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Thread: Novara Express

  1. #1
    Junior Member crash_t51's Avatar
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    Novara Express

    Anyone have any experience or information to share on this bike?

    Novara Express

    I can not find any independent information on this bike outside of the Novara/REI website. This is one of the bikes I'm considering as a new commuter/fitness vehicle - I took it for a test ride and I liked it.

  2. #2
    Science Fanboy KrisPistofferson's Avatar
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    I had one of their old touring mountain bikes a few years ago, it was STOLEN naturally. It's probably one of the nicest bikes I've ever owned. Novarra makes a really good product, and you get a lot of bang for your buck. I think alot of people ignore the bikes because it's REI's house brand. The Randonee is also an incredible bike.
    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Hitchens
    What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.

  3. #3
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    Nice bike- I ordered a '04 model (blue rather than grey, otherwise similar components) for myself December (my Christmas present to myself). In fact, unless you like the new color, ask your local REI to inquire with their REI network of stores about '04 models. The clearance price is $700, plus $60 shipping. I believe the local store here in Cary, NC has a 54 cm version on the floor at that price still. Light, nice ride, with the benefit of 28 mm tires for a bit more cush. Solid gearing and crisp shifting.

    I'm sure you have good reasons for wanting a flat-bar 'road bike,' but I wonder if I would have been better served purchasing a traditional handlebar version of the same bike. Mine is equipted with panniers and freddie fenders to be my commute bike (I ride it to school twice a week, ~11 miles each way). I replaced the 'nub' bar ends with 'real' ones from profile, but still I think I'd have better grip options with road bars over mountain ones. I'm still goofing with settings (stem, seat height, angles, etc), so I may find a more natural groove for me soon such that the flat bar will work out.

    The Randonee has a great reputation, but it is a good bit heavier (doesn't have the benefit of Al frame and carbon forks). But, it is cool that the chainstay is a spare spoke.

  4. #4
    aspiring dirtbag commuter max-a-mill's Avatar
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    that randonee is COOL.

    i didn't know rei had a bike like that. that would get my vote too!
    - the revolution will not be motorized -

  5. #5
    derailleurs are overrated bigbenaugust's Avatar
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    I ride a 2003 Randonee and have about 5700 miles on it. It's a tank, which is both good and bad. Starting in 2004, they came with some better parts (stem/shifters/wheels/brakes).

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    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    I can't comment on this specific bike but I have a Novara road bike and it was and continues to be a tremendous value. I've commuted on it nearly every day for several years now. Great bang for the buck.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  7. #7
    Redmond rider tjjohnson's Avatar
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    I have purchased one and I'm not sure what I want to say about it yet...

    It is a nice bike and ride, however I have had 3 major problems and have only had it 3 weeks making it un-ride-able for almost 1/2 the time....

    1. On the 2nd day of ridding, somehow my chain tied itself in a knot so that it had to be broken to get it untied - REI did replace the chain and noticed that the rear derailleur was a little bent so he bent it back...???

    2. Now that I have had it back I was able to ride it for 1 full week and a couple of days this week and now I'm taking it back again because the rear tire is out of true... I realize that a new bike will settle, but I don't even have 40 miles on it yet. :-(

    3. Because I'm taking it in tonight I will have them look at another issue I found the other day when I was standing pushing the big gear - on 2 rotations in a row it skipped a bunch of teeth so I'm thinking it is something with the bearings.

    REI is going to fix it again but it is still kind of disturbing that in less than 1 month I have had this many issues. I guess it could be a lemon... I would hate that the entire run is this way.

    Happy ridding. :-)

  8. #8
    Redmond rider tjjohnson's Avatar
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    Well I dropped the bike off last night and they'll have it done be 5:00 tonight. :-)

    I asked them to go through the entire bike and they said they would with out any questions or anything. :-)

    I love REI's service!!!

    I found out the problem with the rear wheel... The Shimano wheels are built in a factory and there is something they put in to keep the spokes in place that either was not put in during the creation of the wheel or broke. So basically that problem is/was a manufactures defect.

    I just hate when I get the defective part. :-(

    I'll post more when I get the full scoop after picking it up.

  9. #9
    aspiring dirtbag commuter max-a-mill's Avatar
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    if they are giving you that much service with a smile they sound like a good outfit!
    - the revolution will not be motorized -

  10. #10
    Redmond rider tjjohnson's Avatar
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    Yes REI service is great.

    There was an issue with the rear derailliure again so they swapped that out as well.

    today's ride was nice. the bike is FAST!!! :-)

  11. #11
    Redmond rider tjjohnson's Avatar
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    Well my chain broke again this moring about 1.5 miles away from work.

    I'll be taking this back this weekend. I haven't decided if i'm going to return it and get a different brand and stay away from Novara or if I'll just have them build me a new bike to replace this one.

  12. #12
    Science Fanboy KrisPistofferson's Avatar
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    Why not just get a better chain?
    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Hitchens
    What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.

  13. #13
    derailleurs are overrated bigbenaugust's Avatar
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    What chain is that? The first PC59R that came on my Randonee lasted 1600 miles, and it only broke because I accidentally broke the powerlink with a chain tool (I wasn't thinking). The second one lasted 4200 miles.
    --Ben
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Stubacca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjjohnson
    Well my chain broke again this moring about 1.5 miles away from work.

    I'll be taking this back this weekend. I haven't decided if i'm going to return it and get a different brand and stay away from Novara or if I'll just have them build me a new bike to replace this one.
    Problems with chains, wheels and other components really have very little to do with it being a Novara. The components are mostly Shimano, right? The chain shouldn't break that easily, so sounds like either a defect or, more likely, a bad installation. The bike's good, but the mechanic might not be!

  15. #15
    Senior Member Stubacca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjjohnson
    I found out the problem with the rear wheel... The Shimano wheels are built in a factory and there is something they put in to keep the spokes in place that either was not put in during the creation of the wheel or broke. So basically that problem is/was a manufactures defect.
    From the experience of a friend of mine, and the many experiences I've read about here, Shimano wheelsets aren't the most durable. Low spoke count wheels will never be the strongest and are particularly bad for heavier riders, and the Shimano wheels have a reputation for being one of the weakest. Hopefully they'll stay in true for you now, but it's probably realistic to expect them to need adjustment every now and again.

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    Redmond rider tjjohnson's Avatar
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    I ended up taking the bike back because of the chain issue and the fact that I rode it 1 time after replacing the chain and the Shimano rear wheel was out of true again... :-(

    It didn’t help me make up my mind when I picked it up from the chain getting fixed and the tech told me that the wheel was out of true again and the derailleur was bent again. So after the 1 ride and having problems again I decided that one of 2 things must happen…
    1. Get new wheels – this option would have cost me more money that I didn’t have after spending 1K+ on the bike
    2. Take the bike back and call it good – then get a different bike…

    I ended up choose option 2 because of the cost for new wheels, and ended up buying a K2 Astral 5.0. I would have gotten it Saturday but by the time I got to REI the 1 large they had in stock was sold, and Redmond had 1 in stock that was sold 5 min before the salesman called from Seattle. So I had to have one sent in from the Distribution Center in Sumner.

    In fact I get to look at it today and then have the fenders, and rack put on. I would do it myself, but I have heard that putting fenders and racks on bikes that have disk breaks can be tricky.

    The downside of all of this was I bought a bike that I shouldn’t have in the first place, but thankfully REI has such wonderful customer service I will continue giving them my dollar…

  17. #17
    Junior Member crash_t51's Avatar
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    FWIW (as the thread starter), I ended up getting a Cannondale Road Warrior 800 from REI. I went back and test rode the Novara Express again, and the salesclerk suggested I might also like the Cannondale, so I took it out for a test ride as well and liked it better. Had it a couple of weeks now and so far I am very happy with my purchase.

    http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/05/c...del-5HR8Y.htmlCannondale Road Warrior 800

  18. #18
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    Happy so far

    I've got about 150 miles so far on my 2011 Novara Express, and at this point I'm happy with it. I'm not able to commute to work with it because of my job but try to use it for everything else.

    I too replaced the bar ends. The one's that come with the bike are nice looking but a little too small to really be functional. In addition I've added a rack, panniers, a front and rear light, and mirror. It's now a nice bike for heading out for the day on, running errand's, or even just a few laps around the neighborhood. It even manages to handle some rail trail type riding on wood chips though since I still have the original tires on it anything not approaching level isn't easy or is out of the question. Yeah; I know it's a road bike but it seems to have the muscle to handle some light off road duty.

    I can't say that I'm excited over the fork being carbon fiber, but so far I'm managing to be able to live with it though some day replacing it isn't out of the question.

    My problem is from the service I've received from my local dealer along with the original assembly. I'm not convinced there up to par with other places at set up. An obviously clue was a seat post clamp mounted 90 degrees of the normal positioning. Not a big deal but it makes me wonder what over things I'll find over time that aren't torqued right, or in place correctly. Than there was that bit about the 86 psi in the tires when the side of the tire clearly states "max pressure 75 psi" which leads one to wonder about the quality in that department.

    Otherwise it's a good bike though although I'd have to stop and think about whether or not I'd recommend it. With my experience so far I'm not about to turn it in for something else, but on the other hand I'll have to wait and see about if it turns out to be a bike I'd recommend to someone else to buy.

    Also annoying is the lack of documentation on the bike beyond what you read at the REI website. Things such as the model of a particular item, or perhaps the dimension of it. Pulling out my seat post to grease it told me the length, and a measuring gauge told me the diameter. Other parts are being recorded as I go along.

  19. #19
    Member jamiller1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael71061 View Post
    I've got about 150 miles so far on my 2011 Novara Express, and at this point I'm happy with it. I'm not able to commute to work with it because of my job but try to use it for everything else.

    I too replaced the bar ends. The one's that come with the bike are nice looking but a little too small to really be functional. In addition I've added a rack, panniers, a front and rear light, and mirror. It's now a nice bike for heading out for the day on, running errand's, or even just a few laps around the neighborhood. It even manages to handle some rail trail type riding on wood chips though since I still have the original tires on it anything not approaching level isn't easy or is out of the question. Yeah; I know it's a road bike but it seems to have the muscle to handle some light off road duty.

    I can't say that I'm excited over the fork being carbon fiber, but so far I'm managing to be able to live with it though some day replacing it isn't out of the question.

    My problem is from the service I've received from my local dealer along with the original assembly. I'm not convinced there up to par with other places at set up. An obviously clue was a seat post clamp mounted 90 degrees of the normal positioning. Not a big deal but it makes me wonder what over things I'll find over time that aren't torqued right, or in place correctly. Than there was that bit about the 86 psi in the tires when the side of the tire clearly states "max pressure 75 psi" which leads one to wonder about the quality in that department.

    Otherwise it's a good bike though although I'd have to stop and think about whether or not I'd recommend it. With my experience so far I'm not about to turn it in for something else, but on the other hand I'll have to wait and see about if it turns out to be a bike I'd recommend to someone else to buy.

    Also annoying is the lack of documentation on the bike beyond what you read at the REI website. Things such as the model of a particular item, or perhaps the dimension of it. Pulling out my seat post to grease it told me the length, and a measuring gauge told me the diameter. Other parts are being recorded as I go along.
    I don't mean this in a rude way but you do realize that this thread is 6 years old don't you?

  20. #20
    Pedaling fool ShinyBiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamiller1 View Post
    I don't mean this in a rude way but you do realize that this thread is 6 years old don't you?
    I kinda like folks to add on to old threads re. a specific model. It makes it easier to search if you're considering this model. Beats starting a brand new thread.
    Last edited by ShinyBiker; 06-02-11 at 12:46 PM. Reason: add'l sentence.

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