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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been looking at a Motobecane Fantom Trail
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/fantom_trail08.htm

Comparatively to other bikes in the price range, I see it as a killer deal given the components alone! However, I've been hearing some mixed reviews on the suspension: the Rock Sox Dart 3 (leaking oil, lock-out not working, best suspension ever, etc.)

I'd mostly be commuting to and from school, but I need the MTB for the Minnesota Winter (and all the fun stuff like shortcuts, trying to get more into actual mountain biking) so roadies are out.

This is where you guys come in:
What have your experiences with it been? Any helpful ideas? If I were to sell it, I'd like to stay in relatively the same price range.

Thanks!
-Eric
 

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If that is your price range, then that is a pretty good deal as far as what you get for your money. People will debate about buying from a bike shop and all that. I don't want to get into that, but if your just looking to get into MTBing and commuting around town, then that fork will work just fine. And like you said, the components are usually found on more expensive bikes. You could also take a look at Ibex bikes if your looking to buy online.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's good to hear. I've considered the debate as well, but with as much as I visit my LBS, I see it as being pretty fair to everyone in the end. Thanks for the rec.!

I guess my only real concern, lies in any big failures with the form. Have you heard/seen any major issues similar to those I described?
 

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The only thing I would mention is that a 120mm fork is not exactly ideal for commuting. It does come with a lockout though, so you can always fall back on that. Plus, most MTBs these days come with at least a 100mm fork anyway, so it's unlikely you'll find another new bike in that price range with a comparable quality 80mm fork (which would be better for commuting).
As far as the quality of the fork, you're probably not going to find much better in that price range, so I wouldn't worry about that. And just about every fork has mixed reviews like that.
 

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Since Ibex has been mentioned, if this would fit you: 16'' frame Alpine 650 (2008) http://www.ibexbikes.com/Bikes/ALP-650-Details.html
The 2009 Alpines haven't been posted yet. I bought a 2008 Alpine 450 with the Dart 1. The Alpine frame looks more sturdy than the Motobecane.

I'd want a lock-out for commuting and (as already mentioned) I don't think I'd want more than 100mm travel. You're not going to get a good fork at this price range. The Dart 3 is likely as good as you can do. It can be taken apart and different spacers installed for 100mm or 80mm. This will change the geometry, making a quicker responding bike. I think the Motobecane has the tall fork purely for marketing reasons. Looking at the chainstays, most hardtails have a drop from the rear axle to the bottom bracket.
 

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Anecdote: I have just over 1000 commuting miles on a 100mm Dart 3 (Cannondale F5). About half those miles ridden with fork locked, half unlocked. Roads are pretty torn up in a few spots and I've unintentionally hit some nasty potholes. No leaks, no problems, lockout still works fine. Lately I've been riding with the fork unlocked as I like the comfort and the effort is not all that much greater. Now that I've posted this, the fork will probably explode on the next ride. But so far, its been good!
 

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I got the Dart 2 @ 80mm with lockout on my K2. I ride very rooty trails with some small drop offs and have had 0 problems. Lockout works great when I hit the rode.:thumbsup:
 
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