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  1. #1
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    Considering an '07 REI Novara Randonee.....

    In about another month, REI's going to be sending out their dividend checks and will have their 20% off sale, which will put the Randonee at a tempting price of $760. I, of short legs, will have to go with the 47cm size frame--I would like to get some feedback from those you have purchased the '06 or '07 versions (is there any difference?), platitudes or criticisms welcome. I have yet to see one at my local REI, and know that they were a hot item last year. Any comments on your Randonee?

  2. #2
    George Krpan
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    I like it, I think it's really good. There's also the Safari which is $100 cheaper and has some compelling features.

  3. #3
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    My friend got one last year and has really enjoyed it. No problems at all. I wouldn't hesitate to go on a tour on that bike.
    safe riding - Vik
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    Pretty happy with my Randonee.

  5. #5
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    Any changeouts needed on the Novara? One thing I like is the stock low gearing on the Novara, but I have read that the wheels are not the greatest and the brifters are lower end. I'm not expecting a Bruce Gordon for $760, but a serviceable commuter-type bike with occasional 3-4 day tours, loaded.

  6. #6
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    My friend took her bike on a 4 day tour through the mtns this past summer as well as a couple thousand kms of commuting. She had no trouble with the wheels or shifters.

    As with any machine built wheels I would check the tension on the spokes as soon as I got the bike home. They aren't wheels I would buy or build up if I was starting from scratch, but I don't think they'll implode on you or anything dramatic.

    For the money I think it would be hard to beat a Randonee for a 700c touring bike.
    Last edited by vik; 01-27-07 at 01:25 PM.
    safe riding - Vik
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  7. #7
    Sasquatch Crossing mycoatl's Avatar
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    I concur--it's hard to beat the Randonee for value.

    Also, don't forget about the awesome REI return policy. If you get the Randonee and are disappointed with it after a couple of months, just return it.

  8. #8
    Numbler Cornchops's Avatar
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    I'm quite happy with my '06 Randonee. 1000+ miles, two week-long tours, and no problems whatsoever--not even a flat. I'll replace as parts break down, but I didn't feel that anything really needed to be switched out immediately.

    And my wife still didn't like the fit after 800+ miles and returned it for a refund. She felt a little guilty, but...she got over it.

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    Make sure you get the '07..... Shimano upgraded their Tiagra hubs this year and you want the better hubs.

    This really is a good bike at a very, very good deal.

  10. #10
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    BTW - last year's coffee colour, I think continued into 2007, is quite nice.
    safe riding - Vik
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  11. #11
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by karmantra
    Any changeouts needed on the Novara? One thing I like is the stock low gearing on the Novara, but I have read that the wheels are not the greatest and the brifters are lower end. I'm not expecting a Bruce Gordon for $760, but a serviceable commuter-type bike with occasional 3-4 day tours, loaded.
    Tiagra brifters, right? They work fine. You should get several years of use out of them.

    By the way, I recall that the price went up to something like $950.

  12. #12
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by karmantra
    Any changeouts needed on the Novara? One thing I like is the stock low gearing on the Novara, but I have read that the wheels are not the greatest and the brifters are lower end. I'm not expecting a Bruce Gordon for $760, but a serviceable commuter-type bike with occasional 3-4 day tours, loaded.
    Commuting is harder on the bike then touring is...more miles, more junk thrown at the bike, etc.

    The Tiagra shifters are fine. I have a 2003 set that is doing just fine. The wheels are okay - Tiagra hubs aren't the best but they aren't the worst and the Mavic 319 aren't as good as the 719 but they aren't the worst. The wheels probably have straight gauge spokes which isn't the best choice but the wheel won't fall a part on you either. Ride them until they need replacing. Perhaps have a competent wheel builder touch up the wheels.

    On a positive note, the crank is a Shimano trekking crank so you can replace the inner ring with something a lot lower than stock without too much effort. You can put a 22 on it and have a great low gear.
    Stuart Black
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  13. #13
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    With a 26 small ring and a 34 on the back, you've got all the low gearing you need. It would be hard to stay upright with lower gearing. As previously mentioned, Tiagra is new for 07 and is much improved.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand
    Tiagra brifters, right? They work fine. You should get several years of use out of them.

    By the way, I recall that the price went up to something like $950.
    The price has stayed the same for 2007 at $950--the savings of $190 kicks in during REI's annual dividend sale, when you use a coupon for 20% off one regularly priced item, the Randonee being one of those. Haven't heard many negatives on the bike & components from BF members--looking forward to their sale & ordering one! Thanks again!

  15. #15
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjones
    With a 26 small ring and a 34 on the back, you've got all the low gearing you need. It would be hard to stay upright with lower gearing. As previously mentioned, Tiagra is new for 07 and is much improved.
    I'm sorry but that's just not true. I ride mountain bikes and touring bikes and a 17" or less gear is greatly appreciated...and very useful...in some situations. And it's pretty easy to keep a bike upright at 3 mph. Heck it's not that hard to keep one upright at a dead stop
    Stuart Black
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  16. #16
    More Energy than Sense aroundoz's Avatar
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    Probably one of the best values out there. I used to work at REI and the main reason it's so inexpensive is no middle man. I still don't know how they make money on this, or most of their bikes, esspeically with the 20% off.

    Not to be the devil's advocate and it is a minor point, but I wished they would use mountain hubs on this bike as the 130mm rear dropout spacing doesn't build as strong of a wheel as 135mm due to dishing. That being said, I am sure there are plenty of folks who have never had a problem.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by karmantra
    In about another month, REI's going to be sending out their dividend checks and will have their 20% off sale, which will put the Randonee at a tempting price of $760. I, of short legs, will have to go with the 47cm size frame--I would like to get some feedback from those you have purchased the '06 or '07 versions (is there any difference?), platitudes or criticisms welcome. I have yet to see one at my local REI, and know that they were a hot item last year. Any comments on your Randonee?
    I (5'6") purchased a 47cm Randonee at Huntington Beach, CA in 2006 when it was on sale. A really solid bike and all its stock components have been trouble-free so far. Note that at 47cm the Randonee's frame is more like a compact frame with slightly sloping top tube (i.e., it looks a bit different from the photos you see on REI.com). Minor complaints: (1) handlebar plugs easily come off, (2) seat clamp is a bit small, making it less capable of holding the seatpost tight, (3) front brake cable preset at a sharp "V" instead of a "Y", making it less efficient to apply brake - no problem, just replace the stock Shimano cable bridge. I suspect this issue is probably specific to the 47cm frame only, (4) inspect the depths of dropouts on both sides of your fork - mine were asymmetrically cut. Their mechanic caught it and replaced it for me for free.

    As others have pointed out, if you do not like the bike, you can return it for a full refund. But the chance is that you will like the bike.
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  18. #18
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    I bought the 2006 Randonee a few weeks ago on sale for $750 as my very first tourer. Actually, it is my very first 'real' bike. Happy with it so far, but was a bit ticked at whoever first assembled the bike. After getting it home, I noticed several bolts had been stripped and the rear rack was installed incorrectly and it was actually forced into misaligned slots; bending the rack in the process. Took it back to the store and they offered to fix everything, no questions asked and even actually apologized. Definitely the type of people I like to send my business to.

    (1) handlebar plugs easily come off
    Same exact problem on mine. Silly question, but how do I fix this? Glue it?

  19. #19
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    Martian Biker, thanks for the info on the 47cm having a sloped top tube--I was hoping that was the case because their website shows the 47's sizing as 78cm for the standover, which would have been a problem on clearance. It shouldn't be an issue with the sloped top tube.

  20. #20
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    Do you have to be a member to get the 20% off sale, or is it for everyone?

  21. #21
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beetes
    Do you have to be a member to get the 20% off sale, or is it for everyone?
    I'm pretty sure its member's only, but for the $15 I paid to join I have rec'd several hundred in dividends so far.
    safe riding - Vik
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  22. #22
    Numbler Cornchops's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martian Biker
    (1) handlebar plugs easily come off
    Quote Originally Posted by Ozona
    Same exact problem on mine. Silly question, but how do I fix this? Glue it?
    After continually putting them back in, and then finally losing one, I found some old, rubber, screw-to-tighten plugs. No problems. Perhaps poor plugs was one of their cost-cutting measures? But how much did they save, really, against my constant searching of the ground around my bike?

  23. #23
    Sasquatch Crossing mycoatl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beetes
    Do you have to be a member to get the 20% off sale, or is it for everyone?
    I believe the upcoming sale is for members, and specifically members get 20% off one item when they spend their dividend. Just my recollection, though. Even if that's the case, you can hang tight until May when they have another sale where it's 20% off Novara bikes (don't have to be a member or spending a dividend to get the deal).

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by beetes
    Do you have to be a member to get the 20% off sale, or is it for everyone?
    Members only, but pay the $15 one-time membership fee then buy the Randonee at a savings of $190 & you're $175 ahead! OK, if you're a member you would already get 10% off on a dividend paid back to you in 2008 of $95, but at the sale (usually around March 1) you get your $190 savings up front!

  25. #25
    Senior Member Tom808's Avatar
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    I have a 2004 model that I use for recreational riding and a couple of tours. I am happy with the bike, but did have to have both wheels rebuilt. I broke spokes constantly. On the front wheel, 5 spokes broke one night while it was leaned up against the wall.

    Other than the wheels, I only had to fix the gearing (mine had a 30/42/52). This flaw was corrected in the current model. Overall I am very pleased with the bike and recommend it.

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