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  1. #1
    Alaska Biker
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    2008 Novara Ponderosa OR 2008 Specialized Rockhopper Comp Disc

    Hello Everyone!

    This is my first post

    I am trying to decide between a 2008 Novara Ponderosa or a 2008 Specialized Rockhopper Comp Disc bicycle.

    Basically, I want the bicycle to do some off road mountain biking (nothing hardcore) and also need to do some back woods comuting to and from work (only 2 miles). I realize that this isn't the greatest bike for a comute, but I live in Alaska, so it's not all pavement.

    I am pretty split between the two. However, REI is offering 20% off on Novara bicycles right now, so I can get the Novara Ponderosa for $260 less than what I will pay for the Specialized Rockhopper.

    The Novara Ponderosa originally sells for $849 (Current sale price is $680)
    The Specialized RockHopper Comp Disc is selling for $940

    All of the reviews that I have read concerning both bicycles paint a positive light in on either choice.

    I am also interested in getting a bicycle for my girlfriend, probably the same make and model.

    I am 6'2 feet tall and 200 LBS. I am looking at getting the 19" bicycle on whichever model I end up getting.

    Does anyone have any advice on which bicycle they would go for?

    Thank you VERY MUCH in advance!

  2. #2
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    I dont think a 19" would fit you. I'm 5-10 and I ride a size 20"...

    If your willing to spend the extra money I would go with the RockHopper instead of the Novara.

  3. #3
    Eternal NooB threeflys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by giant rules!!! View Post
    If your willing to spend the extra money I would go with the RockHopper instead of the Novara.
    Why?
    If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team.

    Litespeed Xicon with Campy Chorus 11sp/DT Swiss
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  4. #4
    Fourth Degree Legend junkyard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by giant rules!!! View Post
    I dont think a 19" would fit you. I'm 5-10 and I ride a size 20"...

    If your willing to spend the extra money I would go with the RockHopper instead of the Novara.
    Bad advice warning.
    Quote Originally Posted by dminor View Post
    The caveat with a strap-on, of course, is you will have to get creative with a couple of lock cables and an anchor point

  5. #5
    Old School Rad mtnbiker66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by giant rules!!! View Post
    I dont think a 19" would fit you. I'm 5-10 and I ride a size 20"...

    If your willing to spend the extra money I would go with the RockHopper instead of the Novara.
    You ever had a bike that fits?
    Like a circus monkey on a stolen Harley......

  6. #6
    NitroPye
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    Quote Originally Posted by giant rules!!! View Post
    I dont think a 19" would fit you. I'm 5-10 and I ride a size 20"...

    If your willing to spend the extra money I would go with the RockHopper instead of the Novara.
    I'm 6' with long legs and I ride a 17.5" take sizing advice with a grain of salt.

    5'10 sounds like the medium range unless you only have 2 ribs and are all arm and leg.
    Last edited by NitroPye; 03-15-08 at 07:18 PM.

  7. #7
    Alaska Biker
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    Thanks

    Thanks everyone!
    I agree, the 19" bike appears to fit me great, and is considered a Large bicycle, at least to Novara's specs. I don't think Novara makes a 21" Ponderosa bike.

    My limbs are proportional to my height, and I have both lungs, and unless I have been involved in a stealth biological experiment, I still have 24 of my ribs.

    Sizing aside, I just want to make the right choice on the bicycle purchase. I am not a bicycle expert by any means (my current bicycle is a Raleigh M-50), so I wanted to check with the experts to see what their thoughts are.

    Any additional thoughts, comments or suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated :-)
    Thanks

  8. #8
    M_S
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    Rockhoppers are proven bikes. I owned a late 90s one for a while and really liked it, however Novara makes solid bikes too. With similar specs you really should go for the Novara unless the Rockhopper feels significantly better. Then you can buy a helmet, some ridingl clothes (though it's March in Anchorage, so maybe those can wait) and pedals. Bikes usually come with cruddy stock pedals, so with your savings buy some nice platforms or clipless, depending on your preference. Oh, and another saddle if you don't like what it comes with.

    And yeah, that sizing advice was a joke. I'm just shy of 6' and ride anywhere from the 17.5-19" range, depending on the bike in question.

  9. #9
    Alaska Biker
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    Thanks for the information! Yeah, $250.00 extra can buy a few improvements, that's for sure. Below are the specs on each bicycle. From what I understand, Novara (REI) has been making bicycles for quite a spell.


    Novara Ponderosa

    Frame AN6 Aluminum
    Fork RockShox Dart 2 w/ Lockout 100mm travel
    Crankset Truvativ Firex 3.1 44/32/22
    Shifters SRAM X-7
    Brakes Avid BB7 Disc
    Brake levers Avid Speed Dial 7
    Front derailleur SRAM X-7
    Rear derailleur SRAM X-9
    Head set Integrated semi-cartridge
    Bottom bracket Truvativ Giga Pipe
    Rear cog SRAM PG-950 11/34, 9-speed
    Front hub Shimano M475 Disc
    Rear hub Shimano M475 Disc
    Rims WTB SpeedDisc
    Tires WTB Raijin 26x2.1
    Stem Truvativ XR 3D
    Handlebar Truvativ XR Riserbar
    Seat post Truvativ XR
    Saddle WTB Pure V Comp
    Pedals Alloy platform
    Chain SRAM 950


    2008 Specialized Rockhopper Comp Disc

    Description:
    FRAME - M4 manipulated alloy frame, butted ORE DT, forged dropouts w/ replaceable 98954020 alloy hanger, disc only

    FORK - RockShox Tora 302 SL, 100mm, 32mm Cr-Mo stanchions and alloy steerer, Mag lower, coil spring, preload adj., LO w/ reb. adj.

    HEADSET - 1 1/8" threadless

    STEM - Specialized 3D forged alloy, four bolt, 31.8mm, 7 degree rise

    HANDLEBARS - Specialized alloy butted 31.8mm XC rise w/ graphic, 640mm wide, 8 degree back, 8 degree up sweep

    TAPE/GRIPS - Specialized Enduro, dual density Kraton

    FRONT BRAKE - Avid BB-5, mechanical disc, 6" G2 Clean Sweep rotor

    REAR BRAKE - Avid BB-5, mechanical disc, 6" G2 Clean Sweep rotor

    BRAKE LEVERS - Avid FR-5

    FRONT DERAILLEUR - Shimano Deore FD-M530, 34.9mm clamp

    REAR DERAILLEUR - Shimano Deore RD-M531, SGS cage

    SHIFT LEVERS - Shimano Deore SL-M530 trigger

    CASSETTE FREEWHEEL - Shimano HG-50, 9-speed, 11-34t

    CHAIN - KMC X9, 1/2" x 3/32" w/ reusable Missing Link

    CRANKSET - Shimano FC-M442-8, replaceable rings w/ alloy outer, Octalink Spline

    CHAINRINGS - 44A/32S/22S

    BOTTOM BRACKET - Shimano BB-ES25, Octalink spline, cartridge bearing, 68 x 118mm for 50mm chainline

    PEDALS - Specialized alloy 1pc body and cage, 9/16"

    RIMS - Specialized/Alex RHD 26, double wall, eyelets, for disc brakes

    FRONT HUB - Specialized Hi Lo disc, 28h, CNC flange and disc mount, polished races, alloy QR

    REAR HUB - Specialized Hi Lo disc, cassette, 32h, CNC flanges and disc mount, polished races, alloy QR

    SPOKES 1.8mm (15g) stainless, alloy nipples

    FRONT TIRE - Specialized Fast Track Control, 26x2.0", DC, 60TPI, 2Bliss ready aramid bead

    REAR TIRE - Specialized Fast Track Control, 26x2.0", DC, 60TPI, 2Bliss ready aramid bead

    TUBES - Specialized schraeder valve

    SADDLE - Specialized Indie XC, 143mm width

    SEAT POST - Specialized butted alloy, two bolt micro adjust head, 30.9mm

    SEAT BINDER - Specialized alloy w/ QR, brass washer

    NOTES - Chain stay protector, reflectors, clear coat, owners manual

  10. #10
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    The Novara has better brakes and (arguably) a better drivetrain, and a more comfortable saddle (to my rear, anyway--I have similar WTB saddles on all my bikes and like them very much), while the Specialized has a better fork.

    The fork is worth some money. But I'd be thinking about the Novara and spending the additional $250 on a closeout fork (you can get several of last year's excellent forks for this amount of money), unless you're really concerned about resale, in which case it's the Specialized, hands down.

    REI is a reputable company and their frames are probably made by Kinesis or Giant or someone like that, so there shouldn't be an issue of frame quality. When I've checked out Novara bikes at an REI store they've always looked nice to me--good welds, etc.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by giant rules!!! View Post
    I dont think a 19" would fit you. I'm 5-10 and I ride a size 20"...

    If your willing to spend the extra money I would go with the RockHopper instead of the Novara.
    Im 6'0 and ride a 19.5.....
    Almost didn't fit.
    my buds (i think 17) rockhopper is a lot better on me.

  12. #12
    M_S
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    Plus you can sell the Dart 2 for a little bit. The more I think about it, the more just getting the Novara and swapping out fork (if that) and pedals sounds like the way to go.

  13. #13
    Alaska Biker
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    Thanks everyone!

    DR-DRE, M_S, that is great advice! I think I will go for the Novara. Personally, I don't think I would be able to tell the difference between the forks on the Novara or the Specialized. I've dealt with REI a TON over the years, and their customer service is out of this world. So, if I ever had a problem with the bicycle, they will make it right...they have free tune ups..etc..... The fact that the Ponderosa is 250.00 less than the Rockhopper (with the 20% off coupon), is just icing on the cake.

    I'm still going to mull this over a bit more...but I about leaning more torwards the Novara right now.

  14. #14
    Senior Member pwyll99's Avatar
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    I own a Rockhopper and it's a great bike, so I'm biased towards Specialized. But a coworker owned a Ponderosa and when one of the chainstays snapped (the bike was about 6 years old) REI replaced the frame with no problem. The good part of that story is since the bike was as old as it was, they pretty much gave him a new bike since the frame design had changed in that time. I'll also add that the owner of the Ponderosa treated his bike well and didn't abuse it, as he basically commutes and takes lunchtime rides on it.

    Considering the slightly better specs on the Ponderosa and the better price, you're doing the right thing going with the Ponderosa.

    I don't see Specialized replacing a frame that is that old without a lot of hassle
    John

    2003 Specialized Rockhopper
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  15. #15
    Senior Member Old School's Avatar
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    I think either will be a good choice. The components seem fairly comparable. As these choices go, the good advice is to buy the one that fits you best and seems to call to you!
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW! WHAT A RIDE!"

  16. #16
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    I recently went through this same decision. Obviously, Specialized bikes are great. But REI's Novara bikes have a few large advantages. One, because REI basically spends zero on advertising/marketing the Novara line, they are able to sell these bikes for a large discount. Second, REI's customer service and killer warranty are icing on the cake. Novara is a great way to get a lot of bike for considerably less money than the competition.

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