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2020-03-24 - Bikes Direct Motobecane Mirage S2

Where    : Home office
Computer : piran (Linux iMac)
Music    : Tilderadio 33 1/3 show
Weather  : Watching for the storms around

About 6 weeks ago, after having gotten back into cycling for pleasure and health, I decided to upgrade a bit to a road bike. I'd been riding a Raleigh Venture steel-framed 7-speed hybrid bike, and bumped up to the limits of how fast that can be pedalled. I've bought 2 bikes from online vendors in the past (between the UK and US), and with the shortage due to COVID decided to do that again. I've done about 200 miles on it now, so why not write about how it is?

In the end I went for a Motobecane Mirage S2 from:

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/road_bikes/mirage_s2.htm

It's advertised for $599.95, but claiming it should be compared to a $1,200 Trek. That's definitely ridiculous, but for the money I actually paid I'm very happy. It seems Bikes Direct is either deemed to be awful, or pretty good for the price, depending what you read on the web.

We live in the DFW area, and the warehouse is only about 30 miles away, which no doubt helped it turn up quickly and without any damage. It was packaged minimally, but well in a single thick-walled box. Out of the box everything that needs to be straight was, which is always good.

The bike has an aluminium frame, and carbon fork. It's not light for a modern road bike, but is about 10lbs lighter than the Raleigh steel hybrid I was riding so feels light to me. The wheels and tires are basic, but fine. It's 700x28c and I wouldn't like to go any narrower than that given how cracked and potholed the streets are around here. Really, the roads in the Dallas area suburbs are terrible. Every time we visit family back in the UK it's amazing how smooth the streets can be.

The bike has has a 2x7 14-speed setup, with the lowest end of Shimano's road bike derailleurs and shifters (Tourney). After properly adjusting them by the book shifting is reliable, but pretty noisy and a bit clunky. Around here it's pretty flat, so I can spend almost all my time on the top chainring, which has a nice range for my less than super powerful legs :-)

Most dissapointing are the brakes. They are Tektro caliper brakes and have quite a lot of flex in them. I guess I shouldn't be surprised how inefficient they are compared to the Shimano V-Brakes on my hybrid. I suppose I could also have gone for a more expensive bike with disc brakes, but was a bit concerned that relatively low-end disc brakes were more likely to be trouble than calipers.

The saddle is, surprisingly, comfy enough that I've ridden 42 miles in a day now without being completely sore. I intend to change the stem for a more angled one to bring the handlebars up a bit. I may have been more comfortable on a 62cm frame, with the seat less raised relative to the handlebars than on the 60cm frame I purchase, but it's not bad and I think the stem will have me properly comfortable.

Now I'm at 3 for 3 on relatively cheap bikes from online vendors. Fingers crossed I'll ride hundred of miles on this one this year. I'm enjoying a routine of a 7 mile lunchtime stretch on the trails every 1-2 workdays, and then about 20-40 miles on the weekend. I wish I'd gotten back into cycling sooner, as I definitely feel like I have more energy. Strengthening my leg muscles a bit has also done wonders for stopping the knee pain I had periodically. Good stuff!


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