Saturday, February 16, 2008

I bought the Motobecane Fatom 29

Today I decided to buy the Motobecane Fantom 29.

Let me tell you how got there. I started riding a road bike 3 to 4 times a week starting in June 2007 for fitness. I completed 1001 miles in 2007. I bought a 2006 Raleigh Grand Prix for $700 at Shirk's Bike Shop in East Earl, PA. I am very pleased with the bike and continue to ride it.

This winter in order to get more variety in my fitness rides I started mountain bike riding on an old non suspension Mongoose Pro. The bike is too small for me as it was my son's when he was about 12 years old. I started riding at Marsh Creek State Park and loved it!. The rides are great workouts and I don't need to worry about slippery roads when I ride my road bike.

At first I thought I wanted a full suspension bike and was looking at the IBEX Ignition 3 because of its affordability at $799. Then I started reading about 29ers at The 29er forum at mtbr has a wealth of information. Ibex's also had a 29er at $899.

I had also been looking at the Motobecane Fantom 29 and it was a reasonable $595 for the 29er.

I decided to go to Shirk's and test a full suspension and a 29er. My plan was to pick the one liked the best and buy it there assuming it was just $100 or so more than I saw online. I test road a full suspension Raleigh and a Raleigh 29er. I liked the feel of the 29er better. It felt more stable and like the idea of the big wheels to roll over obstacles on the trail. I also thought the hard tail and wheel size would be good for taking long trail rides like on the C&O trail. You can ride this trail 337 miles from DC to Pittsburgh.

Anyway, the Raleigh 29er discounted was $1092 plus $65.55 sales tax. At that point I decided it was crazy to spend over $1000 for a bike primarily for fitness.

So I decided to order the Motobecane Fantom 29 at $595 no sales tax no shipping charge.

I ordered the 17 inch frame My actual inseam measurement is 33.75 inches. The 17" frame would give me about 2" clearance while the 19" frame would only give me about 1". The top tube length is only 0.4" difference and is about the Raleigh 29er was riding at Shirk's.

By the way don't expect much help from bikesdirect on sizing even though they tell you to email them with sizing questions. The following is an email exchange had with them when I was researching the Fantom 29:

My email 02/11/2008 at 11:03 PM

I am interested in purchasing a 2008 Motobecane Fantom 29 but am not sure what size to order. I am 6' 0" 170 lbs with a 33.75" actual leg inseam.

Bikesdirect response 02/12/2008 3:14 PM

sizing is personal preference so i cant tell you what size to buy but i can give you some tips.

most riders your height fit 17 to 19" bikes.please check out the geometry sizing chart and compare to bikes you have sure you have enough room when you hop off the bike.

smaller bikes will give you lower handle bars and more aggressive handling.larger bikes will give you higher handle bars and less straddle room.

the final choice is up to you




Anonymous said...

you said"At that point I decided it was crazy to spend over $1000 for a bike primarily for fitness."
I think its crazy to be so cheap. well, that difference of $400 spread over even just 1 year aint much. and that bike could last 10 years.
or, at 20cents a mile, you could drive 2000 miles.

Mike said...

When making a purchase on anything I try to assess the value-- i.e. whether it is worth it or not. It is a judgement call.

I did mentally compare it to my Raleigh Grand Prix road bike purchase. I paid $700 it is Tiagra/105 equipped and again I use it for fitness. I have had no problems with it and now have 1400 miles on it in 1 year.

I thought the Fantom 29 would give me similiar value.


JL said...

I laughed when I read this report of bikesdirect and their sizing advice. I just sent a lengthy email query asking about sizing and even included a chart I'd made up! That chart can be found here:

I'm interested in the Fantom 29Pro SL, and I'm having a hard time deciding between the 17" and the 19" frames. My first mountain bike was/is a Marin 26" bike, and I'm riding a 20.5" frame with only about an inch of standover clearance. I went with this size because I got more top tube length and thus more knee clearance (in relation to the bars).

My "riding inseam" (book and shoes method) is 33.5", and so I'm thinking that the 17" Motobecane frame is the one for me. I get nearly 2 full inches of standover clearance, and the top tube length is comparable to the bike I'm now riding.

Thanks for this blog. I intend to pick it apart since I'm about to go through some of the same things you did. In particular, I'm already noting that I may need a longer seat tube.