I'm reviewing the 2013 model and want to update the specs. Fork is upgraded to the Rockshox Reba RL with remote lockout (sweet!). The brakes are Avid ELIXIR 5 with 180mm Avid HS1 rotors (double sweet!). The shifters are Shimano XT DynaSYS with trigger shift, the front derailleur is Shimano XT while the rear is Shimano XTR and the cassette is Shimano DynaSYS SLX 11-36t 10Speed for a total of 30 gear combos (triple sweet!).
I can't say enough good things about this bike. You can get it at Bikes Direct for $1300, no shipping or sales tax. At this price point you will be challenged to find another bike with these components. But the frame is nothing to complain about either. I'm 6'4" so went with the 21" frame and find the geometry very comfortable. I won't go into how awesome I think the 29er hardtail design is, since you can read about that elsewhere. But Motobecane has a winning combo in this bike that blows away anything I have ever ridden previously.
The only thing I can fault on this bike are the pedals which are pretty basic and will be my first upgrade. Next will be the tires, only because I want to go tubeless and get some more knobby treads. But, come on, these are the easiest and cheapest part of a bike to upgrade so I'm not really complaining.
I hit mostly single tracks in southern New Mexico which are a mix of dirt, sand, rock and sometimes full out slick rock. This thing takes it all without breaking a sweat. I've bombed down rocky trails at speeds I would never have considered on other bikes and know the only limitation is my own confidence. I haven't come close to pushing this bike to it's limits yet. If you want a serious MTB, and think $1300 is just outside of your budget, find a way to make it work. You will not be disappointed!
I have had my Fantom 29Pro for 10 months now and I feel I can give a review of my experience so far.
This bike is awesome! I came back to mountain biking after a 10 year hiatus. Since I wasn't sure if I would like doing it, I wanted to get a nice bike at a decent price. The Motobecane fits the bill.
After unpacking the bike and getting it assembled, I realized that the brakes were squishy and the MC for the front brake had leaked and eaten away at the finish on the lever. After I brought this to BikesDirect attention, I had a new set of Elixer 3's in a couple days and I shipped the Juicy's back to BD.
So far I've got close to 600 miles on the bike and it's performing great! I'm not the smoothest or fluid rider out there, I tend to bash my way through things. I have lengthened the Tora fork to 100mm and really like the feel with the extra 20mm of travel.
I did replace the stock stem, handle bars, pedals and seatpost. Everything else has remained stock and will stay that way until it wears out and needs replacing.
As a gamble for getting back into the sport and trying out the 29" wheels, I don't think this bike can be beaten. It's not the latests or greatest, but will put a smile on your face when out on the trail. I never imagined I would enjoy mountain biking this much and I think having a nicer bike this time around has made the difference.
Weaknesses: No name stem, short/narrow riser bars, generic basic pedals
This is a great bike at an awesome price. Buying online means doing your own wrenching and set up, but it's not difficult and there are plenty of ways to get any additional info you need to get squared away. Only tools needed to get bike set up were hex wrench set, T25 torx driver, shock pump, some lube, and a work stand. Front brake and rotor had to be installed, as well as rear derailleur, stem, and bars. Basic assembly took less than 25 min, and set up/tune another 30 min after that. Some won't be happy with the included riser bar since it's rather narrow (610mm), and the included pedals are just good enough to get started. The aluminum frame is light and well made, and should allow a much larger wheel besides the 2.1" tires. The Avid Elixir 3 brakes came pr-bleed and only needed centering.
Bottom line is if you have a decent idea of your frame size and have basic mechanical skills then this bike will be a good choice and will serve you well, while keeping plenty of cash in your pocket for all the other goodies you'll need to rip up the trails. If you're a brand snob or don't like doing your own wrenching you'll want to pass on this bike.
a Cross Country Rider
from Ogden UT USA
Date Reviewed: October 6, 2011
Strengths: Great components for the money.
Weaknesses: Frame design Is so horrible that none of the high end components work properly on any of their bikes. Every time one comes in to have work done on it the bike has a major problem with no solution. On top of that motobecane is impossible to contact. I would avoid their bikes at all costs unless you enjoy wasting money.
I would avoid their bikes at all costs unless you enjoy wasting money.
Weaknesses: Rear caliper was grabbing disc too low until I added a couple washers.
Can't touch this for the money. Frame is made in Taiwan like all the best aluminum frames. Except for a cheap seat post clamp this bike is ready to rock strait out of the box. I figured I would want upgrade the frame but I love the ride. Very responsive action on the pedals and a little slow on the steering but overall a nice mix.
Similar Products Used: On-One CrMo SS Imbred 29er, Fisher SS Alu Rig
Bike Setup: Stock XT Dynasys, Reba RL, WTB Trail 29 w/ Small Block 8s. Changed Stem, Post, Clamp to Thomson and Bars to Easton Carbon.
a Cross Country Rider
from Mobile, AL, USA
Date Reviewed: June 14, 2011
Strengths: Component level for the price is amazing.
Weaknesses: The Kenda Small Block 8's can be annoying at times due to their slick nature, you get use to it and compensate during your riding accordingly. The stock pedals, headset and grips were cheap and were replaced by me immediately.
Bike Setup: Bike was 90% assembled. Assembled the rest myself.
a Weekend Warrior
from san Juan Capistrano, CA
Date Reviewed: February 24, 2011
Strengths: Strengths: Weight, components, Price, shocks, ride. I was expecting a crappy frame, but it turned out to have similar build quality to my Yeti DJ, and rides just brilliantly, light and surprisingly agile, with similar frame flex and rebound. I also like the self-assembly, I am hands on, I love tinkering and this completely pressed my buttons.
Weaknesses: the head set is the weak spot (a bit cheap to be honest), expect to change this if you are a serious off-roader. its fine for weekend warriors and commuting purposes.
Quite amazing value for money. Great bike for great money. Some self assembly required, headset could do with beefing up if you intend to thrash it.
With the bottom line I would have to ask myself "would I buy this again with what I know now?". The answer is a resounding "Yes".