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Thread: Novara Fly By

  1. #1
    MAK
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    Novara Fly By

    REI is having their 20% off sale and I'm looking at the Novara Fly By. I like the fact that it has a seven speed internal hub because I worry about deraulliers getting knocked around when it will be carried, shipped or just put in my trunk. I'll probably drive up to the nearest REI next week to see it, but I'd love to hear any opinions you might have, particularly if you own one. The web site has specs but no reviews.

    Also...Does anyone know the gear inch equivalents for the 7 speed shimano internal hub with a 46t chainring? I'd like to compare to my deraullier bikes to determine if I'll make it up hills or not.

    Thanks.

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    Senior Member commo_soulja's Avatar
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    You can always change out the rear sprocket to suit your needs. The bike probably comes with a 16t and you can always go higher from there.

    With the 20% sale, that's a deal for that bike. A bit less if you've got a dividend. My Dahon Mu Uno singlespeed was a bit over $600 two years ago.
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    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    http://sheldonbrown.com/gears/

    About 33.9-83". Disappointed in this new one. I had one of the originals;it had a Nexus 8,fenders,integrated bell,and a seatpost pump. The new ones just have a chain cover(I don't think the new ones come with a carry bag either). And the red wheels are kind of ugly. Great price with coupon and dividend,but just wish they'd kept the old specs.

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

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    I have the 2010 version. It is a rebadged Dahon, while the current version appears to be a rebadged Tern. Many of the parts appear to be the same, or functionally similar, including the Nexus 7 hub.

    I am surprised that REI doesn't spec these bikes with fenders or racks. This really cuts down on the commuter functionality, and it's non-trivial to find and fit your own (while retaining a compact fold). Dahon and Tern are practically the only purveyors of perfect-fitting hardware, and it's never clear whether a given rack or fender will work with your particular setup. The inside fold of the handlepost contributes to the problem, but is otherwise quite nice because it gives a very compact fold.

    The V brakes are unbranded Tektros that can develop quite a bit of slop in the bushing. The pads are the usual Tektro garbage that galls the rim and picks up chunks of aluminum. First thing I'd do is replace the pads with Kool Stop salmons.

    The folding pedals are nifty but chunky, and the fold only slightly reduces the width of the folded bike. The rubber tread is not very grippy compared to the usual metal cage flat pedals.

    I have had mine for a few years, but have only recently become satisfied with it after heavily modifying it to use bullhorn handlebars and TT levers. The stock flat handlebar setup yields an annoyingly short cockpit and very little saddle to bar drop (depending on your saddle height). I have progressively sawn down the handlepost and stem to correct this. The effective seat tube angle is crazy low, because the bottom bracket is placed in front of the seatpost. I bought a zero-offset seatpost to help put my saddle in the correct position. I suppose the stock setup is OK for short rides and for non-picky riders, but I found myself riding my full-sized bikes whenever I had the choice.

    The Nexus 7 hub makes for a heavy rear wheel. The entire bike's weight distribution problem is exacerbated by the short and high cockpit, low seat tube angle, and light front wheel. This can give a disconcerting front floating feeling after hitting a bump in the road or on sudden acceleration in a low gear.

    All in all, I very much enjoy the convenience of just keeping this bike in the trunk. I have also partially disassembled it to pack into an airline-legal hard-sided suitcase. Only thing to watch out for is the weight, because just the bike and suitcase will weigh 40+ pounds so there's not much left for other gear.

    That's a lot of negatives, but that's just because I'm a picky person. Overall I'm happy with mine (after modifications), and really enjoy thinking about how to change things without messing up the fold. I'd say that the Flyby for $480 is a great deal if it fits your needs. Especially with the REI guarantee!

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    I picked one of these up last week. I posted some first impressions in another thread: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...1#post15452644
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  6. #6
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    The hubs and I looked at the FlyBy when REI had a 20% off sale before Christmas. I had been hankering for an IGH folding bike and, after pricing Bromptons, this seemed like a pretty good deal. We had read about the original Dahon sourced Novara Buzz FlyBy that had been recalled because of a stem defect and had read about this new Tern sourced version, too, and were prepared to be impressed. Unfortunately, I have to say my first impression was not very favorable. For one thing, the red rims look cheesey and make the bike look like a toy or a kid's bike. When I asked the sales associate to demonstrate the fold, it took him 20 minutes and he still could not do it, even after consulting the manual. Compared to the compact fold of a Brompton, the partly folded FlyBy looked like a heap of cheap bike parts. What a disappointment!

    For some reason, with the current member sale, my husband and I decided to take another look at the FlyBy. Different store, different sales associate who showed us the FlyBy he had recently purchased and uses on his multi-modal commute on the DC Metro. He demonstrated the fold (maybe 30 seconds), told us about his commute (hills, city traffic, etc.), and showed us how to roll the bike while it's folded. His enthusiasm completely sold us on the bike.

    I used my member discount and brought home a FlyBy. The following weekend, my husband used his member discount and got a Flyby of his own. Both bikes together cost less than half of the Brompton I had spec'd. Of course, the FlyBy is no Brompton! Still, it's a comfortable and convenient folding bike with an IGH. I'm 5'2" with beginner's level biking skills, while my husband is 6'2" and a very experienced cyclist. We both love being able to dial-in the fit of the FlyBy. I love the easy step-through frame and ultra-simple gearing. My husband finds it fun to handle - ultra-maneuverable - the closest to a "trick bike" that he's ever had.

    Our Flybys will mostly be used for impromptu rides and when we travel with our tiny vintage trailer. My husband plans on keeping his in the back of his car for running errands while on his lunch break.

    We still think the red wheels look cheesey. We have plans to replace the front wheel on both bikes with a dynamo hub equipped wheel. I'll probably keep the red rimmed rear wheel as is because I don't want to paint the rims or spend money to change it out, but will add fenders and a rack. To me, this is a fun, low-stress, unfussy folding bike. It won't be everyone's cup of tea. If you are considering one, I highly recommend trying it out in person first.

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