I just ordered an Ibex bike....

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Any opinions, flames or dire warnings?

I posted a couple of days ago about my efforts to buy a new preferably FS bike. After all of the
appropriately sized Dakar frames sold out at Jenson I gave up on the FS idea and just made a
tentative order for a Jamis Komodo hard-tail with the parts I wanted. Then I saw the link to Ibex
from MTBR and found just the bike I was looking for: an Apogee XT. Go to
http://www.ibexbikes.com/bikes_03Apogeext.html if you want to see it, but to make a long story
short, it has the vast majority of the parts I wanted (the complete XT group), and full suspension
for a few dollars less than I would have paid for the hardtail build kit. Note that this is not a
knock on Jenson, which has some of the best prices I have seen.

Since the 2003 models have not arrived yet, you can pre-order and save $150 off of what already
looks like an excellent price if $1449. Another huge selling point for me is that I don't have to
build it (at least not completely) with all of the associated time, frustration and expense that
would go along with that. Besides the XT group, the parts are all mid-level offerings from name
brands like Ritchey (stem, bars, seat post), WTB (saddle), and Kenda (tires). Although these parts
aren't the top of the line, they are still very respectable. Besides, saddles, tires, pedals etc.
are highly individual choices. At this level of bike, a high percentage of riders, including me,
won't keep everything that is stock, no matter what it is.

The only unknown is the frame, but that too sounds like a comparative winner to me. I was very
surprised to learn that the frame has cartridge bearings, not bushings, and it is triple butted
aluminum. I can't remember seeing any full suspension frames at all for much less than $1000--except
for the cannibalized Dakars from Jenson, which did not have cartridge bearings. And since the parts
list alone is almost worth the $1300 price tag, how could I lose? I suppose it is possible that they
put all those nice parts on a junk frame, but somehow I doubt it. BTW, Ibex appears to be a very
small operation. When I placed my order today, got to talk to the head honcho himself because all
the employees were gone on a trip to Taiwan where the frame factory is located. He was very
friendly, open and knowledgeable. He said the frames are made in their own factory in Taiwan, and he
emphatically pointed out that they have their own frame factory and they are not made by Giant.

All in all, I'm stoked about the probable price/quality ratio of this bike. Of course, any LBS
employee will spit on the ground the second they lay eyes on it, but you can't have everything. Yes,
I know it is risky to make an expensive item like this sight unseen, but I figure that very fact may
make them try even harder to impress, since they know that we customers will have high hopes for the
bikes and be skeptical of the whole thing at the same time.
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