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  1. #1
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    Motobecane Fixie Cafe 2014

    The Motobecane Fixie Cafe 2014 appears to be a new model recently posted to the BikesDirect website. I took delivery of my white 54cm model a couple of days ago and have been very happy with it so far. Note that the name is a bit of a misnomer, as the description states that it comes with a only a freewheel on the flip-flop hub (mine actually arrived with both a freewheel and a fixed cog but I may just be lucky).

    Motobecane Fixie Cafe 2014-photo-2.jpg

    Background
    I converted a 25-year-old Nishiki hybrid into a single speed as a commuter bike. After several years and a couple thousand miles, I was at the point where I was either going to have to substantially rehab the bike (rotting tires and tubes, worn brake pads permanently seized onto the cantilevers, stuttering bottom bracket) or purchase a new one. Since my previous bike never fit me well, I figured the later option made the most sense. Researching on this forum and elsewhere I also realized that I could get a new machine from BikesDirect for about what it would cost me in parts and labor to fix my old bike.

    Of all the models on the BikesDirect website, the Motobecane Fixie Cafe fulfilled all of the items on my wish list: single speed (I don't care about fixed gear); front and rear brakes; upright riding position with flat bar; and fast but not-too-skinny tires. The aluminum frame also intrigued me since I grew up riding a Cannondale mountain bike and I always liked the feel.

    Ordring, Shipping, Assembly
    As many threads have noted, the BikesDirect website looks janky but it works. I found the specs to be accurate, if a bit terse, while the sizing guidelines were spot on. I already knew generally what type of bike I wanted, which makes navigating the site much easier. Payment was processed through PayPal; the listed price includes all shipping and handling costs.

    The bike was shipped by UPS Ground from Texas and arrived in Brooklyn in a week on the exact date specified by the UPS tracking website. Everything was well packed in its cardboard box (similar to how one would pack a bike to check on an airplane). After removing everything and confirming there was no damage from tranit, it took me about 30 minutes to roughly assemble the bike and another half hour/hour to make road-ready by adjusting brakes, tightening all bolts (most came perfectly tight already), and transfering lights, bell, computer, and bottle cage from my old ride. The wheels need to be trued but everything else seems to be in good order. I figure I'll put some break-in miles on the bike and eventually take it to the LBS for a proper tune up. Having done all of the wrenching myself on my previous converted single speed, assembly of the Motobecane was quick and easy by comparison.

    Motobecane Fixie Cafe 2014-photo-1.jpg

    First Impressions
    The Motobecane Fixie Cafe is a solid single-speed bike that is road-ready right out of the box. The frame appears to be well made and someone clearly put a lot of thought into making a comfortable yet non-frumpy city bike. As would be expected at this price point, however, all of the components are no-name, entry level parts (the stem and handlebar in particularly feel cheap).

    All in all, I think the Fixie Cafe is a very good bike for the price. It is roady-ready out of the box and the frame seems to be good enough to justify a few judicious upgrades in the future.

    Components
    Here's a brief table of the components that came with the bike. I found the website specs to be accurate but not always complete (usually lacking manufacturer).

    Brakes Promax RC480 (not on their website but similar to the RC470s which are listed); dual pivot, long-reach calipers
    Levers Promax XL-95
    Hubs Formula high-flange, 32-spoke; rear flip-flop (came with 16t freewheel and and 16t fixed cog--although specs said it was freewheel only)
    Rims Unknown Brand (listed in specs as DA-280A)
    Tires Kenda Kwest 700x28C
    Headset VP Components VP-A71
    BB VP Components VP-BC74
    Crankset Lasco (likely ACF4046A); 170mm crank, 1/8" 46t ring
    Pedals VP Components VP-990A
    Stem No-name alloy; 90mm, 10 degree
    Handlebar No-name alloy; 580mm width, 30mm rise
    Seatpost No-name alloy; 27.2x300mm
    Seat Velo, special BikesDirect model

    I'll try to update once I've put more miles on the bike.

    Edit: Added photos
    Last edited by cdb2106; 09-05-2013 at 06:15 AM.

  2. #2
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    i got motobecane messenger 4 years ago and it has been excellent bike. I got the slightly more expensive mercier silver and I dont like it so much.

    Now we need 3 rd bike and im considering between the fixie cafe and the messenger. Iv become a cheap weight weanie.. lm really interested in buying the Motobecane Fixie Cafe 2014 can you tell me what it weighs. the messenger weighs around 20 lbs (19.5 for 49" model)
    Rafe
    951.454.0893

  3. #3
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    My fixie cafe comes in tomorrow

  4. #4
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    Unfortunately I don't have a scale to weigh the Fixie Cafe. I can definitely tell you it's not feather weight (it's only a little lighter than my wife's geared hybrid). You could probably bring the weight down with a few judicious upgrades, but it may make more sense to just purchase a lighter bike from the get-go.

    That said, I'm still very happy with the Fixie Cafe. My primary motivation in choosing this model was the upright riding position and the price; I wasn't overly concerned with the weight.

    BD clearly put some thought into making this a comfortable city commuter bike. I appreciate that the frame has lugs for the rear brake cable, which are happily routed under the top tube. There are two sets of water bottle mounts and fender mounts. The lack of quick release hardware is preferable since I live in NYC. I even like that the bike came with a chainring guard (although BD sent a set of short bolts for those who want to remove it--further proof that someone thought out the design of this bike).

    The only issue I've had with the bike so far is an occasional clank somewhere in the drivetrain. I was planning on taking to the LBS for a post-break-in tuneup anyway and hopefully they'll be able to correct this.

  5. #5
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    sorry to dig up this old thread, but I'm very interested in the Motobecane Fixie. are you still pleased with the bike?

    i'm eager to get an everyday SS/FG bike for rides around the neighborhood and possibly a frame to upgrade/repurpose down the road. this bike seems to fit those needs pretty well.

    any additional feedback/comments on the bike would be much appreciated!

  6. #6
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    I'm still very happy with the bike, although I have to admit I haven't put as many miles on it as I would like. I would definitely recommend it as a good city commuter that's ready to go out of the box.

    I did take it to the LBS to have it tuned up, hoping it would solve the clunking sound in the drive train, but that didn't seem to solve anything. I'm wondering if they over-tensioned the chain and maybe that's the problem. Other than that I have no complaints.

    That said, I'm not sure I'd purchase this bike with the expectation of upgrading it. I think the components are well matched to the frame--meaning they're both perfectly usable but not particularly sexy. I bought the Fixie Cafe with intention of riding it stock since it's a really well crafted bike for its intended purpose.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the reply, very helpful.

    I'm getting back into riding after a decade off, so I'll probably let the LBS assemble/lube everything up for me and make sure everything is properly done.

    I've heard a few folks mention a knocking/clanking on this bike. a user on YouTube actually posted some videos on the subject. He was able to fix the problem by pulling the BB and re-lubing/tightening things up. Not sure if the issue is similar to what you're experiencing.

    Video of Clanking Noise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1-lvouUUpM

    Video of Repair: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgb86iuTSyA

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the videos about the clanking! I'll definitely get my BB re-lubbed and tightened up. Hopefully it'll solve the one minor problem I've had with the bike. Good luck if you decide to go with the Fixie Cafe. I think it's a great bike for the price/purpose it's intended.

  9. #9
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    After much reading (including this thread, thanks!) I bought a Fixie Cafe early this year. Several hundred miles on it now and loving it. Perfectly fine bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by cdb2106 View Post
    Thanks for the videos about the clanking! I'll definitely get my BB re-lubbed and tightened up. Hopefully it'll solve the one minor problem I've had with the bike. Good luck if you decide to go with the Fixie Cafe. I think it's a great bike for the price/purpose it's intended.
    Mine had drivetrain snapping noises too. Re-installing / lubing the BB did nothing to eliminate them. Flipped over to fixed side and the sounds went away. The problem is in the cheap freewheel.

    When I contacted BD, they were aware that it was a common problem. They offered to replace the FW (with another of the same junky unit) or issue a modest refund.

    I installed a new Shimano freewheel and the annoying sounds were greatly reduced, but not totally eliminated. A single speed/fixed gear should be quiet!

    Installing the expensive ENO freewheel silenced things up nicely. (except when you coast, then it sounds like a squadron of angry hornets!)

    I then flipped over to fixed, and have yet to actually use my fancy FW!

  10. #10
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    Just pulled the trigger today on one of these to use as a winter commuter with studded tires. It says wide tires fit on the BD site, and the promax calipers are long reach, but can anyone who owns one confirm that 700 x 32 with full fenders will fit?

    I know the bike doesn't have fender eyelits in the back dropout, which is strange to me since it has rack mounts, but I intend to use p-clamps as a work-around. Thanks.

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