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  1. #1
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    BikesDirect Motobecane Titanium Bikes

    I want a third bike of a different frame material than the aluminum and steel I already have. Iíve decided Iíd prefer to get titanium rather than carbon and with a budget topping out around $2500 this had led me to the BikesDirect option.

    I have seen positive feedback about the company in various threads and have read some positive reviews of their various Motobecane Ti models. However, I am nervous about ordering a bike that I have never ridden through the mail. I have a size 53 in Jamis and a 54 in Specialized. Motobecanes jump from 53 to 56 so my only option would be the 53, correct? Would there be enough tweaking possible with the seat and stem that I could be sure of a good fit? How much of a risk is it to buy a bike without first riding it?

    These are their Ti bikes:
    Save up to 60% off Road Bikes, Titanium Road Bikes, Dura Ace Road Bikes, Ultegra Road Bikes - bikesdirect.com

    Of those first five models, can someone offer feedback of their strengths/weaknesses for the cost differences? Iíve never ridden with SRAM components. Is the Red group durable and worth the upgrade from Ultegra? Iím not concerned particularly about grams of difference as I donít race but want sustained functional durability.

    Are the Kysrium Elites worth the extra cost over the Equipes? I have Kysrium SLs on my Jamis and remain impressed with them but am unsure whether such quality is maintained throughout the Kysrium line.

    I would be having my LBS assemble it assuming they would accept the business without the bike being bought there.

    Sorry for all the questions but Iíd really appreciate some input on this process. This will likely be my last bike purchase for a very long time and I want to take all the steps I can to ensure its success!

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Look at the dimensions/geometry of the bikes you have now to help with the sizing of the BD bike.
    2013 DeVinci Leo SL

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    First do not lie to yourself. You will get the itch to buy a new bike before "a very long time".

    I started using SRAM Red components on my latest bike and love them. I originally was going to go with the Force grouppo but found a killer deal on the Red so I went with that. My understanding is that the Red upgrade is mainly tied to weight and bling factor.

    I don't have any experience with BikesDirect. I did find a used Ti bike through the RBR classifeds and was very happy with the bang for the buck.
    Last edited by Joe the biker; 10-18-2011 at 09:39 AM.

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    I own a BD LeChampion Titanium Heat, purchased in March 2011.



    (photo album: titanium hybrid - a set on Flickr )

    I duplicated the fit of my old bike onto the LeChamp Ti by using the Effective Top Tube measurement of my old bike, which is 565mm. The closest LeChamp Ti to that was the 56cm frame, which had an ETT of 572mm.

    The fit was darn near identical to my old bike after I swapped in a stem that is 10mm shorter, and put on the seatpost and seat that is identical from my old bike. (the Ritchey seatpost and seat that came stock on the LeChamp Ti has too much setback for my comfort).

    It's a very comfy bike once I got my fit dialed in. Put 2000 miles on the bike so far and the only issue I had was the SRAM GXP bottom bracket crapping out (not BD's fault-- I lay this one squarely on SRAM's doorstep). Replaced it with a Chris King BB and it's been flawless. Of all my bikes this one is my favorite. Tough, corrosion-resistant, easy to maintain (especially with the Chris King BB and the grease injector tool), and I like the ride quality even better than my old carbon bike.

    As far as the component groups go, SRAM's DoubleTap shifting system does take a bit getting used to if you are accustomed to riding Shimano STI.

    The chief difference between SRAM Red vs. lower groups like Force, Rival and Apex is the Zero-Loss shifting on the Red, which makes the shifting throw shorter. (Force has Zero-Loss on the right shifter for the RD only, no Zero-Loss on the front).

    I put Ksyrium SLs on my bike (see my flickr album). The Ksyrium Elite is essentially the same rim as the Ksyrium SL but with different hubs, so the Elite is 50 grams heavier for the wheelset. If I had to buy my wheels all over again I would have gone for the Elites rather than the SLs.

    I assembled the bike and did all the maintenance myself. This was the first bike I bought which I did all the work myself without going to the LBS.

  5. #5
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    Don't forget that this forum has a review tab, click on that tab, then click on the manufacture tab, scan down till you find Motobecane and click, then simply find whichever bike you're interested in and read the reviews.

    I've read other forums on these TI bikes and so far I haven't read any complaints. The only real upgrade that some riders are suggesting is to find a set of lighter wheels, but that's true with just about any fully equipped mid end bike, and the pedals and the seat were also questioned by a few. Motobecane is offering a TI frame for a very low cost so they had to save money in some areas, only goes to reason. So if at some point you decide to upgrade those weaker components then you have a great frame to do that on.

    One of the reviewers I read was even racing on his, not sure if it was this forum or another, he loved it for racing on. So I would assume based on that review that the frame is adequately built to handle racing, which means it's more then adequately built for the everyday rider that doesn't race.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mopartodd View Post
    Look at the dimensions/geometry of the bikes you have now to help with the sizing of the BD bike.
    All signs are pointing to the 53.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe the biker View Post
    First do not lie to yourself. You will get the itch to buy a new bike before "a very long time".

    I started using SRAM Red components on my latest bike and love them. I originally was going to go with the Force grouppo but found a killer deal on the Red so I went with that. My understanding is that the Red upgrade is mainly tied to weight and bling factor.

    I don't have any experience with BikesDirect. I did find a used Ti bike through the RBR classifeds and was very happy with the bang for the buck.
    Haha, I'm sure the "itch" might return but it's been 9 years since I bought my last bike and this will be my last hurrah before my wife and I have our first child (he's due in February) and luxury expenditures will be cut to the bone.

    Quote Originally Posted by LongIslandTom View Post
    I own a BD LeChampion Titanium Heat, purchased in March 2011.



    (photo album: titanium hybrid - a set on Flickr )

    I duplicated the fit of my old bike onto the LeChamp Ti by using the Effective Top Tube measurement of my old bike, which is 565mm. The closest LeChamp Ti to that was the 56cm frame, which had an ETT of 572mm.

    The fit was darn near identical to my old bike after I swapped in a stem that is 10mm shorter, and put on the seatpost and seat that is identical from my old bike. (the Ritchey seatpost and seat that came stock on the LeChamp Ti has too much setback for my comfort).

    It's a very comfy bike once I got my fit dialed in. Put 2000 miles on the bike so far and the only issue I had was the SRAM GXP bottom bracket crapping out (not BD's fault-- I lay this one squarely on SRAM's doorstep). Replaced it with a Chris King BB and it's been flawless. Of all my bikes this one is my favorite. Tough, corrosion-resistant, easy to maintain (especially with the Chris King BB and the grease injector tool), and I like the ride quality even better than my old carbon bike.

    As far as the component groups go, SRAM's DoubleTap shifting system does take a bit getting used to if you are accustomed to riding Shimano STI.

    The chief difference between SRAM Red vs. lower groups like Force, Rival and Apex is the Zero-Loss shifting on the Red, which makes the shifting throw shorter. (Force has Zero-Loss on the right shifter for the RD only, no Zero-Loss on the front).

    I put Ksyrium SLs on my bike (see my flickr album). The Ksyrium Elite is essentially the same rim as the Ksyrium SL but with different hubs, so the Elite is 50 grams heavier for the wheelset. If I had to buy my wheels all over again I would have gone for the Elites rather than the SLs.

    I assembled the bike and did all the maintenance myself. This was the first bike I bought which I did all the work myself without going to the LBS.
    Thanks for your analysis. That's a bit disconcerting about the BB. I wonder if the other models besides the Heat have the same one... Almost everyone seems to dislike the seatpost and seat. I had the replace the seat on my Jamis. It seems to be an area where bike manufacturers like to skimp.

    I assume the DoubleTap system is self-explanatory even if it takes some time to get used. I've read that some still prefer Shimano whereas others like SRAM.

    The wheel choices at bikesdirect come down to Aksium, Elite or Equipe. I'd like the Elite but would consider the others.

    Quote Originally Posted by froze View Post
    Don't forget that this forum has a review tab, click on that tab, then click on the manufacture tab, scan down till you find Motobecane and click, then simply find whichever bike you're interested in and read the reviews.

    I've read other forums on these TI bikes and so far I haven't read any complaints. The only real upgrade that some riders are suggesting is to find a set of lighter wheels, but that's true with just about any fully equipped mid end bike, and the pedals and the seat were also questioned by a few. Motobecane is offering a TI frame for a very low cost so they had to save money in some areas, only goes to reason. So if at some point you decide to upgrade those weaker components then you have a great frame to do that on.

    One of the reviewers I read was even racing on his, not sure if it was this forum or another, he loved it for racing on. So I would assume based on that review that the frame is adequately built to handle racing, which means it's more then adequately built for the everyday rider that doesn't race.
    I did look through those reviews. I'm just searching for all the feedback I can get further before making this purchase. The main thing so far is that people seem happy with the titanium frame and there are few places to get one this cheap.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonB176 View Post
    Thanks for your analysis. That's a bit disconcerting about the BB. I wonder if the other models besides the Heat have the same one... Almost everyone seems to dislike the seatpost and seat. I had the replace the seat on my Jamis. It seems to be an area where bike manufacturers like to skimp.

    I assume the DoubleTap system is self-explanatory even if it takes some time to get used. I've read that some still prefer Shimano whereas others like SRAM.

    The wheel choices at bikesdirect come down to Aksium, Elite or Equipe. I'd like the Elite but would consider the others.
    I wouldn't worry about the BB. All of the external outboard bearing BB systems like FSA MegaExo, SRAM GXP, Shimano Hollowtech II, and even Campy UltraTorque may develop bearing issues after just a short period of use, due to the exposed nature of the outboard bearings. Unlike the old internal cartridge BB systems which have the bearings deep inside the frame's BB shell, outboard bearings are exposed to all the water, mud, grit, sand and other debris thrown up by your front wheel. So I'm not surprised at all that the SRAM GXP BB on my LeChamp Ti Heat crapped out after 2 months of use.

    If yours do crap out, use it as an opportunity to upgrade to a better BB with better-sealed bearings. Third-party manufacturers like Hope, Chris King, etc. all offer BBs that will work with either Shimano/MegaExo or SRAM GXP. I went with the Chris King for the ease of maintenance. I expect the Chris King will be the very last BB I will ever need to buy for my bike.

    The Red-equipped LeChamp Ti uses SRAM's Black Box Ceramic BBs, which I don't think is worth the extra cost at all (also lots of reports of that BB crapping out after a short period of use). It is just as much of a hassle to maintain as the lower-end steel-ball SRAM GXP BBs (you have to tear out the seals on the bearings if you want to clean and regrease them). The only reason IMHO to buy a Red-equipped bike is for the full set of Zero-Loss shifters.

    I do love how easy it is to install or take off SRAM's GXP cranks though, with just an 8mm allen key. Combine that with the Chris King BB, and I have the easiest set of BB/cranks that an end user can service and maintain.

    As far as seats and seatposts go, saddle choice is highly personal-- Everyone has a slightly different butt, and there are absolutely no guarantees that a factory seat will be comfortable for any one person. I ALWAYS buy a bike under the assumption that I will have to replace the seat!

  8. #8
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    Hope talk about their seals and CK talks about their ease of maintenance. Does anyone know which BB is the best one for longevity? Isn't the CK BB the one with the grease injector port? So one could be reasonable in assuming that the CK should be the most reliable since you can keep the grease very clean?

    The cycling industry had gone crazy, they make an external bearing system that offers more oppurtunity for problems then staying with the old true and tried internal bearing system that had very few problems.

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    Yup.. Chris King is the one that you can service with a grease injector tool-- No need to remove the bearing seals to clean and relube it. With the grease injector tool, you inject fresh grease which at the same time purges the old dirty grease from the BB.

    I heard that some other third-party component makers are also offering BBs that can be serviced with grease injector tools, but so far CK is the one I know for sure that has one.

    When my SRAM Rival GXP BB developed problems, I was contemplating replacing it with a $195 SRAM Black Box GXP ceramic BB, or the Chris King for approximately $120 + $40 for the grease injector tool. Then I read the reviews for the Black Box GXP ceramic BBs: SRAM GXP Blackbox Ceramic BB Cups Bottom Brackets Reviews

    The choice was easy after that. I went for the Chris King + injector tool.

    The only thing with the CK is that you have to use the same chemistry grease as the factory grease already in the BB. If you mix two different grease types (such as mixing Lithium grease with Polyurea grease), the grease will break down and may ruin the bearings.

    I think the CK comes pre-packed with polyurea grease. (I sent them an email. We'll see what they say).

  10. #10
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    I went all out and got the Champion Team Titanium:
    Titanium Road Bikes, Roadbikes - 2011 Motobecane Le Champion Team Ti

    This will seriously be my last splurge so I just went for it. Part of it was me being reluctant to try SRAM so I got DuraAce with the Team. I also was reluctant to go with the compact cranks of the lower priced models. The other part was really wanting the Elite wheels rather than the Equipes or Aksiums.

    Wish me luck that the size 53 will fit me well!

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    Congrats! I'm sure you will enjoy your LeChamp Ti as much as I enjoy mine.

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    You'll love this bike! I do! And I'm 5' 9", and the 53 fits me great!

  13. #13
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    Your last splurge? If that was your last splurge your first splurge must have been something to behold! Just kidding! Seriously, congrats, it's a great bike from everything I've read about it, you'll be riding that bike for the rest of your life...and then probably hand it down to grand kid!!

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    Froze:

    Follow-up: I just heard back from Evan Gaspar, the product rep at Chris King.

    He says a Polyurea-based grease like Park Tool Polylube is compatible with the factory-packed grease already in the BB.

    I got a 14-oz. tube of Exxon Mobil's Polyrex EM, which is a top-of-the-line Polyurea grease. Should be enough for injecting my Chris King BB at least 20 times (10 years of use if I regrease every 6 months).

    Also, the only other external-bearing bottom bracket system I could find that uses a grease injector tool is the Pace RC80, but it appears to be available only in Great Britain.

    I'm looking forward to many years of trouble-free service from my Chris King BB!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by LongIslandTom View Post
    Froze:

    Follow-up: I just heard back from Evan Gaspar, the product rep at Chris King.

    He says a Polyurea-based grease like Park Tool Polylube is compatible with the factory-packed grease already in the BB.

    I got a 14-oz. tube of Exxon Mobil's Polyrex EM, which is a top-of-the-line Polyurea grease. Should be enough for injecting my Chris King BB at least 20 times (10 years of use if I regrease every 6 months).

    Also, the only other external-bearing bottom bracket system I could find that uses a grease injector tool is the Pace RC80, but it appears to be available only in Great Britain.

    I'm looking forward to many years of trouble-free service from my Chris King BB!
    That was good info, thanks for sharing it. I like the fact the Chris King has the injector system, this should allow the BB bearings to last a very long time assuming of course a person maintains it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonB176 View Post
    I went all out and got the Champion Team Titanium:
    Titanium Road Bikes, Roadbikes - 2011 Motobecane Le Champion Team Ti

    This will seriously be my last splurge so I just went for it. Part of it was me being reluctant to try SRAM so I got DuraAce with the Team. I also was reluctant to go with the compact cranks of the lower priced models. The other part was really wanting the Elite wheels rather than the Equipes or Aksiums.

    Wish me luck that the size 53 will fit me well!
    Congratulation on your new Ti ride
    Post a few photos of the completed build.

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    Congratulations! I hope that you really enjoy it. (I'm considering the LC Fire, despite the gaudy red decals.) It would be great if you would post some pics and a review comparing the ride and handling to your other bikes.

    Remember that, if the size is not right, you can return it within 30 days. It might be a good idea to video the unboxing so that you can repack everything exactly the same way, if necessary -- hopefully not through.

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    Thanks everyone. My bike is on its way and due to arrive at the UPS facility by late on Friday. I've arranged to pick it up there as I'm not usually home during the week. Hopefully by Monday evening I will have it! I'll take plenty of photos pre-build and post-build and, of course, give a full ride report.

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    I picked it up today and the box was in pristine condition. I opened it enough to check things out but plan on having my LBS put it together so I didn't take everything all the way out. What's up with all the reflectors and the frisbee next to the cassette in back? Are there some regulations that require them to put these things with it? I guess I can understand the reflectors (though they'll definitely be removed from my bike) but can't fathom the reason they put the frisbee on unless there is some regulation that requires it.

    Hopefully the build will be complete by the middle of next week!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonB176 View Post
    I picked it up today and the box was in pristine condition. I opened it enough to check things out but plan on having my LBS put it together so I didn't take everything all the way out. What's up with all the reflectors and the frisbee next to the cassette in back? Are there some regulations that require them to put these things with it? I guess I can understand the reflectors (though they'll definitely be removed from my bike) but can't fathom the reason they put the frisbee on unless there is some regulation that requires it.

    Hopefully the build will be complete by the middle of next week!
    Refectors are required by law, thus their on all bikes, good news is you can remove them.

    The "frisbee" can also be removed, either the LBS can do it or you can. But it's designed to prevent the chain from slipping off first gear and falling between the gear and the spokes eating the spokes, but that would only happen if the derailleur is not adjusted correctly. But being a cross bike and the potential of banging around off road that problem could come up more then on the road.

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    Any reason why you don't want to put it together yourself?

    Out of the box, to put together my LeChamp Ti Heat, all I had to do was:

    - Put the front wheel on and tighten the quick-release.

    - bolt the handlebar onto the stem.

    - grease the seatpost, insert into seat tube, tighten seat post clamp.

    - inflate tires.

    - ??

    - profit.


  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by froze View Post
    Refectors are required by law, thus their on all bikes, good news is you can remove them.

    The "frisbee" can also be removed, either the LBS can do it or you can. But it's designed to prevent the chain from slipping off first gear and falling between the gear and the spokes eating the spokes, but that would only happen if the derailleur is not adjusted correctly. But being a cross bike and the potential of banging around off road that problem could come up more then on the road.
    When I got my Jamis Eclipse new, it didn't have a single reflector nor the frisbee so I was thinking higher end bikes perhaps were spared these additions. I know the purpose of the frisbee but it looks atrocious and shouldn't be needed. My mountain bikes have never had them either.

    Quote Originally Posted by LongIslandTom View Post
    Any reason why you don't want to put it together yourself?

    Out of the box, to put together my LeChamp Ti Heat, all I had to do was:

    - Put the front wheel on and tighten the quick-release.

    - bolt the handlebar onto the stem.

    - grease the seatpost, insert into seat tube, tighten seat post clamp.

    - inflate tires.

    - ??

    - profit.

    I suck at mechanical stuff. I'm thinking that there may need to be adjustments made and I'd rather start with a professional build. I also wouldn't know how to remove the frisbee short of cutting it off.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonB176 View Post
    When I got my Jamis Eclipse new, it didn't have a single reflector nor the frisbee so I was thinking higher end bikes perhaps were spared these additions. I know the purpose of the frisbee but it looks atrocious and shouldn't be needed. My mountain bikes have never had them either.



    I suck at mechanical stuff. I'm thinking that there may need to be adjustments made and I'd rather start with a professional build. I also wouldn't know how to remove the frisbee short of cutting it off.
    All the bikes at any LBS have reflectors except for Tri bikes...that I've noticed anyways.

    I do some light touring, eventually will become heavy touring when I retire, and the handful of people that I know that tour most have either kept their frisbee's on or had them put on. There is a remote chance, notice the key word remote, that should a derailleur go out of adjustment while touring and you don't notice it...until you go for first gear, then the chain drops between first gear and the spokes, breaking who knows how many, but regardless stranding you on the side of the road. You don't want that to happen touring, so you try to eliminate as many problems as possible, and the frisbee eliminates that problem. This frisbee is really more essential with old school friction shifters, such as one of my touring bikes, then it is with index shifting as my other touring bike has, but the possibility is still there howbeit very remote.

    Like I said earlier though, if the bike will not be used for touring then don't worry about and get rid of it, just make sure you keep your bike well maintained and adjusted which is something you should be doing all the time anyways.

    It's ok if you suck at mechanical stuff. But just keep the bike maintained, which means every year at the beginning of the cycling season (usually about a month before to beat the rush) take it in and have it gone over. But learn to, if you haven't already learned, to keep the chain clean and lubricated well. Either buy a repair book or go on line to repair sites such as these:

    Bicycle Tutor - Bike Repair Video Tutorials
    Park Tool Co. Ľ ParkTool Blog
    Bicycle Bike Noises, Clicks, Ticks, Creaks, Clunks, Knocks Repair by Jim Langley
    http://www.bikewebsite.com/index.htm

    Start out doing the simplest repairs first then slowly move into more complicated stuff. Some problems you may incur may seem difficult like weird noises, but if you look at the web sites I gave you you may find an easy check and discover that the check and the fix worked! Of course you can always post on this forum for advice on any repair. But above all else, take the bike in for annual tuneup every year if you're not comfortable with doing it yourself, this will prolong the life of the components so that the money you spend on tuneups in the long run will be cheaper and less headaches then having to replace parts due to failure to maintain said parts.

    At least become very good at repairing flats, this includes patching. I use glueless patches because it eliminates the gluing process thus it's faster and simpler. You can ask about what to carry on rides on another post if you're not sure. But I think you've been riding for a while so you probably already know what to carry and how to fix a flat.
    Last edited by froze; 10-29-2011 at 08:05 AM.

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    By the way, here is a post where a person's index shifting bike fell out of adjustment and the chain slipped between the first gear and the spokes breaking the chain (the spoke broke later, probably due to the chain cutting a spoke enough to delay it breaking for a bi), this just happened, very timely I thought. There is no dork disk on this guys bike which would have prevented this:

    Seeking Advise

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by froze View Post
    All the bikes at any LBS have reflectors except for Tri bikes...that I've noticed anyways.

    I do some light touring, eventually will become heavy touring when I retire, and the handful of people that I know that tour most have either kept their frisbee's on or had them put on. There is a remote chance, notice the key word remote, that should a derailleur go out of adjustment while touring and you don't notice it...until you go for first gear, then the chain drops between first gear and the spokes, breaking who knows how many, but regardless stranding you on the side of the road. You don't want that to happen touring, so you try to eliminate as many problems as possible, and the frisbee eliminates that problem. This frisbee is really more essential with old school friction shifters, such as one of my touring bikes, then it is with index shifting as my other touring bike has, but the possibility is still there howbeit very remote.

    Like I said earlier though, if the bike will not be used for touring then don't worry about and get rid of it, just make sure you keep your bike well maintained and adjusted which is something you should be doing all the time anyways.

    It's ok if you suck at mechanical stuff. But just keep the bike maintained, which means every year at the beginning of the cycling season (usually about a month before to beat the rush) take it in and have it gone over. But learn to, if you haven't already learned, to keep the chain clean and lubricated well. Either buy a repair book or go on line to repair sites such as these:

    Bicycle Tutor - Bike Repair Video Tutorials
    Park Tool Co. Ľ ParkTool Blog
    Bicycle Bike Noises, Clicks, Ticks, Creaks, Clunks, Knocks Repair by Jim Langley
    http://www.bikewebsite.com/index.htm

    Start out doing the simplest repairs first then slowly move into more complicated stuff. Some problems you may incur may seem difficult like weird noises, but if you look at the web sites I gave you you may find an easy check and discover that the check and the fix worked! Of course you can always post on this forum for advice on any repair. But above all else, take the bike in for annual tuneup every year if you're not comfortable with doing it yourself, this will prolong the life of the components so that the money you spend on tuneups in the long run will be cheaper and less headaches then having to replace parts due to failure to maintain said parts.

    At least become very good at repairing flats, this includes patching. I use glueless patches because it eliminates the gluing process thus it's faster and simpler. You can ask about what to carry on rides on another post if you're not sure. But I think you've been riding for a while so you probably already know what to carry and how to fix a flat.
    Thanks for links. I am diligent at caring for the chains and other components. I fix my own flats but have always done so by replacing the tube. I do carry patches just in case I hit really bad luck and get two flats on one ride.

    I've also trued wheels in the past but have not attempted it on Ksyriums which fortunately rarely need it.

    I am bringing the new bike into to my LBS this afternoon and they've promised it will be complete and frisbee-free by the end of the day. I'll post pics!

    I've been having to use my beater the last few rides as we've had October snow here in Massachusetts. Hopefully I'll be able to try the new Ti bike before winter really sets in.

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