February 8, 2017 at 1:15 pm #207342
I’ve reviewed a couple of Bikes Direct bikes over the years (the Night Train fat bike and titanium Fly Team 29) and they were both really solid bikes. But I’m curious to hear from folks who have purchased bikes from BikesDirect.com to hear what the long-term verdict is on these bikes. Bikes Direct prices are certainly tough to beat, but is there a tradeoff?
I purchased a bike from Bikes Direct about a year ago for my brother (a singlespeed mountain bike) but I don’t think he’s ridden it enough to comment on durability. 🙁February 8, 2017 at 1:24 pm #207344
I bought a Moto single speed 29er in 2010 and loved it. The singletrack bug bit and I upgraded to a Motobecane Fantom 6by6 Pro dually about 3 years ago. I am still shredding on it. Some of the components have been upgraded to fit my style/preferences, but the bike has taken me on every local trail with nary a fuss! The value was unbeatable.February 8, 2017 at 4:51 pm #207366
So I know Jeff likes his BD bikes, and other users have had positive experiences. I have experiences with the more economy models, and thought I would share some of my concerns. I bought a Motobecane Fantom Sport 29er as my first hardtail ($400), rode it for a hundred miles and broke the rear derailleur and the crankset because of trail wear. I fixed it and sold it for $450. I thought I just got an unlucky bike so I bought a Motobecane 529HT 29er and the crankset stripped out on the stock pedals (which lasted all of 10 miles) and then the derailleur hanger broke, the FD broke, and the RD requiring constant tuning. I am still trying to sell this and will not be breaking even, again. The paint job also scratches easily and the frame is much too heavy — I can go faster on my fat bike!
I was going to buy the Bullseye Monster Fatbike but ended up going with an SE F@R for $575 (compare to $500 for the monster) and this bike has survived 400 brutal miles without a single repair. I don’t think I would have gotten that with a Bullseye Monster.
I know BD has some great prices, and I understand their business model and do believe in it. But the company has limitations, and I’m speaking for the lower-end bike models:
– They are ordering their frames from the same Chinese factory as the lower-end competition (in Hebei, I believe–you can find their frames on Alibaba), note SE bikes, Fuji bikes, etc.
– They are speccing their bikes with some non-branded parts produced en-masse in China without dedicated design or no longer used by the big brands. And as a side comment, it is impossibly hard to compare specs on their website.
– As a web designer myself, I know that they can afford improvements to their website given their sales volume. Their website needs help!
– You won’t catch a “closeout deal” or “lower than normal” price because everything is always “60% off” or the price is already “too low to show”.
– Models are rarely upgraded from year to year (a 2017 529HT is no different than a 2015 529HT).
– Pretty much this is a part-slapping-onto-frame operation, and you get what you ask for.
So if you really want a ripoff deal on a bike, get a used one from Pinkbike, Craigslist, or shop for those deals harder on eBay and Amazon–they are out there, just be patient! I don’t mean to rant about BD, I’m just saying that you get what you pay for and if you don’t mind an off-brand bike with a frame imported from the cheapest alibaba supplier with random parts slapped on, then BD is for you. If not, I would reconsider.February 9, 2017 at 9:25 am #207390
sissypants, I can definitely see what you’re saying about the “economy” models from Bikes Direct. I personally wouldn’t buy any bike with drivetrain parts that don’t say Shimano or SRAM (or Box).February 9, 2017 at 11:21 am #207401
I came off the Trail a few weeks back and right behind me was a guy riding a fat bike. I stopped and talked to him because I was really interested at the time in fat bikes to the point I thought I was ready to buy one. He showed me his. It was a Motobecane but I dont remember the exact model. I do remember it had a 26″ titanium frame, I believe 4″ tires and had put on some carbon wheels. He owned a few other bikes, i.e. Yeti, Trek, etc. and absolutely LOVED it. In fact, he said it was his go-to bike above all the others. For what that’s worth….February 9, 2017 at 2:54 pm #207431
I have been bikepacking, riding singletrack and sometimes racing my titanium Fly Team 29er (x0 package) since I bought it in 2012 and only front wheel was replaced once. I don’t count replacing worn out drivetrain parts or brake pads – that happens on every bike.
So, in my case it was money well spent.
I bought one used Motobecane (entry level hardtail) as a gift and that one serving new owner with no problems as well.
I agree that their website could be better.February 9, 2017 at 6:52 pm #207453
I have purchased several bikes from BD. I have had no issues. I was able to buy bikes for my wife, five kids and brother in law for much less money than I would have spent on equivalent bikes. I rolled the dice on the first one, but bought the rest fairly confident. You get what the specifications define and where they do not name a brand, it will be a cheapo component. I’m heavy (though getting lighter) and everything has held up. I did some upgrades on my bike. My comparison shopping showed me that I might find a better used bike, but when you have a big family of short people it’s hard to find a better deal. It is not the 60% off stupid deal they say it is (that is cheesy), but it is probably 20%-30% less than what you’d pay for a similar bike. You should know how to check torques and lubrication, know how to fix things and turn a wrench. You should learn to do that anyway because mountain biking breaks things.
I can understand why a lot of people on Singletracks might have reservations. If you are seriously racing, worry about every ounce, or put on 1000’s of miles a year, I can’t say if it is the place for you. If you are a guy who is happy to put some miles in, lose a few pounds, and get outdoors after dealing with work and family commitments, it is a good resource. I love riding my bike in the woods. I’m sure I would really like a better bike, but it doesn’t make me like riding my bike less.February 10, 2017 at 7:23 am #207478
I bought my son one from BD,, but then we have a BD Local Shop here.February 10, 2017 at 4:25 pm #207533
I have been researching this place intensely for about two weeks now. I have not found anything disparaging about bikesdirect or Motobecane In fact, I’ve only come across very positive reviews. I’m not saying that bad reviews aren’t out there I just haven’t been able to find any. The very few comments I saw about problems they followed up saying that the BD customer service was excellent in taking care of them. I am planning on getting the HAL6 with SRAM Eagle Components.February 12, 2017 at 7:29 pm #207588
I bought a $400 bike from bikesdiret and love it. I’ve upgraded it since then quite a bit, but most people don’t need to spend $5000 on a bike. You can ride just fine for a decent price. Don’t be a price snob. Do what works for you.February 13, 2017 at 7:10 pm #207726
I bought the FSX 27.5 “Gravity” full suspension model in August. ($449 USD)
I’ve got about 400 miles on it so far, this is what’s broke:
1. Headset is shot, need a new one. Too loose or it binds, no happy medium.
2. Front cranks bent. ( sun tour ). I straightened them with a spanner.
3. Mech Disc Brakes, they are a pain. Constant adjustments and sometimes it starts squealing during a ride.
4. Pogo Stick rear shock. I replaced it with a DNM that was .5″ longer. Works great.
5. Both original tubes have been replaced, high desert and cactus.
But for my first mountain bike at age 45, I’m happy with it. It’s been crashed pretty damn hard so far, and it gets 90% off road or single/dual track trips, very little asphalt or pavement. It is kinda heavy, but I don’t care for just exercise and fun activities.
Since it’s winter, I haven’t had a lot of miles on the new shock yet. Waiting for a little better weather to try that out.
If I were to do it again…..
I would get the one with the tapered 1.125->1.5″ head tube. Better fork shock upgrade options in future. I’d also get one with a wider seat post diameter, at least 30mm, 27.6 is too hard to find a decent dropper post. If I decided to upgrade the bike, I might just order the frame from them and get a new fork, rebuild the whole bike.
I’d rate it 7/10.
I think I’ll put those mechanical dual caliper brakes on the rear, since that’s the one that squeals the most when you are just trying to bleed off a little speed. Full braking it’s fine, but just trying to loose a little speed, makes a hell of a noise.February 16, 2017 at 11:30 am #208033
I thought about it, and ended up going with my LBS. The owner gave me a good deal on last year’s Specialized Fuse, and he gave it to me on a handshake because I wouldn’t have the money for a month and didn’t want to miss the deal. The LBS holds an important position in our local bike culture that no internet retailer could replace – It’s a little like walking into Cheers. Even if I’d had to pay more, I would have felt that it was worthwhile.February 16, 2017 at 1:06 pm #208036
Bought a used bullseye monster fat bike that was barely ridden. Loved the bike, but I did have to change out the heavy tires and tubes. Have since upgraded to a salsa blackborow, but getting the cheaper entry bike was what convinced me to get into fat biking. Have heard mostly good reviews about bikes direct service.June 26, 2017 at 8:21 am #219059
I recently purchased a 400 HT from BD. I am pleased with it so far . I believe it is worth more than what i spent on it. But there is ALOT to be said for dealing with your LBS, sometimes the trade off isn’t worth it.
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