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Which bike is better???(14 posts)

Which bike is better???morris5
Jan 24, 2004 6:43 PM
I am shopping for a new road bike. I am new to the game of road riding with future racing in mind. I have been looking at for a bike and it looks like they have some good deals. I do not have the luxury of going to a dealer because I like in Okinawa Japan. I have been scoping out the 2004 Mercier Draco AL and the 2004 Motobecane Le Champion. Both are selling for $1095, but the Mercier's MSRP is more. I am asking you out there with more knowledge in the subject to give me some insight as to what you think.

Thank you
Dan Morris
Before you decide on US mail order..........Dave Hickey
Jan 24, 2004 7:11 PM
Have you checked into shipping charges and duty? It can be very expensive.
re: Which bike is better???lyleseven
Jan 24, 2004 7:49 PM
At this price point the main thing is to make sure one of these bikes off the rack will fit you. Compare the specifications and measurements and make sure you get the best fit. This isn't easy without going into a store and trying the particular bike or a similar geometry design.
re: Which bike is better???morris5
Jan 25, 2004 12:28 AM
That is just it, since I live in Okinawa Japan there really is not a place that I can just go out and get measured. I am basing my bike size solely on my height.
re: Which bike is better???Sintesi
Jan 25, 2004 7:21 AM
You have to measure yourself then. Go to or and go through their fitting questionnaire. Don't spend a grand on a bike that might not fit. You need to do some more research.
re: Which bike is better???morris5
Jan 25, 2004 1:52 PM
I went to wrenchscience and completed the sizing charts. It came out to the same size that I planned on getting so that is good. Thank you for the site.
re: Which bike is better???fredstaple
Jan 25, 2004 3:07 AM
If the USMC exchange is available to you, I have heard rumors that Cannondales are sold there and you may want to check it out.

Try going to and try out their fitting chart; may help you decide what size you need.
re: Which bike is better???morris5
Jan 25, 2004 6:09 AM
I have been to the PX here on Camp Foster where I live. The only bike they have is a cannondale xs800 or something like that. And it sells for $1600, and it comes with low end shimano group. Not worth the money. Also some of the bike shops here sell Giants and some other brands but everything is about $300 more then what it would cost in the states. Thanks for the sizing website, I will check it out
Forget MSRPjtolleson
Jan 25, 2004 10:17 AM
as a basis for determining which is a better "deal." MSRP is always of questionable value, but for these two bikes, which were basically designed and developed to be sold as discount bikes via the 'net, it is meaningless.
Forget MSRP - just a guideline anywayrogerinbalance
Jan 25, 2004 10:58 AM
bikes and other consumer products should never be purchased at MSRP - that is just a starting point for 'sale' prices.
I agree - dont go by MSRP - instead - compare spec for spec -- what bike has the best frame and parts for the money. Never allow as much in spec comparison for house brand parts as name brand. Example - why does Trek use a house brand crank on lower level bikes -- NOT BECAUSE THEY THINK ITS BETTER THAN SHIMANO - but to save $$$
still if you compare specs on the Draco AL at $1095 - you will find it hard to beat - at least I did
The Draco AL is very nicerogerinbalance
Jan 25, 2004 10:52 AM
I ordered my wife a Draco AL - and I was shocked at how nice it is for $1100
The frame is fantastic; Columbus tubing with carbon stays; very nice finish and good welds. Full Ultegra plus Ritchey wheel set.
I know there are other good deals out there, but I think it is hard to go wrong with this bike.
The bike shops in my area sell for $1000 bikes with no carbon stays, house brand wheels, and Tiagra level parts (at best). Many bikes I see in shops at $1000 - dont even have shimano cranks or brakes -
I think you would love the Mercier
I've been in those shoes.BrianU
Jan 25, 2004 11:33 AM
I was stationed in Sigonella, Sicily in 1990. A friend let me borrow his wife's mountainbike and got me hooked. At that time anything without skinny wheels was an oddity and when you could find something dirt worthy, it was at least 2 to 3 times the cost of what you would find it for back here in the states. Looking through all the ads in Mountainbike Action, I ended up with a Supergo Access Pro. Like everyone else has pointed out, size...size...size. Doesn't matter how nice a bike is, if it doesn't fit, it will always annoy you. I ordered a 20" frame on that Supergo and I am 5'6". I loved that bike, more than anything else because I didn't know what a properly sized mountainbike felt like.
Anyway, there are plenty of mailorder places available. Ask for recommendations at this site. I'm sure there are other sites with good deals. I would look for someplace that I could call and talk to firsthand about what you want. For example, Airborne boasts 99% accuracy in correctly fitting a bike.
Also something else to consider, maintenance and repair. Not unless you already own tools from mountainbiking, some essential tools are definately something to consider investing in. When I eventually left Sicily, about the only thing I didn't have was a truing stand. The Blackburn workstand that I had mailordered over there and still use today, has been one of the better things that I have spent money on for cycling.
From the sounds of your post, I take it that there are a considerable amount of riders stationed in Okinawa. If so, check with some of the other riders. Especially if there are riders that raced back in the states. Chances are, they had pretty close ties with a local shop and probably still keep in touch with them. Check that route first, before going mailorder.
Good Luck.
re: Which bike is better???morris5
Jan 25, 2004 1:55 PM
Thank you all for the feedback, I am surprised at how much I have received. Another question for you out there. Besided coloradocyclist, bikesdirect, what are some other mail order, good quality, bikes to be bought? I have been shopping for about three months now and bikesdirect has been my #1 choice so far. But that does not mean that my mind can't be changed.
Can't lose with eitherdgangi
Jan 25, 2004 6:30 PM
I live in Phoenix where there are local bike shops that are part of the network - Cycle Spectrum. They sell the same bikes in the shop that you can buy online.

In any event, I purchased my Fuji Team from them. The experience was very positive.

While in the store, I saw both bikes you mentioned. The Motobecane is by far my favorite between the two brands in terms of aesthetics - they have a very nice paint job with subdued graphics. The Mercier's are "over the top" in my mind.

But both bikes have quality frames (Moto = Kinesis, Mercier = Columbis) and a decent parts spec. The only downside to the Moto is that a few parts are "house brand" M-Wings stuff.

Regardless, I liked both bikes a lot. After all was said and done I would up deciding between the Moto and Fuji (primarily because I did not like the graphics on the Mercier). I only chose the Fuji Team over because it was on sale for less ($999) and had better components. But that deal is over now :(