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  1. #1
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    Novara Element vs. Cannondale T800/Fuji Touring

    Hi,

    I'm in the market for a touring/commute bike, willing to spend between $900-$1200. Today we visited the local REI store and my eye fell upon the Novara Element ($899). What I like about this bike is that it comes standard with (Tektro) brake cross levers, something almost no other bike of this type seems to have standard. Years ago, back in .nl I used to own a Gazelle Tour de France touring bike which had the same feature and I loved it.

    Now my questions:
    - Is the Element any good? It appears to be decent value for money.
    - I also saw the Cannondale T800 and Fuji Touring being mentioned favorably online. How do they compare? Is it possible to add this type of brake cross lever to other bikes like these?

    Thanks!

    Jos

  2. #2
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jos Backus
    Hi,

    I'm in the market for a touring/commute bike, willing to spend between $900-$1200. Today we visited the local REI store and my eye fell upon the Novara Element ($899). What I like about this bike is that it comes standard with (Tektro) brake cross levers, something almost no other bike of this type seems to have standard. Years ago, back in .nl I used to own a Gazelle Tour de France touring bike which had the same feature and I loved it.

    Now my questions:
    - Is the Element any good? It appears to be decent value for money.
    - I also saw the Cannondale T800 and Fuji Touring being mentioned favorably online. How do they compare? Is it possible to add this type of brake cross lever to other bikes like these?

    Thanks!

    Jos
    The Element (unless there is another version) that REI lists on it's website only has a double crankset. While it's not too hard to convert to a triple, it can be costly. The brake levers that you are looking at cost around $40 and are fairly easy to put on any bike and cost much less than a new bottom bracket and crank. If you want a touring bike, the Fuji or Cannondale are probably better bikes. Neither is a slug when it comes to speed and distance and both can carry an astounding load of gear.

    I have both in my garage and feel that they are great bikes (the Cannondale is mine, Fuji is my kid's). The Fuji is a good value with weakish wheels and the Cannondale has a great touring bike geometry - very long but stiff and handles a load like a champ. I, personally, think that either would be a better touring bike (and commuter) than the Element.
    Stuart Black
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    The Element (unless there is another version) that REI lists on it's website only has a double crankset. While it's not too hard to convert to a triple, it can be costly. The brake levers that you are looking at cost around $40 and are fairly easy to put on any bike and cost much less than a new bottom bracket and crank. If you want a touring bike, the Fuji or Cannondale are probably better bikes. Neither is a slug when it comes to speed and distance and both can carry an astounding load of gear.

    I have both in my garage and feel that they are great bikes (the Cannondale is mine, Fuji is my kid's). The Fuji is a good value with weakish wheels and the Cannondale has a great touring bike geometry - very long but stiff and handles a load like a champ. I, personally, think that either would be a better touring bike (and commuter) than the Element.
    Thanks for the advice, cyccommute. I'll go check out some LBS to see who carries the Cannondale, and try it out. It's nice to hear the brake levers can be retrofitted easily. Any suggestions as far as brands/models go?

    Cheers,
    Jos

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    The Element (unless there is another version) that REI lists on it's website only has a double crankset. While it's not too hard to convert to a triple, it can be costly. The brake levers that you are looking at cost around $40 and are fairly easy to put on any bike and cost much less than a new bottom bracket and crank. If you want a touring bike, the Fuji or Cannondale are probably better bikes. Neither is a slug when it comes to speed and distance and both can carry an astounding load of gear.

    I have both in my garage and feel that they are great bikes (the Cannondale is mine, Fuji is my kid's). The Fuji is a good value with weakish wheels and the Cannondale has a great touring bike geometry - very long but stiff and handles a load like a champ. I, personally, think that either would be a better touring bike (and commuter) than the Element.
    I test-rode the Cannondale today and it does indeed feel like a good fit for what I'm looking for. So I'll be picking it up on Saturday

    Thanks again for your advice.

    Jos

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