Strengths: Great ride.
I want to share my experience with the 2015 Motobecane Fantom Cross COMP Ti. It is $1400 including shipping.
Spec: Titanium frame with fender and rack mount tabs, 22 Speed Shimano 105, Avid Disc Brakes, Carbon Fiber Fork, FSA compact 46/36 Crank, Ritchey Bar, Stem, WTB TCS Tubeless Compatible Rims.
I was looking for an all purpose bike that can be ridden in all weather conditions and be able to do credit card touring with 2 panniers. I do not do cyclocross races.
The bike was delivered in a box with the front wheel and handlebar detached. The pedals and the front disc brake rotor was not assembled either. Assembling the bike was a breeze. The derailleur and disc brakes were mostly dialed in. Straight from the box, I did not have any noise or rubbing of the disc brakes. The geometry is similar to newer road bikes, a more relaxed position than my 1995 Cannondale road bike. I am 6ft tall. 58cm bike fits well.
The ride was as people described for titanium. Going from a aluminum Cannondale road bike and a aluminum Trek hybrid, the difference is obvious. It's like running barefoot on concrete vs. running on a wooden gym floor. The ride compares well to my 16lb carbon fiber road bike. Going over road imperfections and potholes, the shudder is muted, while the 700x35c tires are more reassuring than the 700x23 tires on my road bikes.
I was surprised how well the 11 speed Shimano 105 shifted with the FSA cranks. It actually is smoother and more immediate than my full Ultegra 10 speed carbon fiber road bike. The shifts are so quick that I can shift as I am climbing the hill instead of shifting before getting on the hill. The disc brakes did not impress initially, but after several miles, even emergency stops in the rain were quick and predictable. I am optimistic the disc brakes will be just as reassuring in the snow, something that can not be said of rim brakes.
I've read about poor components on other Bikesdirect bikes. I was expecting heavy poorly built wheels and useless saddles and pedals. That is not the case here. The wheels are true and quick to spin up to speed. If they hold up over time, it's a good balance between speed / weight and strength. The Richey saddle is firm, but has the correct shape to keep the important parts from going numb. The pedals are quality Shimano road pedals. I think the only part I will change is the 36t inner chainring for a 34t for easier climbs with a loaded bike.
I had thought about converting an old Cannondale MTB for touring and winter riding. The lack of disc brakes and MTB geometry discourage me from the project. I had thought a Trek hybrid commuter bike with disc brakes and belt driven 8sp internal gear hub was the right setup. But the Trek was so heavy and harsh it robbed all the fun from riding. I also looked into dedicated touring bikes. Most touring bikes have heavier steel frames and bar end shifters which is not as reflexive.
It was not an easy decision to buy another bike to add to my fleet of bikes sitting in a one car garage. The ride of the bike and how well all the parts work has reaffirmed my decision. This one bike can replace my road bike, my hardtail MTB, and my hybrid. It can do 95% of all the riding the other bikes can do, and double as a winter bike and light touring bike. It really is the "one bike to rule them all".
Similar Products Used: 1995 Cannondale R300
1995 Cannondale M500
2011 Trek Soho Deluxe
2011 Scott Addict R4
Date Reviewed: January 19, 2014
Strengths: Ti quality ride and no fuss material
Price is ridiculously good
I am new to riding a cross bike. I can't stand road riding, but with some mixed in with hike n bike/light singletrack/road rides....it's ok. I realize the fitness benefits....now onto the bike.
I bought from BikesDirect and was a little wary sending my $1799 off into the abyss.....however, I ordered on Sunday and received it on Thursday. Assembly was a piece of cake - needed some tightening of allen bolts as well....no biggie.
I installed a U.S.E. suspension seatpost first thing as well. The bike responds really well to force on the pedals. I'm not light at 195lbs and it doesn't seem overly flexy when I stand up and get on it. The frame feels reasonably compliant when riding singletrack. I ride trails with roots, logs to bunnyhop, decent rock steps on it as well. So far the wheels are staying true and the bike is taking the beating.
By comparison to Moots and Lynskey (only other Ti brands I have owned) the welds are not as "pretty" but compared to the Lynskey especially....it seems beefier. I've already had to send my Lynskey 29er Mtb back 2 times in the first 18 months of ownership. Anyways, I'll report back after I have used and abused it for 6 months. I would list weight as a weakness, but honestly, I wasn't looking for or expecting a really light bike. So far I'm nothing but impressed.
Date Reviewed: November 17, 2013
Strengths: Value, of course.
Non-corrosive frame material.
Excellent geometry, no toe overlap.
Weaknesses: Weight is a little high at 22.5 #s on my scale.
You cant find a Ti framed cross bike with butted and manipulated tubes, but this one has it at a bargain price! Brushed finish is superb. Weld quality is the best I've ever seen. Geometry is very good for off road and good for on road. Tracks well around corners. Components are well matched with the frame to work together as a whole bike. You could lose some weight in the wheels, but for $1500, I expected that. The disk brakes work great.
I changed the seat for a wider, more comfortable one. The bars are a perfect shape - short reach and drop. I removed the top of the bars brake levers - dont know why anyone would want them.
This bike would be great for a first time cyclocrosser or someone who wants an all-arounder bike. It has rack and fender mounts. The price makes this a very good buy for what you get.
Bike Setup: Stock: Ti frame, carbon/alum fork, SRAM Rival drivetrain, Avid BB7 brakes, Ritchey cockpit.
a Recreational Rider
Date Reviewed: September 25, 2012
Strengths: Smooth ride, robust frame, light, a very comfy ride.
Weaknesses: The stock seat is worthless. It is very hard, and even with bike shorts, my butt was tired after 5 miles. I replaced it with a Forte split seat, and the ride has improved immensely. I am having a little trouble with chain slippage on the 2 largest sprockets, At first the slippage was on the 2 smallest sprockets. A slight twist of the adjustment knob to tighten the cable took care of that, but the problem then switched to the larger sprockets. I will have this rechecked by a pro after I put more miles on the bike as It may be due to cable stretch, derailleur misalignment, or both. Front shifter is slow when shifting from the middle to the largest chain ring. Again, I hope to get this rectified with an adjustment.
I have been riding a steel frame mountain bike for the past 10 years. I decided to try a cross bike and have absolutely no regrets about the switch. I did not opt for a road bike as I ride many gravel and limestone trails, so I preferred to stay with tread tires and a slightly wider width. This bike performs nearly perfectly in every way except for the chain slippage and the front shifter issue mentioned above (which I presume are adjustment issues). With the first down stroke of the pedal from a dead stop, this bike reacts instantaneously and takes off. It handles well on both paved and gravel trails. Since I am purely a recreational rider, I will limit my very positive recommendation to that specific type of rider. It is pure joy to ride. This bike is actually the newer 2013 27 speed model.
Strengths: Comfortable ride, good geometry, Rival components, good looks
Weaknesses: Saddle, Mavic Aksium wheelset
I also have a Trek XO2 and in comparison the Fantom Cross Pro is just as good of a bike. While it may be a bit heavier thna the XO2 it has a great ride. The geometry is such that you get great agility but it still seems to be stable at relatively high speed. I've ridden this as both a commuter and in cyclocross races. As a commuter it is light and fast and as a cyclocross racer it is agile and light enough when you are shouldering it through barriers. The value is indisputable. You would have a hard time assembling the components off ebay or craigslist for the cost of this bike. It doesn't carry a name brand saddle (which is the weakest thing but that may be just my preference), handlebar, stem or seatpost but it has the Rival drivetrain which in my opinion is the best value for cyclocross. Get one, you won't be disappointed.