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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 04-11-10, 10:25 PM   #1
Area_Man
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Novara Randonee (REI bike)... thumbs up?

It looks good to a noob like me. Steel frame, heavy sturdy wheels, lots of braze ons, good return policy in case the fit isn't all there, etc.

Any of you have one/ride one?

Supposedly it's about 35 pounds all dressed out, which doesn't sound too bad to me if the gearing's low enough.

http://www.rei.com/product/796696

Whatcha think?
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Old 04-12-10, 01:17 AM   #2
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From what I have read, not many complaints. Nancy over on the touring forum is riding one on the trans america highway. If it were me, I would have to go with the hometown boys and get a long haul trucker for arround the same price. I feel the novara would serve you well though.
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Old 04-12-10, 05:32 AM   #3
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I don't like the shifters or pedals. If I am going on a Brevet, I want to have a fool proof set up. While brifters are nice, I like the reliability of bar end shifters. The pedals are just going to get tossed, so there really is no good reason to have them on there at all.
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Old 04-12-10, 05:56 AM   #4
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It's a reliable setup. One of my brevet partners rides one; although he's swapped out the wheels and a few other components he's worn out over the years... but the STI levers are still fine.
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Old 04-12-10, 05:01 PM   #5
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Call me dumb? If someone is looking at a bike around $1000 in cost - and is thinking "touring" - why would anyone not get a Surly LHT (Long Haul Trucker)? To me it's a boggle point - I do not know everything, and am really more curious than anything else - not meaning rudeness in any way!
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Old 04-12-10, 05:35 PM   #6
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I have an 09 Randonee and I love mine. I did as a lot of people do is switch out the cassette and the rear derailleur. I went to a 11-34 cassette and a Deore LX RD. I love the STI shifters but I am still considering going to bar ends. I bought my Randonee for $800, because it was last years model.
The ride on mine is smooth, even smoother when it is loaded.
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Old 04-12-10, 05:56 PM   #7
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When did the OP say anything about touring or riding brevets?
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Old 04-12-10, 06:03 PM   #8
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My point is the comparing of the two bikes. He didn't say - but he linked a Bicycle *designed* as a 'tour' bike - so, I made a comparision and asked a question. As I said above, no flaming is meant in any way - *I* wish to learn - and to date, when based in the 1K price range, is there truly any better Bike than the LHT?
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Old 04-12-10, 07:30 PM   #9
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I don't like the shifters or pedals. If I am going on a Brevet, I want to have a fool proof set up. While brifters are nice, I like the reliability of bar end shifters. .
Why is it hat when a poster types the word "brevet" all of a sudden reliable components that get a rider over 25,000 miles are suddenly at risk of leaving a brevet rider stranded on a 200-300 mile ride?




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The pedals are just going to get tossed, so there really is no good reason to have them on there at all.
How in the world do you pedal a bike without pedals?
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Old 04-12-10, 08:31 PM   #10
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Peter, what makes a LHT different than say a 520, Randonee, Cannondale, Jamis? I looked at touring bikes, since thats what I was looking to purchase. I went with the Randonee because its the bike that felt right for me. The LHT in my opinion is pimped way to hard.

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Old 04-12-10, 08:48 PM   #11
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How in the world do you pedal a bike without pedals?
lower the seat?
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Old 04-12-10, 10:17 PM   #12
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If you plan to go touring, from what I've read it is a good bike. If you are just looking for a relaxed geometry road bike take a look at the Specialized Secteur. Frankly, it boils down to what your intended use of the bike is.
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Old 04-12-10, 10:29 PM   #13
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Why is it hat when a poster types the word "brevet" all of a sudden reliable components that get a rider over 25,000 miles are suddenly at risk of leaving a brevet rider stranded on a 200-300 mile ride?
Ask the current RUSA 1-year distance record holder.

During his 80km warm-up ride to the start line of the spring 200k, his bike took a tumble from where he leaned it during a break. There was barely a scratch on his rear Dura-Ace brifter, but something inside got busted and left him with a 2-speed for the remainder of the ride.
It does seem to be a uniquely North American attitude, however. When the gang from our rando club heads to European and/or Scandanavian brevets, the prevailing kit is carbon frames and integrated levers, not steel frames and bar-ends (or downtube shifters).
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Old 04-12-10, 10:38 PM   #14
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Peter, what makes a LHT different than say a 520, Randonee, Cannondale, Jamis? I looked at touring bikes, since thats what I was looking to purchase. I went with the Randonee because its the bike that felt right for me. The LHT in my opinion is pimped way to hard.
I think that what Surly skimped on in some departments, they manage to make up for with other components. They stock great wheels on the LHT, and a great drivetrain. They skimp on the brakes and the headset. The frame is comparable to others in the list, but they opt for bar-end shifters instead of STI levers. Maybe it's a durability call, maybe it's cost savings; probably a little of each.
The Surly name gets pushed pretty hard by advocates, like listening to a Mac vs. Windows or Xbox vs. Playstation argument. Is it really that much better than the others? Meh. It depends on what you're looking for. I like my Cross Check and I do recommend Surly, but I don't do so at the expense of discussing the positive attributes of other bikes.
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Old 04-12-10, 10:41 PM   #15
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During his 80km warm-up ride to the start line of the spring 200k, his bike took a tumble from where he leaned it during a break. There was barely a scratch on his rear Dura-Ace brifter, but something inside got busted and left him with a 2-speed for the remainder of the ride.
).
A tumble can damage any component.......I made the same stupid move on a century, damaged my rear derailleur. If I had a "brevet derailleur" , would the results have be any different?
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Old 04-12-10, 11:04 PM   #16
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A tumble can damage any component.......I made the same stupid move on a century, damaged my rear derailleur. If I had a "brevet derailleur" , would the results have be any different?
You find one that people specifically endorse for its durability over a more popular component, and I'll give 'em a drop test in our engineering shop.
Bar-end shifters and down tube shifters are promoted for self-supported riding for their durability due to the lack of fiddley little internal bits, and their ability to fall back on friction mode in case something does go haywire with the indexing (if you even use indexing). You can knock a pair of bar-end or dt shifters around pretty hard before you render them functionless.
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Old 04-12-10, 11:10 PM   #17
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You find one that people specifically endorse for its durability over a more popular component, and I'll give 'em a drop test in our engineering shop.
Bar-end shifters and down tube shifters are promoted for self-supported riding for their durability due to the lack of fiddley little internal bits, and their ability to fall back on friction mode in case something does go haywire with the indexing (if you even use indexing). You can knock a pair of bar-end or dt shifters around pretty hard before you render them functionless.
True, but my point was that his problem was neglect, not of the component.
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Old 04-12-10, 11:28 PM   #18
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True, but my point was that his problem was neglect, not of the component.
Ahhh beanze ol buddy Brevet components dont get neglected,and the are designed not to fall. So i think your off base here,if you had all Brevet componets you would have never screwed up your rear Derailluer, Brevet Derailluers are anti all that.....
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Old 04-12-10, 11:31 PM   #19
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True, but my point was that his problem was neglect, not of the component.
In that regard, the same neglect imparted upon a downtube or bar-end shifter is less likely to cause any damage; so while the component isn't directly to blame, it all goes back to the question of durability, and why we randos and tourists often espouse the merits of our retro-grouchy componentry.

That, and complaining about kids and their new fangled gizmos (and how they need to stay off our lawn) gives us something to do after 22 hours of riding.
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Old 04-12-10, 11:59 PM   #20
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Ahhh beanze ol buddy Brevet components dont get neglected,and the are designed not to fall. So i think your off base here,if you had all Brevet componets you would have never screwed up your rear Derailluer, Brevet Derailluers are anti all that.....
I know, it's just my strange way of thinking.
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Old 04-13-10, 12:14 AM   #21
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...It does seem to be a uniquely North American attitude, however. When the gang from our rando club heads to European and/or Scandanavian brevets, the prevailing kit is carbon frames and integrated levers, not steel frames and bar-ends (or downtube shifters).
I don't think it's a "North American" attitude. I think it is more of a "bad weather" attitude. It's not nearly that prevalent in the southern parts of the US. Go to a brevet in So Cal and people on "brevet" bikes with bar ends, fenders etc are outnumbered 10 to 1.

Unfortunately there is a lot of snobbery in the randon community. If you don't do it "my way" you don't know what you are doing (speaking generally not specific to anyone here).
Ultimately it comes down to a confidence issue. I mean confidence in that you are confident that your equipment is going to last you through the event that you are doing. I've seen more crank arms snap off on brevets than I've seen brifters brake. For me, brifter reliability is a none issue. Much of the reliability issues that I've seen on brevets are a result of poor maintainance, not lack of quality or reliability of the parts themselves (be they retro or modern).

Last edited by Homeyba; 04-13-10 at 12:22 AM.
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Old 04-13-10, 12:36 AM   #22
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To the OP, the Randonee is a fine "entry" level long distance bike. If you are just looking to get introduced into long distance riding you should be happy.

btw. Just because a wheel has a lot of spokes does not necessarily mean that is a strong, durable wheel. It needs to be built by a good wheel builder as well, especially for us clydes.
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Old 04-13-10, 02:23 AM   #23
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Randonee is a good bike. I considered it in my search for a touring bike. I went with a Rocky Mountain Sherpa 30. It's a pretty similar bike to the Randonee. I preferred the steel tubing (Reynolds 853) used to make the Rocky Mountain. I also liked the gearing a little better (52x42x30 on the front) on the Rocky Mountain. I also preferred the integrated braking/shifting (not available on many touring bikes.) All of the above are just preferences... and I paid for them. The Sherpa 30 runs a little north of $1100. I think the Randonee is a better "value." I see that it running at $799.
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Old 04-13-10, 06:03 AM   #24
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My point is the comparing of the two bikes. He didn't say - but he linked a Bicycle *designed* as a 'tour' bike - so, I made a comparision and asked a question. As I said above, no flaming is meant in any way - *I* wish to learn - and to date, when based in the 1K price range, is there truly any better Bike than the LHT?
There are a lot of good bikes for touring and distance riding. The LHT is one of them. However, it's overhyped by a small, loud, and possibly paid contingent of Bike Forums posters. A couple of years ago there were nine separate threads on LHTs running on the Touring Forum. That screams "viral marketing."
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Old 04-13-10, 06:06 AM   #25
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Peter, what makes a LHT different than say a 520, Randonee, Cannondale, Jamis? I looked at touring bikes, since thats what I was looking to purchase. I went with the Randonee because its the bike that felt right for me. The LHT in my opinion is pimped way too hard.
I liked the Randonee as well. I ultimately decided on the LHT because I wanted to give my bike shop the business, and I knew someone who had all sorts of problems with his Randonee. (The first day on tour the rear rack fell off!)
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