Motobecane Cafe Express 8 or Similar Bike
June 19, 2011 5:39 AM   Subscribe

Where can I buy a Motobecane Cafe Express 8? Or a bike similar to it?

I live in Northern California and I don't know where I can buy this bike. Bikes Direct is sold out of them. The reason I want this bike is because it is lightweight and has the internal 8-speed hub. I feel that this will make it easier to carry around and stuff into trunks of cars than a bike with a derailer, but will also be fast. I also don't really like drop bars.

Also, any other suggestions for bikes that I would like? Thanks!
posted by DJ Broken Record to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Actually, if you prioritize being able to stuff a bike into a trunk, a bike with a derailleur will be better: taking the wheel off when it has an internally geared hub is more complicated. It's also heavier. Admittedly it seems like there's more stuff flopping around with a derailleur, but to get the rear wheel off you just pop the quick release and push the wheel out. With this IGH, you don't have a quick-release at all (and no, I don't think you can retrofit one with this IGH), so you need to carry a 15-mm wrench to loosen the wheel, and you need to detach the shifting cable as well.

Now, with all that out of the way, there's nothing magic about this particular bike. Bikes Direct has them manufactured in the same few Chinese factories that almost all other bikes come out of, and sells them cheaply, so this slightly more expensive bike from BD would probably serve you just as well. You can't buy Motobecane or Windsor bikes (and maybe Dawes too) anywhere except BD: they are old marques that went bankrupt, and were bought by BD to give their in-house products the aura of respectability.
posted by adamrice at 6:52 AM on June 19, 2011

A little more expensive, but infinitely better-looking: how about a Linus?

More generally, Motobecanes are mostly sold by BD these days, so I doubt you'll find that exact bike somewhere else. The good news is that internal-shift hubs are becoming more ubiquitous. Almost every major manufacturer has a commuter with one in their lineup. Scott comes to mind (a former coworker has one), as does Trek. Not as cheap as the Moto, but you get LBS support.
posted by supercres at 6:56 AM on June 19, 2011

Response by poster: Hm, did not know that about the derailer thing. Now that I know that, I should probably just buy a regular bike (that doesn't have drop bars) from a local store.

Come to think of it, the reason I want gears in the first place is because I've recently started riding in an area that has hills. I am fine riding them on my single speed bike (which is converted and is not supposed to be a single speed), but I assumed that the extra pushing would be bad for it since it is probably designed to only take a certain amount of pushing before you should change gears. Is this a safe assumption to make, or should I just keep using my single speed?
posted by DJ Broken Record at 8:14 AM on June 19, 2011

You can e-mail Bikesdirect and they'll tell you about when the next ship comes in with more bikes.

If you can get up the hills on your single speed you're find. Bicycle chains are pretty tough. My fixed gear goes up hills with it's high gear ratio.

It's more an issue with your legs, you'll get tired faster not being able to shift to a lower gear. How long/what grade are these hills?
posted by thylacine at 9:05 AM on June 19, 2011

Your bike can take more than you can dish out. Don't worry about that.
posted by adamrice at 9:06 AM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also, don't worry about the drop bars/whatever handlebars are on it -- handlebars are cheap and plentiful, and easy to swap in and out.
posted by fiercecupcake at 2:46 PM on June 19, 2011

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