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Old 02-03-08, 08:45 PM   #1
LorenzoNF
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Any problems with a Novara Randonee?

So, I've been doing my research for the past month or so on all the pros and cons of the different touring bikes (Trek 520, Jamis Aurora, Cannondale T800 and T2000, Long Haul Trucker, Raleigh Sojourn, Bruce Gordon, etc) and have basically finally decided to go the the Novara Randonee, in part because of price ($850 for a member) but also because it's decently spec'd (Tiagra and Deore - not the hottest but when I test rode they worked like a charm), has space for fenders, comes with decent rack, 36 spoke rims, etc. Basically, everything stock is fine (especially gearing! yay!) as is and won't need changing out (though I am open to possibly getting into the clipless realm - but that's another day and post).

I haven't ridden any other road-type bikes (mountain bikes all my life) so I don't have much to compare it to, but it seemed solid, stable, and smooth. However, I don't know if it was my unfamiliarity with drop bars, but the handling seemed a little on the squirmy side. I felt a little uneasy turning sharply; then again, it might just take some getting used to. Of course, it'll handle much differently loaded with panniers, but, any thoughts?

No bike shops in here in Sacramento have any of the other bikes to test ride, so that's part of the consideration, but essentially what I'm looking for is some reassurance that what I'm going to get is a good choice.

On a side note, does anybody know about REI bike sales? I know members get a 20% off coupon, but it usually excludes bikes, and I'd have to wait until May to get 15% off in the anniversary sale. I read somewhere here about a 30% off sale in March, but when I asked at the store they didn't know anything about that. >_>
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Old 02-03-08, 09:26 PM   #2
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The coupons are good for Novara bikes so you can use them on a Randonee. My friend got one and she really liked it. She moved all the parts over to a LHT frame I gave her, but not because there was a problem with the Randonee she just wanted to try out the LHT and it was free so why not.

I just finished tuning up her bike which is essentially all the Randonee bits on the LHT frame. Everything is holding up well. No problems at all.
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Old 02-03-08, 11:38 PM   #3
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I have an '03 randonee and love it! I use it as my exploring/touring/s24o/trail bike. They're awesome.
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Old 02-04-08, 12:15 PM   #4
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I bought an 07 Randonee last March using my 20% off coupon, the coupon is good for bikes. I bought the bike to use mostly as a commuter, and for weekend rides. I have put about 1500 miles on the bike and it has performed great, no problems. Please note I have not toured on it, the heaviest loads I carry are me (175lbs) and maybe 15lbs of extra stuff.

I did not like the stock saddle and replaced it with a Brooks B-17. I also had cyclocross style in-line brake levers installed, these are great, you can brake with your hands on flats. The only other thing I do not like about the bike is the ugly brown paint job, I hate the color.

One thing I love about this bike is I can ride on roads to a local rail trail, let some air out of the tires, ride the trail, then pump the tires back up and ride on the road back home.
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Old 02-04-08, 02:14 PM   #5
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Any problems with a Novara Randonee?
The standover was too high for me and I also hated the color. I liked the color and the slightly sportier geometry of the Jamis Aurora much better.
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Old 02-04-08, 07:13 PM   #6
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I also bought the Randonee last year at the Members 20% off sale in March. I use it mostly for commuting and for long rides. I really like it. When I first rode it, I thought it felt squirrelly compare to my old road bike which I had for over 20 year. Now it fells normal when I ride it.

My commuting loads can get heavy and I've used it for shopping, and it seems to handle the load well. I have not toured with it yet.

I like the saddle. I was trying to get a new saddle for my old bike and tried a Specialized one where they measure your sit bones ( it hurt) and the Terry Fly. Neither one fit me well, but the Fizak Rondine that came with was really nice. I do plan to try a Brooks one day, back when I was a kid I had a leather saddle that I liked.

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Old 02-05-08, 11:02 PM   #7
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I have an 06 Randonee with 1200+ miles and several tours and not a single problem. Not even a flat tire. With the 20% off coupon, and my dividend, there was really no way that I could pass it up or justify getting something else. It hasn't disappointed me yet.
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Old 02-06-08, 07:55 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by LorenzoNF View Post
So, I've been doing my research for the past month or so on all the pros and cons of the different touring bikes (Trek 520, Jamis Aurora, Cannondale T800 and T2000, Long Haul Trucker, Raleigh Sojourn, Bruce Gordon, etc) and have basically finally decided to go the the Novara Randonee, in part because of price ($850 for a member) but also because it's decently spec'd (Tiagra and Deore - not the hottest but when I test rode they worked like a charm), has space for fenders, comes with decent rack, 36 spoke rims, etc. Basically, everything stock is fine (especially gearing! yay!) as is and won't need changing out (though I am open to possibly getting into the clipless realm - but that's another day and post).

I haven't ridden any other road-type bikes (mountain bikes all my life) so I don't have much to compare it to, but it seemed solid, stable, and smooth. However, I don't know if it was my unfamiliarity with drop bars, but the handling seemed a little on the squirmy side. I felt a little uneasy turning sharply; then again, it might just take some getting used to. Of course, it'll handle much differently loaded with panniers, but, any thoughts?

No bike shops in here in Sacramento have any of the other bikes to test ride, so that's part of the consideration, but essentially what I'm looking for is some reassurance that what I'm going to get is a good choice.
On a side note, does anybody know about REI bike sales? I know members get a 20% off coupon, but it usually excludes bikes, and I'd have to wait until May to get 15% off in the anniversary sale. I read somewhere here about a 30% off sale in March, but when I asked at the store they didn't know anything about that. >_>
REI offers great support.
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Old 02-06-08, 08:13 PM   #9
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REI offers great support.
In fact you can buy the bike and give it a go. If you aren't 100% happy just take it back. You don't get much better terms than that.
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Old 02-06-08, 08:19 PM   #10
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In fact you can buy the bike and give it a go. If you aren't 100% happy just take it back. You don't get much better terms than that.
+1

And with no complaints from them.

An excellent company to deal with all around.

Last edited by Niles H.; 02-06-08 at 08:32 PM.
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Old 02-07-08, 07:17 AM   #11
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For some reason, I can't find the chain stay length on the NR...everything else looks great.
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Old 02-07-08, 09:18 AM   #12
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43.5cm (17.1in) for all frame sizes

2008 Novara catalog, geometry specs are in the middle
http://www.rei.com/rei/gearshop/nova...ddle*08catalog
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Old 02-07-08, 09:58 AM   #13
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Thanks. Can a large person comment on heel clearance. I think it's gonna be tight for me with 47s.
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Old 02-11-08, 02:09 AM   #14
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don't worry about the handling being "a little on the squirmy side". when i first got a mountain bike, i rode it instead of my road bike for the better part of a year. when i finally got back on my road bike, the handling seemed almost scary.

for about 10 or 15 minutes maybe. you'll quickly come to prefer the drops.
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Old 02-11-08, 11:30 AM   #15
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I went out and found a dealer that had a Jamis Aurora in my size, gave it a test ride, and found it rode basically the same as the Randonee. The fit was better on the Randonee though, so I'm still probably going to go with that; I'm just waiting for my 20% coupon.

Thanks for all the help! My main concern was the handling, but it seems that's just normal for a bike with drops.
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Old 02-11-08, 04:13 PM   #16
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I have the Randonee and the heel clearance is not a problem with size 11 shoes. It shouldn't be for you either.

It is one tough bike with excellent build and components. I am very happy with it.
Fenders were no problem and I put Tubus racks front and back. Great bike
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Old 03-09-08, 10:06 PM   #17
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Just picked up my new Randonee on the 29th of Feb. Made some modifications to it. Used my REI 20% coupon and my dividend and left for just under $600!

So far it's by far the sweetest ride I have ever had.

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Old 03-09-08, 10:10 PM   #18
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I think I'm going to be using my 20% coupon for one of those babies too... I just need to get down there and do it.
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Old 03-10-08, 07:31 AM   #19
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I thinks it's a great choice for a first touring bike. Here's mine:



Judy
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Old 03-10-08, 07:58 AM   #20
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I thinks it's a great choice for a first touring bike. Here's mine:



Judy
Dude! You forgot to pack the kitchen sink!
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Old 03-10-08, 05:28 PM   #21
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Finally got it about a week ago! Shifters are awesome, but needed some tweaking after the first 100 miles - front deraileur was rubbing on the outside. Other than that (which I finally figured out could just be fixed by cable tension instead of adjusting the deraileur) it's been smooth and comfortable. But the Ritchey adjustable stem creaks like crazy when any stress is put on it (out of the saddle, etc) and I've tightened it 2 or 3 times. Any thoughts? I'm thinking of just getting a non-adjustable... also, the seat has an annoying tendency to inch down... but I'm nitpicking. >_>
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Old 03-10-08, 07:39 PM   #22
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I love my Randonee - two years old. The only issue I had was toe strike and the underside bottle mount is to high on the tube and does not allow for anything except a short bottle and not all of those. I modified a bottle bracket to change it.

The_Driver - nice looking mods to the Randonee. I'm in Costa Mesa and hope to see you on a local trail somewhere. What did you use for the front mud flap. Looks great in your pic.
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Old 03-10-08, 08:10 PM   #23
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I love my Randonee - two years old. The only issue I had was toe strike and the underside bottle mount is to high on the tube and does not allow for anything except a short bottle and not all of those. I modified a bottle bracket to change it.

The_Driver - nice looking mods to the Randonee. I'm in Costa Mesa and hope to see you on a local trail somewhere. What did you use for the front mud flap. Looks great in your pic.
The mudflap came on the Planet Bike Freddy fenders. I wanted the hammered Honjo fenders just for the looks but am very pleased with the Freddy's.

Look for me on either Peters Canyon bike trail, San Diego Creek trail or heading from Tustin to the Spectrum business area and back.
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Old 03-11-08, 02:25 PM   #24
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But the Ritchey adjustable stem creaks like crazy when any stress is put on it (out of the saddle, etc) and I've tightened it 2 or 3 times. Any thoughts?
My thoughts are to use the adjustable stem to help you find where you're confortable at. Then find a non-adjustable stem that closely matches where your adjustable stem ended up at. You can then put your adjustable stem on a shelf at home in case someday you need it shipped to you while on a tour.

Not sure about your slipping seat post though. Maybe a little light (very light) honing inside the seat tube and some fresh grease? Or try a different seat post. I was down at the local REI last week to look at the Randonees, but they were hanging from the ceiling and I didn't notice what seat post they were using. If I wasn't building up a converted MTB I'd be considering one of these.
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Old 03-12-08, 07:11 PM   #25
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I love the Randonee. I'm saving and saving. By the time I have enough money, I might have my girlfriend convinced it's okay for me to have one more bike. Or I might have decided which one I could part with to make room. Nah.

I love the color. I want to feel like a creature of the forest.
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