Time I added the third post in this series

I guess this would be my favourite bike on the basis that I ride it the most – approx 4 times a week on average (must ride more).

Motobecane Mirage SL (with Brooks Saddle)

This is the bike I bought when I decided that the single speed was limiting my ability to ride and keep up with my friends.  Having decided to buy a bike and not having a lot of money to invest I started to think about what I should buy.  I wanted something half decent but wasn’t at that time sure how much use it would get; was this just a passing phase and I would revert to my ‘normal’, lesser cycling past?  Thus I didn’t want to spend a fortune and as I was temporarily in the US thought I could leave it behind if I didn’t get on with it.

My initial thought for shopping on a budget was to go with a used bike; that should be cheaper I thought.  After some time spent browsing Ebay and the likes though it seemed all the bikes I was interested in were “vintage” rather than just used and for some reason meant they had a premium price.  The term vintage is overused these days when something is just a bit old.  For that kind on money I wanted to be sure what I was buying would be in good condition and not have a load of unexpected issues.

So then I thought about new bikes and whether there were some budget options I could get.  I found Bikes Direct.  It looked a little dodgy to me at first and too good to be true.  Here were some reasonable looking bikes which were at a very good price.  I did some research and all seemed to be legitimate, people who had bought were satisfied with what they got.  From my research I found that most of the bikes they sell come from the same manufacturer using multiple brand names (some of which were well known but defunct brands of yesteryear) and all owned by the Fuji brand.  I suspect that some of them are older Fuji frames getting extended sales after newer frames are developed.  I decided I wanted carbon forks and eventually picked a white version of the Motobecane Mirage.  Unfortunately that particular one was out of stock when I tried to order it.  So  I went up $50 and picked the very brash Black and Green SL version of the same thing.  I wasn’t totally sure about the colour but went with it anyway.

Problem number two on order was that they didn’t accept UK credit cards.  Or it seemed PayPal with a UK account.  this was even though I was giving them a US delivery address.  I managed to get a friend to order it for me and gave him the cash.

After a short while it arrived and all was good, I fitted my favourite saddle (Brooks) and clipless pedals and away I went.

I have to say that this bike it just great.  It fits me perfectly, and performs very well.  I would recommend it and Bikes Direct if you are looking for a bike on a budget.  The only downside is that it is so good I can’t really justify replacing it with a newer more expensive bike 😉  I spent a few months last year in the UK without it and when I got back on it here I realised how well it did fit me, compared to what I had been riding in the UK.

I have done close to 4,000 miles (recorded) on this bike and it is still going strong with all the major parts as it was when I bought it (a few new spokes, chain and cassette plus the usual brake pads, tubes and tyres) – oh and I changed the seatpost for a reason I can’t remember.  It has never let me down in terms of me keeping up with my friend who might have much more expensive gear – it really isn’t all about the bike 😉

Here are the specs if you are into that

Frame New Semi-Compact / HandCrafted Aluminum, replaceable rear derailleur hanger, 2xH2O bosses.
Headtube L: 47/50/52/54/56/58/60/62/64CM=115/130/140/150/170/190/210/230/250mm
Fork Kinesis StraightBlade 12K CARBON Fiber 1.125 inch steerer
Crankset FSA Tempo Compact, 50x34T, HG C-Ring ,ALLOY SQUARE Black Crank 170/172.5/175mm FOR 47-52/54-56/58-64cm, w/CrMo M8 Bolts
Bottom Bracket BB-7420ST Cartridge Seal Oversized Bearings, JIS Square, Chromo Spindle,68mm Shell x 110mm Spindle
Front Derailleur SHIMANO FRONT, FD-2400 31.8MM, FOR DOUBLE
Shifters Shimano CLARIS ST-2400 STI 8 Speed Shifter
Cassette/Freewheel SHIMANO CASSETTE SPROCKET CS-HG50 8-S, NI-PLATED, 11-13-15-18-21-24-28-32T
Chain KMC X8 NARROW CN 1/2×3/32″
Hubs J-Tech aluminum with Quick Release
Spokes Stainless Steel
Rims CUSTOM POWDER COATED / WEINMANN DP18 ALLOY 700C Double Wall aluminum, machined brake track
Tires Kenda High pressure road 700x25c, Presta valve tubes
Brake Levers Shimano ST-2400 STI 8 Speed Shifter levers
Handlebar Alloy Black, CENTER:26.0mm 390/410/430mm FOR 47-52/54-56/58-64cm,D/R:138/108 mm
Stem/ Headset Alloy threadless STEM.EXT:(-7°)90/100/110mm FOR 47-52/54-56/58-64CM,C/S:26.0/28.6x41mm / H852-1-1/8″ STEEL THREADLESS H/P  ( H:22mm), ED BLK ,W/O TOP ADJUST UNIT
Tape/Grip Black gel cork
Saddle Road Racing with comfort channel
Seat Post KALLOY Alloy Micro Adjust, 27.2mm
Seat Clamp Aluminum with bolt
Sizes 47cm, 50 cm, 52 cm, 54cm, 56 cm, 58 cm, 60cm, 62cm, 64cm
These size similar to Trek 1 or 2 Series