After six hundred miles and two crashes, I can say I am thoroughly amazed with this bike. I cannot say enough good things about it. One thing though - sell the Elixirs that come with it and buy Shimano XTs. Other than that, like another reviewer said, BUY THIS BIKE!
a Cross Country Rider
from Terceira Island, Azores
Date Reviewed: February 5, 2012
Strengths: Price, parts, ride quality, suspension travel, XTR shifters, and derailleurs, Avid elixir CR's front and rear. FSA V drive crankset is lighter than an XT, riser bars, and once again the price...
I can't say enough good about this bike. I bought it in 2011, Rode some single track in Florida at the Pensacola trails a few times, did an adventure race with it in Central Florida and off road power line riding in N Florida whenever I could get the chance. The bike chewed up whatever I fed it and just kept going. I now live in the Azores and ride wherever I can here, you are always going up a hill or down one here. Really, it is not flat anywhere. Off road is rocky, muddy, full of cow crap, and did I mention rocky. The bike performs wherever without problems. I notice very little bob when riding up the hills whether on or off road, the lockout on the fork is nice on the long Azorean up hills here and I am not light either at 6-1 210lbs so the suspension has to work. On that note, the suspension if great, fast downhills with no problem. The bike stays planted and soaks up everything. Mine weighs in at 29lbs with new Azonic Fushion pedals so they are not super light. If that is a problem, workout and ride some more. The durability of the Fantom Pro DS is amazing, my wife says nothing is ""Dustin proof" and so far other than the XTR shifter this proven her wrong. I am probably going to buy the Fantom 29FS when they come back in stock just to have one each.
Note: 1. I would probably get a large if your over 6ft. My med is a bit small, but works.
2. I did flip the shock as instructed so it would not get damaged. If you don't get crazy on downhills you probably would not have to do this, but I like the downhills steep and fast.
Similar Products Used: a GT many years ago for downhill, and a lot of road bike time.
Bike Setup: as spec'ed on the BD website
a Cross Country Rider
from Nairobi, Kenya
Date Reviewed: January 13, 2012
Strengths: Amazing AMAZING components. Top of the the line components, and FOR THAT PRICE!!! I really feel bad for anyone who paid for a $4,000 or 5,000 Trek or Specialized or any other known brand and still have an inferior bike! Smooth, light, looks great. Other make of for their inferior bikes by making the bike look fancy, and cheat you on the drivetrain, shocks, brakes, and rims.This bike, what you see is what you get! And what you get, other people pay even $6000 to get!
Weaknesses: ARE you kidding me? For the price? NONE! I got way more than what I paid for it!
Ok. THIS IS THE BIKE TO GET!!!!!!!! Do not spend 4K on a bike. You will be getting cheated...bottom line. I rode some trails in the Bay Area, and just brought it back to Kenya, and guys this bike just works!! I really like the drive train and the shocks. I do not get it when people say the Monarch rear shock is not so good...most people are paying way more money for bikes with much more inferior shocks.
I upgraded my handlebar and got a carbon one, and the front now is soooo light which makes cornering unbelievably fun. I also upgraded my saddle and seatpost....preference and kind of a weight weenie thing...Bought new tires and converted them to ghetto tubeless...I mourn not using the Kenda Small blocks (I think I will frame them) , but this is Africa y'all, and those sidewalls will be shredded by volcanic rocks, thorns that give Stan a run for his money, or some unknown phenomenon that can only be found in Africa.
Take it from me, a Kenyan, riding in Kenya where the terrain tests the best bikes....GET THIS BIKE! If you are a Weekend Warrior, XC rider, and you like nice toys...this is for you!
Favorite Trail: anywhere in san jose, CA, anywhere in Kenya
Duration Product Used: 6 months
Purchased At: bikesdirect.com
Similar Products Used: Gary Fisher, Merida
Bike Setup: XTR carbon shadow rear der, XTR front der, XTR shfiters, Nice FSA Crankset, Avid Elixir brakes, Vuelta XRP superlite pro rims, stock kenda small block tires, Reba Race front shock, Rockshocks Monarch 3.3, GREAT BIKE!
a Cross Country Rider
from Newport RI
Date Reviewed: March 24, 2011
Strengths: Components! XTR shifters, derailers. Reba RLT and Monarch RT3, Avid elixir, FSA cranks Ritchie extras. Pleasantly surprised by XRP SL wheelset..light enough for the price..Frame fits well and is nice looking...may not have any fancy geometry or tubing bends...not sure that is necessary either...simple and strong so far..
Weaknesses: Well, cant really say I can find any..
This review is for the 2011 Fantom DS Pro...I tend to be more of a bargain shopper than a name brand snob when it comes to bikes. I raced an Ironhorse hollowpoint when most people did not know what they were..and loved that bike. I also raced a Scalpel and loved it, but not an all day kind of bike..I think this bike is far superior to my hollowpoint in geometry, components and value and superior to my scalpel in comfort, value and handling. The XTR shifts clean as expected, brakes are a breeze to setup, front shock is easy and comes with POPLOCK. You cannot find a bike at half this price with these specs and quality...This frame has been around awhile now, and there is something to be said for a tested design. I removed it from the box, and it was ready to go in half an hour (granted I am familiar with basics such as aligning brakes etc, adding pedals...). I will re-post in a month or so to update.
Similar Products Used: Ironhorse Hollowpoint, Cannondale Scalpel
Bike Setup: XTR 10 spd, elixir brakes, Reba RLT, Monarch RT3. Ritchie seat, stem, post and FSA aluminum cranks (which weigh nearly the same as the SL-ks).. Vuelta XRP PRO SL disk...these are surprisingly light and strong..time will tell but they look pretty adequate for the price.
a Weekend Warrior
from waterford, MI USA
Date Reviewed: February 18, 2011
Strengths: Incredible Components. Incredible Price. Smooth, Responsive...makes riding fun again. The remote lock-out shocks are something I'll never be without again.
Frame fits well...looks great...and handles lots of abuse...use.
Weaknesses: chain, pedals were replaced right away, tires replaced start of year two but they weren't terrible. Might be a .lb or two heavy, but as I tell my friends...if I need to drop two pounds, I can drop it off my waist.
I ride with several guys who paid twice what I did and aren't set up as nicely. While they all ride great bikes, I still have $$$ in my wallet. They told me not to write a review until I have rode for two years......two years later I still love this bike. Sure, the chain was crap, and I replaced the seat, tires, crank and pedals.
(original seat and pedals were fine, I am used to these others)
The bike actually came with a few components upgraded over what the specs were online....nice surprise.
I am just under 200lbs, and have beat on this frame...it has held up perfectly. As others have said and research show...this frame is built in the same factory as most other high end frames.
I am a 'weekend warrior' who rides hard a few days a week on various types of trails in Southeast Michigan (Hickory Glen: easy, Novi Tree Farm; Intermediate, Highland Rec and Pontiac Lake; Advanced,. and this bike has served them all very well!
a Cross Country Rider
from Casper, WY, USA
Date Reviewed: September 6, 2010
Strengths: PRICE: For the price, you simply cannot beat the components on this bike. The XTR drive train is smooth, quiet, and easy to adjust. Avid Elixir brakes (website now lists juicies) are just awesome! The reach and contact adjustments enable you to dial in just the right brake feel. The brake levers are nice and wide and feel solid when braking with one finger. Rockshox Reba is nice. My last fork was a Fox Float RLC 100 and I got tired of rebuilding it and replacing the seals. Hopefully this will not be a problem with the RockShox. The only place where Bikes Direct maybe skimped is the rear shock. I get a fair amount of bob when pedaling on the Monarch. Perhaps with a bit more tweaking, I can dial in more of a stable platform. No big deal though, I can replace the rear shock in the future.
Weight: Bikes direct says this bike is 28-29 pounds. I have not had my Fantom DS on a scale yet, but I will say that it rides more like a 26 lb bike. The light wheels and tires make it very responsive to acceleration and give it a feather-like feel when pedaling. Time will tell how the wheels hold up to my aggressive riding style, though.
Weaknesses: FIT: I am 6 foot and have the 18.5 frame. The frame is quite tall on me and also feels short in the cockpit. This is not suprising given that I am short in the legs and long in the torso. My previous bike was a 19 inch Klien Palomino (which was a lemon by the way)and it fit me well. Fit is certainly a risk when buying a bike on the internet, so be aware.
I am not a spy for Bikes Direct. I have been MTBing for 15 years. I have only ridden this bike for about a month, but I really like it. My biggest complaint with the bike is the way it fits me, which more my fault than the bike's. That said, the bike was very comfortable and enjoyable to pedal right out of the box. It feels nice and light, making it a great affordable ride for enduro rides/races, but time will tell how it holds up to my style of aggressive trail riding.
Who should buy it: Xcountry riders and racers seeking a awesome spec on a budget.
Who should pass: Those wanting to huck 4+ drops.
Bike Setup: Stock from Bikes Direct-working well right now. Using the 5 inch set-up the suspention feels good through the rough stuff, but it also feels very high in the corners. I will try the 4 inch setting again to see how the lower center of gravity feels when cornering.
a Weekend Warrior
from NY, NY, USA
Date Reviewed: November 24, 2009
Strengths: Great Bike and the Company was very cool...must have run out of juicy 7 and upgraded to Elixir Brakes. The bike come with very good components. XTR Rear and Front...Good wheels and frame geometry I now like: better for climbing I find.Rock Shock's are solid and the lock out is important. Richie headset was a little low at first but feels better now.
Weaknesses: The cassette needs replacing, and so do the chain and pedals. Won't cost much. I upgraded to XTR (Chain and Cassette - Maybe not needed but that is what they had)
For the money you can not beat it. Had to write this just to thank them for such a "sick" bike.
Bike Setup: Mostly XTR now and Elixir Breaks...Richie head set. Reba and Monarch 3.3 Shocks
a Cross Country Rider
from Jacksonville, FL
Date Reviewed: October 20, 2009
Strengths: The component set is outrageously good. Nice geometry. Reasonable weight at 29 lbs.
Weaknesses: suspension does not isolate the drivetrain enough for me - therefore I usually use the midgate on the rear shock to eliminate pedal bob.
This bike is unmatched due to the components. The XTR drivetrain, Vuelta XRP pro wheelset, and shocks creates an incredible ride. The frame is adjustable from 3" to 5" - giving you a lot of flexibility. The Rockshock Monarch 3.3 and Reba Race with pop-lock overcomes any bobbing with my riding style. I love the way it fits and handles. It's a blast. Craig at Bikesdirect - St John's Towncenter, Jax, FL has been great with setting up the bike. His knowledge of riding, racing, and the local trails has helped to make the whole experience a delight. The Gary Fisher Hi-Fi came closest to matching the feel of the Fantom - but could not compete on components and price. If you're looking for best deal over prestige then this bike is unmatched.
Similar Products Used: Trek zx7000, Gary Fisher HKEK, Softride. Demoed Trek Fuel Ex8, Trance 2, Gary Fisher Hifi, Specialized Epic, Santa Cruz Superlight
Bike Setup: 09 Fantom DS Pro stock
a Cross Country Rider
from Conway, AR
Date Reviewed: September 11, 2009
Strengths: Climbs well and descends like a dream. I really like the ability to lock out the fork and rear when climbing. I find that this helps a lot and like the ability to tune when the lock blows off when activated by a bigger bump. The value of these bikes are phenomenal.
Weaknesses: This bike didn't come with a fork pump. I am not sure if the new ones from bikesdirect do or not but it seems that if you buy a bike with an air fork and an air shock that NEEDS tuned to the rider to perform right then it should come with the pump to allow you to do so. I also would have liked to have seen a quick release seat collar on the bike from the start but that isn't a big deal.
This bike is phenomenal, especially for the price that I have into it. I have $1700 into a bike that would cost at least $3000-$4000 in a bike shop. The Fantom frame isn't a world class climber or a world class descender. This is a plus in my eyes. Frames that are perfect climbers don't do well on the downs and perfect descenders don't usually do well on climbs. The fantom seems to be a nice median between climbing and descending with a slight edge towards descending. I love hammering the downhill technical parts and this frame just soaks it all up.
This bike wouldn't need any upgrades from the factory except grips, pedals, and maybe a saddle. I like that BD didn't put a high end saddle or pedals on it because saddles are a personal item just like pedals. They did well to leave these parts up to the buyers. You aren't going to get the flashiness of a boutique company frame but biking isn't about looking cool. If "looking the part" is your primary concern become a politician or model. If riding is what you are after then this bike has a TON to offer you at an extremely competitive price.
This is my second bike from BD and I will most certainly be ordering at least 2 more. I want a Fly Team 29er and a LeChampion Ti as well.
This bike is a blast to ride and will be in my stable for a very long time.
Bike Setup: White Fantom Pro DS Frame, Ritchey WCS white riser bar, Thomson X4 stem, RaceFace Deus cranks, XTR pedals/shifters/derailleurs/cassette/chain, Juicy 7 brakes, Reba Race fork with poplock, Monarch 3.3 shock, Crank Brothers Joplin adjustable seatpost, Selle Italia Max Flite Gel Flow Saddle (white), Lizard Skins Peaty Lock on grips, Vuelta XRP Pro wheels, Panaracer Fire XC Pro tires (166 tpi versions with red sidewall), and Nokon cables
a Cross Country Rider
from South Jordan, UT
Date Reviewed: May 27, 2009
Strengths: This bike comes with great components. If not for the components I would not have looked at it. The brakes are amazing and the shocks are excellent. Great rebound and excellent feel. I too researched this bike for months and compared it to many other models. I took the gamble and have had great success. You should have no reservations about buying this bike. It climbs great. I did put a new chain on and had to tweek things here and there but otherwise no problems. I did put on new pedals and a new seat post for better adjustment. I have loged over 100 hard miles on this bike and it has not cracked or bent. The rides include Gooseberry Mesa, Slick Rock, Soverign Trail, Fuita, Kokapeli, 18 Rd, Clarks Canyon, Yellow fork just to name a few. nothing but good things to say. I had a Specialized FSR before and this out does it hands down. I cant tell much of a difference from the bikes my friends ride and they include a titus, gary fisher, giant and specialized. I have had less break downs than them and can climb just about as well, probably due to not enough Legs :) If you are considering this bike, GET IT. You will not be dissapointed.
Weaknesses: on the lower trailing arm below the chain, it will chip if you take fast bumpy decents. Put a wrap on this. Tires do not do so well with muddy conditions otherwise great for packed or slick rock. Get new clips right away, I recomend shimano or crankbros. The Lockout mechanism will get sticky from dust and debris, so make sure you keep this part clean.
If you want a good quality XC bike without spending 2800+ from Trek or Specialized then get this bike. I will admit I am considering buying the Santa Cruz Blur LT frame in another 100-200 miles. I will swap the components that this bike came with that alone are worth the price of the bike itself. Take note if in doubt as to which size frame to order take my advice. I ordered the medium size frame or 18.5 inch. I am 6' and about 175lbs. This is just a little too small for me. I should have gotten the Large frame. So take this as you will but thats my only regret.
Bike Setup: new seat post, shimano clipless, sram pc-971 chain. the rest is stock
a Weekend Warrior
from Culver City,Ca,USA
Date Reviewed: March 16, 2009
Strengths: this is a 2009 version.
has great components to start with Wheels are as light as can be, XTR shifters are a dream,Avid juicy 7 Hydraulic Breaks are Great. shocks work great once i set them up with correct pressure the tires stick to the road.
Weaknesses: i need a kickstand for the square chain stay hard to find will have to probably modify one. For my electric bike use i need to upgrade the chainrings to 50/38/26 with a chain guard.
This was a great bike before the electric and perfect for me now with the electric conversion.
Still some tinkering and tweaking to do but it has been a blast converting this bike.
I have been working on and using the bike almost every day have about 150 miles on it so far.
A great value with all the high end parts. Just the rims and front fork is worth more than i paid for the bike.
Bike Setup: I have converted this bike into an Electric Bike with 500 watt Ezee Rear hub motor with disc brake and 9 speed 11t-32t freewheel (works perfect on the shifting) and 48 volt 10.5ah lithium 7lb battery (i get about 15 miles at 23 mph on a charge),Front Old man Mountain Sherpa rack with trunk bag for battery.Rear Old Man Mountain Red Rock Rack (fabricated brackets to fit where i wanted it to seat stay and rim brake mounts) with Arkel Utility Basket Panniers and trunk bag (battery may be used in front,rear or both trunks) with two batteries i should get up to 40 miles on a charge. ebikes.ca Cycle Analyst electric bike computer. ebikes.ca front and rear 48 volt led lights.Installed Big Apple Schwalbe 26x2.35 tires and tubes.
a Weekend Warrior
from Richmond, VA
Date Reviewed: December 3, 2008
Strengths: I have only ridden it 3 times, but they have been hard rides, and the bike has responded very well. It is also lighter than I expected. Climbs better than any other bike I have owned. The XTR setup shifts like butter, the Avid 7's have broken in nicely. All around, I think it would be nearly impossible to find a better bike for the price.
Weaknesses: You have to know your size and trust that it is correct. Also, I love the tires that come stock, but they are not the best on really tough uphills, as they are low profile and more for speed.
This review is for the 2009 version. This is an incredible bike for the money. The components alone are worth more at full retail than I paid for the whole bike. The service was fine from bikesdirect (I had none of the issues that you read about). I ordered the bike and it arrived about 4 days later. Assembly took me aobut an hour (and I am no mechanic, for sure.) Friends that I ride with are very impressed. Sure, you could get a "better, lihgter" bike, but you would need to pay at least double or more what I paid. If you want a solid, well equipped, good all around mtb that you won't be embarrassed riding, AND, you want to save a boatload of cash, then I would consider this or IBEX (which I have also had and loved, it just got stolen!).
Bike Setup: stock exept for pedals. I put crank bros candies on.
a Cross Country Rider
from Highlands Ranch, CO
Date Reviewed: February 29, 2008
Strengths: I just recently got this bike, the 2008 model to be precise. I have to admit that I was really worried about buying from bikesdirect, no thanks to the multitude of bad rep the site received. Part of the issue may have been the fact that the site looks fairly generic, not really professionally built. In any case, I have been tuning the bike and putting some rough miles on it, and it has been very good so far. It is very well equipped, overall. There are a few things that I do dislike, and will describe in more details in the weaknesses section. The frame is actually very good, and very stiff. It feels on the heavy side, but it is not much heavier than other bikes in its group. XTR gear is sweet, and I mean it. Shifting is like butter, after you tune the gears a bit. Breaking is great, and while I would have preferred a larger disc in the front Juicy 7's are very smooth and perform well. However, after my first few rough rides, I will likely replace this disc with a 185mm or even a 203mm. My biggest concern was this bike's geometry. And you know what, it is good. It is not the best climber in the world, I have to admit, but it is not sluggish either. The cranks that come with the bike are crap, not sure why they even include them. I'd rather see that cost rolled up into another upgrade on the bike. Overall, I am quite happy, and would buy this bike again. In fact, I probably will for my wife. Equipment is well matched, overall, there are some ifs, which you will see below. I would say for this money, it is hard to find another bike equipped so well.
Weaknesses: While the bike is really nicely equipped, some things seem dubious to me. For example, the hubs on this bike are crap, really. The wheels are fine, but crap hubs. Odd. I would make this bike 100 bucks more and install LX or XT hubs, far better, and they do not cost that much more... Ritchey components are OK, but on a bike that seems to be an All Mountain ride with 5in. of travel, handlebar should really have an over-sized mount for the stem. I am replacing mine with a Truvativ XR or Team. Both are far superior. Pedals are crap, and should not be seen with this bike. You will not use them. Not sure why they are even included. Skewers are also crappy, but these small parts are easy and relatively cheap to replace.
Overall, I am very happy with this machine. I can complain about small inadequacies for ever, but I could say the same thing about almost any bike that I did not build myself. Nobody can please everyone and still produce a great bargain. This bike is a bargain, and unlike a Kia, this bargain has great equipment. I would say that this bike is superior to many major brands in this price range and as much as 800 bucks above this bike's price. Granted, you are buying online, so you hope that you will get decent service, but don't know. Like I said, I was hesitant before, because of a lot of negative commentary, but I am very pleased, and want to thank Bikesdirect. I really think that we need to press publications such as Bicycling Magazine to finally review some of the models, and put a lot of the negativity to rest. I would give this bike all fives, if it was not for the few components that do not belong on this bike, such as the hubs I mentioned earlier. Hope this review will empower others to buy this machine, and share their reviews.
a Cross Country Rider
from Simi Valley, CA
Date Reviewed: October 23, 2007
Strengths: Unimaginable specs list of goodies!!!! The remote lockout, although gimicky, works well for multi-purpose riding. The initial set-up was easy for a riding neophyte like myself. Front and rear shocks work very well on the meanest of surfaces.
Weaknesses: The frame is on the heavy end (32lbs.) and the brakes need a fine hand to tune. Jesus bolt came looses during a 20 mile intense ride, but that could have been user error.
I am pleased to be the first review for this bike.
I spent countless hours researching ev ery bike within the $1000 - $3000 price range. Ellsworth, Ibex, Gary Fisher, Trek, Motobecane, Cannondale, etc. I test rode dozens on several different trails (Trek EX 9.5 is gods gift to bikes at $6500, ouch) Even after the ride that ruined me for all other bikes, damn you Trek, I still happily chose the Motobecane.
The absolute bottom line is that when I finally chose the Motobecane Pro and showed up at my riding group they could not keep they're hands off of it. Everyone was very impressed with the ride, brakes, shox, and asthetics. I mirror they're sentiment. I love this bike and the gamble on an online bike has paid off.
I have only put 30 miles on it, but they were a very HARD 30. The Jury is still out on customer service and product life. I will follow up.
P.S. Suspension/brakes allow for any setup you want. Good products.