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Old 08-06-07, 02:39 AM   #1
iain.dalton
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What would you change on a stock Novarra Randonee?

I'm thinking of getting a Novarra Randonee in Sept when REI puts them on sale. I'd like to compare it to the cost of building an LHT from scratch, but I suspect I might want to switch out some parts on the Randonee before I take it ~1500 miles fully-loaded round-trip. So, if you were to buy a 2007 Randonee, what would you change, what would you add, and why?

Also, I've had an LBS tell me I should buy custom-built wheels for such a trip. I only weigh 140 lbs; how necessary are hand-built wheels?
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Old 08-06-07, 04:28 AM   #2
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I'm thinking of getting a Novarra Randonee in Sept when REI puts them on sale. I'd like to compare it to the cost of building an LHT from scratch, but I suspect I might want to switch out some parts on the Randonee before I take it ~1500 miles fully-loaded round-trip. So, if you were to buy a 2007 Randonee, what would you change, what would you add, and why?

Also, I've had an LBS tell me I should buy custom-built wheels for such a trip. I only weigh 140 lbs; how necessary are hand-built wheels?
140 lbs seems ok to me. Not everybody is going for custom build wheels. You should need some experience touring with your bike. Then you will know if something should be changed.
When you say 140 lbs, you should also know how much you will carry as added weight.
IMO, I would go for novara stock, do some touring with it, and then decide what is wrong and change things.
Take care that the novara is a good bike for the money. One thing I have heard from someone that have toured with them is that he missed more granny gears. You can just replace the small front ring to smaller one - 26, 22 - about 20$ change.
This is a good deal for a very good bike, that you will be able eventually to sell and recover some of the amount you paid.
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Old 08-06-07, 05:16 AM   #3
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Nothing. Really, nothing. The Randonee is fine stock.


After your trip, you will want to change some things on your bike, but you won't know what they are until you ride a while.

Relax-- and have fun!
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Old 08-06-07, 06:43 AM   #4
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The Randonee is a good bike, but as always, there's room for improvement/tinkering

From the specs, I'd swap the following:

Bar end shifters and regular aero brake levers for the brifters. Indexing can go out, a brifter can jam, derailler hangers can get bent. Bar end shifters can slip into friction mode, and get you rolling again.

Saddle of your choice. Nothing like sitting on a saddle that really fits you all day long. One that isn't comfortable for you is where you end up cursing at your bike.

Front rack. Helps balance the load and get better fore/aft weight distribution.

Cassette. There's an 11-32 on the back now, but the LX derailler should be able to handle an 11-34. Sometimes you just can't have a low enough gear imho.

Stem. After dialing your fit in, I'd look for a regular threadless stem that suits you. Adjustable stems are nice for trying different angle setups, but usually they do have a bit of play in them. Not something I'd want with a fully loaded rig.

Pedals. I prefer clipless.
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Old 08-06-07, 10:48 AM   #5
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Good luck on securing an on-sale Randonee in September--only one 47cm Randonee is in stock on their website, and reorders don't come in until October. You may have some luck in their stores--the Bend, Oregon REI still has a 55cm in stock as of yesterday, but I doubt any will be around in stores on sale come September.
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Old 08-06-07, 01:37 PM   #6
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kipibenkipod: I recently picked up a bunch of gears--some loose, some a complete set--at an estate sale. Could I just swap out the 26 for a 22, or do I need to have a 22 of the same brand or something?

karmantra: Right now, they have a 58 in store. It just has to go unsold for another month, right? Here's hoping ;-)
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Old 08-06-07, 02:27 PM   #7
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Good luck on securing an on-sale Randonee in September--only one 47cm Randonee is in stock on their website, and reorders don't come in until October. You may have some luck in their stores--the Bend, Oregon REI still has a 55cm in stock as of yesterday, but I doubt any will be around in stores on sale come September.
+1

If you really want that bike, you'd better snap it up. The ones that go on sale are usually the sizes that they have leftovers in and those are normally really small or really large. I'd bet the 58" will be gone by next month.
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Old 08-06-07, 02:55 PM   #8
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I'm patient; I would rather wait for a good deal than snap up a bike now. I don't need a new bike Right Now.
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Old 08-06-07, 02:58 PM   #9
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kipibenkipod: I recently picked up a bunch of gears--some loose, some a complete set--at an estate sale. Could I just swap out the 26 for a 22, or do I need to have a 22 of the same brand or something?
Yep, I don't think you will have problem, but there is always murphy at the background, so take everything with some grain of salt.
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Old 08-06-07, 03:17 PM   #10
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Nothing. Really, nothing. The Randonee is fine stock.


After your trip, you will want to change some things on your bike, but you won't know what they are until you ride a while.

Relax-- and have fun!
+1 - great bike and with the 30% coupon wicked price. My ex-GF had one and she toured with it stock no problems at all.

Actually let me correct that - we added a Brooks champion flyer saddle to the bike - the rest was stock.
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Old 08-06-07, 05:19 PM   #11
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I don't think they make a 58cm. They jump from 55cm to 59cm, I'm pretty sure. I had one for a short time, but couldn't make it work, because of my back. That was a year age and I'm thinking I'm going to give it a try again. I think it's a pretty nice bike, stock right out of the box. I was wondering if they are ever going to change the color. Good luck.
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Old 08-06-07, 07:16 PM   #12
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+1

If you really want that bike, you'd better snap it up. The ones that go on sale are usually the sizes that they have leftovers in and those are normally really small or really large. I'd bet the 58" will be gone by next month.
I agree with jimmuter--grab that bike now! I figure that REI won't mark that bike down but only 20% off max--typical 'markdown' for REI--If you use an REI Visa card to purchase it, you get a 5% discount on top of the 10% dividend on purchasing the bike at retail--that's 15% off right there! Of course that is paid to you next March, 2008, but you are still saving over $140 on your Randonee now rather than saving $0 on a bike that won't be there in September!
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Old 08-06-07, 08:32 PM   #13
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I test rode 2007 Randonees in 57cm and 59cm, and got the 59. I bought it for a commuter (not to tour) and have about 700 miles on it.

For me, the stock saddle is the first thing that needs to go. I hated it.

I added cyclocross style in-line brake levers and they are great.

Add fenders, the Planet Bike 700c touring/hybrid width fits fine.

The stock wheels seem fine and have stayed true, although I have not carried any heavy loads. I weigh 175lbs and maybe carry 5-10lbs in a rack trunk.
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Old 08-06-07, 08:57 PM   #14
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Why the rush to grab the bike now? They're not going to stop selling them within the next few months, right? If I miss the sale, I can still buy them at retail price, and there are several REIs in my area, so I shouldn't have any problem getting one, right? If I'm wrong, please tell me, but it seems waiting has possible advantages but no possible disadvantages. Also, I just became a member, so I don't know how the dividend works, and I wouldn't get an REI credit card unless it doesn't cost me anything to do so--I use a debit card all the time, and only have a credit card for the credit score.
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Old 08-06-07, 08:57 PM   #15
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i had a friend buy a bike from REI last year and they had a policy that if something goes on sale within so many days of your purchase that they will refund you the difference if you take your receipt back in. i think it was like 30 days, so you might be able to buy soon and still get the sale price. i doubt that policy changed in a year, but you should check with them for the specifics
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Old 08-06-07, 09:05 PM   #16
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I talked to the warehouse today and they said there wasn't any changes for 2008.
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Old 08-07-07, 11:30 AM   #17
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Why the rush to grab the bike now? They're not going to stop selling them within the next few months, right? If I miss the sale, I can still buy them at retail price, and there are several REIs in my area, so I shouldn't have any problem getting one, right? If I'm wrong, please tell me, but it seems waiting has possible advantages but no possible disadvantages. Also, I just became a member, so I don't know how the dividend works, and I wouldn't get an REI credit card unless it doesn't cost me anything to do so--I use a debit card all the time, and only have a credit card for the credit score.
It doesn't cost anything to get the card. I have one and use it for everyday stuff all year. Just pay it off in full every month. I had over $200 in dividends to spend in REI this past year. Anyway, speaking from experience, they will stop producing a model year's bike (and probably already have for 2007) and once those are gone, they are gone. Then you will need to wait for the 2008's. If you don't mind waiting until December or so and paying full price then, it's not an issue. If you can wait, do it this way -- get your REI Visa card. Wait until they send you a coupon for 20% off (sometimes these exclude bikes, but it won't if you're lucky) which they usually do early in the calendar year. Use your coupon and your REI card and get yourself the immediate discount plus the dividend. They just started giving some dividend credit this year for buying sale items or items with a coupon, so your timing is right.
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Old 08-07-07, 12:42 PM   #18
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If the bike has machine laced wheels, I'd recommend taking them to a good mechanic and have him/her check the truing and tensioning. It's relatively cheap, and from everything I've read, a good hand-tuning job can make all the difference. You may bring it to the person when it's brand new, but make sure you go back and have him/her check it again after you've put some miles on it. Things move, loosen, etc. To me it's kind of like tuning a guitar. If you tune it right after you put new strings on it, everything will change rapidly; you have to tune it again after you've played it a bit. After awhile things start to settle down and you don't have to tune it quite so often. Thank goodness, bicycle wheels don't change as easily as guitar strings.
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Old 08-07-07, 04:16 PM   #19
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If the bike has machine laced wheels, I'd recommend taking them to a good mechanic and have him/her check the truing and tensioning. It's relatively cheap, and from everything I've read, a good hand-tuning job can make all the difference. You may bring it to the person when it's brand new, but make sure you go back and have him/her check it again after you've put some miles on it. Things move, loosen, etc. To me it's kind of like tuning a guitar. If you tune it right after you put new strings on it, everything will change rapidly; you have to tune it again after you've played it a bit. After awhile things start to settle down and you don't have to tune it quite so often. Thank goodness, bicycle wheels don't change as easily as guitar strings.
I had to order my Randonee as none of the local stores had a 59cm in stock. I had it shipped to the Cary store and when it came in the guys in the bike shop built it up and trued the wheels. You get a free tune up, so I brought it in at 500 miles and they trued the wheels again.
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Old 08-07-07, 05:19 PM   #20
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Hey Chuck, I'm looking to get the 59cm, could you tell me if I could get the bars up to 42" off the floor. I've called all kinds of stores, the factory and I can't get an answer from anybody, thanks
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Old 08-08-07, 01:01 AM   #21
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One thing to definitely not change are the Vittoria tires. I've got nearly 1800 miles on them and not a single flat.

But now I'll probably get a flat tomorrow.
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Old 08-08-07, 10:45 AM   #22
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Hey Chuck, I'm looking to get the 59cm, could you tell me if I could get the bars up to 42" off the floor. I've called all kinds of stores, the factory and I can't get an answer from anybody, thanks
George, just eyeballing the stem I think you could go up to 41" off the ground, maybe a little higher. I think for 42" you may need an extention on the steerer tube. The guys in the shop told me the steerer comes pre cut.

My handlebars are 39 7/8" off the ground, I have the adjustable stem set about as low as I can without bending the front brake cable too much. If I had to guess it's at a 5 to 10 degree rise now.

As an aside the standover on my 59cm frame is 33 1/2" with the stock wheels and ultra gator skin 700x28 tires. The Novara 2007 catalog gives 87.2cm, which is wrong.
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Old 08-08-07, 11:39 AM   #23
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Thanks a lot Chuck, I called the factory this morning and I'm waiting for the products dept to get back to me. I had the 59cm about a year ago, when I starting riding and I couldn't make the drops work for me . Since then I've been able to get lower and right now my bars are 42" and the saddle is 40". If I can get those measurements I'll order the bike. I called the PR people last week and they said they didn't think there was any changes in the new bikes. When I talk to the products manager later on, I'll let you guys know what I found out. Thanks again Chuck, I think you got a very nice bike, I couldn't believe the ride compared to a lot of bikes I tried already.
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Old 08-08-07, 01:59 PM   #24
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I just got the word that the new bikes will have no changes and they should be in by the end of Sept. or the beginning of Oct.
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Old 03-09-08, 10:01 PM   #25
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Late as usual to another thread.

Changed the bars to Kalloy trekking bars. Trigger shifters. MTB brakes levers. Fenders. Grip King pedals. Once the tires are worn down I'll put on 35's or 38's. This has turned into an amazing ride!

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