Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Motobecane Boris X5 Review

Reviewing my first Fat Bike, A Motobecane Boris X5

The Motobecane Boris X5, a proven snow bike and a bargain fat bike

I'm excited, really excited about this bike. I honestly don't know where to begin. This is the first bike I buy brand new in a really long time. This is also the first bike that I buy from Bikes Direct. I have been hovering around their website for many years, checking out the cool bikes that they sell but had always been afraid to pull the trigger on purchasing one until now. From the time I purchased this bike until now it has been nothing but grins and giggles and this has been a fun bike to ride. The following is a review on this bike and the experiences I have had on it.

As readers of this blog already know, I have been following the Fat Bike trend for a while now, hoping to one day put enough money aside to buy one and get in on the action. I had my eye set on the Motobecane Lurch fat bike as it had the biggest tires, a tapered fork and boasted a rugged steel frame which I am a big fan of. The price, even at around 1K, is still prohibitive for a guy like me and I had a hard time convincing my wife to let me buy a bike at that price point. The Motobecane Boris, starting at $599.00, seemed like a more realistic option and after selling another bike that I owned, I was able to get into it for about $200.00. 

I ordered the bike over the weekend and it arrived at my doorstep the following Tuesday. Bikes Direct has super fast shipping and the product arrived well packaged and without defects. Don't let the negative reviews out there influence your buying decision on this bike or any other bike from Bikes Direct. They make quality bikes built to last. Their bikes are just as nice as bikes that sell for 4 to 5 times the price. Out of the box I had to install the handlebars, front wheel and seatpost as well as adjust the mechanical disc brakes. After that, the bike was ready to ride.

This bike is the perfect bike for off the beaten path trekking. 

So, how does it ride? I can tell you that it is different than anything that I have ever ridden. It doesn't perform like a cross country bike on singletrack the way a 29er or a 26 inch wheeled mountain bike would perform. As far as using this bike for XC racing, the traditional options are still better and handle quicker through twisty trails. On the other hand, this bike can still ride over anything a regular mountain bike can, albeit a bit slower. It has the additional benefit of being able to power through loose terrain where the wheels on a regular mountain bike would normally get stuck. Some people describe the ride like a "tractor" feel; slow and steady yet powerful and grounded. Like a tractor, tight and fast turns tend to cause the front wheel to oversteer to one side or the other. Some claim that replacing the tires with more studded tires will eliminate this, however fat bike tires can cost around $90.00 per tire so it's not a cheap fix. It's better simply to ride the bike knowing what it can and can't do. Riding a Fat bike over the course of a few hours is a great upper body workout because the rider is usually having to do more steering from side to side to prevent the bike from oversteering and sliding out.  Here are a couple of videos of the Boris riding through my local mountain bike trails.

Fat bikes were originally intended for use in snowy conditions. The original Fat bike movement started in places like Alaska, Canada and Michigan, as a way to solve the problem of inactivity and transportation during the winter time. So having said that, this bike really came alive during the past week of snowfall here in Texas. I was able to run errands to the store and ride my bike around town while most people couldn't even get out of their driveway. The bike handled superbly in the snow and even the oversteer was less pronounced riding through these conditions. Even with snow as deep as 2 feet in some places, this bike had a bunch of traction climbing the snowy and icy hills around town. The super low gearing made sitting while climbing possible, hence allowing me to put my weight on the back of the bike so that the rear wheel did not spin out. Check out some of my snow videos from the past week of riding.

This bike really shines in snowy conditions.

While researching fat bikes I read reviews claiming how a fat bike rides like a full suspension bike and how fat bikes can go anywhere and ride over anything. As good as this sounds and as much as I want to believe this, the truth is that this bike has it's limitations. This is not a bike that I would do downhill or freeride mountain biking on, for example. This is not a replacement for a full suspension bike just because of it's wide tires; this bike lacks the maneuverability of a traditional full susser and the speed of a traditional cross country mountain bike. What this bike can offer is a new dimension of riding and one that most people have not seen before. This bike doesn't require groomed trails or hard packed soil. In fact, it shines above the rest when the terrain is rocky, sandy, snowy or muddy. While these conditions might limit other types of bikes, it almost enables the Fat bike to be a stellar performer. It's the perfect beach bike, camping bike or snow bike to visit those Inuit friends of yours. The Fat bike is the ultimate trekking and exploration bike available at this time. The Motobecane Boris is one of the best bargains available at this time for those who wish to try this type of bike out. Still on the fence? Don't be, go get you one!


  1. Looks like a decent bike for the price. How much do this things weigh?

    1. This bike comes in conservatively at around 35 to 40 pounds.

  2. Very good stuff and stylish one too. This is what i was looking for so long. this bicycle will very helpful to adventurous kind of personality or for trackers

  3. How about your bike for now? Is it still fun?
    Thank you very much for your review. Help me a lot to my decision.

    1. The bike is still fun to ride, but since I ride mostly on paved roads I don't use it a lot. When it snows or when I go ride on rocky trails it is a fun bike to ride.

  4. For anyone who cares to read, I work in the arctic, and bought the X7 for riding in the tundra and on fine sandy beaches, since swimming is rather impossible due to the frigid waters. All I can say is that it is an awesome bike that performs perfectly in loose sand, mossy wet terrain, all ungroomed of course, and quad tracks. Winter is coming in about 4 weeks, and I am stoked about riding it in arctic snow. My only beef is that I should have gotten the X9. The X7 came with a Lasco crankset up buying the X5 crankset which performs much better. Also the X9 comes with the BB7 brakes. Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing bad to say about the BB5, esecially after finding out this awesome, fast, easy, and efficient way of adjusting them : or But for the price difference between the X7 and the X9, the crankset alone is worth it. Anyhow Fun: 1O, regrets: O.

  5. I have a 2019 Boris X5, I replaced the tires with Arisun Big Smoothy since I use it as a cruiser. I also added 5" riser handlebars and it is very comfortable.