Strengths: Smooth shifting. Lots of options with the 30 gear set-up. Pretty light for a bike this size. Feels good running through the gears. Brakes are really responsove.
Weaknesses: Pedals & seat get replaced. After initial assembly a good tune-up is in order for shifting and brakes. But that's standard for any bike out of a box. Other than that, great bike , great buy.
Great Components for under $900 through Bikes Direct. Pre-ordered for July17th and I received it on the 18th (1 day UPS within Texas). The Flat black paint job is sick. XT components, FSA cranks, Recon front shock is ready to take a beating. This is my first 29r from a 26 MTB and this bike is ready to take on the trails. It took about 1 hour to set-up bike w/o a bike stand. The Avid Elixer3 brakes work great
Strengths: Value. I could not find a better equipped bike (E.g. XTR derailleurs and shifters, Reba RL fork with remote lockout, Elixir 7 hydraulic brakes) at this price-point anywhere. Frame design and paint are top-notch.
Weaknesses: Grips and pedals were replaced right away. The crankset chainring combo (30/42) is a bit too race-inspired for my liking. Will replace with a M980 XTR crankset (26/38) this summer to make those climbs more bearable and to complete the DynaSys driveline.
Bought the XL frame (6'3" rider) and the figment is great. Bike just feels right when riding and I have a lot of confidence in the cockpit. The bike is very fast and shifts very smooth. The 29" wheels and 100mm Reba RL combo have made me forget about my 26" full-suspension bike. I'm a 29er now.
Similar Products Used: Coming from 26" 2002 Specialized FSR w/ 120mm Psylo and XT/XTR components.
Bike Setup: 2012 Fantom29 PRO SL (XL) - Added ODI 130mm Rogue lock-on grips and Wellgo MG-1 platform pedals.
Date Reviewed: May 4, 2012
Strengths: most every component, fast shifting, torquey brakes, highly adjustable shocks with pushlock, lightweight bike; I really like the way you thread a bar through the front wheel to secure it (makes the wheel impossible to fall off), 2x10 drivetrain
Weaknesses: rear wheel needs to be put on really tight with the quick release, otherwise, it'll fall off (it's happened to me twice within 5 months of owning); it can be difficult to completely adjust the brake pads and its caliper from rubbing on the rotor (there's usually a slight rub most of the times)
I use this bike as my adventure racing bike. I race anywhere from 6-30hrs. Everything about this bike puts my last bike to shame. I did not know what a good bike was until I splurged on this one. It's fairly lightweight, incredibly stable, and corners very well, even with stock tires.
Most of the components on this bike are top of the line. The shifting is like butter, both up and downshifts. It shifts so fast sometimes I don't even feel it, even the front gears! This fast shifting comes in handy when you are slower to react with climbing or going through sugar sand or mud.
I'm not really sure how much more braking power you need than what this bike comes with. The brakes can get extremely torquey, to the point you can throw yourself off the bike in an instant. It does not take much grip on the brake handles to lock the wheels up, yet you still have the full range of sensitivity.
I really enjoy the 2x10 drivetrain. It's got a wider range of gears than my previous 3x9. I can have a super low gear that can easily spin my tires in dirt, or a tall high gear that can get me past 30mph on pavement. With all of this, I do not have to worry about being in the proper front gear to match the rear gear. Less mechanical parts means less areas to fail.
I have not needed to tune the fork suspension yet, except airing them up with the proper air pressures, but there are bump and rebound settings to play with, as well as a convenient pushlock lever on the handlebar so that you can go from soft shocks to 75% stiffer shocks. When racing, I often go from bumpy terrain to smoother grounds, and this comes in handy.
I'm 5'4" @ 145lbs and went with a 13" frame. It fits me perfectly, although the 29" wheels with its 100mm travel makes the handlebars sit a little taller than I'd like, but it's not a big deal. Overall, I feel like I got a lot of bike for my money.
Bike Setup: 2012 Motobecane Fantom 29PRO SL, Panaracer Rampage 2x2.35 kevlar tires, Bontrager Evoke R saddle; for full list of components, go here: http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/fantom29pro_SL_xii.htm
a Cross Country Rider
from San Luis Obispo,CA
Date Reviewed: March 9, 2012
Strengths: Great components for the price, 2012 XTR front and rear derailleur and xtr shifters, rockshox reba rl 100mm fork
Weaknesses: Cheap hubs, cheap avid exlir 7 brakes
I got this bike shipped from bikesdirect.com and it came very quickly, very easy assembly out of the box, I bought the 17.5inch frame and I am 5'11 33inch inseam and the bike fits great, the bike climbs great and is pretty light weight out of the box, I installed a schwalbe racing ralph front tire to replace the small block 8 which shouldn't be used as a front tire. The front hub seems very cheap and has some side to side play in it. The avid brakes are terrible and have no stopping power. The XTR works great and the FSA cranks are comparable in weight to the shimano XT ones. Overall I am very happy with the bike no real complaints especially for the price. 4 chilis due to the crappy brakes and wobbly hub.
Similar Products Used: 2009 Kona Kula, 2011 Stumpjumper FSR Elite, Shimano XTR
Bike Setup: 2012 XT Pedals, ESI racers edge grips, Schwalbe Racing Ralph front tire 29x2.3
a Cross Country Rider
from Mount Holly, NJ
Date Reviewed: June 13, 2011
Strengths: Race level components,best price anywhere,best brakes I've experienced, smooth XT/XTR shifting, easy assembly, bike spec'd for Avid Elixir R but shipped w/ Elixir CR.
Weaknesses: Pedals,grips. Seat is too narrow for me, but it's my wife's bike and she thinks it fine.
Let me start by saying I purchased this bike for my wife. It'll be my turn to upgrade from my trek 820 in 2012. I did adequate due diligence before ordering the Fantom Pro 29er from BikesDirect.com. I read ALL REVIEWS on MTBR as well as other sites. Most of the reviews were favorable. The majority of the unfavorable ones were from people who never rode the bike, but somehow seem offended that the BikeDirect folks have purchased and re-branded the Motobecane name. I wonder if they get as excited about the (BMW) MiniCooper, 86-90 Chevy (Toyota Corolla) Nova. And there's so many, many, many more! In a global economy, branding is just that....branding. Motobecane frames are manufacturered at Kinesis' one of the 3 largest bike manufacturers in the world! Felt, Specialized, Jamis, Trek, GT, Etc. All get their bike designs mass produced at the Kinesis plants in Taiwan and China. Kinesis is known for mass producing large quantity, high quality frames from Carbon to Cro-moly and everything in between. Sort of like Bosch makes car part for companies from Mercedes Benz to Fiat. The company's reputation is totally dependent on mass producing high quality products built to the design standards that the varying bike companies (names)call for. In Motobecane/BikesDirect case, they've seemed to have spec'd from Kinesis a better than average, higher quality, lighter, lower cost, no frills frame that they are confident enough to have Kinesis mass produce and both business stake their reputations and business models upon.
I've seen many like manufactured frames from different bike companies (names) in my LBS.
For the $$$money, this is the bike for me. I'm no bike snob. To me it's about a quality build, a comfortable ride, and durability over time. We'll see about the durability over time part, but no one can question or compare the quality vs cost of the supplied Shimano, Sram, Ritchey and WTB components. I'm no welder, but the frame welds of this bike looks no different than those on my bulletproof Trek 820 that I've owned now since 1997. This 29er is very light compared to the 820, and as you'd expect, it compares to it the way a 2011 Mercedes SLK compares to a 1995 Chevy Impala.
These are great quality, lower cost, comfortable bikes. No different in quality than any other also manufactured at the Kinesis factory. The components are exceptionally priced and combined along with this great quality frame to produce a new and different price paradigm in today's U.S. biking market. I'm looking forward to whatever start-up decides to copy their business model and push the price/quality business model envelope even further. Welcome to free market global economics!!!!!!!
Similar Products Used: Trek/ Gar Fisher, Gaint, Specialized and other 29er hardtail bikes.
Bike Setup: 2011 Shimano DynaSys 2x10 Motobecane Fantom 29PRO SL, RockShox Reba RL WITH REMOTE POPLOC, FSA AfterBurner crank and External MegaEXO BB,Shimano DynaSys XTR rear derailleurs with WTB LaserDisc and Avid Elixir CR Hydraulic Disc Brake system.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: November 18, 2010
Strengths: 30 Speeds. 36 tooth cassette.TopLine Shimano components. FSA cranks and BB - super stiff. Quality aluminum frame (Kinesis?) with beautifully tapered stays. SmallBlock8 tires. Price. RebaFork. Elixir brakes. NO TAX!
Weaknesses: Quick releases, all 3 are plasticky and flexy. Wheels are average. WTB saddle is minimalist but comfy so far on shorter rides.
This bike is as capable as anything I've seen shopping for a new bike this year. Super solid quality frame and components. I expect this bike to last me a long time. I chose a hard tail 29er to simplify things and lighten the rear end, and go over the bumps a little better than a 26". Also, the bike rolls a little better getting to trailhead from my house. The SmallBlock8s reduce resistance on the road. The 2010 model is 20% cheaper, and the only difference is that it has 29 speeds, not 30. My size is sold out though. This is a great all around bike. If I lived in Tahoe or someplace rocky, I'd go dual suspension, but in the bay area I don't need all that. Lightness is preferred.
Similar Products Used: GiantTrance. Ritchey Comp. DiamondBack. Cannondale.
Bike Setup: 30 speeds, XT, XTR, FSA cranks and BB , Elixir brakes, Reba fork. SmallBlock8s. Ritchey bits.
a Cross Country Rider
from Kansas City, MO, USA
Date Reviewed: August 9, 2010
Strengths: Great specs for the price: XT shifters with XTR rear derailleur work flawlessly, Reba SL fork with remote lockout is plush without feeling vague. Elixer CR Hydro brakes are brick-wall strong and easy to modulate. Frame has been super-solid so far and geometry is confidence-inspiring on the trail.
Weaknesses: Cheap Gravity hubs, throwaway pedals, GXP BB is already starting to creak and grind after a few hundred trail miles. Kenda SB8 tires aren't the best choice for anything but hardpack.
I was looking to get a 29er without spending much more than a grand. Similarly-priced LBS bikes were much lower spec components-wise, and I figured I'd end up well-exceeding my budget with replacement-parts...
So, what you get with the Fantom Pro SL is a decent aluminum frame swathed with nearly race-spec components for the same price as most "entry-level" 29ers.
Yes, the design is kind of "vanilla", and isn't the latest and greatest in terms of geometry, but for this price, you could replace the frame with something else and still be ahead of the game.
All in all, if you're looking to try a 29er in this price range and you'd like something a bit more high-performance than a Dart fork with X5 components, I'd recommend the Fantom Pro SL. So long as you don't mind working on your own bike (or paying your LBS to do so), I think it's one of the best values in mountain biking.
Similar Products Used: This is my first 29er, but I've ridden lots of aluminum HT's over the years.
Bike Setup: Stock except for FSA XC-280 handlebars, Deity Decoy pedals, Oury grips, and seatpost QR-delete.
a Cross Country Rider
from Missoula MT
Date Reviewed: July 15, 2010
Strengths: Price, Components, Speed, and Handling
Weaknesses: Rims, Hubs, Cassette, Front Derailer.
Heres a real honest review. and yes there is a catch to this price point.
Current: Motobecane Fantom Pro 29er 19"
Retired: 2007 Kona Blast 18" 26er
The Good - Bike is priced perfect, The components are high quality and far from entry level, it's extremely fast, also very light, climbs with EASE, and it will blaze past unsuspecting road bikers but also fly down easy to hard single track. XT 2way rapid fire shifters are so convenient, one of my favorite features next to the shock lockout switch. Also please note The Small block 8s are phenomenal tires, these things will FLY on hardback/gravel and grip almost any surface PERFECT. But don't mess with mud!
The Bad - This is the catch to the bike. The weaknesses are its Rims, Hubs, and Cassette. The Gravity Hubs are junk, the one in the rear is grinding and its only been 100 miles so far. The rims and spokes are light weight but heavy riders 200lb and over will flex them for sure. The cassette is an Ultegra Road Bike Cassette which has different gearing than a regular mountain cassette, more towards top speed rather than climbing. This choice of cassette makes the shifting far from smooth but provides a heck of top speed.
The Bottom Line - Why would you want to buy this bike? Well for a couple reasons, the first is pricing, if your like me when you want to upgrade or get into the game the right way you don't wanna do it at your local Walmart, you want something high quality for your money, this is that bike. Another reason is price vs durability, this bike is spec'd with great high end parts that can support weight and provide excellent speed and response, so if your a bigger person but don't want some cheap hunk of metal between your legs that might not be strong enough for you then this is the bike to get. Its cheap enough to get you into the game but it gives you the tools to do the job the right way. If you weigh 200lb or more DO NOT blow off my warnings about the hubs and wheel set. Make sure you have money to replace them with more stable and stronger parts asap.
So all in all this is a great bike. If you ride a lot of road and do some trail and single-track riding then trust me when I say this is definitely what you want. Now if your a hardcore downhill mountain biker that wants to really beat this thing up on single track and do wild things with it I suggest looking elsewhere or maybe just buy it for the parts.
In the end a great purchase and a lot of fun to ride.
Similar Products Used: 2007 Kona Blast Hardtail 26in
Bike Setup: Stock
a Cross Country Rider
from Roswell GA
Date Reviewed: June 17, 2010
Strengths: Price, Price and Price. Components are top of the line. Very good geometery on the frame. Felt just like the Niner and Gary Fisher I test rode. I love the Kenda Small Block 8's they now have on the Pro. XTR derailler is the bomb. Lock out on Reba shock is a nice touch too!
Weaknesses: The WTB stock seat was too hard for a hardtail. Switched it out with a high end WTB Laser TI off my FS Ibex Atlas. Took awhile to remember not to sit on my butt over roots and rocks. That is a lesson quickly learned! Coming from a FS to a hardtail has its tradeoffs, but the extra speed and unbelievable handling is well worth it!
Really wanted to jump into the 29er market, but couldn't find an affordable ride. This component set up is the best out there for the $$. Only the Moto Phantom Pro TI is better. This bike climbs better, descends better and corners better than my $2000 FS 26". And I am about 8% faster on my normal trails. My buddies cannot keep up!! HA HA! You cannot go wrong here. If you have very little mechanical ability, take it to the LBS for setup for $60. Still a great deal!
Bike Setup: All stock except for the saddle, which is now the WTB Lazer with Ti rails.
a Weekend Warrior
from Wooster, OH
Date Reviewed: June 7, 2010
Strengths: Great Build Quality, Strong welds, Best Components for the price, lightweight.
This is a great bike and what makes it even better is the fact that it does not cost an arm and a leg. It is lightweight and very durable. I took it to the local bike shop because the owner wanted to see it and he was pretty shocked to see the components that it comes equipped with for the price. He weighed it and weighed a Giant 29er to compare and the moto was just over a pound lighter. I would recommend this bike to anyone. Very pleased.
Similar Products Used: Trek, Motobecane Fantom Comp
a Weekend Warrior
from Scottsdale, AZ
Date Reviewed: May 13, 2010
Strengths: Top line components, great ride, looks great.
Weaknesses: Tires not great in wet trail (not a big issue in AZ).
I love the bike. It's great on trails and road. Shifts,brakes and handles flawlessly, and fast and light for a MTB.
Bikes Direct sent the wrong bike the first time, but made it right by expediting the correct one in time for my birthday weekend. Missing a decent manual and reflectors.
Bike Setup: Local bike shop did it for $50. The manual is terrible -- too generic and applies to many different models and components.
a Cross Country Rider
from SE Texas
Date Reviewed: May 13, 2010
Strengths: responsive, well put together, high level components, easy to assemble, quick delivery, good communication with BD.
Weaknesses: No choice in colors, sizing is difficult to estimate, Doesn't come with much for assembly instructions.
Excellent deal for the price. I was leery of spending money on an internet bike purchase. I was even more leery of spending nearly a grand! I'm very pleased with the bike. I ride about 30 miles/week on easy CC rides. Bike handles very well, and is super easy to maintain. I really like the pop loc on the shcks, the disc brakes, and the drivetrain and shifting are great. I am thoroughly pleased with this bike, and at the price I paid,I'm super impressed. The biggest obstacle is for a novice trying to assemble the bike. There are no real instructions included with the bike. You need a set of good tools (not a multi tool), and knowledge of how it all fits together. I was especially intimidated when first dealing with the disc brakes. It's not hard to do, but had I not taken a serious bike assembly / Maintainence class before this, I'd have been lost. I have also been pleased with BikesDirect. I bent the rear der hanger a couple months back. They shipped the wrong part (priority mail). When I contacted them back (via email), not only did they ship me a new one (again priority mail), they included return shipping for the wrong parts and an extra der hanger. To be frank, I'll probably never buy another bike from my LBS. I'd give it 5 chilis for overall except I haven't riden any other 29ers to honestly compare.
a Weekend Warrior
from Gaithersburg MD
Date Reviewed: April 23, 2010
Strengths: 1. Excellent component ground- Full XT / XTR drivetrain
2. Light - The bike is actualy pretty light. I have the 21in and its under 30 pounds. Thats not super light, but its a huge bike as well.
3. Cost - Bikes with this level of components by Gary or other major branks cost at least twice as much if not more.
4. Front Fork - I am very happy with the front fork, very high quality fork.
Weaknesses: 1. Tires - the tires it comes with are pretty much worthless. There very thin and popped tubes almost every ride.
2. Seat - Again low quality seat plan on replacing
3. Rims - I had to use some steel whool to sand down the valve opening on the rims because it would cut my tubes. anoying but easy to fix.
There are a bunch of small issues with this bike that are somewhat anoying, but as a whole I am heppy with my purchase. The drivetrain is excellent, shifted well out of the box. The XTR rear derailer is amazing. The frame is fine, claims that it uses bad quality welds are not true. Wheels were true.
Overall you can not buy a better bike for the money period. If you go to the local bike shop $1000 will buy you a pretty low end 29er unfortunatly.