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Old 03-26-11, 01:45 PM   #1
Accordion
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Got my Safari!

Just picked up my 2011 Novara Safari from REI yesterday. LOVE IT!

I've got 7500 miles the past year on my 2010 CAAD9 and it's like going from a Porsche 911 to a Cadillac! I took it out this morning for what I wanted to be a 10 minute test ride and I ended up going for 90 minutes!

I was grinning from ear to ear. The only change so far has been the clipless pedals I put on it so I could use my same road shoes.

First thing I noticed was it was like a big old boat! Very stable. There are joiners in the bike path that I am very accustomed to letting up on my CAAD9 that this thing just rolls over.

I'm a 20mph average guy on my road bike with 22mph on the flats usually. There are very few hills other than the underpasses on my 30 mile round trip to the sea and back. I was shocked that I could pull about 18mph on these flats on the Safari! Once the beast gets going it just keeps rolling! I was laughing because I thought I'd be giving up 7-8mph on the flats with this thing but that wasn't the case - maybe 2-3mph tops so it's definitely the engine ! Now hills or fully loaded is going to be a completely different story!

There are four water bottle braze-ons, not the two pictured. I have the X-large and it fits well. I'm still wanting to get into road-bike posture and will have to work on that. I raised the seat to the same height from the bottom bracket as my road bike and it puts the handlebars quite a bit lower than the seat - something not optimal for what I wanted to use this bike for. I'll have to figure out a way to raise he handlebars since I'm maxed out on the head tube / steerer tube.

Just wanted to say I love this bike. It actually might make me do a bit of touring!
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Old 03-26-11, 03:09 PM   #2
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Im anxiously awaiting the arrival of mine. REI called and told me it was in then called right back and said that it had been damaged in shipping and the wheel mounts were bent outta wack. So now I have to wait again. Im glad you are liking yours, that makes me even more excited for mine to get here!
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Old 03-26-11, 04:00 PM   #3
ezdoesit
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got any pictures-love to see the pictures
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Old 03-26-11, 04:19 PM   #4
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Accordion,

Glad to hear you are liking that. I'm finding myself getting ready to build my touring rig. I am however having little to no issue pushing my CAAD9-5 out to the 120 mile mark now. So I almost wish I could find something that was more CAAD9 than dutch riding bicycle.

Pics
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Old 03-26-11, 04:59 PM   #5
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I took some pictures but honestly they look terrible! I'll upload a couple anyway but the bike looks much better in person.

Longest I've ridden the CAAD9 was 78 miles. It was no problem with the new Williams System 30 wheels, however. Pretty smooth.

One cool thing with the Safari - I took it over some grass and then down a gravel road with mud to get to a new bike path. I was laughing because I would NEVER have attempted that with the CAAD!!!
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Old 03-26-11, 05:02 PM   #6
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Here's one where it doesn't look terrible!!!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Safari.jpg (92.2 KB, 109 views)
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Old 03-26-11, 05:19 PM   #7
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How are you liking the seat? Ive heard that the seat should be upgraded on the older Safaris Im wondering how the new one is?
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Old 03-26-11, 05:24 PM   #8
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Looks great, Accordion. Cheers.
That rack is equally big and strong looking. Nice.
Find some nice extra long fenders and go show up the Surlys.
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Old 03-26-11, 05:52 PM   #9
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Not crazy about the seat but I'm coming off a minimalist Prologo Kappa Pas on my CAAD9. This seat is softer and more comfy which is not necessarily a good thing!

I did my ride this morning in regular shorts and a t-shirt - no bike clothes other than my road shoes. I meant to do 10 minutes but loved it so much and was so impressed with the speed that I kept going. The seat ended up bugging me but in bike shorts I'm certain that it wouldn't be a problem.

One thing that was cool is I actually sat up with no hands and took off my sweatshirt! I have so much trouble doing that on my CAAD but it was like a big old boat going down the road and it was very stable. Riding no-hands is a joke - very simple to do compared to my road bike.

I'm going to pop my Dinotte lights on it tonight and take it to the sea. It will be another 28 miles but I'm anxious to see how my overall time will compare to my CAAD9 times.

I still am amazed that on a 30 mile ride a 30+ pound bike can only be 10-15 minutes behind a 17-pound bike. Terrain is completely flat but still, impressive!

This bike is a STEAL with the 20% discount! $680 for a quality steel frame, rack, average componentry and wheels? With my dividend it ended up being aroudn $400 and I told the guy that put it together that was a deal I couldn't pass up. He agreed. He said the steel frame is a huge upgrade in his opinion over the aluminum ones and he had four more coming in that week to build so the public must have agreed!
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Old 03-26-11, 06:14 PM   #10
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Accordion the Safari looks real nice. Congrats! How do you like the grip shifters?
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Old 03-26-11, 06:21 PM   #11
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Well you have to take everything I say with a grain of salt because I've only ridden the bike for 90 minutes and only know one other bike - my CAAD9.

Grip shifters are, uh, interesting. For some reason I can't wrap my head around up or down for easier or harder! So used to STI that it's gonna take a couple rides. They seem to shift very well - very positive feeling and if I shift two or three cogs at once it's instantaneous and correct.

I stayed in the large chainring for 90% of the ride but went to the middle just to see what it was like. I guess I don't love the grip shifters but I don't hate them either. They work. They seem simple enough. Everything on the bike just works - the brakes, shifting, rack, tires, handlebars. I'm very happy with this purchase!
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Old 03-26-11, 08:35 PM   #12
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Great looking bike. REI really puts together a nice bike for the $. I can't wait to see what they have done with the Randonee coming out soon.
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Old 03-26-11, 08:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Accordion View Post
Well you have to take everything I say with a grain of salt because I've only ridden the bike for 90 minutes and only know one other bike - my CAAD9.

Grip shifters are, uh, interesting. For some reason I can't wrap my head around up or down for easier or harder! So used to STI that it's gonna take a couple rides. They seem to shift very well - very positive feeling and if I shift two or three cogs at once it's instantaneous and correct.

I stayed in the large chainring for 90% of the ride but went to the middle just to see what it was like. I guess I don't love the grip shifters but I don't hate them either. They work. They seem simple enough. Everything on the bike just works - the brakes, shifting, rack, tires, handlebars. I'm very happy with this purchase!
Over the winter I converted an old mtn bike into a tourer. The old bike came with grip shifters. I put trekking bars on the bike and was thinking of putting different shifters on the bars. I decided to keep them because they work well. Like you I don't love them nor do I hate them but they work fine so I'll keep using them.
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Old 03-30-11, 06:26 PM   #14
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Congrtats acccordion Mine is still in the being process stage, I was wondering about the saddle I might try a brooks
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Old 03-30-11, 08:21 PM   #15
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Well there's a bit of good news - my REI mechanic told me that REI now prebuilds all their bikes at their Washington State facility. When the bikes get delivered to the store they literally have to put on the handlebars and pedals and they are done! Takes 10 minutes. He said he was leery of what kind of prebuild job they would do but he said he has been very pleasantly surprised. He said all the prebuilds have been spot-on and even derailleur adjustments didn't need to be done.

Bottom line is you should have your bike FAST once it arrives at your local REI!
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Old 03-31-11, 08:39 AM   #16
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I can attest to the fact that REI pre-builds are good. I got my Novara Transfer shipped to my home last year and besides putting the handlebars and pedals on it was ready to roll. Everything was dialed in bolted tight. I did tweak the brakes a bit, but that was due to my OCD than it being out of spec. At least with the shipped bikes you get a checklist with all of the people signing off on what they did to the bike. Very thorough.
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