The Motobecane 550DS looks to many novice riders as a great bicycle. Although it costs much more than a Wal-Mart bicycle does it is much cheaper than the bikes being sold for steeper prices at the local bike shops. If you are an experienced bicyclist you know not to touch Wal-Mart style bicycles because they suck. Many experienced mountain bikers will also look at the Motobecane 550DS and snicker. Is the Motobecane 550DS a true mountain bike? Is the Motobecane 550DS better than any of the bicycles you can buy at Wal-Mart? Is the Motobecane 550DS on par with any of the full-suspension bicycles from you local Trek and Specialized bike dealers? Here is the no-holds barred truth about the Motobecane 550DS.
The Motobecane 550DS is sold specifically through BikesDirect.com. Yes the Motobecane 550DS can be found at a few other websites, but those websites are all owned and controlled by BikesDirect. BikesDirect is like a local bike shop but on the Internet. You can buy some great bikes and get some fabulous deals. There are also some crappy bikes sold at BikesDirect, but for the most part most of the higher-end bicycles are awesome deals.
I do recommend buying bicycles either at your local bicycle shop or through BikesDirect. If you buy a bicycle through BikesDirect expect to pay a little bit more and take you new bicycle into your local bike shop and pay them to assemble it and ensure that everything is on properly working order. Sometimes the local bike shop mechanic will have to charge you a few dollars more for something such as “truing” the wheels. Most of the time this is not the mechanics trying to scam you out of a few extra dollars but instead is a case where the wheels on the bicycle you ordered from BikesDirect truly need trued. This is common. My bicycle comes from my local bicycle shop and I still have to take it into get the wheels trued periodically. When BikesDirect ships the package to you in the mail lateral stress on the spokes can oftentimes mean the wheels need trued. Seriously, if you buy a bike from BikesDirect then take it into your local bike shop and pay them to assemble the bicycle and ensure that everything is functioning properly.
2013 Motobecane 550DS
The Motobecane 550DS is a full-suspension mountain bike sold. The Motobecane 550DS is currently listed for around $550 on the BikesDirect website. Yes there is also a retail price listed and the Motobecane 550DS is shown to be on sale for around $500 off of the retail price. The thing with BikesDirect is they are the retailer and own the names used on their bicycles. Their retail price listed is simply a marketing ploy; however the retail price can give you an approximate idea of how much a similar bicycle would cost you from your local bicycle shop.
The Motobecane 550DS is a much better bike than anything you can buy at Wal-Mart. It will also cost you much more than a Wal-Mart bike but is less than similarly specced bicycles from your local bike shop. The front shifter is a Shimano Alvio and the rear is the Shimano Deore. You will not find either of these shifters on any bike from Wal-Mart. Yeah there bicycles will show and advertise they have Shimano shifters, but they are complete crap. Shimano sells 2 types of bicycle products. Shimano sells quality components that go on bicycles from BikesDirect and your local bike shop, and then Shimano also sells complete crap components that simply have the name Shimano slapped on to them. Do not ever confuse real Shimano components with the crappy Shimano branded stuff at Wal-Mart and other mass department stores.
The shifters and other components on this bicycle are entry-level and area great for first time mountain bike buyers. If you are upgrading from a Wal-Mart bike then you will be thoroughly impressed with the components of the Motobecane 550DS as long as you ensured that your local bike shop assembled the bike for you.
Trail Riding Conditions
The Motobecane 550DS may look like a downhill bomber to many people, but in reality the Motobecane 550DS is designed for light off-road trails. If you try to do some shuttle runs at your local ski resort in the summer time than you will destroy the bike. This bike is not meant for North Shore riding or huckign off of cliffs. The Motobecane 550DS is designed and specced to allow you to ride light to heavy mountain bike trails.
Yes you do get a full-suspension bicycle and unlike the Wal-Mart bicycles the full suspension will actually work and not simply be a heavy piece of crap designed to help market and sell the bicycles to unsuspecting consumers. Although the rear suspension works on the Motobecane 550DS, you may be better off not buying a full-suspension bicycle if you are on a budget. For the $550 the full suspension Motobecane 550DS costs you can instead buy a hardtail mountain bike. If you instead spent $550 on a hardtail mountain bike from BikesDirect you would get a bicycle with much better components.
The Motobecane 550DS weights over 30 pounds, so this bicycle is far from light. If you are looking for a lightweight bicycle you should keep looking as this bike is considered very heavy.
What Bikes Are Similar to the Motobecane 550DS
The Motobecane 550DS is a unique bicycle because it looks like the frame of on of those crappy bicycles from Wal-Mart yet it is chocked full of great entry-level components. The thing with the Motobecane 550DS is that no experienced rider would buy this bicycle. Any experienced rider would pay more money and get a lighter full-suspension bike or they would spend the same amount of money and get a hardtail bicycle with no rear suspension from BikesDirect or their local bike dealer such as an Entry Level Trek 3500.
If you can only spend the $550 or so you have for a full suspension bike then you need to either save up more money to buy a better full-suspension bicycle or take the money and buy a hardtail. As a newer rider you may not even need full suspension, especially with the trail conditions the Motobecane 550DS can handle. Any quality hardtail mountain bike can handle the same or more harsh conditions then the Motobecane 550DS.
This is definitely not a reflection of BikesDirect as they sell some great bicycles.