Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I orginally intended to do this review a week or so ago, but the holiday/work stress got the best of me and I got SICK! However, I'm all re-cooped now and got a chance to take my new Motobecane Outcast 29er Single Speed out on the trails we have here in Almaden Valley. My intent was to go all the way into the Fortini Road entrance to Santa Teresa County Park, but it's been raining California style here and that made the park rangers put up the no horses/no bikes sign. Oh well... I had to make due with what I had.

Motobecane, as many of you know, is the Bikes Direct brand. If you're not familiar with Bikes Direct, it's a discount bicycle distributor offering bikes that are made in Taiwan - which I don't have a problem with at all (if you read my post "Made in Taiwan" , you'll see where I'm coming from). I bought this bike for $399.95 with free shipping. Not a bad deal, but with a bike that costs so little, you have to know what to expect in terms of quality. By the way, this is my SECOND Motobecane from Bikes Direct: a Motobecane Messenger. I know some people on Bike Forums or Bike Snob NYC just fainted at what I just said. Oh yeah, my road bike is a Scattante CFR Race bike, so go figure. Anyway...

When my bike arrived, it came as I expected. The rims were true and the paint was in fine condition. Immediately, I saw that the quality of the parts was what I paid for, but the seat post, stem and handlebar didn't look like they were even going to last the "ride-up-and-down-the-street" ride, so I took a stem and Easton 31.8 handlebar that I had in my garage and mounted that sucker. The seat post will soon get swapped out, as well.

Another thing I had swapped was the stock 42T front chainring for a 33T that came with the bike. I knew this bike was going to be for trail riding, so I wanted the appropriate gearing. Since we're talking about the drive train, I opted for some Eggbeater pedals, of course, instead of the Wellgo platforms it came with.


I got all geared up, ipod, hydration pack and all the necessary riding items, and started my way to Los Alamitos Creek Trail that runs along Camden Ave. here in San Jose, Ca. This path has small single tracks that run along side a paved path - and so that's where I began. My first impression was, for a completely rigid bike, it sure did handle the bumps well. This could be all in my head from the research I've been doing about 29er's, but it definetely felt good. The geometry allowed for quick climbs and sudden elevation changes when I was faced with them, and it handled getting up and over rocks, logs and other obstacles quite well. When I stepped on the gas, I really felt this bike move. In a sense, it was just like the old "Stomper" trucks we used to play with when we were kids. On the downhill stuff it felt very planted, but not very quick in terms of steering. This could be from my experience with road bikes and BMX bikes with much thinner tires, so it will take some time getting used to for me

The bike seemed efficient, and I'm thinking it is probably a combination of both the big wheels and geometry.


Okay, I really enjoyed riding this bike, and it did everything what I expected it to do. However, there are a few things I wish Motobecane hadn't done with the Outcast (aside from the cruddy parts).

I bought this bike with the intent to ride it on trails, single tracks in particular. Even when you look for this bike on the Bikes Direct website, it falls under the "MTB" heading. However, arriving with a 42T stock chainring, a flip-flop hub + fixed gear cog, and mounts for racks and fenders, the package really says "Hybrid/Commute bike" more than MTB. I know that some people like these options, but the question is, "Why would you buy a knobbied 29er for urban riding? Why not just get a normal street bike which would be much faster and efficient on asphalt?"

Maybe I'm just a purist in this respect, but a mountain bike is for mountain riding. If Motobecane asked me for my opinion, I would tell them to do away with all the rack mounts/flip-flop hub/42T chainring/commuter stuff and upgrade the sub-par parts that we all end up tossing. Plus, if a company is going to market their bike as a mountain bike, make it a mountain bike, not some wierd non-commitment hybrid, fixed gear thing.

If I was in the market for a single speed commuter, the Outcast would be one of the last bikes I would consider.


Even with my slight beef with how Motobecane packaged this bike, I was very pleased with it. To be honest, I had a sh*t-eatin' grin the entire time. Maybe because I haven't MTB'ed in awhile or I was just stoked with the way the bike worked (or maybe a little of both), but my conclusion after today was that the Motobecane Outcast 29er is good, cheap fun.

If you're interested in stomping local single tracks with big knobbied tires, don't be afraid to look into an Outcast. It's a basic bike that delivers smiles.

Great buy, affordable fun
Compares to higher-end single-speed 29ers
Efficient pedal stroke
Stomps over obstacles

Some parts are sub-par
Slow steering (could be my bad riding, though)
Wierd hybrid/commute bike options
Stigma of a Bikes Direct/Made in Taiwan brand

Frame: 6061 MOTO29X Aluminum with TrailTuned PowerStay Design, DualProfile Downtube with reinforced Gusset, 2x H2O bosses, rear rack mounts, fender eyelets
Fork: StraightBlade CrMo Unicrown with fender eyelets
Crankset: TruVativ Aluminum 42T 170mm with bash guard with a Bonus 33t Chain Ring*(bash guard is silver or black (No Choice)
Bottom Bracket: TruVativ sealed 68x118mm
Pedals: Mountain Platform
Front Derailleur: N/A
Rear Derailleur: N/A
ShifterS: N/A
Cassette/Freewheel: 18T FW - plus 18T fixed cog included in parts box
Chain: single speed
Spokes: Stainless steel
Rims: Alex 29 Black anodized Aluminum
Tires: Kenda Nevegal 29x2.2
Brakes: Tektro Aluminum V-Brake
Brake Levers: Tektro Aluminum for V-Brake
Headset: Tioga Alchemy Ahead Threadless Sealed 1.125 inch
Handlebar: Black Finish Aluminum 6061 T6
Stem: Black Finish Aluminum threadless
Tape/Grip: WTB DualCompound
Saddle: WTB SpeedV
Seat Post: Black Finish Aluminum Mountain 27.2mm
Seat Post Clamp: Super Light Alloy with bolt
Sizes: 15", 17", 19", 21" 29R Geometry
Colors: GlossWhite GlossWhite Gallery, MatteSlate(MedGray) MatteSlate(Gray) Gallery, MatteCopper (Shown Above)


My brother's friend, Shawn, sent me this YouTube link. Hail RC and love for the 2-stroke!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sunday, January 4, 2009


A few months ago, RIDE BMX magazine put out a great article about manufacturing in Taiwan. If you've ever worked in manufacturing and had the opportunity to visit the small, sardine-packed island, you'd realize that all your perceptions of high-quality vs. low-quality brand names are quickly thrown out the window.

Now, I used to work in electronics, so when I saw the lowest-end, bottom-shelf, Fry's Electronics no-name brand next to the top-of-the line, expensive, name brand stuff being built by the same hands... it made me question whether the "Made in Taiwan" sticker was something the internet forum, elitist mind-set got twisted.

In the end, the difference was quality control from the company itself and their ability to keep an eye on the products being shipped out of Taiwan. That is what makes a good part/bike. However, the label of being "Made in Taiwan" is nothing to be feared or criticized. I'm confident in saying your home appliances and the machines you rely on to cook your food are probably all made in Taiwan or China. Don't hate.

Check out the article below that was in RIDE BMX (click on the pics to enlarge). Photos by Keith Mulligan and Article by McGoo.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Hello Hooligans...

Dion here, wishing all you out there in web land a Happy New Year! I'm a little sick today, but I think if I load up on some DayQuil I can get myself to go road riding with my wife after a three week break for her (she had a pretty gnarly crash which gained her a cracked rib).

I'll be hitting up some single tracks this Saturday with my brother on my new 29'er so hopefully I'll be able to get some good shots and reviews of that big stomper.

I also got a SenDec Hour Meter for Christmas (for the trusty CRF250X) from my brother:

If you don't already have a hour meter either on your trail-tech computer or a seperate unit, like what I have, then I would highly recommend getting one. They're cheap, but will allow you to dial in your RPM's and keep a good maintenance schedule. It beats a ruined motor and down riding time.

With Christmas and work + other two-wheel activities, it's been a struggle to get on the moto, but I'll be out there in the next couple of weeks, probably rolling the singletrakcs at Hollister (damn closing of Clear Creek!). PEACE!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Flatland Session at San Jose State University

Great riding yesterday! We even encountered a bunch of street riders - it was like watching tigers meet lions in the jungle: we knew we were basically the same, but different. They were nuttier than us, though. Anyhow, here's a vid.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Today I took a nice little cruise on my "Speedy Delivery" (1989 Schwinn Cruiser Utility Bike) in my hometown of Santa Cruz, Ca. and here are a few shots I got along the way. Enjoy!

This is my nephew, Jacob ("Jay Jay"). Yeah, it's not moto or bike related, but I love this little guy!

This is my utility bike. I can take this thing on Costco runs with those big-ass Wald Baskets.

Just a couple sunset photos. I love Santa Cruz.


Seems some B.A.R.F. folks don't anything get in their way. Here are some epic adventures from barf'er "Luckette". Links below:

Epic Ride I

Epic Ride II

Epic Ride III

Epic Ride IV

These posts are filled with some great photos and videos of slick tire riding through things that you should have a set of knobbies for.

This is an old video, but I thought I might share it if you haven't seen it. It's called "One Got Fat" and it's an old-school bicycle safety video. Kids with creepy monkey masks on bikes - what more could you ask for?

Friday, December 26, 2008


Thanks Jake!


I got 'em, but I am SERIOUSLY limited on quantities. PLEASE e-mail me first before ordering to see if I have your size in stock. We're going to get a different design made in Spring 2009, so stay tuned! $10.00 + $5.00 shipping. You can send funds via Pay-Pal to; make sure to specify your size (XL, L, M, SM).