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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I recently bought a Motobecane Fantom pro because it was the only way I could get the frame in my size, the team xt versions sell out pretty quickly. I just wanted to critique what I did and what I learned from the experience.

First a lot of people knock these frames but they are actually pretty awesome. Titainium is titainium and this is 3 al 2.5 v , 3 percent Aluminum and 2.5 percent vanadium- that's the formula for a great ride.
Why are they cheap?

1 . Because all the components of the frame are massed produced before they are robot welded.
2. They understand lean manufacturing and eliminate any waste in the manufacturing process.
3. Since they use these methods, and that cuts cost dramatically, the frame work is very consistent and well done.
4. It's the same system Sieko manufactures watches by and how Toyota builds cars.

The engineering and design in this system really determines the product performance.

That being said I found I had to replace most of the parts to get a ride that was so good.

SRAM elixer 5 brakes removed, SRAM X9 front and rear "10 speed" derialeurs gone, FSA comet crankset outta there. WTB tires-later. Ritchey stem gone, Ritchey streem saddle (like sitting on a board) Bye Bye.SRAM PG-1050 cassette- hasta luego baby....

Here's how it ended up;

Brakes- SLX with XT ice tech rotors
Rear Deraileur-(XTR M951 rapid rise) didn't work well in the dirt switched to new XT long cage
Front Deraileur-XTR M952 mega 9
Crankset Deore XT- 40/28 for 20 speed
Shifters -kept SRAM and replaced front with 2 pos for 20spd-ebay -3/21 - after I changed to a XT dynasys rear D I found the SRAM shifters weren't compatible so the XT dynasys shifters are in the mail........there's nothing else to change now.
Saddle- Selle San Marco Concor Carbon-ebay used
Chain- replaced KMC 10spd SL (with holes in links) with KMC 10 speed
*I have broken 3 8 speed chains over the last 20 years and when you break one it usually hurts pretty good.
Tires- Maxxis Ignitors 29X 2.1 folding
Stem Race Face 70mm evolve
Grips- race face good n' evil
Cassette- XT 10 speed


Down the road I'll put on some Easton Carbon handlebars when my piggy bank recovers.

A couple last notes;

The deraileur hangers are made by melting pop cans over a campfire so you should carry a spare. Good deraileur hangers are produced on a CNC mill
using the "hat" method and using 6061 T6 aluminum. The ones in question are made in a mold so all they have to do is tap them, the molding process is well underpressured and the result is a brittle porous product. They can make these for 2 bucks and charge you $20. Then they come up with some hype that is nonsense to sell it to you.

I'm sorry, no I take that back, I'm not sorry , my frame of reference is the quality that is possible. When I started riding bikes back in the 70's , when quality was something to be proud of and the bikes like my Campy record/ Regina equipped Masi Gran Turismo or my Bob Jackson track bike were a work of art worthy of museum placement.

I always use tires now that have a close outer tread pattern like the Maxxis because tire like those WTB's can get a rock in between the tread and when you are on a banked turn it acts like a marble and you're going down. I learned this by loosing a Molar and had oral surgery.

This thing is so sweet now if it had a twat, I'd be sleeping with it...;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Oh yeah a couple after thoughts;

The Vuelta rear hub looked pretty straightforward but the 15mm axle front has 4 pieces that will fall out if you need to fix a flat on the trail. They have two seals on each side and you only need one. I put 3 small drops of super glue on the outer and quickly pressed it back in, now they stay together and can easily be disassembled with a drift from the other side.

The spoke protector taken off when I decided to send the SRAM cassette packing and I will post a pic or two of the end result as soon as my XT cassette arrives in a few days.

I named her "Aceso" , the Greek goddess of healing, because this bike is going to heal my soul...............;)

There is an apple pie coming out of the oven right now so-later...........
 

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Big Test Icycles
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I too picked up a Fantom Pro this year. I am very happy with the frame and surprised with the wheels. I was expecting to have issues right out of the box. I have had SRAM X9 in the past and it was flawless but this new Type 2 rear der is not up to par. I am planning on some Chris King parts, BB and HS as I replace stuff. Great frame quality and it rides great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Hi Hangtime;
When I was wondering how to fix the front wheel seal issue I noticed the Vuelta wheels were equipped with NSK bearings so that gave me a boost of confidence.

NSK is committed to the highest quality ball bearings, linear components l NSK l | NSK

They have a long standing record of a high quality product.

My XT cassette gets here on Tuesday so I'll put up a pic then.

Coming from a design background I can tell you that SRAM really cuts costs in their manufacturing process . That's going to end up cutting their own throats in the long run as people aren't dumb and it only takes a few years of this kind of marketing strategy to ruin a reputation permanently. If you look at the Disc rotors for example, they are die stamped out of a single piece of 4000 series steel , heat treated to about 55 Rc and then ground to their flatness tolerance. The only investment in tooling there is the die to stamp them. Looking at Shimano's Ice tech rotors they need a die to stamp the disc section , a die for the center section and an assembly die to rivet it together. The ice tech rotors come out really nice and sturdy this way at the center where the thicker steel center controls vibration. There is more of an investment in the manufacturing of the rotors by Shimano than SRAM is putting in but Shimano preserves their reputation and delivers a nice product. SRAM's profit margin is higher for their rotors but they are getting bad reviews.
After messing around with the Elixer 5 brakes that came with the bike and then was shaking my head in disbelief I called SRAM and pointed out some of the flaws. Apparently they are used to this and had no problem sending me a new set of elixer 9's, probllem is they use the same rotors. I ended up selling both sets on ebay and got about $250 which offset a lot of the $350 I spent on the very nice Shimano ones.
No I don't work for Shimano I just hate this kind of marketing strategy that SRAM is using. The CEO doesn't have any real vision and is probably a bean counter.

Still the frames are great and fortunately parts can be replaced.

enjoy the ride!
 

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Big Test Icycles
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Funny you mentioned the brakes. I have XT ice on another bike and these Elixer 5 suck. I have about 100 miles on them and am already feeling them loosing strength. I'll try a bleed but they were much stronger when new. What issues were you having. My X9 rear der won't shift out of the 36 without a double tap on the shifter. It's as if the spring is not strong enough. My XT shadow + is much better and ill probably switch the SRAM out if I can't get the x9 to work better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My biggest issue was that they weren't holding true they would adjust back, that was the start then I started giving them a good look over. Bike shops tweak rotors into true using a 12" crescent and that works fine . I would have them running true within about .007" in setup , I used a dial indicator which makes the truing easier for an old timer like me who wears glasses. After I started back on them the next morning they self adjusted back to about .012" run out. This is because the center is just too flimsy and they weren't properly stress relieved when they made em. The actual bend on the Ice Tech's is at a larger diameter because that center section doesn't bend. The only way I saw to get rid of that head ache was to trash them.
The last thing you want is trouble out on the trail.
I live on the west side of Denver and ride some rugged terrain , I'm thinking about taking the rig up to Winter Park to do the "King of the Rockies" race too. It would be embarassing, like showing up on a bike I got at Walmart.

The SLX brakes have some pretty good response in the lever feel to caliper action and that probably has to do with the surface finishes in the piston/bore sections. For something like that a No. 8 finish or better should be used. Who knows what kind of sandpaper job SRAM put in there. The better the finish -the longer it will last.

You can save on aspirin if you just move on..................
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Fantom Pro redo

Here are pics of the final product that I'll ride for a month or two before i make any more adjustments. The XTR mega 9 Front D clears the chain stay by a 3/8" when adjusted for the 40 tooth big front sprocket and it shifts really nice.
I had some shifting problems in mid range and switched to XT rear D an shifters.

The sifters arrive today so will post new pics then
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Well I finally got out to do a dirt ride today and the M951 was missing shifts in mid range so I've got a long cage XT coming in the mail. Otherwise everything was fine.

I recieved the new xt dyna sys rear D today and realized the dyna sys isn't compatible with the SRAM shifters. I should have checked that before online.I''ve used 8 speed SRAM and Shimano together before and it was fine.

That's ok I ordered the dyna sis xt shifters which I was already thinking of doing down the road. ..............

I got a bit ahead of myself but it's going to be a really nice Ti 29er coming in right around 3k.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
final version

Well i seemingly replaced everything on the bike except the spokes.

What is weird is they don't offer any models with a shimano crankset or brakes. Even the one that comes with xtr deraileurs still is equiped with the junky X-9 brakes and an FSA crankset. The mega exo bottom bracket don't last very long from the reviews I read. The end rsult shifts surprisingly precise, I expected it to be a bit more finicky being a 10 speed rear.

DSCN0759.JPG

DSCN0757.JPG

The current shimano XT lineup is really nice and rivals the quality of some of the earlier XTR components.

I'm really inspired by this bike now especially since you can't buy one outfitted like this outa the box. I had it on dirt today for 11 miles and it served me well.

like I said before, If it had a twat I'd be sleeping with it....;)
 
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