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Motobecane Whipshot Ti

Old 08-13-18, 01:55 PM
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pamcinto
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Motobecane Whipshot Ti

I pulled the pin on my first Bikesdirect order.
(Motobecane Whipshot TI FORCE1 - sorry can`t post URLs)
(Apparently it won`t let me post pictures either. pretty stupid rules for new users here)

I took a few chances on this one:
  • I couldn't find any reviews on this model from bikesdirect as it's a new release.
  • I'm in Canada so the ordering process was a little tricky.
But at the end of the day, I was looking for a Titanium frame for my year-round commute and this seemed to be worth the effort after exploring all local bike shops extending a few provinces.

The buying process seemed enormously difficult at first glance. All worked out easier than originally thought. Here's the order of my operations:
  • The bike is shipped anywhere in the US, not Canada
  • It seemed I would have to pay with a credit card with a US billing address. This wasn't accessible for me.
  • They have a service they (bikesdirect) advertise for us Canadians (personal shopper service). This was enormously expensive, would have to ship to Florida (wrong way!) and they still wouldn't ship to Canada with a known brokerage fee (blank cheque in my experience)
  • Figured out that you can usually phone your credit card company and have a second address added to the account (shipment warehouse)
  • Wound up not needing it. Too much internet searching time.....I wound up phoning the accounting group there and they said they could process a Canadian card without any change in billing address over the phone.
  • Found a convenient shipping receiver called Montana Shipping.
  • Phoned, paid, and waited for the bike to arrive at the warehouse.
  • Drove across the border, picked up the bike (cost $6US for warehouse), drove back across the border.
  • Duties and Customs vary depending on what you are bringing back. I knew GST (5% sales tax) was a given. Duty could vary from 0-12% depending on how they classified the bike. Parts being duty-free, complete bike being 12%
  • Had a great border guard who was genuinely interested in the bike and bikesdirect and correctly classified it as a full complement of parts, but not a complete bike.
So now I have my bike. I was camping so I built it in the campsite with a stand and tool kit.


Pictures removed. Dumb rules.





In addition to the back half being assembled completely for me, the front half had been completely assembled and only the steerer was set at 90 degrees to fit in the box, the handlebar detached, and the seat post removed. Pretty easy job!
Despite the whipshot Ti not having carbon seatpost or handlebars, I had bought myself a BBB torque wrench for this job. I made sure to use it to set appropriate torque on the stem, handle bar and seatpost. The only tool I hadn't predicted I needed was a wrench to install the brake rotor on the front wheel. I had one luckily, but not one with torque control (40Nm is correct setting). This one I had to do by feel.


Pictures removed. Dumb rules.


Now to get everything tuned!

I had quite a struggle getting the rear derailleur (only one on this bike) tuned in. The derailleur was definitely in need of tuning here, I don't really believe it had been factory tuned at all. My skills doing this from almost scratch proved unsuccessful and even frustrating until I was able to get back into WiFi land and watch some videos. This one is awesome (How to Adjust a Rear Derailleur Ė Limit Screws & Indexing by Park Tool )
Next I found some play in my headset. This was an easy fix. Again a great video (How To Tighten Your Headset | Road Bike Maintenance by Global Cycling Network)
Everything is rolling nicely now. I have both front and rear brakes rubbing slightly, and I will get those sorted out. This one looks pretty straight forward as well, but I will know tonight.
I took the bike out for a first commute to work this morning and everything worked like a charm (25% street, 25% gravel switchbacks, 50% bike path). I`m very happy with the fit. I was nervous about this as it is really a no-return policy for me. This tool was invaluable (Fit Calculator by Competitive Cyclist) A fair number of measurements and a three levels of fit (comfort-competitive).
I will be fixing brake rub and learning how to `bed-in`the brakes tonight. After that, I might figure out if there are any other tweaks to fit that are worth while such as stem length and saddle width.

This is a great bike. I will attach a finished picture soon and will see if I can`t weigh it reasonably as most folks like to know that.

Peter
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Old 08-14-18, 07:28 AM
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Save Up to 60% Off Disc Brake CycloCross Cross CX Bikes - Motobecane Whipshot TI Titanium SRAM FORCE1 Hydraulic Disc Brake CycloCross Cross CX Bikes
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Old 08-14-18, 11:38 AM
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Thanks for the review, but you need to post more often!

I've read some reviews on BD stuff on Bicycling lately, but they are horribly written. 90% of the review is on the comonents, and 5% is on riding (I took the bike out and it road great). Not very professional.

That is an expensive bike, but crazy cheap for what you get. I've been riding a BD bike (their Alu CX bike). Works great, does what it is supposed to do - guess I can't say much more good/bad about my BD frames either, LOL. (well, I could, but who cares?). Its a basic Al frame.
I got mine off of craig's list, so I got a test ride, and got to avoid those install issues. I bought a Canyon also - those bikes are build and boxed incredibly well (unlike BD or Ralleigh for example).

Yep, GCN, and Park tool have some great videos.
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Old 08-14-18, 02:24 PM
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I`ve now done two downhill commutes (to work) and one uphill (home). My experience is based solely on mountain bikes. I`ve done this commute with a 29er single speed (GF Rig) and my full suspension Marin Mount Vision (26er). Here are a few notes with those as reference points.

Downhill:
-The Whipshot is much more responsive in it`s steering.
-The wheels are the same diameter as my 29er, but these make the 29er feel like pretty flexible sluggish wheels. Tires may have an impact here as well
-I`m getting more comfortable on the downhill (gravel switchbacks) and I think it`s as sure-footed as my mountain bikes
-I`ve got tonnes of high gears compared to the 3x9 mountain bike. Definitely geared higher than a mountain bike
-The frame rear-end is definitely more compliant than my aluminum hard tail even with the relatively soft MTB tires.
-The front end takes more concentration over the bumps.
-This morning I took a rooty and rocky forrest trail for 1.5km as an alternate. The Whipshot seemed more at home than I expected. It will likely take more practice for me to maneouver the handlebars through the tight treed corners, but I think it will eventually feel as comfortable to maneouver as my 26er MTB.

Uphill:
-gravel section switchbacks would benefit from some lower gearing. If I had a longer section, I could see me missing (desperately) my granny gear from the 3x9
-the bike is generally much more responsive (power transfer) than my MTBs, This definitely helps those steeper sections without needing to gear down.
-My climb speeds are 50% faster than my geared MTB and 25% faster than my singlespeed. (get lazy in granny gear on 3x9 and have to go faster or get off on my SS)
-One guy passed me up the hill, but he had a eBike!

Pathways & roads:
-I`m moving much faster on pavement than ever (not unexpected)
-Proving a little harder to keep within the speed limit (we do have cops patrolling)
-Really just an easier pedal and more fun than slapping knobby MTB tires against the pavement
-Wind is not as big an impact with the lower riding position

I realize that lots of these comments are likely similar for anyone switching from a MTB to a CX bike. Overall I`m very happy with the changes as most of them were anticipated. I am surprised at the capability of the Whipshot on fairly gnarly trails.

Thoughts on the Whipshot build:
I think Titanium has to be my new favorite frame material. It`s not nearly as common, the compliance seems really good and I like that there is no paint finish.
The DT Swiss wheelset are likely the best I`ve ridden. I`m surprised at the cornering and stiffness but some of this is likely the high pressure, narrow 32mm tires.
The welds on the frame look very good, consistent and controlled. I do believe the frame will last me as long as I could hope for.
The brakes are excellent. They have great modulation and I can feel the lock-up point without getting there (if that makes sense)
I have rubbed my feet on the front wheel a few times now, always in low speed cornering. I have platforms rather than clipless pedals so I think I may have had my feet poorly placed when it happened. (I`m size 11 feet)
I got the 58cm frame size. I`m 6`0`` with a 34inch inseam.
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Old 08-14-18, 03:53 PM
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Great info, thanks for sharing...this bike has certainly caught my eye. Hard to find anything near this value in Ti.
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Old 08-14-18, 04:13 PM
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I'm sorry for all the red tape you went through to get that bike. Our two countries should be moving toward eliminating barriers to trade and commerce; yours is a concrete, real-life example of how real people suffer from such barriers. Sadly, we're moving in the wrong direction....
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Old 08-14-18, 05:10 PM
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Hell of a commuter bike haha
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Old 08-15-18, 01:04 PM
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onyerleft: It is too bad that we have these border controls but I have a feeling it`ll get worse for a while yet. Overall, I have to say that I`m pretty happy with how easily it turned out. There is a huge influence of the bike manufacturers as well restricting the sale of bikes from one jurisdiction to the next. You can see this for example on Jensonusa site where some of the bikes are not allowed to be sold outside the state. This is the manufacturer trying to control different prices in different markets.

lazyass: We tend to justify pretty crazy things for a new bike! I figured at $6.50 each day to ride the train and bus back and forth I could pay it out in less than 2 yrs. I also got the added benefit of working off my gut as well as my commute times are actually shorter on the bike than on transit. It also smells a lot better on the bike paths than armpits to noses on transit during rush hour.

We`ve got a bad air-quality index day here in town due to the forest fire smoke rolling in from interior BC. Not a good day to be outside so no commute today. Hopefully tomorrow is better. I have to keep working at payout!
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Old 08-15-18, 09:14 PM
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I have several Motobecanes they have all been good bikes. They get here quick because they ship from Garland ( DFW ) or Houston. I have read about Canadians having to drive across the border to pick up bikes from bikes direct. They should figure out a way to ship to Canada. I visited the a Canadian Rockies in 2002 it was awesome beautiful country.
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Old 08-16-18, 07:41 AM
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Wow, that`s a lot of BD experience. How is the Fantom Pro cross bike?
Our rockies have some amazing riding for sure and I have been Mountain Biking in there for 20yrs. The cross bike gives me another option for some of the less gnarly trails.
I don't think BD or Motobecane are too concerned about us Canadians. We're only 1/10th of the size of the US market at best. That's alright with me too as almost everyone up here has never seen a Motobecane. Some remember it's old French roots but are shocked the name is still around and active (not that there's any relationship of the new bikes to the old ones).

Houston is so easy for us to get to and is an easy trip to great warm weather in the spring. I've hit up Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Galveston over the last 2 years. Great piece of land you Texans have down there and I'm in love with the pride you all have for it. Keep it up while we Canadians continue to apologize for everything anybody takes minor offence over;-)
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Old 08-16-18, 08:30 AM
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The saying goes (blame it on Canada) I agree trade should flow freely between the US and Canada. My auto insurance is good in Canada or was in 2002 when I visited. I like the 2 dollar coin I believe itís called the Tooney? Motobecanes have been good bikes the paint jobs are not as great but those are minor issues they have had the same maintenance and replacement parts such as worn out BBs etc that any of my Cannondale, Specialized bikes have had. The Fantom Pro has bee great it has been on The Katy in Missouri and many other bike trailways it has about 14K mikes on it and Iíve replace the
crank to a Shimano from FSA but thatís about it. My newer Moto gravel grinder has an FSA crank and has been flawless. Bikesdirect bought the Motobecane name so itís nit the French original. Hondo Texas is about 30 miles outside San Antonio. In winter many Canadians visit South Padre Island and many retired Canadians RV the winters along the Texas coast. The titanium Motobecane you purchased is a sweet bike Iím sure you will get many miles or kilometers out of it.
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Old 08-16-18, 09:41 AM
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Really cool bike and one hell of a deal for what you're getting.
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Old 08-16-18, 08:12 PM
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great review! i have the 853 steel version and perhaps i will post a 1ish month review on it when i get the time!

long story short, i LOVE it. usually with BD bikes corners are cut somewhere (usually the cockpit) not the case for the Ti or 853 whipshots!

only thing not great were the pedals (wellgo SPD) and they're not that bad either.
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Old 08-17-18, 08:59 AM
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I left the pedals (Wellgo) in the wrapper. I don't have shoes for clips ever since I almost killed myself on my MTB a decade ago. That was after riding exclusively with them for more than 15yrs!
I have cheap platforms that I bought from MEC for $20(REI equivalent in Canada). I'm happy with these as when wintertime hits, it's nice to have real footwear on rather than even the best cycling shoe.

Good to hear that the 853 steel is of good quality. I too plan on posting updates as I progress through the seasons with the Whipshot Ti. There is a complete lack of user reviews out there for this bike and I can actually do something about that now.
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Old 08-17-18, 09:03 PM
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one thing that was a slight bummer is that the front fork on the 853 is not drilled in the front crown for a rack mount even though it has eyelets at the dropouts for rack mounts.

i did notice that it's drilled in the back? is there some sort of adapter bracket for front racks? or are those mounting points for fenders
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Old 08-21-18, 11:26 AM
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I think the mount on the back of the fork is either for a fender or even the front reflector (this might date me). There definitely could be more mounting points on these bikes, but I'm travelling with a backpack commonly and don't really make too much use of them.

I am thinking of adding some fork mounted lights (fog lights) on the low mounts on the fork. It's a project I've been thinking about for a while as low light shows snow topography better and should help me stay out of winter-time trouble.
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Old 09-10-18, 09:37 AM
  #17  
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Alrighty. A few hundred km on the new wheels and a quick check in:
I'm getting quite comfortable on the bike. It is a much faster ride than I've been used to. I'm still a bit timid on the gravel switchbacks and the tight turns in the single track. I've gone over on the bike a few times now. Once was too quick on a gravel turn, the other was clipping a small hidden stump just outside of the singletrack rut.
I'm setting up for cold weather riding now as the temperature in the morning here is approaching freezing (within a degree or two). Cycling gloves are still OK for now, but I've got a merino wool outer layer I need in the morning. Still shorts weather tho!
I've purchased bike mitts for the handle bars but I haven't put them on yet. Maybe once we get -10C or so. I've also taken advice from another forum on a water bottle. I'm using an old contigo large coffee mug. The lid has very little drinking area exposed to the dust/mud and is easy to wipe off. The insulation allows me to have a cold drink in the warm weather and no freezing issues when we get into our local deep freeze (-30C).
The only irritant I have so far is I have some brake rub that is getting annoying. I'm going to loosen the brake calipers, squeeze the brake levers hard and re-torque. Hopefully that works to quieten it down.
Last thing is that the brakes sing a bit when I stop. This is something that happens with my disc brakes on my MTB as well. I don't hear everyone singing so I'm wondering if there is a reason for this or a solution to make them quieter? Anybody have an answer to that one?

Cheers
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Old 09-10-18, 10:33 AM
  #18  
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Very nice Bike and great review.
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Old 09-12-18, 02:30 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by pamcinto View Post

Uphill:
-gravel section switchbacks would benefit from some lower gearing. If I had a longer section, I could see me missing (desperately) my granny gear from the 3x9
Put an 11-42 cassette on that bad-boy!
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Old 09-12-18, 03:57 AM
  #20  
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They have the most tactless website in existence. There are a hundred different fonts and colors on it. I reminds me of an old school circus poster, a lot of bling but no real content. Too bad they donít have a professionally designed site. They really make a nice bike at an affordable price. They would be better received in the market if they cleaned up their act. Thatís my opinion and Iím sticking to it.
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Old 09-12-18, 07:37 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by cs1 View Post

They have the most tactless website in existence. There are a hundred different fonts and colors on it. I reminds me of an old school circus poster, a lot of bling but no real content. Too bad they donít have a professionally designed site. They really make a nice bike at an affordable price. They would be better received in the market if they cleaned up their act. Thatís my opinion and Iím sticking to it.
Well I mean it's not Motobecane's website to be fair..
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Old 09-12-18, 08:49 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by cs1 View Post

They have the most tactless website in existence. There are a hundred different fonts and colors on it. I reminds me of an old school circus poster, a lot of bling but no real content. Too bad they don’t have a professionally designed site. They really make a nice bike at an affordable price. They would be better received in the market if they cleaned up their act. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.
agree......

tactless is greater than over using 'flash' though. or auto play videos, or background music etc....

I am an old school open in new tab to compare bikes, geometries etc... Some of the newer Pofessional designed websites look pretty but are "useless".

So at least Bikesdirect still gives us full blown, full size resolution pictures.
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Old 09-12-18, 08:57 AM
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As for the Whipshot, interesting enough it is in Ti, Al, and 853 but not carbon.

with a 65 mm BB drop I'd be interested in a 650x47 conversion. to WTB Horizon tires. I think the Ti. on 650x47 would make a great winter bike.
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Old 09-12-18, 09:41 AM
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If you look objectively at BD's Ti offerings, they're all ridiculously good deals. Taking this bike as an example, name another Ti bike with a carbon fork, full Force 1 (including the crank), DT Swiss wheels (and not super cheap ones, pretty good ones), Ritchey WCS everything else. They even got the details right with two thru-axles, a threaded BB and middle of the road geometry. There is no comparable offering out there at any price unless you get a custome build. Getting a bike like this for $2,400 is a bit nuts. Note that BD's Ti stuff is made by ORA who is a well respected manufacturer, this isn't a crap frame.
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Old 09-12-18, 12:33 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Metieval View Post
As for the Whipshot, interesting enough it is in Ti, Al, and 853 but not carbon.

with a 65 mm BB drop I'd be interested in a 650x47 conversion. to WTB Horizon tires. I think the Ti. on 650x47 would make a great winter bike.
Says something about the popularity of metal frames over plastic doesnít it.
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