I finally bought a Motobeacans Fantom Cross. I spent $799 from bikesdirect.com. I have traveled about 50 miles thus far, and have a few things to say:
1) The bike is pretty good. I got the 64cm model, and don’t have any rubbing on my shoe like allot of the other riders are saying.
2) I bought some plastic strap-in pedals. I thought that I had them secure today (my 2nd ride). I was feeling SuPer pUmPeD this afternoon, and started slaying away at the miles across rural CA. Once I was good and isolated-(about 10 miles away from any kind of pavement) my right pedal started to warble--and I flipped out! Luckily I took my multi-tool with me, and was able to make the adjustment with minimal delay, or damage to the bike.
3) I hear that the Kumba tires are pretty good. So far I have to DISAGREE! Why? GOATHEADS! Shorty after I made the repair to the pedal (about 1.5 miles later and further away from any kind of help) I got a frikin flat. My rear tire was full of Goat heads, and immediately I regretted not upgrading to the Armadillos I so badly wanted.
In my PuMpEd state of mind I did not grab a pump on my way out the door--so I had the tools and tubes--but no pump. Big lesson learned today. 1) If you plan to off-road.....get the armadillos EVERY TIME. 2) Always bring your frikin pump DUMMY!
Lake Millerton Triathlon is coming up in a couple of weeks! Can’t wait! I’m upgrading my old "beater bike" into a "speed daemon". Ill post pictures and a blog after the race.