't seen more than 1 of them, and that one was a very cheap, poorly built example sold very cheaply through a catalog. The person thought that Motobecane was a respected name, and was bitterly dissapointed by the lousy quality of his bike.
MBK, on the other hand, is the true descendant of the original Motobecane, but even it is just another purveyor of pretty good bikes built in the orient, and sold as basic brands through bike stores. Nothing very great about them, but at least the quality is similar to other brands. I'm assuming that they are essentially the same as other brands built by the same omnipotent chinese frame building consortium that owns the name.
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