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Old 01-19-12, 05:31 PM   #1
tiredone
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~80s REI Novara Trionfo: worth $250?

Well, I checked out this bike today and it seems like a real deal. It's a Novara Trionfo with Tange steel frame. The RD, shifters, and I think FD (didn't really look at it carefully) are all Dura Ace, and the gears look to be in good condition. The cassette is 6 speed, so I think that means it is from the 80s rather than 90s. Seller says she only put around 200 miles on it for triathlons, and before that her Dad was using it for an unknown amount of mileage; though I think overall mileage looks to be low since I could only see a little daylight poking through the biggest cog with the new chain on it.

The only problems I noticed were the frame being a little small and no eyelets for a rack. The first problem, I noticed that my neck was straining a bit while trying to look up at the road ahead. Also felt that I was a little too cramped/hunched over, probably due to the short, downward stem, downward pointing bars, and raised seatpost. My normal road bike is a 56cm with compact (sloping TT) geo, this is a 54cm with traditional (straight TT) geo, so maybe it's too much of a leap to try to compensate the size difference with longer seatpost/stem? And, if I find the 6 speed cassette to be inadequate for the hilly area I live in, how easy would it be to find a compatible >6 speed cassette given the older RD & FD? On top of that, would I be able to change the DT shifters to bar end shifters? I hear barcons should work well for that, right?

The second problem, I am researching workarounds and p-clamps are often suggested, though I doubt the stability of that solution for all four mounting points. Mostly, I just don't want to spend more money to buy another rack, so I just want some sort of adapter(s) that would make my standard eyelet-using rack work with this bike. How would a seatpost adapter plus a QR skewer adapter work? I will be carrying a backpack full of books weighing in around 15-30 lbs along with a hefty mini-u lock, so I want something rather secure.

Here are a few closeups I got of the componentry of the bike. Oh yeah, she mentioned that she got one other offer from a guy trying to save up $200, so apparently she might be willing to lower the price from $250. Also, the C-List posting expired, but aside from the details I've given already, pretty much she had the bike tuned up and replaced the cables, chain, tape, etc FWIW. And I intend to use this bike for commuting, hence the importance of a rack, good gearing, etc.



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Old 01-19-12, 05:38 PM   #2
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offer $175 cash money.
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Old 01-19-12, 05:58 PM   #3
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Looks like the spitting image of a Centurion Ironman, down to the curved seat stay bridge.

56 sloping to 54 straight TT is a big big leap.
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Old 01-19-12, 06:39 PM   #4
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I am convinced that many of the older novarra bikes are rebadged centurions. I've compared a few side by side and the geo/frame features are identical with the same tubing. $250 is not too shabby considering it is equipped with Dura Ace.
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Old 01-19-12, 09:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puget Pounder View Post
I am convinced that many of the older novarra bikes are rebadged centurions. I've compared a few side by side and the geo/frame features are identical with the same tubing. $250 is not too shabby considering it is equipped with Dura Ace.
+10
I had a 48cm and it's the spitting image of an Ironman. All 600 components. It sold for $300 in May 2011. It looked barely ridden and this nice guy bought it for his mother's birthday.
Then there's a 48cm Ironman that my wife used to own.



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Old 01-19-12, 10:26 PM   #6
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This bike certainly sounds like a great deal from a value standpoint but...

If it doesn't fit, don't buy it. Your neck was strained on a test ride? What happens when you have to ride 10, 20, 30 miles? There was no picture of the handlebar setup, but unless you put some goofy stem extender on you won't get the bars much higher unless they're really slammed right now. Also, given that you want to carry that much weight I would suggest a less racy bike with eyelets to run a real rack.

Maybe buy it, take some great pictures, flip it, then buy the bike you really want/need? If you can get it for $200 you could probably resell it for three.
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Old 01-20-12, 12:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmh657 View Post
+10
I had a 48cm and it's the spitting image of an Ironman. All 600 components. It sold for $300 in May 2011. It looked barely ridden and this nice guy bought it for his mother's birthday.
Then there's a 48cm Ironman that my wife used to own.
Yep, that's exactly the bike I checked out, yellow/white Novara Trionfo. I guess house brand bikes ripped off other designs even back then .

Quote:
Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
This bike certainly sounds like a great deal from a value standpoint but...

If it doesn't fit, don't buy it. Your neck was strained on a test ride? What happens when you have to ride 10, 20, 30 miles? There was no picture of the handlebar setup, but unless you put some goofy stem extender on you won't get the bars much higher unless they're really slammed right now. Also, given that you want to carry that much weight I would suggest a less racy bike with eyelets to run a real rack.

Maybe buy it, take some great pictures, flip it, then buy the bike you really want/need? If you can get it for $200 you could probably resell it for three.
That's what I was afraid to hear. Well, I really won't be riding this bike for a terribly far commute, maybe 15 miles total per day to get to college. I know I should've taken a picture of the bar setup, but the stem was fairly short and angled downward, and the bars were pointed slightly more downward than I am used to; probably because the current owner needed an aero position for triathlons. It basically looks like the pictures tmh657 posted, but the stem is slammed down even lower.

I was researching on getting a frame size that's smaller vs one that's bigger, and nearly everyone says that it's easier to make a smaller frame fit with stem and seatpost modifications. If I get an upward pointing, longer stem and a setback seatpost, I should be fine, right?

And I don't really want to flip the bike; the owner seems to be a genuinely nice lady, and Oahu is such a small island, too...
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Old 01-20-12, 07:11 AM   #8
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Sounds like a nice bike, at a nice price. But it also sounds like it does not fit your requirements. First, you already know it does not fit as it is currently equipped. This means you will have to mess around with various stems, saddle position, etc., attempting to get it fit right. Maybe that will eventually work out, maybe not. I do know that it is impossible to predict via the internet.

The more serious issue is your desired use. You want a bike for a short commute, one that can handle heavy loading, racks (and maybe fenders too!). A racing bike is a poor choice for that service. You already identified there are no provisions for racks.

A good, solid, alternative that can meet your requirements is the rigid frame MTB. Designed for racks and fenders, can handle a load, with smooth tires, plenty fast enough for a 7 1/2 mile commute, etc. Oh yeah, and with some searching, you should be able to find a really good one, CHEAP. One thing about vintage mtbs, there is really no reason to settle for a low end one, when you can get one that originally cost $500 to $750 more than a low end one, for $30 to $50 more money (maybe $150 versus $100). The higher end one will have much better wheels, components, frame, and be much lighter.

Around here, a lot of us are fans of N+1. I know I would not be able to pass up that Novara. But my keeper fleet has about 10 bikes in it, so there is "room" for a little bit of everything. But if I was doing your commute, and this Novara was in my fleet, I would be riding my 1992 Trek 950 MTB instead.

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Old 01-20-12, 08:06 AM   #9
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The most suitable bicycle for youre purpose would a vintage grand touring bicycle but hey command premium prices these days. Alternately as suggested, an ATB with high pressure, road tires works well. Many have rack eyelets and they're much cheaper. A set of bars ends gives alternate hand postions and more makes climbing hills more natural. Another alternative worth looking at are hybrids.
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Old 01-20-12, 11:13 AM   #10
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+1 For that commute an old rigid high end mountain bike would be perfect. Room for fenders, racks, and still quick enough with slick tires for reasonable road riding. I would still prefer a touring bike with 700c wheels and drop bars but those are much more expensive in the used market.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tiredone View Post
I was researching on getting a frame size that's smaller vs one that's bigger, and nearly everyone says that it's easier to make a smaller frame fit with stem and seatpost modifications. If I get an upward pointing, longer stem and a setback seatpost, I should be fine, right?
It really depends on your body type. For me that is not the case. I can make very large frames fit just fine because I have long legs and short arms. Generally the top tubes of older frames are similar regardless of size so the only difference for me is standover clearance which I don't care about.

What I cannot do is ride a frame that's too small because the saddle-to-bar drop becomes excessive and I end up bending over way too much which strains my neck. I'm 5'9" and fit well on a 56cm bike. I've felt just fine on 63cm frames, but my 53cm Trek is too small to the point that I think I will sell it. Just my experience.
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Old 01-20-12, 04:54 PM   #11
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Thanks for all of your responses everyone. I forgot to mention, this bike is not going to be strictly for commuting. I plan on making it my rain bike also, and maybe a just-for-fun <30 miles rider. But I guess you guys are right, making the bike fit me will probably be more work than it's worth, and raises the cost, too (gotta buy new stem, seatpost, etc..)

There really isn't much of a good used bike market in Hawaii though. All of the bikes I have seen in Craigslist are either way out of my budget (>$300), are crap dept store bikes, or are not the right size for me. I did check out a LBS and they say they will be stocking a 2012 Giant Escape 2 for sale at $360 in a few days. I think they also had a lower model that was <$300, too. Either way, those bikes would be pushing my budget, as I'd prefer a bike in the $200 price range, with $300 being about my maximum.
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Old 01-21-12, 11:05 PM   #12
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So I pulled the trigger, guys. $200 out of my pocket later, and this Novara Triono is mine! Hopefully, I won't have to spend even more to try to make the slightly smaller frame fit. But just angling up the handlebars helped a ton with alleviating the aggressive riding position. A nice, long riser stem should complete the deal, but I might need to drop even more money for a men's saddle (this one is women's), setback seatpost, ehhhtc...

But you gotta admit, $200 is not bad at all when you consider this was a top of the line >$1000 bike back in the 80s.

Here are a couple crappy cell phone pics
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Old 01-22-12, 12:18 AM   #13
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I'd advise against a setback seatpost. The saddle should only be adjusted relative to your legs and feet on the pedals. Moving the saddle forward/back to adjust the fit of the bike (reach to the bars) will screw that up and you'll be less efficient pedaling. Get the saddle where it should be, then adjust reach and height of the bars up at the front.
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