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  1. #1
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    Why are Motobecane bikes so cheap?

    I was looking on bikesdirect.com and there are some great deals on Motobecane road bikes. Why are they so cheap? I read through the specs on a couple bikes and they seem like great bikes to me. I'm just a little suspicious at the cheap price.

  2. #2
    Steaming piles of opinion
    Reputation: danl1's Avatar
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    You mean "Why are they so inexpensive?"

    The answer is because they are so cheap.




    OK, that's probably not completely fair. Certainly the frames are adequate, but they're not anything stellar. Don't fall into the trap of beleiving that all frames (of a given material) are identical in fit, weight, and ride quality. There tends to be good value in the main components, but often the items that get less attention are lower spec. There's not anything inherently wrong with that - the mainline manufacturers do it too on many models.

    Mostly, it's just a tight-margin business model with a few layers of distribution costs (and subsequent profits) shaved out of the channel. You don't have to pay for the shop to help you with selection or fitting, the wrench to assemble and tune the thing, the distributor to provide warranty claims processing, and so on... But you also don't get the benefits that those provide to a regular retail setting. You get to make the call on the importance of those items.
    A good habit is as hard to break as a bad one..

  3. #3
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    Maybe the frames are produced by people who earn 50 cents an hour.
    If your opinion differs from mine, ..........Too bad.
    .
    How would you like it if Hitler killed you
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    Buying parts to hang on your bike is always easier than getting fit.

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffG
    I was looking on bikesdirect.com and there are some great deals on Motobecane road bikes. Why are they so cheap? I read through the specs on a couple bikes and they seem like great bikes to me. I'm just a little suspicious at the cheap price.
    you could buy the bike and throw away the frame and still make money selling the parts on ebay.
    "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." -S. Hawking

  5. #5
    duh...
    Reputation: FatTireFred's Avatar
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    bargain basement market research
    .


    Quote Originally Posted by mikagsd
    Fat tire Fred....you are the bike god of the universe and unless someone agrees with your reasoning they are just plain stupid

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffG
    I was looking on bikesdirect.com and there are some great deals on Motobecane road bikes. Why are they so cheap? I read through the specs on a couple bikes and they seem like great bikes to me. I'm just a little suspicious at the cheap price.
    If it makes you feel better, offer to pay more for the bike.

  7. #7
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Great prices if you know what size you need and the bike comes with the correct stem handlebar size you need, a seat that you can live with, and wheels are descent. Also you might want to look at Neuvation as an option for mail order. You may pay a little more, maybe not, but you will get customer service, and can change out stems, bars and seats. I think you can exchange the frame if you bought the wrong size. You will have lots of wheel choices. But bikesdirect has had some killer deals in the past, but you will not be swapping out parts. Anything you are unhappy with (I assume there is a warranty and I'm not speaking of warranty items) you will pay to replace.
    "The problem with losing your mind is that by the time you realize it's gone, it's too late to get it back."
    Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

  8. #8
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MR_GRUMPY
    Maybe the frames are produced by people who earn 50 cents an hour.
    Yep, the same place where 99% of all carbon bikes are made.

  9. #9
    bas
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    Arent they heavier? kind of look it. i've never felt the weight of one. just going by eyesight.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bas
    Arent they heavier? kind of look it. i've never felt the weight of one. just going by eyesight.

    Actually
    many of the lightest bikes in their class are sold by bikesdirect

    Not that weight is the only measure of bikes that matters
    But we have sold lots of road bikes in the 15 to 16 lb range; most our higher end road bikes are 16 to 17 lbs - not feather weight; but light by industry standards
    And tons of sub 20 lb mountain bikes {I do not know of any company that has sold more sub 20 lb ATBs}
    And our 23lb 29er is not only light, it is so well equipped I can not keep it in stock

    And actually, it would be easy to build even lighter bikes, but there are drawbacks to that also
    mike
    http://www.bikesdirect.com - supports Mtbr.com and RoadBikeReview.com as great places to exchange ideas
    ~~~~
    "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." Mahatma Ghandi

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MR_GRUMPY
    Maybe the frames are produced by people who earn 50 cents an hour.

    Who all gets frames from Advanced Composites, Kinesis, Sunrise, ADK, Maxway, Martec, Astro, Yoan? Just about every company you can think of; including the brands sold by every dealer I know of.

    The fact is: wages are more related to country the frame is made in {in most cases, Taiwan vs China}

    Motobecane has a higher percentage of bikes from Taiwan than Trek, Specialized, Giant, Fuji, Raliegh and about anyone I can think of. Funy thing is; for 10 years people have posted on-line that Motobecanes are made in China - without anyone ever seeing a single one made in China! Not that China is bad, but it is lower cost and lower wages than Taiwan.
    mike
    http://www.bikesdirect.com - supports Mtbr.com and RoadBikeReview.com as great places to exchange ideas
    ~~~~
    "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." Mahatma Ghandi

  12. #12
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by FatTireFred
    bargain basement market research

    It is true
    I do most my research by asking questions in forums
    and reading forum posts

    {still a lot of frame and bike testing; but we try to focus on customer desires}

    See This posted on BF?

    "Originally Posted by solbrothers: i love bd infomercials. they take real opinions from real customers and build bikes people want.

    more companies should do that"

    my response:
    "Please do not give my competitors ideas LOL
    I think listening to customers only makes sense"
    mike
    http://www.bikesdirect.com - supports Mtbr.com and RoadBikeReview.com as great places to exchange ideas
    ~~~~
    "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." Mahatma Ghandi

  13. #13
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    It's true, you do pay a premium to build in Taiwan...but, for now, you get a better quality product for less headache.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bicyclego
    It's true, you do pay a premium to build in Taiwan...but, for now, you get a better quality product for less headache.

    Yes, every company that builds in Taiwan pays a bit more than building in China -- about 5%

    Most companies use Taiwan on bikes over $1000 to $1500
    Trek, Raleigh, Specialized, Fuji, Giant, etc - low-end bikes from China - high-end from Taiwan

    Motobecane & Mercier - all have been from Taiwan

    So at say Sora level - most brands you get a bike from China
    Moto & Mercier - you get Taiwan

    All bikes come with country of origin marked on box and on bike
    mike
    http://www.bikesdirect.com - supports Mtbr.com and RoadBikeReview.com as great places to exchange ideas
    ~~~~
    "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." Mahatma Ghandi

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bocephus Jones II
    you could buy the bike and throw away the frame and still make money selling the parts on ebay.
    Or simply replace the frame with a stellar one.

    Great parts + poor frame = ok bike

    Ok bike - poor frame + Stellar frame = Killer bike!
    "The thrilling chill of pleasure down my spine is worth more to me than the pain"

    "What is more beautiful than an S-works? Not Much."

  16. #16
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    cheap but good

    .For what it's worth (my first post) I bought two motobecanes for my teenage sons. A century elite for my 16 year old and an immortal pro for my 19 year old. I myself have a Cannondale Synapse which I love (as does my wife), but I could not resist the possibility of getting a similar bike for a lot less than my synapse when I bought the century elite. Other than cutting out the LBS and marketing costs I am not sure why they are cheap, as the bikes is pretty much the same quality as my cannondale with the potential exception of some components listed below. The frames appear very nice and ride quality is not discernably different (for me) than my current bike when I have swapped with my son.

    It was good enough that six month's after I bought the Century Elite I bought the Immortal Pro fro my older son when he decided he wanted to start riding. Both bikes did require a bit of tuning when they arrived and I suppose that if you were not capable of this yourself, a tune up at a bike shop would be necessary (I already have a stand and tools), and this would add to the cost of the motobecane bike.

    Other costs might be a new seat (though my kids have not complained), new pedals (the ones that come with the bike are not great) and potentially a new handlebar/stem (if you don't like the Ritchey ergo bar's odd shape or thinness). I don't count the pedals as a problem as my LBS charged me full retail for my and my wifes Shimano SL pedals on our Synapses. That bikes direct throws any pedals in at all is a plus, though I replaced them within a week. I ended up buying pedals online for the motobecane bikes for a lot less than the LBS was selling them.

    My two cents is that if you can deal with a couple of lower end components (seat, handlebars, pedals) and are comfortable tuning a bike yourself (or shipping it back if damaged), the bikesdirect bikes are an outstanding deal. If those things bother you you might be better paying the LBS mark up. I am really happy with the bikes.

    Edit - didn't realize I needed a picture to avoid shilldom. Here is my Synapse and my son's immortal pro

    Why are Motobecane bikes so cheap?-bikes.jpg
    Last edited by RichyG; 08-12-2009 at 06:22 PM.

  17. #17
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    It's a combination of a few things:

    No advertising
    What appears to be minimal R&D
    Mix and match components where you get Shimano derailers combined with no-name cassettes, hubs, stem, seat, etc.
    Minimal dealer network
    Not assembled

    That said I've been enjoying my Motobecane Mirage Pro that I picked up for $499 shipped from sprtymama on Ebay. The front hub squeaks but the seller has offered to refund a reasonable fee for having a shop take a look at it. The bikes aren't hard to assemble and I did it in about an hour along with some fine-tuning later. The simplicity inspired me to watch a few youtube vids so I could get my old Cannondale MTB shifting again, which I did. Anyway, Motobecane filled a nice gap for me between ragged out used '90s bikes on Craigslist and $900 Trek/Felt/Specialized/Fuji bikes. I'm using it for my first triathlon and the main goal was to not break the bank.

    Obligatory pic next to my full size Jeep to prove I'm not a shill:

    Last edited by txalaskan; 08-12-2009 at 06:47 PM.

  18. #18
    duh...
    Reputation: FatTireFred's Avatar
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    a Trojan?
    .


    Quote Originally Posted by mikagsd
    Fat tire Fred....you are the bike god of the universe and unless someone agrees with your reasoning they are just plain stupid

  19. #19
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    I think it's funny that people get acused of being "shills" when they like their Motobecane, but people who have never used their bikes can come on and fire off slander here and there with no problems. I gotta hand it to Mike for taking it so well.

    I actually came to this forum to sincerely congratulate Mike on the lineup of bikes right now. I was going to get one of these for my brother for RAGBRAI, but the SRAM stuff wasn't out yet. We ended up building a SRAM bike in the cheapest way possible and it's great, but it was WAY more expensive than these Motobecane bikes. I have 2 friends who use their Motobecane's all the time, and I've tried one of them out. Personally, I use my own custom build.

    Anyway, the point is: I think what bikesdirect is doing to put high quality bikes in a reasonable price range is a Good Thing for the sport, especially when the high end is skyrocketing in price. I recommend bikesdirect to everyone who talks about getting a bike.

    (I must be a shill!)

  20. #20
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    As a bike shop guy, I'm supposed to hate BD and their bikes. I'm no fan of BD's business practices, but I can't really say much bad about the bikes. I've built several of them, and the only one I've been unimpressed with was the cheapest Windsor road bike (really bad welds; incomplete welds). The Motobecane Vent Noir is really pretty killer for the price. From what I've seen, most of the bikes are simply older models of bigger-name brands. The triathlon bike, for instance, is a couple-year-old Fuji Aloha. The Kinesis bikes are going to resemble Raleighs, as Kinesis makes their frames also.

    The only caution I would give is to either have the bike built/rebuilt at a shop, or do it yourself if you are so inclined. There have been some wacky build issues over the years. It's worth it, IMO, to pay "us" $40-$60 to strip the bike and put it back together. That way you know the brakes are going to work, the wheels are true, the bottom bracket isn't cross-threaded, etc.
    Other countries need to stop hatin' or we'll unfriend them. - Christine

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    Still, it felt great and I felt like I was sitting on some kind of vibrator -Touch0Gray

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by FatTireFred
    a Trojan?
    Indeed, BSCE class of 2004.


  22. #22
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    Immortal Ice (full Ultegra SL), one year old, 6K mikes. Built and tuned myself, normal re-tuning. Replaced saddle, seatpost. Paid 1800, would have spent 3000 or more for a "similar" bike at retail. Having a shop go over a Moto is a good idea for some.

    My next bike will also be a Moto.
    Just ride.

  23. #23
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    I've been trying to figure out why bikesdirect is so cheap... and I have no idea.

    I have a BD bike, a Le Champion with all Ultegra parts, and it's survived two crashes! One two years ago (a fall), and one 6 months ago (hitting the front of my garage while fastened to the top of my car). The later accident was heartbreaking.

    After the second accident, I had to buy a new wheel set (Mavic Equipes) and a new saddle, but the frame and parts were intact!

    I'm looking at this year's models as I might get a better bike. The Ti model (b/c I'm scared I will splinter carbon) with a 3cm larger frame is my top choice, but I still can't believe the prices.

    I also bought my wife a BD bike, a Gigi Pro, and its in fine shape. I had a LBS put both bikes together (50 bucks per bike). They said the bikes were good too.

    Now I know with computers, cars, and most manufactured goods, the net profit margin is pretty slim. I don't see how these bikes can be so much cheaper than a Cannondale. I have a Cannondale MTB (f800), and it always breaks. However, I don't think you can compare b/c it's a mountain bike.

    I know BD must be playing fast and loose somewhere, but I can't figure it out. Until I do find out, I will admit the bikes really are good and have exceeded my expectations. No Joke.

  24. #24
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    I wouldn't call a 3k bike cheap.


    Just not expensive in comparison.

  25. #25
    The Gimlet Eye
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    Quote Originally Posted by txalaskan
    Obligatory pic next to my full size Jeep to prove I'm not a shill:
    Your worse than a shill, your a trigeek...now GTFO!

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