Saturday, February 21, 2009

Motobecane Fantom 29 One Year Review

Frame: After getting a longer seat post and adjustable stem, the 17" frame fits me well. The black finish is holding up well- no scratches. The chainstay nicks were the only area that needed some attention.

Brakes: Excellent stopping power. Very easy to adjust for brake wear.

Shifting: Very smooth.

Drivetrain: The 22/32/44T crankset and 11-32T cassette provides a range of 20 to 116 gear inches. I usually ride in the middle chainring which provides 29 to 84 gear inches.

Tires: MotoRaptor 29x2.1 perform well in the trails that I ride. They provide excellent traction. The 29er wheels do well for climbing and rolling over obstacles.

Fork: The Dart 3 performs well. I rarely use the lockout, but it is a nice feature to have. I can ride downhill fairly fast and the fork absorbs the terrain well.

Maintenance: Overall very low. I have had 3 flats due to manufacturing tube defects. Not really Motobecane's fault, just cheap tubes. I will use tires with slime in the future.

Overall Ride: The Fantom 29 has proven to be an excellent addition to my fitness regime, providing an excellent off road riding workout.
March 15, 2008 Loose Bottle cage holder
March 22, 2008 31.8 miles Flat Tire
March 23, 2008 Chainstay nicks
August 02, 2008 Bent Derailleur Hanger
August 11, 2008 203.6 miles Flat Tire
October 05 2008 285 miles Flat Rear Tire
Normal chain lube after every 2 to 3 rides
Adjusted brakes to compensate for wear a couple of times
25 ride PM on September 06, 2008
Riding Statistics
Number of Rides: 38
Mileage : 405.3
Average mileage: 10.7 miles per ride
Longest Ride: 35.2 miles Blue Marsh Lake
Number of Rides: Marsh Creek State Park: 16
Number of Rides Springton Manor Farms: 16
Number of Rides Thun Trail: 2 average : 23.7 miles
Number of Rides Blue Marsh Lake: 1 , 35.2 miles
Number of Rides French Creek State Park: 2, average: 8.7 miles
Number of Rides at Warwick Park: 1, 10.4 miles


Anton said...

Great blog and very useful information. Thank you for doing that and definitely keep it up.

I'm considering to buy this bike and I was wondering if you can answer one question. One of the usage for this bike I am planing to do multi-days road trips. Is Fantom 29 frame ready to put a rear rack? I was trying to see it on images, but I am not seeing any specific holes on the frame for this. Can you please shed some light on this subject.

Thank you in advance.

Mike said...

No, the Fantom 29 does not have rear rack braze-ons.

Also the Fantom 29 might not be suited to muti-day road trips because of the geometry (more upright as mountain bikes are) and few hand positions (you need multiple hand positions like on a road bike to reduce fatigue).

You may want to consider one of the Motobecane cyclocross bikes. They are 29ers, have braze-ons for rear racks or fenders and have the right handle bars for muti-positions. The also have wider tires so you can use them on the dirt trails. There is no suspension however.

The Motobecane Outlaw looks interesting with disk btakes at $895. The Fantom CX is only $550.


Peter said...

I am thinking about buying the 2009 Fantom 29 but was wondering how much it weighed?

Mike said...

The Fantom 29 weighs about 30 lbs.

mccarthyink said...

Thanks for all of your info on the Fantom. From your experience does the Fantom's sizes correspond well to other bike lines? For instance, I test road a 19" specialized Rockhopper 29er, which felt pretty good. I checked BD and they seemed to indicate that I may want to go down a size, but I'm not sure.

Any info on sizing would be appreciated.

Mike said...


I really don't have much to compare to as I have not ridden the Specialized rockhopper 29er. See my Feb 29, 2008 post for how I decided on my frame size.

leftyrighty said...

Hey Mike,

I stumbled across your blog with a google search for 'Motobecane Fantom 29,' as I was considering purchasing this bike and wanted to do some research. I can't tell you how helpful I have found your blog to be in making this decision. Your assembly directions were also very helpful and made putting together my own Fantom 29 which just arrived a few a days ago, a cake walk. And I have to admit that were it not for your blog, I think this would have been a a rather daunting task. I'm out with a back injury at the moment but can't wait to get it out and do some riding.

Anyway, just wanted to say thanks and kudos for creating such an informative blog about this bike!

Skyler said...


I'm about to buy the 2009 Motobecane Fantom 29, and was wondering how tall you were for the frame size you bought.
I'm 5'9", and i'm thinking of the 17" or 19", what do you think?

McCarthyink said...

I and Mike (the blogger) are about the same size, 6'0". I followed his advice and bought a 17" and it fits me great. I compared the measurements to Specialized, Marin and some others and it appears that the Fantoms are about one size larger. Example: I normally ride a 19" but the 17" fits me perfect. I would guess you'd comfortable on a 15".

My suggestion is to go and test the specialized rockhopper at a bike store, figure out your size and then go one size down. The only trick is you may have to buy a longer seat post (which both Mike and I did) to get the right leg length.

You'll really enjoy the bike. I get some sideways looks from bike snobs on the trail, but I love my Fantom. It's a great ride.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike,
I just purchased a Fantom 29 elite and while assembling it i noticed that where the frame attaches to the fork and handlebars is loose. Ive tried tightening everything with an allen key but cant get it any tighter. not sure what else to do.. any ideas?

Mike said...

I think you are referring to the aheadset. You may have a missing spacer or other part. See this video for a good description of how to rebuild it:

I have never worked on my aheadset but it looks like from the video if your tube extends above your handlebar clamp, you will need to add a spacer.


Jeff in AZ said...

Mike and Readers,

I'm also considering a Motobecane Fantom 29 Elite from I am wondering about sizing. I'm a bit over 5'8" BUT I have a 32" inseam... meaning I'm more leg than torso. Any thoughts on the best size / fit?

Mike, I've enjoyed the blog and all the details you have included.

Jeff in AZ

Don said...

Just picked up the fantom29 sport. Been using it as my daily commute bike and just finally had a chance to take it on some trails yesterday. Love the feel of the big and the 29" tires. Being only 5'6" I was a little hesitant at first but pretty sure I'm a convert. Any suggestions on 1st upgrades? Here's my initial review of the bike if anyone is interested.