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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ok, I've spent the last hour reading every who posted questions about Bikesdirect.com get slammed. Please save that for someone else.

Here is my situation: In the past my only "real" bike was a Cannondale Super V500. I'm interested in getting into a road bike for fitness reasons. BD has the Champion for $1095 right now and the champion sl for $1295. My question is which of these do you think is a better value? Secondly, my current for is I6'1 and 210 lbs (see the fitness need!) so I'm concerned about sizing and wheelset. Your thoughts please. . .
 

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you need a 58cm

lots of people would like to pretend that sizing is 'just so important' that it can only be done by an expert with a machine and a team of backup consultants

however, i think it is easy

you need a 58cm bike unless you have insanely short legs for a guy 6'1"

btw - I have a le champion team - same bike as the le champion except dura ace - it is a great bike; in looks, finish, and ride
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you

collectorvelo said:
lots of people would like to pretend that sizing is 'just so important' that it can only be done by an expert with a machine and a team of backup consultants

however, i think it is easy

you need a 58cm bike unless you have insanely short legs for a guy 6'1"

btw - I have a le champion team - same bike as the le champion except dura ace - it is a great bike; in looks, finish, and ride

How do you think the other version, the sl compares to the team or regular champ?
 

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The Champion

Krafcik said:
How do you think the other version, the sl compares to the team or regular champ?
If these are the only bikes you are considering, I would advise the Le Champion. The components are similar to the SL, but at your weight, you probably wouldn't find the wheels very durable on the SL, and in fact, the wheels may not be safe at your weight. Plus, you'll probably get more mileage out of the Kenda tires than the Vittorias. Finally, with the champ, you won't have to buy pedals, which are not included on the SL

Depending on your fitness level and the terrain you're riding, you may also need to modify the gearing once you receive the bike. For a lot of rec riders, a 12-27 and/or a compact crank is a better choice than the stock gearing.
________
LovelyWendie99
 

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Krafcik said:
Motobecane's are sold online through bikesdirect.com which is run by the bike shop cycle spectrum. I use to work at a cycle spectrum, and I personally would not touch the product. I walked in off the street, with 0 bike knowledge and was allowed to run the shop (INCLUDING REPAIRS). I promptly left 4 months later.
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A week ago you wouldn't touch the product, what changed your mind?
 

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I've got the Le Champion SL, with maybe 1000-1500 miles on it, and 2 time trial. I'm 6'3" 200lbs, and ride a 61. It's been very fantastic.
Very smooth ride, and the wheels have been solid. The CR-420 rims are a great improvement over the 350's they had last year. I've actually seen 29'er MTB wheels using these rims. With the low spoke count, I have had a little issue with wheel flex, but with proper brake adjustment it's not a problem.
The tires are crazy light, and will not last for daily use on normal roads. Great race tire though. I don't know what Vittoria was smoking when they advertised a 130psi min pressure, I actually had one blow off the rim the other day at 145psi, well below the 160 advertised max. Luckily it happened about 200 yards past the finish line of my TT, or I'd be really pissed!
The frame is really well built, and comfortable. The WCS componants are the best you can get. The 50/36x11/23 drivetrain I think is perfect. I've yet to spin out 50x11, and there's not a hill in MI that 36x23 wouldn't handle. The FSA crankset is beautiful, and insanely light. The rest of the ultegra parts are great.
The SL is everything I hoped for, and a much better deal, if you add up the parts cost between the two bikes. Nashbar has the AC 420 wheelset on sale right now for $750.
That said, plan on an extra set of tires, and I'm considering a second wheelset for training. If you aren't interested in racing, the regular Champion is not a bad bike, and will hold up better to abuse. If you had the chance to ride them both and got a taste of how well the SL accelarates though, I'll bet you'd grab the SL :)
 

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I've been trying to decide which of these two to get as a race bike. They seem a bit extreme and lightweight to use as a primary training bike. Personally, I wouldn't use either wheelset for training which would be akin to riding by yourself in your case. But they would be nice to pull out for group rides, which you'll probably get into. It just seems like a waste to me to put all that mileage on 500-800 dollar wheels when you could use some nice cheap training wheels. Plus you can put some heavy tires on them to avoid flats and a big old 12-27 cassette to make climbing a little easier. I'm leaning towards the regular Le Champion myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
couple things changed my mind.

covenant said:
A week ago you wouldn't touch the product, what changed your mind?

1) Price.
2) I won't be putting it together, a shop with a properly trained wrench will do it.
3) It doesn't have generic motobecane parts on it, full ultegra
4) I still think they are a shady company since: Bikes Direct, Motobecane, Cycle Spectrum
and Sporty Momma (Ebay name, I believe) are all the same company . . . FYI, if you have a Motobecane and a Cycle Spectrum near you, take it in . . . free tuneups for life, they will never know how you bought the bike. Of course,, you might get someone like me who wasn't trained properly, doing your tuneups!
 

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I've had mine for 9 months

I've been riding my LeChamp SL for about 9 months, with the AC 350 wheels and the Vittoria Diamante Pro Lite tires (run them at 115 psi). I have ridden in all kinds of weather, on all kinds of roads. I haven't babied the bike, except for routine maintenance and cleaning. I have about 1600 km on the bike now, and it has been completely trouble free. I've had one flat on the tires, and I hope they keep going for a while yet, because they offer a fantastic ride. I wouldn't hesitate to use this thing for a daily trainer.

kingfurby said:
I've been trying to decide which of these two to get as a race bike. They seem a bit extreme and lightweight to use as a primary training bike. Personally, I wouldn't use either wheelset for training which would be akin to riding by yourself in your case. But they would be nice to pull out for group rides, which you'll probably get into. It just seems like a waste to me to put all that mileage on 500-800 dollar wheels when you could use some nice cheap training wheels. Plus you can put some heavy tires on them to avoid flats and a big old 12-27 cassette to make climbing a little easier. I'm leaning towards the regular Le Champion myself.
 

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Bertrand said:
If these are the only bikes you are considering, I would advise the Le Champion. The components are similar to the SL, but at your weight, you probably wouldn't find the wheels very durable on the SL, and in fact, the wheels may not be safe at your weight. Plus, you'll probably get more mileage out of the Kenda tires than the Vittorias. Finally, with the champ, you won't have to buy pedals, which are not included on the SL

Depending on your fitness level and the terrain you're riding, you may also need to modify the gearing once you receive the bike. For a lot of rec riders, a 12-27 and/or a compact crank is a better choice than the stock gearing.
Here here. I second what Bertrand says here. I am 5'10" and currently 205 lbs. I recently purchased a Motobecane Le Champion Ultegra road bike from bikesdirect.com and I don't think I could be much happier. The transaction was smooth as silk. I ordered the bike on a Thursday, paid by a credit card through their secure site, and I got an immediate confirmation email within hours. I received another email with the tracking number when they shipped the bike the next day. It arrived on Wednesday like clockwork.

A word of caution though, I worked at a bike shop for almost 5 years a while back, and I'm used to wrenching on bikes. The bike from bikesdirect.com arrived as I remember the new bikes in the shop would arrive. 80%-90% assembled is accurate, however, the last 10%-20% takes some real time and skill. For example, my cable housing and chain was just a bit too long, and the wheels need some slight truing and tensioning. I was comfortable with the chain, housing, and other adjustments, but I will take it to a friend for the wheels. As bikes are assembled on the production line, many manufacturers will use identical parts (i.e. pre-cut cable housing and chains) for all sizes of bikes. I ordered a 56cm, so the chain and cable housings were just a bit big for my bike. Again, no problem here, but I think the recommendation for most people to have their LBS assemble the bike is a solid recommendation. I remember Treks, Schwinns, Fujis, and just about any other manufacturer doing the same for their bikes.

I did have one small (tiny?) problem with my shipped bike. The barrel adjuster on the right side of the down tube was bent (happens in shipping all the time) and broke fully when I attempted to bend it back. It's not stopping me from riding, and I can still make small adjustments for cable stretch at the rear derailleur barrel adjuster. I'm not going to make a fuss about it, I realize I got a heckuva deal for a full Ultegra 6600 bike, and I'll just pick one up at my LBS for a buck or two.

In the past 5 days, I have put in about 8 hours on the bike and I'm very impressed. The full bike is 17.8 lbs. and rides very well. I'm still tinkering with my positioning, but I'm probably 95% there.

All in all, a great transaction and a great bike. I may upgrade the frame in a year or two to a Bianchi lugged carbon frame, but now at least I have components that would be up to snuff.
 

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Wow

pixelgrunt said:
Here here. I second what Bertrand says here. I am 5'10" and currently 205 lbs. I recently purchased a Motobecane Le Champion Ultegra road bike from bikesdirect.com and I don't think I could be much happier. The transaction was smooth as silk. I ordered the bike on a Thursday, paid by a credit card through their secure site, and I got an immediate confirmation email within hours. I received another email with the tracking number when they shipped the bike the next day. It arrived on Wednesday like clockwork.

A word of caution though, I worked at a bike shop for almost 5 years a while back, and I'm used to wrenching on bikes. The bike from bikesdirect.com arrived as I remember the new bikes in the shop would arrive. 80%-90% assembled is accurate, however, the last 10%-20% takes some real time and skill. For example, my cable housing and chain was just a bit too long, and the wheels need some slight truing and tensioning. I was comfortable with the chain, housing, and other adjustments, but I will take it to a friend for the wheels. As bikes are assembled on the production line, many manufacturers will use identical parts (i.e. pre-cut cable housing and chains) for all sizes of bikes. I ordered a 56cm, so the chain and cable housings were just a bit big for my bike. Again, no problem here, but I think the recommendation for most people to have their LBS assemble the bike is a solid recommendation. I remember Treks, Schwinns, Fujis, and just about any other manufacturer doing the same for their bikes.

I did have one small (tiny?) problem with my shipped bike. The barrel adjuster on the right side of the down tube was bent (happens in shipping all the time) and broke fully when I attempted to bend it back. It's not stopping me from riding, and I can still make small adjustments for cable stretch at the rear derailleur barrel adjuster. I'm not going to make a fuss about it, I realize I got a heckuva deal for a full Ultegra 6600 bike, and I'll just pick one up at my LBS for a buck or two.

In the past 5 days, I have put in about 8 hours on the bike and I'm very impressed. The full bike is 17.8 lbs. and rides very well. I'm still tinkering with my positioning, but I'm probably 95% there.

All in all, a great transaction and a great bike. I may upgrade the frame in a year or two to a Bianchi lugged carbon frame, but now at least I have components that would be up to snuff.
More reason to go used. I've bought over half dozen used road bikes sight unseen and never had that many problems. While fairly minor, not what you expect for a $1000 plus purchase regardless of the perceived "Value". I don't think a bike from GVH would ever show up like that.
 

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Lifelover said:
More reason to go used. I've bought over half dozen used road bikes sight unseen and never had that many problems. While fairly minor, not what you expect for a $1000 plus purchase regardless of the perceived "Value". I don't think a bike from GVH would ever show up like that.
"That many problems?" I had a bent barrel adjuster and some long cable housings. Most of the bikes I built in a shop had "problems" like this. It's expected with a new bike boxed from the factory. I like new things, and I like getting deals for new things. It was also nice to assemble a bike again from a factory box. I like the process. I still think I got a great deal (The Ultegra components alone can sell for $700, plus a nice wheelset, decent Ritchey components and an OK frame/fork). All I had to do is give the bike some TLC during the build (any good LBS does exactly this when they assemeble a new bike from a factory) and I have to splurge 2 or 3 dollars to replace a small plastic piece.

I'll take the new bike over a used one anyday, just _my_ preference, because I know it's assembled properly and I know how it's been treated it's whole working life. With a used bike, I don't know if the user crashed, if they like to drop it, if it hit their garage door overhang while mounted to a roof rack. These accidents can cause significant damage to a frame without actually showing any external signs. The parts that do show damage (shifters, seats, forks, handlebars, etc.) can be replaced fairly cheaply and the bike offloaded while still looking good. You can certainly get a good used bike, I'm not saying they are all bad. I'm only saying I prefer a new deal.

This is my opinion, and you have yours. There is room for both of us in the peloton of life :D
 

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can you get that much spec

Lifelover said:
More reason to go used. I've bought over half dozen used road bikes sight unseen and never had that many problems. While fairly minor, not what you expect for a $1000 plus purchase regardless of the perceived "Value". I don't think a bike from GVH would ever show up like that.

can you get wheels like american classic 420 and ultegra with carbon crank and wcs ritchey stuff at gvh for $1200 or $1300 ?

which bike would that be?
 

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collectorvelo said:
can you get wheels like american classic 420 and ultegra with carbon crank and wcs ritchey stuff at gvh for $1200 or $1300 ?

which bike would that be?
I'll admit that if all you are looking for is a impressive "spec" sheet the moto is hard to beat for the price.

However, for my money I would go with the $1300 Soma Smoothie with 10 speed Shimano 105 and the Mavic Aksium wheelset from GVH.

If I recall correctly you have song the praises of a good steel frame in the past. Just like with pixelgrunt above, running the AC 420's at 205 lbs is questionable if not down right dangerous. There would be zero difference in the performance of 105 and Ultegra.

While the moto may have more bling the Soma has more soul. Comparing the two would be like comparing a Kia Amanti to a VW Passat. You could get more "bang for the buck" with the Kia but you would get more enjoyment out of the Passat.
 

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I bought a Moto le champ sl

Great price, great bike, excellent buying experience with Bikesdirect.com, but...

Seriously look at the geometry. The Seat Tube is measure bb to top of seat collar. My 54cm said measured center to top (but not of top tube, of seat collar. This is a problem because the headtube can be too short. I had to get a 350mm seat post. I could not even ride it with the 250mm ritchey WCS provided. The ride quality of the frame was smooth as silk. Kudos there. But in trade off, it doesn't provide the snap I look for.

So I bought the frame for the groupo and the wheels. I got a good deal. However, most of the frames that I would be looking at, have similarly good deals as full buildups. Take the Bianchi 928 for example. You can get a frame for $1600, or a nicely built bike for $2500. A trek madone 5.2 will run you $2000 and change. For 2500 and change you can get a basic build, and for $3500 a really nice build. Look 555, same thing, and the list goes on. In the end you don't really save that much, unless you buy a frame on ebay. On ebay there are no test rides, no fittings, etc.
I've bought plenty of ebay stuff (and just sold 3 frames) and more often than not, the sizing is not really exactly as described.
Next bike is probably a complete bike from an LBS, even though I have a complete groupo ready to go. Then I will swap out the parts I like, and sell off all the extras taking up space in my garage.
 

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The Motobecane Le Champion I have came with a Ritchey Protocols wheelset (I didn't go with the SL version because of my weight and my wallet). I understand that the Ritchey's may be better suited to handle a larger rider like myself. My bike also came with an Ultegra 6600 crankset, not carbon.

I can't deny the 'soul' argument, but I really purchased this bike for the components and the wheelset like Alex did above. I'm really lusting for a lugged Bianchi 928 as well, but this will allow me to spread the investment out over time. I'm pretty sure I'll be perfectly happy riding this frame for the rest of the year. Maybe I can pick up the 928 lugged frameset just after new year's from my LBS (and maybe for a decent price).

I've had a hand built mountain bike frame (Nevil Devil) for almost 10 years, and plan on keeping it at least that much longer. I would like to do the same with a nice road frame in the near future.

I'm still having fun with my Moto. It's 7.8 lbs lighter than my previous road bike (I know, I know- anything I ride would be better).
 

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Lifelover said:
I'll admit that if all you are looking for is a impressive "spec" sheet the moto is hard to beat for the price.

However, for my money I would go with the $1300 Soma Smoothie with 10 speed Shimano 105 and the Mavic Aksium wheelset from GVH.

If I recall correctly you have song the praises of a good steel frame in the past. Just like with pixelgrunt above, running the AC 420's at 205 lbs is questionable if not down right dangerous. There would be zero difference in the performance of 105 and Ultegra.

While the moto may have more bling the Soma has more soul. Comparing the two would be like comparing a Kia Amanti to a VW Passat. You could get more "bang for the buck" with the Kia but you would get more enjoyment out of the Passat.
As I was saying before, I think the Le Champion SL is a little too purpose-built for racing to be the ideal bike for riding and recreation. Personally I wouldn't be interested in it at all if I didn't race. The Soma sounds like it would be more comfortable and probably more reliable considering the wheelset. But I think people are drawn in by the Le Champion SL because it is almost as well equipped as a pro's bike right out of the box for an incredibly low price. Some are more interested in the image their bike is going to project. It just looks so fast!

Kia is a good example considering their low resale value. If you ever want to sell your Motobecane you would probably do better to buy a frame on eBay and put the parts on that. But Volkswagens have notoriously unreliable engines, moreso than Kia I think. Which goes to show you how powerful namebrands can be. They're everything for some people.
 

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everyone has one

Lifelover said:
I'll admit that if all you are looking for is a impressive "spec" sheet the moto is hard to beat for the price.

However, for my money I would go with the $1300 Soma Smoothie with 10 speed Shimano 105 and the Mavic Aksium wheelset from GVH.

If I recall correctly you have song the praises of a good steel frame in the past. Just like with pixelgrunt above, running the AC 420's at 205 lbs is questionable if not down right dangerous. There would be zero difference in the performance of 105 and Ultegra.

While the moto may have more bling the Soma has more soul. Comparing the two would be like comparing a Kia Amanti to a VW Passat. You could get more "bang for the buck" with the Kia but you would get more enjoyment out of the Passat.
I do like steel - but also have several aluminum bikes
But it is not fair to compare a 105 bike to Ultegra - Ultegra is better - period
Also AC 420s are not Sprint 350s - they are light but fine for bigger riders
I think they are the best wireon wheels you can get and way better than Aksium in everyway
Plus some people like having a Carbon Crank and Ritchey top level cockpit

the comparsion does not make sense to me if you look at it part for part
 

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collectorvelo said:
I do like steel - but also have several aluminum bikes
But it is not fair to compare a 105 bike to Ultegra - Ultegra is better - period
Also AC 420s are not Sprint 350s - they are light but fine for bigger riders
I think they are the best wireon wheels you can get and way better than Aksium in everyway
Plus some people like having a Carbon Crank and Ritchey top level cockpit

the comparsion does not make sense to me if you look at it part for part
In what specifics aspect is 105 better than Ultegra?

420's are generally not recommend for riders over 180 lbs.
 

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Lifelover said:
While the moto may have more bling the Soma has more soul. Comparing the two would be like comparing a Kia Amanti to a VW Passat. You could get more "bang for the buck" with the Kia but you would get more enjoyment out of the Passat.
The problem with this argument is that the motobecane is the best riding bike I've ever been on. It is smooth, and accellerations are out of this world. This bike wants to be ridden, and calls me to it. That is the ultimate sign of a great bike. I bought it with the intention of it being a build kit, and I'd get another steel frame, but I'm not changing a thing. This is my first non-steel road bike.

Then again, I also love my kia. Another example of a brand with bad press. Most ecoboxes are painful to drive. I don't mind leaving my sports cars at home and commuting with the Kia.
 
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