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Thread: Novara Safari

  1. #1
    Junior Member Trollers's Avatar
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    Novara Safari

    Hey all,

    I was looking for a decent touring bike under 900$ that I can (eventually) use for cross country touring. I would more frequently use it for about 20 mile commuting during the week. I was looking at the Novara Safari from REI. Has anyone had any experience with this bike? Or do you have any other suggestions?

    Cheers!


    Jessi

    P.s. I'm 5'5'' and a girl if that helps

    *Edit*

    http://www.rei.com/product/775749

    This is the specific bike
    Last edited by Trollers; 10-24-09 at 05:10 PM.

  2. #2
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    Can you clarify - is your commute 20 miles each way, or 20 miles round trip? How hilly is the ride? Do you carry stuff on your commute?

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    The bike sure seems sturdy. Just seeing that it has the treking bars interests me.
    Awhile back and again just recently, I've read possitive things about that bar. it provides lots of hand possitions. It has 26" wheels, I don't need to tell you that 26 has been revisited as a touring tire as well as a more robust size overall.
    The $900 isn't giving you brk.lev.shifters which is OK, it's that much more that the Co. has to spend elsewhere on the bike. Trek has the 520, in short supply; Jamis has the Aurora (2) ; Fuji has a tourer on it's site as touring like Trek does.
    It looks like the Jamis. Rocky Mountain Sherpa was rated well in a mag. THAT'S it.

  4. #4
    Junior Member Trollers's Avatar
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    My commute is 20 round trip with only mild hills, I carry only a small bag with a change of clothes and emergency repair things. Sometimes I carry more when I go to the grocery store/mall. However eventually I want to start riding this for real touring like cross state rides and (eventually) cross country.

    So I guess I'm looking for more of an entry level touring bike that has the capability of eventually doing harder rides.

  5. #5
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    I don't have personal experience with the Safari other than looking at it in stores and reading other folks' accounts of it.

    A couple of things about the Safari - it's a pretty beefy bike, and might be overkill for your lightly loaded 20-mile commute. The big tires, disc brakes and trekking bars position this bike as a bike that can ride happily onroad but also do well on gravel paths and unpaved roads, and even light trails. So it's sort of like driving an SUV for a suburban commute - more weight and offroad capability than you need. 20 miles a day is a lot of riding, and as you're trundling along on a bike this beefy you are likely to find yourself pining for something a bit lighter (I ride a bike something like the Safari when the weather is really bad, or after a storm when the streets are full of branches - I like being able to roll over debris with the fat tires, but it's not a bike I want to ride every day).

    It's a great bike for folks who want this capability; are happy to do without drop bars; and really want or need disc brakes on their bike. But personally I'm not a huge fan of trekking bars (even though one of my bikes have them) and I can do without the complexity and weight of disc brakes on a road bike.

    For around the same money, you might also want to look at the Jamis Aurora, Surly Long Haul Trucker, Bianchi Volpe, or Novara Randonee (also at REI). Fuji has a touring model, too. I think you will find these bikes a bit lighter, but still plenty of cushy for a commute, and still plenty capable for an cross-country trip. But if you think your near- and long-term riding is going to include a fair amount of time on unpaved roads, something with fatter tires like the Safari might suit your needs.

    My two cents.

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    BengeBoy makes some very good points. I hadn't noticed that you're a girl 'till after I posted. It matters only to the extent that at your height and presumed reach, a 26' wheel bike may suit you better than larger wheels, it's in the geometry.
    As pointed out though, the Novara is beefy and overkill it might be. Pounds and wheel weight take on a new meaning after five or so miles. The brands I'd stated should be looked at if not seriously considered or available just to compare. A 47cm or perhaps bigger may be of interest. H/D bikes are favored by some tourers but traditionally lighter bikes are favored. Surly and Bianchi should be considered and at least viewed on their sites. Again, not all these brands are sold everywhere.

  7. #7
    Senior Member vettefrc2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trollers View Post
    Hey all,

    I was looking for a decent touring bike under 900$ that I can (eventually) use for cross country touring. I would more frequently use it for about 20 mile commuting during the week. I was looking at the Novara Safari from REI. Has anyone had any experience with this bike? Or do you have any other suggestions?

    Cheers!


    Jessi

    P.s. I'm 5'5'' and a girl if that helps

    *Edit*

    http://www.rei.com/product/775749

    This is the specific bike
    They are good bikes. It is a solid entry level touring platform. You would be riding on 26" rims due to your size.

    Do you have an REI that you can go to so you can test ride one?

  8. #8
    Junior Member Trollers's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies everyone!

    I have tested it at REI and I really enjoyed the funky handle grips and the capacity to carry more in case I needed. It was a smooth ride and Im a big fan of the disc brakes since I often ride in slightly rainier weather. I'm going to check out some of the bikes that were recommended on here before I get the Safari. It was a little heavier but I ride with a heavier steel frame currently so it wasn't too much of a switch.

    Thanks again!

  9. #9
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    Haa, the Funky HandleBars .. the hook. as I'd said, a member here credited those for his getting back on a bike. GOOD LUCK !

  10. #10
    littleal
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    I have a Safari and I love it! I've done 2 cross country tours with it and I also use it as my commuter when I'm not touring.I just put on a brooks b17 when I bought it and it is still going strong.
    The funky handlebars sold me on it too!!!!
    Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?

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    It sounds like over 80% of your riding will be lightly loaded. If you're under 150lbs or so I think you'd appreciate a lighter bike than the Safari with 26"x1.25-1.50 tires for commuting. To my taste the Safari seems more suited to heavy loads or a heavy person. That said my daughter toured on a mtn bike that I fixed up with a different stem and bar ends. A huge difference in rolling resistance and effort for UNLOADED riding can be had with lighter tires although the Vittoria is a nice tire. Pasela TG in a 26"x1.5 is nice.

    Have you tried these Specialized bikes? I know it's a different direction but give them a try, you can tour on 700x32mm tires and depending on the amount of gear you carry they might work. I figure it's best to get the bike for the majority of the riding you do.

    http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...nuItemId=12199

    the tricross is $50 above your budget but it would be a fantastic do all commuter/tourer.

  12. #12
    Senior Member vettefrc2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trollers View Post
    Thanks for the replies everyone!

    I have tested it at REI and I really enjoyed the funky handle grips and the capacity to carry more in case I needed. It was a smooth ride and Im a big fan of the disc brakes since I often ride in slightly rainier weather. I'm going to check out some of the bikes that were recommended on here before I get the Safari. It was a little heavier but I ride with a heavier steel frame currently so it wasn't too much of a switch.

    Thanks again!
    The trekking bars are great for multiple hand positions. I've noticed the discs will lock up in a panic stop.

  13. #13
    eternalvoyage
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    The Tricrosses are very sweet bikes.

    Why not check them out too and compare the rides?

  14. #14
    Senior Member zeppinger's Avatar
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    Its a good idea for someone who is short to stick with 26 inch wheels but lots of short riders have crossed the USA with 700c as well. If you like REI check out the Rondonee which is a great touring bike at about the same price. Its also a little lighter than the Safari. If your set on 26s then look at the Surly Long Haul Trucker for just about $100 more!

  15. #15
    Senior Member vettefrc2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
    Its a good idea for someone who is short to stick with 26 inch wheels but lots of short riders have crossed the USA with 700c as well. If you like REI check out the Rondonee which is a great touring bike at about the same price. Its also a little lighter than the Safari. If your set on 26s then look at the Surly Long Haul Trucker for just about $100 more!
    I would agree. If you have the means I would go with a LHT. (That's what I did.)


  16. #16
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    Where did you find those handlebars for your LHT?

  17. #17
    Proxymoron
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    Also check out those Raleigh touring bikes that REI has on sale. Steel frames and decent specs.
    We`re all Bozos on this bus.

  18. #18
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    I knew a guy who weighed 125lbs and he toured Italy riding on sewups with rear panniers and front handlebar bags in the 70's. Light riders have a huge range of choices when it comes to picking a bike for multi-use riding.

  19. #19
    Senior Member zeppinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thermador View Post
    Where did you find those handlebars for your LHT?
    I got the same ones.
    http://www.amazon.com/Nashbar-Trekki.../dp/B002DYYP6G

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