Monday, March 31, 2008

Motobecane Fantom 29 vs Cannondale 29er 4 Caffeine has a Cannondale 29er 4 Caffeine on sale for $ 999 plus $59.94 PA Sales tax for a total of $1058.94. The shipping is free with in store pickup. So right off the bat it is $463 more expensive than the Fantom 29.

Here are the specs:

The Fantom 29 has Avid BB5 Brakes with 185 mm rotors while the Caffeine has Shimano BR-485 160/160 mm. The Avid BB5 are about $40 more.

The Fantom 29 has WTB MotoRaptor 29 x 2.1 with FX28 Rims vs WTB Dual Duty FR, 32 hole rims with WTB Prowler 29 x 2.1. I will call it even.

Both have RockShox Dart 3 Fork but the Caffeine has 80 mm travel vs 100 mm for the Fantom 29..

The Motobecane Frame is aluminum, the Caffeine says its is "Caffeine Frame Technology" and is also aluminum. When you compare the 2 geometries they are almost identical for the 17" frame.

The Fantom 29 has Shimano Deore Mega-9 Rapid Fire 27 speed trigger shift at $90 for pair vs SRAM X-5 at $50 for the Caffeine.

The Fantom 29 has Shimano Deore XT long cage rear derailleur RD-M761 at $85 vs SRAM X-5 at $40 for the Caffeine.

The Fantom 29 has TruVativ 5D 22/32/44T Crankset vs Shimano FC-M4428 22/32/44. I will call them even.

Both have Shimano Deore front derailleur.


The Fantom 29 has $125 more in parts. The Caffeine's Relative Value Factor is 0.445, the lowest I evaluated so far. The Fantom 29 is a better value. I guess Cannondale will believe its name will account for something and can charge the higher price.

As an on going recap here is a list of the bikes I reviewed. They are ranked by a Relative Value Factor (RVF) . The RVF is the price of the Fantom 29 + or - the value of the major parts difference (Delta) divided by the price of the bike.

Bike Price Delta RVF

Motobecane Fantom Pro: 796, 455, 1.32

Motobecane Fantom 29: 596, 0, 1.0

IBEX Section 29: 1034, 378, 0.942

Raleigh XXIX+G: 1100, 368, 0.876

Diamondback Overdrive : 600, -122, 0.790

Marin Alpine Trail 29er 667, -122, 0.711

Specialized Rockhopper Disc 29er: 760 ,-144 ,0.595

Cannondale 29er 4 Caffeine: 1059, -125, 0.445


Anonymous said...

Good luck with the warranty at Bikes Direct. Laughable at best. You failed to mention the R and D that Cannondale puts into their products that cheesy companies like Bikes Direct rip off so that you can support Chinese slave labor.

junkbox2 said...

2008 Phantom Pro 29 for sale $600
about 250 miles, no crashes, well maintained. So. Cal. pick up only.

Anonymous said...

If all you are look at is price, then Moto will seem to be a better "value."

But what is value? It is only based on price? No way. Value is the best combination of price, quality, service, support, and selection.

Does Cannondale offer these qualities? You bet. Don't forget the R&D that the other post mentioned, as well as participation in racing activities.

Yes, you are paying more for a Cannondale. But you are also getting a frame design from a real company. You can call them on the phone, you can mail them a letter.

Compare this Motobecane. Their website lists no address, phone number, contact info. Nothing. Why is that?

What does Motobecane offer in the way of service and support? Nothing. There is no way to contact them! You cannot go to a local dealer. You cannot call them with questions. You cannot download documents from their website.

The answer is simple. Motobecane is not a company. They are a brand name slapped on a commodity frame. The same frame is used in many "brands" of bicycles. It is only sold by Bikes Direct because Bikes Direct licenses the name Motobecane. They also license several other long out-of-business bike names.

And speaking of Bikes Direct, why do they not list a phone number or address on their website? The only way to contact them is by email or fax. What are they trying to hide?

I am not commenting on the quality of Motobecane, nor the warranty capabilities of their only "dealer," Bikes Direct.

But these issues I have raised should resonate with any consumer.

If you are looking for a cheap price, then by all means buy whatever you think makes you happy. But to purchase a no-name frame from unknown origin from a company that is not "real" because you can save a few hundred dollars does not sound like a good value to me.

One final point. I would not be surprised if Motobecane/Bikes Direct made more profit on a bike
selling for $595 than the profit made by both Cannondale and REI combined selling for $999. And where would they make up this additional profit from? The cost of the frame.

CB said...

Vitriole. There are shops in several cities where you can buy Motobecane. Cycle Spectrum chain is owned by the same company that owns the MB name. You can buy any bike from them that you can buy on bikes direct, with walk in service if you happen to live in a city where they have a store.

It's a bike. For the use this blogger has, I think his decisions are fine and well thought out. If you are racing in Mammoth, probably not, but he has been clear about his intended usage, and the bike is holding up.

Anonymous said...

This is good info
might be handy to have weight as well

Anonymous said...

Well i bought a Motobecane Fantom 29 and hope I do not live to refret it. It came okay no apparent damages that I could see, however as fot the 90% assembled they are full of crap I had to take to a bike shop and pay 75.00 for assembley, I will post agian when I get it bacck and see how it rides.