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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 03-22-08, 10:23 PM   #1
Onfixiate
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Who Commutes on a Novara Big Buzz?

I've had a Big Buzz for about 2.5 years now, and use it primarily as a commuter bike. It has about 6500 miles, and I was wondering how "yours" is holding up? I'm a bit disappointed in the wheels, as I have had two broken spokes occur since May of 2007. (Rear wheel, one drive side, one non-drive. The drive side spoke broke at the hub flange, the other one at the nipple.) The failures occurred about 8 months apart. I am not hard on my equipment, and my all-up weight with backpack is about 170 pounds. Off the record, a recreational equipment inc. mechanic told me the spokes are junk. Owing to the oddball 700C/disc/Mtn hub combination, I'm thinking about selling the rig and getting a commuter with more conventional wheels. I really like the disc brake setup, and with fenders, it's definitely a good wet-weather ride. Kind of a dilemma; I basically like the bike, but I don't feel it is "reliable" at this point.

Admirably, REI has done the spoke replacement(s) as a "warranty" repair; it's just a hassle dealing with equipment failure. Any suggestions?
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Old 03-23-08, 12:13 AM   #2
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Well, sounds like you had a bit of bad luck. If you ride long enough, you'll probably experience more broken spokes. Not a big deal. I bet the top 3 mechanical issues you will later face is 1) getting a flat mid-ride 2) broken spokes and 3) broken chain. It'll happen during your ride while you least expect it. Funny that the mechanic told you that the spokes are junk. 1st time I heard that one. Not realy sure what to think about your thinking of getting another wheelset. Wheels, good ones, are alot of money. If it were me, I'd stick with what you got. I mean, those wheels, the spokes are going to be heavy gauge any way. The chances of you getting a busted spoke on this newish bike are somewhat slim. If you get one, bad luck, maybe start thinking the way you are now. My two cents.
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Old 03-23-08, 12:26 AM   #3
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I've been commuting on a Big Buzz since March last year. I've really enjoyed it to date, though I've also had some issues with blowing spokes on the rear tire. Some of this is probably my fault - my previous route had me going down/up a curb with a loaded pannier once each way. (I've replaced a couple spokes since I switched routes, but I suspect the original damage was done prior to the route change.) Anyway, my father in law helped me replace the spokes with some reported to be better quality, and I haven't had any problems since.
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Old 03-23-08, 01:11 PM   #4
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If it's a 135 rear spacing you should have lot sof wheel options in the form of 29er disc wheelsets.
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Old 03-23-08, 02:14 PM   #5
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A lot of stock spokes aren't high quality. Try having all them replaced with a quality spoke.
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Old 03-23-08, 07:36 PM   #6
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A lot of stock spokes aren't high quality. Try having all them replaced with a quality spoke.
Yes! Have them all replaced with "a" quality spoke.

I couldn't resist. The Quality Spoke spokesperson will speak of spokes after a few brief commercial messages.
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Old 03-23-08, 09:04 PM   #7
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My '03 Big Buzz (online purchase) broke rear spokes almost immediately when new. The bad: I had to ship the rear wheel back to Seattle from Indy. (No REI shops within a hundred+ miles.) The good: They rebuilt the wheel and no more breakage or problems. (The Buzz hangs, neglected, in the garage since I got a recumbent 2 years ago.)
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Old 03-24-08, 07:01 AM   #8
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Admirably, REI has done the spoke replacement(s) as a "warranty" repair; it's just a hassle dealing with equipment failure. Any suggestions?
Get a batch of the right size spokes and have someone rebuild the wheel(s). Chances are they weren't built/tuned all that well in the first place (it's doubtful that the building mechanic took the time to tension each spoke just right). As far as the bike not being "reliable," well, parts wear and maintenance needs to be performed. That's just the way it is. Honestly, your post could have been about nearly any bike out there. You may as well be asking if you should buy a new bike because you got a flat, IMHO.
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Old 03-24-08, 07:23 AM   #9
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2.5 Years, 6,500 miles, 2 broken spokes... Yeah, sounds really unreliable .

I think you just "want" a new bike. Nothing wrong with that. But jeez, doesn't sound like this bike owes you anything .
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Old 03-24-08, 09:28 AM   #10
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So, Big Buzz riders:

What's your review of the bike in general?
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Old 03-24-08, 09:33 AM   #11
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These don't sound like unusual problems for that kind of mileage. But it does sound like what you really want is a reason to buy a new bike, and you're just seeking validation of that choice. If you want a new bike - do it - and other people's opinions be damned. But the wheels on your BigB were machine-built (which are always a bit less than optimal), and I think you could have them re-built by hand using good quality spokes and be just fine.
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Old 03-24-08, 10:51 AM   #12
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Just get a new wheelset,or have the rear one rebuilt if you don't trust it. Two broken spokes on a stock wheelset is nothing.

I stopped commuting on my Big Buzz because the alloy fork would bother my carpel tunnel if I rode it every day. My one and only complaint about the bike. Still use it for occational running around town,and would commute on it again if I found a reasonably-priced disc-only carbon fork. Love the gear range,handling,riding position,versatility,looks.
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Old 03-24-08, 12:23 PM   #13
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Just get the rear wheel properly tensioned and keep riding the bike. It doesn't sound like there is anything seriously wrong with it.

My guess is the wheels were not tensioned well [machine built] and that is the reason for your broken spokes. The first thing I do with a machine built wheel is check the tension and having done so I rarely experience any issues.
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Old 03-24-08, 07:14 PM   #14
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I have an ´04 Big Buzz which I have been commuting on. I like the bike but have had some issues. Like other people, I have had problems with the wheels, specifically, breaking spokes on the rear. A friend of mine worked at the bike repair shop in the flagship REI store in Seattle and admitted that the Big Buzz wheels were notorious for spoke problems. Also, the M425 rear hubs which are widely used on OEM wheels are famous for blowing out freehubs, and mine went out twice with less than 1000 miles each time. The freehub is easy and cheap to replace, but I finally gave up on the wheelset and built my own with XT hubs, Alex Adventurer rims, and DT Competition spokes. I also had the ISIS bottom bracket fail at about 5000 miles, and the replacement is now failing with about the same mileage on it. I will not use an ISIS crank again.
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Old 03-24-08, 08:08 PM   #15
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+1 on the Big Buzz having bad spokes. I'm a Big Buzz rider and an REI mechanic. On most (not all) the Big Buzz's, the spokes were cheap, improperly tensioned, or both. At our shop, we tried to retension any wheels that came through. Every so often, a Big Buzz would come back in for broken spokes. We'd rebuild with DT spokes and that'd solve the problem.

The bike itself is fantastic for just about anything you can throw at it. I'd keep the bike and either buy new wheels or have yours rebuilt with quality spokes.
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Old 03-25-08, 09:49 AM   #16
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A coworker loves his. He's about to move on to his 3rd drivetrain (he does the all-at-once thing)
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Old 03-31-08, 12:04 PM   #17
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+1 on the Big Buzz having bad spokes. I'm a Big Buzz rider and an REI mechanic. On most (not all) the Big Buzz's, the spokes were cheap, improperly tensioned, or both. At our shop, we tried to retension any wheels that came through. Every so often, a Big Buzz would come back in for broken spokes. We'd rebuild with DT spokes and that'd solve the problem.

The bike itself is fantastic for just about anything you can throw at it. I'd keep the bike and either buy new wheels or have yours rebuilt with quality spokes.

It's not the spokes. It's the shipping. There have been other users who have had this issue and it has been traced back to badly boxed shipment.
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Old 09-07-16, 07:56 PM   #18
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Buzz light year to the road!!! And beyond!!!!

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So, Big Buzz riders:

What's your review of the bike in general?
LOL. Gets me everytime. Hey guys. This is that DUI guy coming in for a comment. Been cruising on a big buzz 2014 I think the year is rite. Rider before had little to no issues. And never mentioned spoke prob. Sounfs like he didn't ride enough rite? I don't believe so he had it two full years and road it everyday no issues stickers on lower frame of bike do clearly say. Roads or smooth surfaces. Call me whatever you want but maybe just maybe they are not made for hoping curbs and or rough stuff. I have put 150 miles on my bike in the last week mostly for fun and any reason to ride it. My advice when you come to a curb that is rough slow down and carry your bike over it. That or roll over will little momentum. Ride it like you would a woman. Smooth good pace and or fast for a long time. However a ***** you ram slam shoot your jam and say good bye till next time. Treat your bike like a lady not a 5 quid knob gobbler from london. . Happy riding friends. Hope this helps either way I am thoroughly enjoying the hydralic disc brakes. They will make my work commute more fun vome winter. 2 years 6months and some change for a empty can in a car. Little did I know that can would change my life forever and help me quit smoking. Thanks officer Grim your a peach.
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