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  1. #1
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    Specialized AWOL vs. Novara Buzz

    I'm looking for a steel bike (I'm a big guy) with a long top tube. Was thinking about about the AWOL then I stumble upon the REI's Novara Buzz. Their geometry seem pretty similar.
    I'm assume Specialized has better components. but at more than twice the price? Which bike would be a better buy?

    Specialized Bicycle Components

    Novara Buzz Bike - 2014 at REI.com

  2. #2
    Senior Member blakcloud's Avatar
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    AWOL is a better buy and a better bike all around. Specialized bikes tend to hold their value if you decide to sell it. I find that the better the components are, the easier they are to set up and stay that way. They don't wear as fast so you are not replacing parts as quickly. Plus they just work better. BB7 disk brakes are the industry standard for cable pulled brakes. You really can't get better.

    REI has a great return policy if you decide to go that route.

  3. #3
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I.. assume Specialized has better components
    why assume , if you know the ranking of the various levels of components ..

    Homework you can do, yourself

    then you will know the price of every part ,

    just factories get them cheaper buying truckloads but Acera is alway priced less than Ultegra

  4. #4
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    One has flat bars, the other has drop bars. Not really comparable - you need to figure out which one you like better.
    http://treadrightly.blogspot.com/

  5. #5
    Senior Member blakcloud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by treadtread View Post
    One has flat bars, the other has drop bars. Not really comparable - you need to figure out which one you like better.
    The OP is not asking which bike is better, he asked "Which bike would be a better buy?", so they are actually comparable.

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    These are two very different bikes. The Buzz is a hybrid with a flat bar designed for "urban" use and has much lower end components.

    The AWOL is a "adventure tourer/graver rider" with a shallow drop bar that would be equally comfortable in urban, etc. and has higher end components.

    I haven't ridden/seen the Buzz, but I have the AWOL.

    Given the retail price on the Novara I would say the AWOL is a better deal as you can probably get some discount form a LBS. If you can get the Novara with an REI 20% coupon then it becomes a pretty good deal.

    Ultimately you need to decide what you want in a bike, what you will do with it, what level of components, etc. as I would not consider these bikes to be on equal ground.

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    Thanks for all the replies. I'm leaning towards the AWOL, but it will be another couple of months before I have enough saved up for the purchase. If REI has a sale before then....

  8. #8
    High Plains Luddite
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    Wow, that AWOL looks awesome. I had not seen that bike before. Thanks for posting for us clueless guys who don't haunt bike stores nor manufacturers websites.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Consularrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstraus View Post
    .. The Buzz is a hybrid with a flat bar designed for "urban" use and has much lower end components.

    The AWOL is a "adventure tourer/graver rider" with a shallow drop bar that would be equally comfortable in urban, etc. and has higher end components ...
    Just to note that the drive train on the AWOL is Sora, the low end of the Shimano road bike component line, about equal to the SRAM X4 with is the low end of the SRAM mtb component line.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Consularrider View Post
    Just to note that the drive train on the AWOL is Sora, the low end of the Shimano road bike component line, about equal to the SRAM X4 with is the low end of the SRAM mtb component line.
    Fair enough on the components, though I will note two things:

    1) the "new" sora is a big upgrade from the old sora.
    2) If you really want better components there is the AWOL COMP with SRAM Apex and X9, for more $ of course

  11. #11
    Senior Member Ray Dockrey's Avatar
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    Actually the new 9 speed Sora was the old Tiagra so it is very nice. I just bought a Giant Anyroad 2 that has the Sora nine speed and it is very good. The Anyroad 1 had the Tiagra 10 speed but with a compact double and I wanted a triple crankset. Of the two bikes the OP listed I would get the AWOL hands down.

  12. #12
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Dockrey View Post
    Actually the new 9 speed Sora was the old Tiagra so it is very nice. I just bought a Giant Anyroad 2 that has the Sora nine speed and it is very good. The Anyroad 1 had the Tiagra 10 speed but with a compact double and I wanted a triple crankset. Of the two bikes the OP listed I would get the AWOL hands down.
    What is your opinion of the Anyroad?
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    Senior Member gregjones's Avatar
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    It's hard for me to swallow a $1300 bike with Sora, even Tiagra, pieces. In a recent thread a poster was asking about an $800 Nashbar CX bike with 105 stuff. OK it has FSA crankset, So????????????????? That's without the 21% discount!! Price the 105 levers and derailleurs, then a cheap wheelset. The CX from Nashbar is quite a deal. So it doesn't have disc, fifty bucks and it'll have KoolStops front and rear-it will stop just fine. Bikes did it for decades.
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    I'm planning on buying a new AWOL....

    Quote Originally Posted by mstraus View Post
    Fair enough on the components, though I will note two things:

    1) the "new" sora is a big upgrade from the old sora.
    2) If you really want better components there is the AWOL COMP with SRAM Apex and X9, for more $ of course
    As soon as I get my tax refund back. I'm getting the base model with the triple crank and Sora components. I have read reviews of the new Sora 9-speed and they have all been very positive. The AWOL seems to be the perfect bike for me because I like drop bars but had a 4-disc fusion in my lower back and need my bars up higher than the seat due to my lack of flexibility in my low back. I think Specialized deserves a lot of credit for bringing out a model like this for riders like me. My only other choices were the Giant Anyroad and the Rivendell Atlantis. The Anyroad has 24 and 28 spoked wheels, which are not adequate for my 235# weight on the rough chip seal and gravel roads around here. The Atlantis is way out of my price range. Once I get my AWOL, I'll post a report.
    Smokey

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    Quote Originally Posted by smokey1952 View Post
    As soon as I get my tax refund back. I'm getting the base model with the triple crank and Sora components. I have read reviews of the new Sora 9-speed and they have all been very positive. The AWOL seems to be the perfect bike for me because I like drop bars but had a 4-disc fusion in my lower back and need my bars up higher than the seat due to my lack of flexibility in my low back. I think Specialized deserves a lot of credit for bringing out a model like this for riders like me. My only other choices were the Giant Anyroad and the Rivendell Atlantis. The Anyroad has 24 and 28 spoked wheels, which are not adequate for my 235# weight on the rough chip seal and gravel roads around here. The Atlantis is way out of my price range. Once I get my AWOL, I'll post a report.
    Smokey
    Awesome, I am sure you will love the AWOL. It is interesting to see Specialized release a more niche bike like this. Doesn't even seem like the specialized dealers close to me are even carrying it in stock, only as a special order. The closest competitor to it that I have seen (and I a lot of research on it while looking for a bike myself) is the Salsa Vaya. Look forward to a report after you get the bike.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Ray Dockrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -=(8)=- View Post
    What is your opinion of the Anyroad?
    T.I.A!
    I love it. Very comfortable and it feels like something I could ride all day. I ride a lot of rural roads and it is nice not having to worry about dodging cracks and pot holes and all the other stuff that gets gets knocked around.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Ray Dockrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smokey1952 View Post
    As soon as I get my tax refund back. I'm getting the base model with the triple crank and Sora components. I have read reviews of the new Sora 9-speed and they have all been very positive. The AWOL seems to be the perfect bike for me because I like drop bars but had a 4-disc fusion in my lower back and need my bars up higher than the seat due to my lack of flexibility in my low back. I think Specialized deserves a lot of credit for bringing out a model like this for riders like me. My only other choices were the Giant Anyroad and the Rivendell Atlantis. The Anyroad has 24 and 28 spoked wheels, which are not adequate for my 235# weight on the rough chip seal and gravel roads around here. The Atlantis is way out of my price range. Once I get my AWOL, I'll post a report.
    Smokey
    I weigh 25 more pounds then you and so far I have no issues with the wheels on the Anyroad. Thats with multiple railroad track crossings, a few holes, and multiple bridge expansion joints and the same kind of roads you describe. One section I ride the road is so bad its like ridin on cobblestones.They are still in perfect true. But more important you get what feels best for you. I agree with you on the riding style. I am almost 50 and I love the taller head tube. Makes it much easier on the back.
    Last edited by Ray Dockrey; 03-25-14 at 03:36 PM.

  18. #18
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    I agree with Ray. I've had my Anyroad 2 for 2+ weeks and really enjoy how it rides and handles.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Ray Dockrey's Avatar
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    One more thing. Spoke count isn't everything. In 05 I bought a Specialized Allez Sport Triple that had 32 count spoke rear wheel. I weighed about 270 so I know I was heavy but was told they would be fine. But I broke spokes left and right on the rear and this was smooth surfaces. The LBS I bought it at said that they couldn't help and it was my fault due to my weight. I took it somewhere else and they tried but the wheel was just a cheap set. So I bought a set of Mavic Aksiums, 20 front and 24 rear on the advice of that bike shop. To this day those wheels have yet to be trued. So higher spoke counts don't mean anything. A cheap wheel is a cheap wheel.

  20. #20
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Dockrey View Post
    One more thing. Spoke count isn't everything. In 05 I bought a Specialized Allez Sport Triple that had 32 count spoke rear wheel. I weighed about 270 so I know I was heavy but was told they would be fine. But I broke spokes left and right on the rear and this was smooth surfaces. The LBS I bought it at said that they couldn't help and it was my fault due to my weight. I took it somewhere else and they tried but the wheel was just a cheap set. So I bought a set of Mavic Aksiums, 20 front and 24 rear on the advice of that bike shop. To this day those wheels have yet to be trued. So higher spoke counts don't mean anything. A cheap wheel is a cheap wheel.
    And a lousy bike shop is a lousy bike shop. The LBS you bought the bike at should have either rebuilt the wheel or ordered a better wheel at cost. I went through this once many years ago with a 36 spoke wheel on my old hybrid, which kept popping spokes. After replacing 3, the LBS replaced all the spokes and rebuilt the wheel. It could be the wheel wasn't great to begin with, but the bike shop did what they had to in order to assure my satisfaction. Never had a problem after that.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Ray Dockrey's Avatar
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    I never had an issue with them again either. I never went back and have never bought a Specialized bike again. After going back to the first shop five times with 5 different spoke breaks and being told something different numerous times I had enough and went elsewhere.

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    I'd actually look at the Novara Big Buzz - I have the MTB version and have been very happy. It's a little more but IMO worth it.

    Novara Big Buzz Bike - 2014 at REI.com

    the brakes are hydraulic tektros - mine has cable Avids, but I rode a big buzz and was very impressed. I've had very good luck service wise at REI FWIW.
    2012 CAAD 10 4 / 2011 Masi Speciale Fixed Drop / 2010 Novara Matador MTB / 2008 BMW cruise bike / 1979 Schwinn Varsity (flat handlebar)

  23. #23
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCNeumann View Post
    I'd actually look at the Novara Big Buzz
    YMMV,but my carpel tunnel wouldn't tolerate that straight blade alloy fork. I had an '06 Big Buzz with skinny,curved alloy fork. I swapped the stock 28mm Rando's for 32's;it helped,but if I rode the bike to work for a week straight it bothered me. Wound up selling it. Also tried a Road Buzz. The fork was very similar to the current Big Buzz(but with more tire clearance). It was so bad that not even going up to 42's helped. Returned it. I would seriously consider a Zealo if it had a CF fork,but I'll never do another one of Novara's alloy forks.

    C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport/Qualifier,Dahon Speed Pro TT,Brompton S6L

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    I'd like to get a AWOl this summer when I'm taking my summer break in the US. I checked REI and didn't see AWOL for sale. I thought I read somewhere that AWOl is not to be sold online in the US. I really prefer to buy it online and have it delivered to where I will stay. Do you know any online stores that sell AWOL. Thank.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Ray Dockrey's Avatar
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    Being it is a Specialized you will have to get it from a dealer in person unless you happen to find one used somewhere.

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