Mad bike riding scientist
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Bikes: Some silver ones, a black one, a red one, an orange one and a couple of titanium ones
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Originally Posted by Doggus
I have found the following bikes...which would you choose and why?
'04 T800 - $1034
'06 T800 - $1299
'05 Novara Randonee - $778
'06 Novara Randonee - $821 (Butt ugly I might add)
The bike I get will mostly see commuting duty later on after our trek in the UK, Netherlands and Germany.
The '04 T800. Cannondale hasn't made that many changes since '04. The '06 has a suspension seat post which isn't worth $250
and the color and graphics on the '04 are better (at least it's not black...I hate black bikes. That's because I have 4 of them.) The parts spec on the '04 T800 is however just enough better than the Novara to make it worth the extra money. The hubs on the T800 are a seal cartridge (smoother, longer lasting, weather proof), the crank is okay, the rear derailer is better, the tires are a bit better and a little wider (I'd try to swap them for 37mm or even 40mm) and it has clipless pedals. The Cannondale has a rear rack and eyelets for a front lowrider. I can't tell from the picture if the Novara does or not. I know that you are planning on a trailer for your trip but if you should change your mind, having the proper mounts for the fork is ideal.
I'm not a fan of the Novara because of the geometry, either. It's a little too short for my tastes. The Cannondale is a very long bike (probably 3/4" of an inch longer than the Novara) which is more important in situations where you are carrying bags, at least for me.
The Cannondale, just to be fair to the Novara, will be stiff - very stiff. Without a load, it will seem too stiff until you get used to it. But under load, and especially pulling a loaded trailer in hilly terrain, that stiffness will be a blessing. With 4 bags and a sleeping bag on tour, my T800 has always been smooth and comfortable. I've tried a trailer with a steel bike (not the Novara) and didn't like the way that the load would push the bike around.
That's my attempt to muddy the waters. I'm sure someone else will come along and do their own stirring