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  1. #1
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    '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.

  2. #2
    Senior Member coolio's Avatar
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    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.

  3. #3
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    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.

  4. #4
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    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.

  5. #5
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    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.

  6. #6
    Senior Member kamtsa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brimstone View Post
    ... because it had been "marked down" it was not elegible for the 20% discount. ...
    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.

  7. #7
    lube addict
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brimstone View Post
    ...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...
    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.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kamtsa View Post
    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.
    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.

    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 04:22 PM.

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