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.August 21, 2017 at 1:45 pm #223114
Well, I recently purchased one of the most expensive bikes that BD offers: 2017 HAL Boost Team – its a 27.5 Boost with 2.8 Tires and SRAM Eagle/Shimano XT components. I love the specs; its a beautiful piece of machinery, and received it less than a month ago. I must say that I love the value, and could speak to the upgrade able components possibly at the end of the post. Lets talk about the issue for a moment, as it has opened my eyes to potential challenges when not purchasing from a local face:
I am having a difficulty with the frame, and it is turning into an “experience” to get it reconciled. Initially, the description said that it came with ISCG-05 mounts around the pressed bearing bottom bracket, which it did not. I contacted Customer Service, and they said that it was a description “mistake” and took it off from the website description:
“Hello again, It appears the ISCG-05 mount is not on the bikes and is a typo from the factory. We are in the process of updating the listings. Please let me know if there is anything else I can help with. Best regards”
<table style=”height: 189px;” width=”1052″>
<td>BOOST Axle Spacing 29 / 27.5+ SUSP. MTB ALLOY(6061) WHEEL TRAVEL: Up to 140mm. B.B. SHELL: BB92 ALUMINUM 41x92MM W/ISCG-05 ( KNUCKLE BOX MADE BY CNC ) Hydroformed Butted and Geometric Multishaped Aluminum tubes,1 set H2O Bosses (Small has no bosses), Four Bar Rocker Arm with HAL Linkage. Gusseted SL 6061 Aluminum (Disc Brake Equipped) Super Smooth Sealed Cartridge Bearings at critical pivots, Dropouts: ALUMINUM VERTICAL W/ALUMINUM REPLACEABLE HANGER W/POST DISK MOUNT. O.L.N:148MM, (Riders are reporting there is Room for 27×3.5″ and some 29×2.8 tires, not all tires will fit) HEADTUBE 1-1/8″/1.5″ ( 44/56mm ) L: 38/43/48/52M=100/120/130/140mm</td>
Not a deal breaker, however anyone running a 1x drive train that costs what an SRAM Eagle runs, had better figure out some kind of bashguard configuration that works with a pressed bearing BB – Good luck on that one. Cost for the return shipping on parts ordered was not covered by BD based on the “typo”.
That was an issue, but my on-going problem is that essentially, the frame at the bottom tube is crackling. Understanding that there are many things that could cause “noises”, I have repacked the head tube bearings, greased the spacers, torque-wrenched the stem and bars and still am getting the crackling when putting pressure on the frame, then crackling again when lifting (almost like it creaks going down, then coming back up). I had it at the LBS for a couple hours, and we narrowed it down to something in the frame bottom tube – you could feel the vibration and everything.
I have been in contact with customer service which is all via email, and can say that they have been responsive communication wise. Here is the response that I received this morning:
“Hello, I will be glad to help. Unfortunately noise is not a defect that affects function. Is there a function issue? Second- noise can be caused by numerous things and without the bike in front of me I’m not sure what the cause can be based on the video you sent. Also- check chainrings for tightness, wrap all threaded interfaces with teflon tape and torque to spec. Use anti-seize on all flat interfaces. Use some carbon grip paste on the seatpost tube. Make sure cranks, pedals and chainring bolts are all properly tightened. If your able to track down the exact cause please let me know and we can go from there. Best regards”
Mind you, this is a brand new bike that has never been ridden on a trail, only professionally set-up, and ridden in the parking lot to make sure everything jived. You should be the judge to determine if this is acceptable to you and your potential experience or not. The reps suggestions, while sound, are not something the average Joe that just threw down $3k on a bike should have to do out of the box – literally, in my opinion. There is a lot of time and cost involved in those actions, none of which lend to the initial excitement value of the SUBSTANTIAL purchase of your new ride. The jury is still out for me, as I love the bike, but am annoyed by the clicking coming from the frame after spending hours to track it down, and the expense of having it professionally set-up and diagnosed.
As a side note, if anyone has experienced this before please comment with suggestions for getting the fix (short of replacing a potentially faulty frame). The bike shop had experienced this one time previously on a Salsa frame. Kinesis who manufactures for Trek, Santa Cruz and others made the frame. I will attach the link of the exact frame that is on the HAL Boost. http://www.kinesis.com.tw/s/2/product-501693/I8610-2017-27-5-inch-Plus-Suspension.html
As far as what should be upgraded to really bring this bike to the standard of the components: the seat post, handle bars & grips, and seat are base model stuff – good to get you going, but certainly would budget for others to improve your experience. As mentioned earlier, the bash guard option should be a serious consideration for someone typically riding this machine to the function it is spec’d for. It does come with an HDM for chain guide.
Pro-active suggestions on the creaking would be much appreciated as well as the ISCG-05 mount – Cheers!August 23, 2017 at 10:33 am #223312
I purchased my first non-BMX bike from Bikes Direct about three weeks ago. It is a Gravity Bullseye Monster, fat-tire bike. Being my first type of MTB bike, I’m not to familiar with all the pieces and lingo, but can tell you it does have Shimano SRAM Shifters and Tektro Brakes. The tires that came with it a VEE Mission Command, which don’t seem that cheap either.
I so far have about 100 miles on the bike and am loving it so far, and have no complaints about the bike or Bikes Direct.
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