'08 Novara Buzz Flyby vs. '09 Dahon Mu XL
Mmm mmm mmmph. I swear I'm losin' my religion.
I was in Atlanta last month visiting relatives and was forced by my spouse, who is an REI clothes junkie, to visit the store. REI was having its' periodic "20% member sale". They had a Novara Buzz Flyby marked down on "clearance" from $699 to $589. Well, after several years with a Downtube Mini as my main ride I had been casually looking for a 20"-er. I have been looking at the recently marked down Downtube 8H's, REI's newer 7-spd Novara FLyby, Tikit, Brompton, Abio and even sent an email to Flamingo. So I took the Buzz for a spin around the store. It was faster than the Mini, stiffer, the 8-spd Nexus hub was oh-so-much smoother than the Mini's 7-spd Sturmey-Archey. But it looked and felt absolutely huge, and a bit cramped.
My wife loved it because it "matched" her Curve SL, and she thinks I look too big for the Mini (who doesn't look big on a Mini?). Well, she was in a shopping frenzy, she had just put the fourth pair of sunglasses into the cart, so I knew I had to get her out of there. Without serious consideration or research I made a snap purchase.
At home I discovered that the Buzz is basically a dumbed-down Mu XL Sport. REI grips vs Ergon; REI seat & front hub, different paint, no headtube Klickfix mounting block. Hub gear is supposedly "Nexus Premium", but no red stripe visible. Setpost pump. Comes with a Bolso style bag. No big differnces in my book. BUT I discovered the identical Buzz had been sold for $599 orginal price, not the $699 it had been "marked down" from. Furthermore because it had been "marked down" it was not elegible for the 20% discount. So while others had gotten the bike at a very good price of about $489, I paid $625 with tax.
The new model Flyby, with a seven speed hub, sells for I contacted REI who basically said they had raised the price last year because of "upgrades". Well, the very similar 2010 Novara Flyby (withb 7-spd hub) is selling for $699...with the discount it would be $580.
So I was chewing hard on returning the bike. REI does have a"satisfaction gauranteed" refund policy so I can return the bike...though it'll cost me $30 or so to do it by mail. The Bolso bag is probably worth $45, REI did a mechanical checkup probably worth anouther $40. It has the Then the other day I was riding a rough street on it, (3rd ride) and noticed a lot of rattling in the front. MUCHO loose spokes! So much for the checkup. Teflon coated seatpost pump slides down. Decided to return it.
But I liked the ride and especially the Mu frame with the potential for a belt drive. So I looked and looked and found a Mu Ex (not the "Sport") with a hub generator, suspension seatpost and rack, all pluses for me, for $705. I understand the pros and cons of ordering from someone like Aircraft Spruce. The order button on the page does say does say "Mu XL Sport"...will I get the Mu XL or the XL Sport? Should I order this?
Thanks for your patience with this post.
Thanks for the review on the flyby. I remember looking into the flyby and the reason for the price increase they gave me was the strong china currency/weak dollar or something to that effect. Also, I managed to write down the hub # and it was not the premium redband. Still it had a nice, tight ride.
What's your weight btw? I'm a lighter rider and never have had issues with spokes.
Can't give you any guidance re. the Mu. Never tried it.
I'm heavy, Coolio, but I don't think that was the spoke problem. There were about 6 floppy-loose spokes on the front (REI) hub, but none on the back hub after three short rides. I of course should have checked them myself before riding off the first time.
I just returned my Flyby Shuttle because I didn't care for the noise of Nexus 7 IGH in 5 & 7 gear. For not much more then the Shuttle with an REI discount I got an '08 Mu XL Sport & the Redband nexus hub on this is much better & quieter. The only odd thing on this bike is the drive side dropout is bigger then the left maybe for derailleur hanger, but the REI Shuttle were the same.
I ordered online from Bicycle Bananas for $690 shipped. They took awhile because they don't stock the bikes but order from Dahon & then ship to you. Btw their site shows the Mu XL Sport as an '09 model, but I got an '08. Gonna have to contact them about this though $700ish is the going price for an '08.
Thanks Youthcom. Your observations and assesment jibe with my own. I didn't spring for the '10 Flyby precisely because of the downgrade on hub from the 8-spd Buzz. I really hope REI keeps working on their folder line; they could be a big catalyst for folders. Must be a little difficult for them and Dahon to work together. Think of the potential if REI were to introduce their own, modernized Brompton style folder.
Clever marketing at work. First they exclude non Novara bikes from the 20% one item member discount and then they preempt the discount on a Novara bike by setting a special price. It caused you to visit the store and make a non planned hi ticket purchase.
Originally Posted by Brimstone
Timing was critical on the first FlyBy which sold out quickly at almost all REI stores (in California anyway) once the membership discount kicked in. I was lucky and got the 20% discount on the original $599 which made it $479 plus tax - too good a deal to pass up. I noticed a few months later, when the second shipment of FlyBys showed up on the floor, that the price had risen $100. I'm quite happy with my purchase and have had no mechanical issues, though I still need to bring it in under the Dahon factory recall of the stem/handlebars. I have not found a better deal yet for the price and feature set of that first FlyBy.
Originally Posted by Brimstone
Precisely. The ol' "low-ball". Some days you're the bug, some days you just eat the bug. Some day they'll put windsheilds on folders.
Originally Posted by kamtsa
Some day I'll learn to ride with my mouth closed.
I agree you got a good deal Chainstrainer.
Last edited by Brimstone; 05-04-10 at 03:22 PM.