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Old 12-14-09, 01:00 PM   #1
wunderkind
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Anyone bought bikes from REI?

Just wondering if you are picking up the bicycle in-store at REI outlet, are the bikes fully assembled? Please share your bicycle buying experience at REI.
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Old 12-14-09, 02:27 PM   #2
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Yeah, they are, assuming you mean you ordered online and have it shipped to your local store.
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Old 12-14-09, 05:02 PM   #3
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I have purchased one online. I picked it up at the store fully assembled.
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Old 12-14-09, 05:07 PM   #4
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Great store. I've purchased a couple bikes from them. Good builds and the mechanics knew what they were talking about. Greatest thing about the place? Their return policy. Doesn't fit or you don't like it after you get it, bring it back. No questions asked.
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Old 12-14-09, 06:39 PM   #5
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I didn't buy a bike from there but I did help a friend get one and the mechanic in the back was especially helpful to her. Maybe cause she was a chick and looks great in a pair of cycling shorts but regardless they pretty much answered every question she asked about her new Scott road bike
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Old 12-15-09, 12:23 AM   #6
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I've purchased a few bikes from REI. +1 on their return policy. I was able to return a bike about 3 months after I purchased it. All I told them was "it wasn't working out" and they accepted the return.
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Old 12-15-09, 05:13 AM   #7
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Thier 'house brand' Novara also makes some really great utility/recreational bikes. REI = Good stuff.
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Old 12-15-09, 05:27 AM   #8
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I respect REI.. Many of us are used to more popular known name brands, such as say a Bianchi Volpe.. What is a Novara. Who makes it.. How are their consumer ratings ?.
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Old 12-15-09, 07:23 AM   #9
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Bought Novara Safari online and had it shipped. Nearest store was 140mi away and I was living car free. Assembly was minimal. Handlebars, pedals, seat, wheels. If I remember correctly, the brakes and shifters were already connected.
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Old 12-15-09, 11:10 AM   #10
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That's awesome to know. I'm really interested at some of their clearance bike like the Marin Fairfax, Scott Speedster, etc.... but as they are clearance items, I think size selection will be limited. So a good return policy would be bonus!
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Old 12-15-09, 12:25 PM   #11
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I've heard their return policy is pretty liberal. Supposedly I could return my bike without hassle after daily commuting through 4 seasons.
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Old 12-15-09, 06:48 PM   #12
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I've heard their return policy is pretty liberal. Supposedly I could return my bike without hassle after daily commuting through 4 seasons.
that is ethically wrong imho.
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Old 12-15-09, 07:38 PM   #13
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I respect REI.. Many of us are used to more popular known name brands, such as say a Bianchi Volpe.. What is a Novara. Who makes it.. How are their consumer ratings ?.
All bikes that aren't being custom made (this includes almost any bikes being produced by any major brand) are made in the same 3 factories (2 in china, one in Taiwan) There is really very little difference in quality between a Trek, a Novara, a Giant, a Specialized, a Gary Fisher, a Jamis, a Scott, a Felt, a Fuji, or any other major brand within a similar pricepoint. Also if you want to read feedback from actuall owners there are reviews posted on REI.com for many of their bikes.
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Old 12-15-09, 09:27 PM   #14
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I have a Novara road bike. Really enjoy it. Could not afford the Cannondale I wanted. But I got full carbon, SRAM, and MAVIC wheels for under 2K. Well built bike.
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Old 12-15-09, 10:51 PM   #15
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that is ethically wrong imho.
true and not something I would do.
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Old 12-15-09, 11:36 PM   #16
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Positive. I bought my first real road bike there. Got a lot more bike than I could otherwise afforded.
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Old 12-15-09, 11:44 PM   #17
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All bikes that aren't being custom made (this includes almost any bikes being produced by any major brand) are made in the same 3 factories (2 in china, one in Taiwan) There is really very little difference in quality
Thanks... Three factories..?..... Maybe bikes are more generic than we thought..?.... Like, if you've watched often Mobil Oil gasoline is off loaded at say, a Marathon Oil station.. Possibly a Chinese worker assembles a Novara one day and that same worker might assemble a Giant the next.?.?...
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Old 12-16-09, 09:32 AM   #18
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All bikes that aren't being custom made (this includes almost any bikes being produced by any major brand) are made in the same 3 factories (2 in china, one in Taiwan) There is really very little difference in quality between a Trek, a Novara, a Giant, a Specialized, a Gary Fisher, a Jamis, a Scott, a Felt, a Fuji, or any other major brand within a similar pricepoint. Also if you want to read feedback from actuall owners there are reviews posted on REI.com for many of their bikes.
Yeah, they're about the same. Big difference with REI is their service. I suspect that the REI mechanics have better working conditions and compensation than what a small bike shop owner can offer. The result is a happier mechanic and thus a happier customer experience.
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Old 12-16-09, 12:18 PM   #19
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I have 3 Novara bikes(the FlyBy is technically a rebadged Dahon). You def get your money's worth for the price with the parts they spec. Their return policy is nice;I returned my Road Buzz after the alloy fork bothered my carpel tunnel too much. Be warned though,a friend bought a Scott off the outlet site and they would only ship it to a store that carried Scotts. They have that policy for several brands.
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Old 12-16-09, 01:44 PM   #20
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I used to work at REI and was a bike mechanic there for awhile. Bikes come partially assembled but the shop actually takes the time to go through everything and make sure it is right. For example, the bottom braket and craniks are already installed on the frame, but it is standard to pull them back off and make sure the bottom bracket is installed correctly. The bike build procedure is pretty detailed and thorough.

Although a lot of bike frames are made at the same factories in Taiwan or China, they are not the same frames. Each manufacturer designs the frames the way they want and the factories buld them to specification. Novaras are designed by engineers or designers working for REI and are not identical to any other bike brand. They are good bikes for the money, in my opinion.

I'm not sure that REI mechanics are paid any better or have better working conditions than they would at a regular bike shop, but it may be true if you are comparing to some of the low-end mom and pop bike shops. Certainly in the Bay Area of California where I live, REI doesn't pay a living wage. That's the deal killer for a lot of us former REI employees who have to move on to something else to survive.

So, having worked at REI, my opinion is that REI is a good place to buy a bike and Novaras are worthy of consideration. However, if you can find a local bike shop that has the bikes you like and has good service, I think you should go with the LBS. The reason is that a local bike shop has more stake in the community and more of the money stays in your local area. In spite of its polished image, REI is pretty much just another big box store like a Best Buy or a Target.
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