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Alvaro
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking for anyone in Sacramento that has a Motobecane Century Elite, sold by Bikesdirect.com.

I am considering buying it but I would like to see the bike in person and have its rider share some of his/her insights after having experienced the ride.

Any insights, comments or advise would be very welcomed and appreciated.
 

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The subject of your post was interesting. I'm always looking for folks to ride with, I'm in Rancho.

But I don't have the bike you're looking for so can't offer any feedback. Good luck!
 

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Alvaro
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your reply.

I have never bought a bike online, and I have reservations as to buying something as particular (size, fit, comfort of ride, handling, quality of machine, etc.) as a bicycle.

If it is not what one thought, or led to believe, then one is stuck with a product that does not fulfill ones expectations.

I may have to just buy what our LBDs have to offer.
 

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I have one of those, but I'm in Santa Clara not Sacramento. Mine is a 62cm so probably too large for most folk out there. Also it is the 2007 model which is aluminum with carbon seat-stays, not the current carbon frame model. However, if you have any specific questions that I can help with, then fire away. I'm neither a BD zealot nor a BD hater, but in general I've had a very positive experience with them.
 

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Alvaro
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for responding!

How did you find the handling and overall quality of the components? Did you have to monkey around much to get it tuned up?

Which components do you have in yours? Did you install any upgrades or thought that some components did not measure up to your expectations?

Hope to hear from you . . .
 

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ademarzi said:
Thanks for responding!

How did you find the handling and overall quality of the components? Did you have to monkey around much to get it tuned up?

Which components do you have in yours? Did you install any upgrades or thought that some components did not measure up to your expectations?

Hope to hear from you . . .
The quality was fine, basically a traditional-geometry aluminum frame with carbon seat-stays and very standard decent quality components. The price was also $1295, but there have been quite a lot of changes between my 2007 model and the current 2009 model. Basically to meet the same pricepoint, while the cost of the frame has gone up massively, everything else has to be lower grade. So I got almost full Ultegra, and Ritchey WCS components whereas the current bike has a mix of FSA, Ritchey, 105 and Ultegra.

I have changed relatively little on the bike. The saddle was pretty mediocre but worked well enough for me until I changed it for a Performance Forte model. I swapped out the Cane Creek brakes for Ultegra because I wanted something that I knew and could trust 100% for braking. I then swapped out the Shimano pads for Koolstops salmon/black because I like them. I also put on Ultegra pedals because I wanted to wear proper road shoes not MTB shoes. I shortened the stem from 130mm to 110mm with another Ritchey WCS stem - they are light, strong and cheap enough. After a fair amount of tweaking I got the fit absolutely spot on, and now it rides well enough. However, the geometry isn't quite right for me - the top tube is about 1-2cm too long, and the head tube is a bit too short. I work around all of these with saddle and bar positioning. In terms of ride it is a pretty long wheel base and it takes a fair amount of encouragement to turn around corners. I got used to it, and then had to relearn cornering when I started riding a new bike with a more aggressive set-up.

I did a lot of tweaking. Over the last couple of years, I've pretty much stripped down and rebuilt everything. The only things that haven't been off are the bottom bracket and the steerer tube! I like maintaining my bike. The original out-of-the-box assembly was about 4 hours, and I work pretty slow and methodically. If you want it set up "perfectly" all the cable housings will need to be cut to length once you get the front-end positioning set up.

One thing I had lots of problems with was the Richey WCS Protocol rear wheel. Basically, spoke nipples kept breaking over the course of a year and despite every attempt to keep the wheel running and true, eventually a spoke pulled through the rim and the wheel was toast. BD and Ritchey replaced the wheel under warranty, and I was very impressed with the service. That reminds me - one of the skewers was scratched up when I first received the box. BD sent me a new one straightaway. You never know what will happen to a bike when shipped and in my experience BD will stand up and fix it. It is pretty clear that the bikes are pre-packed in the factory and that BD never actually touches the bikes - they just ship them on.

I find the spec of the current Century Elite a bit odd. I think that they've gone cheap on a lot of the components because of the frame and pricepoint. I think some of the components (eg. seat post and cranks) might have a carbon finish rather than actual carbon construction. You will not be getting a particularly light bike. It will be 20 pounds or just under, very close to mine. The carbon frame is probably decent enough quality. The geometry chart is a pain as it doesn't indicate the head tube length. Since you are buying over the internet, sight unseen, it is a bit of a gamble unless you know what you are looking for.

Overall, I was happy with my purchase. I had no idea about road bikes and this bike got me off to a great start. I still use it for commuting and rain rides, and have few complaints. This bike has taken me from being a newbie to knowing how to build and fit a bike, and to form opinions on what I like and don't like. All my best times are on this bike. All my best rides have been on this bike (multiple very very hilly century rides). But with all that I've learnt, I know what I really wanted and now I have that new bike. The only thing is that it cost 3x as much!
 

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Alvaro
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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Wow! :blush2:

Thank you for your thoughtful response.

Your response has me realizing how little I know about bicycles!

In your response you point out things that I do not really have much to judge by. Like the difference between one brand of brakes and another.

I just started riding last August and put about a little over 1000 miles on it. "It" is a comfort bike, heavy and nightmarish in its shifting. It became clear pretty soon that I was on the wrong bike. I purchased the bike from REI and they could not fix the shifting problem, so they offered me a full refund! No questions asked. They offered the same to my wife. They want you to be 100% satisfied or your money back!

So I started to do some research, asked questions and settled for (perhaps) a Specialized Sequoia Elite (Shimano 105s, carbon fork and carbon seat stays) or the Motobecane Century Elite (also with 105s, whole carbon body and forks) for about the same price.

I rode the Sequoia for less than a mile, and it felt great. But I do not have enough experience to tell how it would feel doing a 50 miler (of which I have done three already) or beyond. Besides, anything will feel much better than my bike! Weight, shifting etc..

This leaves me in the situation where I would be putting a significant amount of money without any assurance that either of those two bikes are right for me. Not being able to fully experience a bike has me concerned that the mistake I made when I purchased the comfort bike will be repeated with this new purchase.

I guess I may have to be trustful that am dealing with a knowledgeable and honest salesperson. I have been burned before, so as they say: once burned, twice shy.

Once again thank you for your thoughtful response, it speaks loudly as to your character and ethics.:thumbsup:
 

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OK, in your situation, it sounds to me that you should definitely buy at the local bike store (LBS) not on-line. I would go to Mike's Bikes in Sacramento and see what they can do for you. If you want a carbon bike suitable for 50+ mile rides, I would try to get an entry-level Tarmac (more racy) or Roubaix (more plush). If you can find a 2008 model in your size, the price will be around $1500 and you might be able to negotiate a little lower or get some accessories included. The LBS will put it altogether for you, make adjustments to fit you, and fix any problems that come up. It sounds like you want the triple, but you might consider a compact set-up too with a wide range cassette.

I looked at the current Century Elite on BD, and don't like the FSA crankset at all. These low-end ones from FSA have a pretty bad reputation and the carbon is just a wrapping over an Al crank. If you had to replace this, and there's a good chance that you will in the first year IMHO, that's $200+ at the LBS in one go.

Also, the resale value of the Specialized is probably twice that of the BD bike.
 

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Alvaro
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you so much for taking the time and offering such important information.

It makes quite a bit of sense to go the LBS route.

I had not thought about the Roubaix, I will give it a long hard look.

Once again, thank you.
 

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I was just at Mikes Bikes getting a spoke replaced in a wheel. Nice folks there. Go and talk. Then go to other bike shops and talk and look and test ride.
 
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