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  1. #1
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    Novara Express vs. Jamis Coda/Allegro

    I'm about to buy a new bike to cover for my old road bike that's been due to retire for quite a while. A hybrid seems like a good choice as I would mostly be doing commuting and some on and off longer distance biking.

    I've pretty much narrowed it down to Novara Express or Jamis Coda/Allegro. However, Novara being REI's own brand seems a bit scary.

    Anyone have experience with either of these (or preferably with both)? Other suggestions are welcome as well.

    Cheers

  2. #2
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    Hey there Maxmad!

    I'm a tourer. If you plan on doing any touring, you would do better with drop handlebars. They'll give you more position options which will be appreciated over the long miles touring. Cycles of choice would be the Bosanova, the Aurora, the Aurora Elite, the Satellite Comp, or the Satellite Sport.

    Of course, people will tell you that you can tour on anything. However, how many of those people are actually bonafide tourers, themselves?

    In general, hybrids are made more for shorter trips. They're perfect for commuting from the suburbs to the city. However, to actually cover long distances in a serious manner, I'd say you would need either a road bike or a touring bike. The longer the distance, the more you should lean towards the touring bike. The more diverse the terrain, the more you should favor the touring bike.

    Finally:

    Jamis Codas ----> Hybrid = Commuter short trips over slightly diverse terrain

    Jamis Satellites ----> Road = Commuter and Short Touring (Credit Card Touring)

    Jamis Aurora ----> Touring = Commuter and Tourer any distance at all.

    * Bosanova = Commuter/ Credit Card Tourer ~ Comfortably Fast

    - Slim

    PS.

    The wider the tire, the rougher the trails can become. All of the bikes above can accept 38mm tires. That's pretty wide!
    Last edited by SlimRider; 10-09-11 at 05:11 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Pistard's Avatar
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    Slim got it right, I ride a Jamis Citizen close to home, Jamis is tops in reliability IMHO, love the bike. I am going to look at a steel satellite though.....

  4. #4
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    BTW:

    REI's NOVARA Brand is very reliable!

    No worries there.......

    - Slim

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    Thanks for the suggestions Slim. I looked at the bikes you proposed. While Satellites do seem a bit too much like road bikes for my usage, the Auroras do look good.

    I will however also use this bike to commute with a child seat, I was wondering if having a drop handlebar wouldn't be an issue with a child behind me?

    Regarding the Novara, good to hear about the quality. I tried to do a feature comparison between the Novara and the Jamis, but my bike knowledge is not good enough (well, pretty much non-existant) to be able to draw any kind of conclusions regarding the quality of the bikes just by looking at the parts and features. The price quotes I have are pretty much equal for all three (Novara Express and Jamis Coda Sport (2011 model) / Allegro 2)

    Cheers,
    Max

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxmad View Post
    Thanks for the suggestions Slim. I looked at the bikes you proposed. While Satellites do seem a bit too much like road bikes for my usage, the Auroras do look good.

    I will however also use this bike to commute with a child seat, I was wondering if having a drop handlebar wouldn't be an issue with a child behind me?

    Regarding the Novara, good to hear about the quality. I tried to do a feature comparison between the Novara and the Jamis, but my bike knowledge is not good enough (well, pretty much non-existant) to be able to draw any kind of conclusions regarding the quality of the bikes just by looking at the parts and features. The price quotes I have are pretty much equal for all three (Novara Express and Jamis Coda Sport (2011 model) / Allegro 2)

    Cheers,
    Max
    Hey there Maxmad!

    These bikes may be similar in price, but they are not similar. The Express has a better drive train than the other two, but that doesn't matter that much with the Coda, because the Coda is chromoly steel. That means, that when the derailleurs or other parts wear out, you'll still have an excellent frame in which to invest an upgrade. OTOH the Express is aluminum. You don't want to add on extra stress (attachments) to an aluminum frame, that wasn't built to accomodate that stress. Aluminum is stress-sensitive. It will perform well and perform well for many years to come, most likely, but its days are numbered. You can't beat the technology that goes into a chromoly steel frame. Steel therefore, doesn't mind extra attachments, provided you aren't pulling a weight beyond its yield capacity. Steel frames, can last for many decades, if kept dry.

    IMHO- The Allegro is a complete pass when comparing it with the other two.
    The drive train is of a lower quality

    - Slim
    Last edited by SlimRider; 10-09-11 at 06:37 PM.

  7. #7
    Recreational/Utility bjjoondo's Avatar
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    I just bought a 2012 Jamis Coda Sport, it has a very nice ride and it's been a loooong time since I've have a bike that "likes" to go uphill! The 2012's come with 700Cx32 tires which seems wide enough for most uses, jmho. It proably has a shorter wheel base than a pure touring bike but I think it would tour well, it has both double bosses for rack/fender on the back and fork, etc. I'll admit, I changed from the "straight bar" to a bar with 80 mm rise due to arthritis problems. I don't care for "drop bars" but I may intstall the "euro trekking bars (butterfly bars) in the future as I REALLY like them. YMMV. oh btw, I too looked at the Allegro Sport (2012) but the chrome molly steel frame just appealed to me over the Alumn. Allegro.
    Take care, RIDE SAFE, have FUN!
    B.J. Ondo
    2011 Jamis Allegro 1

  8. #8
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    Slim got me thinking about getting a drop handlebar bike after all. Only problem is that I haven't been able to find a store with my size in stock (I'm 6"4 and 205lbs) so I haven't been able to try them yet. I did manage to rule out the allegro just by looking at it though. Definitely not agressive enough + the fact that it's aluminium.

    I will try to dig a bit deeper and find some stores. The choice has now moved to Coda (Comp) vs Aurora/Bosanova though. Basically flat bar vs drop.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxmad View Post
    Slim got me thinking about getting a drop handlebar bike after all. Only problem is that I haven't been able to find a store with my size in stock (I'm 6"4 and 205lbs) so I haven't been able to try them yet. I did manage to rule out the allegro just by looking at it though. Definitely not agressive enough + the fact that it's aluminium.

    I will try to dig a bit deeper and find some stores. The choice has now moved to Coda (Comp) vs Aurora/Bosanova though. Basically flat bar vs drop.
    Hey there Max!

    Just to put you at ease a little. You know, you can really add drop bars at anytime after market. You can add drop bars to just about any bike you like. Most drop bars are fairly cheap, so not to worry there.

    I noticed that REI has the Novara E.T.A available in chromoly steel. It has Alivio componentry, which is pretty good, for the price. The E.T.A is a little heavier than the Jamis Satellite or Coda, but if you're not racing, who cares?

    You really can't go wrong with a chromoly frame in Novara or Jamis. Take your time and decide what you're going to do. As long as you go chromoly in the right size, you'll be just fine. If you can't find the right size, you'd better wait until you do. Size is absolutely the most important factor in finding the right bike!

    Good Luck!

    - Slim

    PS.

    Found this Great Deal on the Raleigh Letour - Legacy in Chromoly at $800!

    www.bikesdirect.com/products/schwinn/schwinn_letour_legacy_xi.htm
    Last edited by SlimRider; 10-11-11 at 01:44 AM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member fairymuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    Hey there Max!

    Just to put you at ease a little. You know, you can really add drop bars at anytime after market. You can add drop bars to just about any bike you like. Most drop bars are fairly cheap, so not to worry there.
    Ermm, not the best advice there? Converting to drops will involve new shifters/brakes as well as a new bar, and is not really a cheap option?

    Either way: as for touring on a flatbar hybrid: it works for me. My tours may not be the most taxing (max 10 days CC tours @ max 50 miles a day so far), but a flat bar with bar ends works fine for me.

  11. #11
    Senior Member RollCNY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fairymuff View Post
    Ermm, not the best advice there? Converting to drops will involve new shifters/brakes as well as a new bar, and is not really a cheap option?

    Either way: as for touring on a flatbar hybrid: it works for me. My tours may not be the most taxing (max 10 days CC tours @ max 50 miles a day so far), but a flat bar with bar ends works fine for me.
    ^^^^ ++++ Many threads active right now on the annoying and pricey facets of that switch. I have done it personally, and there are lots of ways to convert and many of them are inexpensive and many are not.

    You can commute and do long rides on any bike you like. A steel frame vs aluminum should not, in my opinion, be a show stopper decision for anyone. You can do what you describe on a single speed bull horned bike if you want. There are many good options and they will all work for you.

  12. #12
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    Some updates. Slim, funny that you should mention the Novara ETA, my wife actually bought one. Been trying it a bit, but it's definitely not agressive enough for me.

    Finally found a store with some bikes my size, got to try lots of different bikes. They didn't have a Coda in my size, but I got to try one size smaller and a Raleigh Cadent in my size. I preferred the Coda... However, I got to try some road bikes in my size and I did indeed like riding them a lot more then either of the flatbar bikes. The agressive (can't think of a better word) position you get with a drop handlebar just can't be beaten. I actually got to try most of the bikes suggested by Slim, but the Jamis Aurora felt too clumsy. So, I'm now hesitating between Jamis Satellite and Satellite Sport (just got to make sure I can put 28 tires on them) and trying to figure out if 58 or 61 is the right size for me.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjjoondo View Post
    I just bought a 2012 Jamis Coda Sport, it has a very nice ride and it's been a loooong time since I've have a bike that "likes" to go uphill! The 2012's come with 700Cx32 tires which seems wide enough for most uses, jmho. It proably has a shorter wheel base than a pure touring bike but I think it would tour well, it has both double bosses for rack/fender on the back and fork, etc. I'll admit, I changed from the "straight bar" to a bar with 80 mm rise due to arthritis problems. I don't care for "drop bars" but I may intstall the "euro trekking bars (butterfly bars) in the future as I REALLY like them. YMMV. oh btw, I too looked at the Allegro Sport (2012) but the chrome molly steel frame just appealed to me over the Alumn. Allegro.
    Do you have a picture of your raised handlebars? I test rode the 2012 Jamis Coda Sport yesterday and it felt really smooth and seemed to fit. But the handlebars are too low for me. I tend to like riding more upright - can I see what you did with your bike so I can get an idea if its something worth doing if I end up with the coda?
    Thanks

  14. #14
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    REI's in-house bike shops aren't created (or staffed) equally, and will vary by store (just like LBS's vary), but Novara is a decent brand. I own the ETA and plan on riding it flatbar and all in next Springs MS150 in Texas.

  15. #15
    Recreational/Utility bjjoondo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jyyanks View Post
    Do you have a picture of your raised handlebars? I test rode the 2012 Jamis Coda Sport yesterday and it felt really smooth and seemed to fit. But the handlebars are too low for me. I tend to like riding more upright - can I see what you did with your bike so I can get an idea if its something worth doing if I end up with the coda?
    Thanks
    Don't know if this photo is good enough but maybe it will give you and idea of what I did:
    Take care, RIDE SAFE, have FUN!
    B.J. Ondo
    2011 Jamis Allegro 1

  16. #16
    Recreational/Utility bjjoondo's Avatar
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    Ok, here's a "front view" of the 80mm rise handlebars with tall bar extentions added. Note: They had to add a "spacer" to take up the excess space in the stem from the, "FAT" centered stock Jamis straight bar, that's the "black" you see in the stem, FYI.
    Last edited by bjjoondo; 10-22-11 at 09:12 PM.
    Take care, RIDE SAFE, have FUN!
    B.J. Ondo
    2011 Jamis Allegro 1

  17. #17
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    Bjoondo-- WOW! Thank you! That is exactly what I was looking for! When I go back to the LBS, I will ask them if they can do that for me too. Did it cost a lot? Not that it matters as my budget is $700k and the Coda falls below that. Thanks for uploading the pics.

  18. #18
    Recreational/Utility bjjoondo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jyyanks View Post
    Bjoondo-- WOW! Thank you! That is exactly what I was looking for! When I go back to the LBS, I will ask them if they can do that for me too. Did it cost a lot? Not that it matters as my budget is $700k and the Coda falls below that. Thanks for uploading the pics.
    Jyyanks, not too bad, the bars are Sunlite Alloy 3 inch or 80mm rise and cost $27.00, the Spacer for taking up "stem space" was $13.00, the X-long bar extensions (bar ends), were $19.00 but I'd recommend getting the "one size" smaller, usually cheaper and they look better, jmho, (wife has those on her KHS Vitamin B). FYI.
    Take care, RIDE SAFE, have FUN!
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  19. #19
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    Just to give an update if anyone is still reading this thread.

    Due to a pretty bad lower back injury I had to post-pone my bike purchase for quite a while. However, today I became the owner of a new 2011 Jamis Satellite with an added rack.

    Cheers

  20. #20
    Recreational/Utility bjjoondo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxmad View Post
    Just to give an update if anyone is still reading this thread.

    Due to a pretty bad lower back injury I had to post-pone my bike purchase for quite a while. However, today I became the owner of a new 2011 Jamis Satellite with an added rack.

    Cheers
    Nice choice maxmad, ENJOY, oh BTW, without photo's, "it didn't happen"
    Take care, RIDE SAFE, have FUN!
    B.J. Ondo
    2011 Jamis Allegro 1

  21. #21
    Senior Member a1penguin's Avatar
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    Is that a bike rack or a back stretching rack :-) Sorry to hear about the back. I was out of commission for a couple of weeks because I did something to my back and had a diet of ibuprofen for a week. I hope your back has a full recovery. And congrats on the bike, maxmad. Just in time for spring.
    2012 Cannondale Synapse 3, 2012 Trek 7.5 FX Disc, 2003 Trek 2200 WSD, 1997 Specialized Rockhopper Al Comp

  22. #22
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    Yes, feels great to finally have a bike! Here in the south (live in the Atlanta area) it's pretty much already spring so it's been nice to do some biking in shorts already.

    Here are a few images of the bike, not the greatest as it's in the garage but something.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  23. #23
    Junior Member broodwich's Avatar
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    I don't want to derail this thread but I need to ask what makes a bike with drop bars better for longer distances? I've been lurking here for quite some time. The main argument I see for a road bike is that the drop bars give you more hand positions. I've been test riding bikes, looking to get back into riding again after a long time. I've never owned a road bike nor had I rode one until a recent test ride. I didn't really like it, I was uncomfortable riding the hoods. I want to ride longer distances, I'm not thinking centuries but I don't think 20+ miles would be a big deal once I get used to it.

    I mention this here because I've test rode a number of hybrids now and of all of them I still like the Allegro. I don't know if it will be my final choice but it's still in the running.

    Would something like the Allegro be much slower than say the Coda for example? Would it be far too uncomfortable when riding 20 miles or perhaps more? I've seen a number of recommendations to start with a hybrid but I'm just trying to make an informed decision. I figured the best thing for me to do was ride a bunch of bikes and see which one fit me best. Am I doing myself a disservice not testing more rode type bikes?

  24. #24
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    Welcome to Bike Forums, Broodwich!

    You're doing a smart thing by test-riding bikes before making a purchase. I think you should mount and test-ride as many bikes as possible, in order to make a better decision.

    The Allegro vs Coda question as it relates to speed is not really relevant, as both bikes are hybrids. Hybrid bikes don't usually race. They are more suited to commuting, exercise, and recreation. Of course, some hybrids will tour with the more road oriented bikes, but that's rare. I've even done a century on a Jamis Coda before.

    You're right about drop handlebars offering more hand positions, than flatbars. Having various options of hand positions, offers you a greater variety of body positions while pedaling your bike. This increased availability of body positions, makes riding more comfortable. Your blood gets to circulate more freely!
    Last edited by SlimRider; 03-12-12 at 09:41 AM.

  25. #25
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    Hello Broodwhich, I at least don't mind you asking questions on this thread.

    I can answer for my part having recently switched to a road bike. I used to have a bike similar to the Coda, it was actually home made; a road bike frame with a flat bar. I did quite enjoy riding it in town and I did do some shorter touring with it. However, I did use to get a bit annoyed going downhill as I couldn't get a very aerodynamic position and when biking for longer periods of time my shoulders and wrists would start aching a bit.

    For me switching to drop handlebars was a given as soon as I tested it. I just enjoyed the agressive position a lot more. So, if you don't enjoy riding with drop handlebars you probably shouldn't. But I would give it a go a few more times before dismissing it altogether, drop handlebars do offer a much wider range of positions, which will be nicer especially on longer rides.

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