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  1. #1
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    three bike finalists

    I have been reading online, in forums like this & visiting local bike shops. Have not been talking with people in person about the bikes mainly because I ride mostly alone.


    The three finalists are:

    1. Novara Safari
    2. Novara Randonee
    3. Trek 520

    I have almost decided on the safari but I have kept looking at the others thinking they may be the better option. I almost ready to make the purchase

    The Novara Safari is the most affordable and seems to be the most durable. I do not plan on ridding off-road although I am rough on things in general.

    The Randonee seem to have a pretty dedicated following so it must be good, right? Plus I like the thinner wheels/tire on this one compared to the Safari.

    The Trek 520 seems to cost the most but hey it does Look nice

    I do plan on taking them all for a test ride but truth be told a new biking will seem great compared to what I have now. My current bike is a 1992 Diamondback Override. My ridding experience is very little; almost none. Just starting ridding last Oct and that 1st month I was lucking to ride 75 mile. Last month I rode just under 200 miles, I know that not much but its a good start. Half of my rides are in the Cascade foothill. I ride anywhere from 10-45 miles a ride and hope to increase that 2-3x here this spring and 3-4x this summer. But hey its cold & wet in the Seattle/Tacoma area this time of year but I am looking fwd to nicer weather.
    So with this being said I really do not or will not have the experience to make a true inform decision. Just going to have to trust my gut and make the best choice I can.

    Any input would be great? The only other thing I can add at this time is I am 5'10 and about 260 lbs at this time. So that will not doubt put a lot of stress on the bike when I start adding touring supplies someday

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    the test rides are next?, good thing to do.
    its cold and wet here too..

  3. #3
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Fit is First. All else is hair splitting.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  4. #4
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    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Thorn-Sher...item27c4901403
    also try the thorn forum for some ffantastic scondhand bikes

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    Fit is First. All else is hair splitting.
    I agree. Fit is more important than any frame or component differences between the models you list.

    Make sure that the shop fits the bikes to you BEFORE you test ride them. Make sure that they adjust the seat height AND the fore/aft position. If they tell you that it is good without taking any measurements (with a plumb bob or protractor,) you need to shop somewhere else. Yes, fit is that important if you are going to spend a lot of time on the bike.

  6. #6
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    http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=59933
    another great site for picking of great touring bikes this particular one is a gem.

  7. #7
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    As a non-mechanical person who tours on a 20 year old Raleigh mtn bike, I covet a Trek 520. All bearings are sealed and Trek is pretty generic if you have any trouble on tour within the USA - should be easy to get fixed and get parts. Also made in the USA

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    The Trek 520 certainly is a good bike, but I thought that production of the frame had moved to Taiwan a few years ago. US made frames are awfully hard to find these days, pretty much only on top end and custom stuff.

  9. #9
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    Bike needs to be fit or I need to be fit ..lol.. will ask for seat height AND the fore/aft to be right. Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    Fit is First. All else is hair splitting.

  10. #10
    sniffin' glue zoltani's Avatar
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    Personally i think that the Novara Randonee is the best bang for your buck, especially when you factor in the REI 20% off coupon!

    yeah, i am sooooo sick of cold and wet. already have the first weekend camping trip in my head, tolt macdonald park.

    seattle is a great city for bike touring, many destinations are accessible by ferry, train, and bus....i love it!

  11. #11
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    When is that 20% off sale or where can I find that coupon for REI and is it good on bike. Seems like since last Nov all the sales or coupn I have found did NOT include their bikes

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjbohl View Post
    When is that 20% off sale or where can I find that coupon for REI and is it good on bike. Seems like since last Nov all the sales or coupn I have found did NOT include their bikes
    They usually have a 20% off coupon in the spring, often around the time dividends are announced IIRC. It usually is good on Novara brand bikes, but not for other bike brands.

  13. #13
    sniffin' glue zoltani's Avatar
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    Right, should be coming up soon! Are you a member?

  14. #14
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    I was looking at a Randonee in REI last week ( I am in there way too often). I was impressed with how it was set up. Between the stock LHT, 520, and Randonee, (IMO) the Randonee is set up the best for touring. I would change the 11-32 cassette for an 11-34, and be perfectly happy with it. However, I have not ridden one. I have ridden a 520 and I have LHT. I actually like the fit of the 520 a little better for my body shape, long legs and short torso. A good set of panniers could be had for the difference in price between the 520 and the Randonee.

    To get the same low range on the 520 could take a little more creativity, and $$. The last 520 I looked at in a shop about 2 weeks ago had external BB bearings. There are pros and cons, but the change can be made using the same crankarms with new chainrings.

    The Randonee is a 10 speed, while the 520 is a 9 spd. This is probably not a big deal.

    like everyone else said, "fit is everything".

  15. #15
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    Yes
    Quote Originally Posted by zoltani View Post
    Right, should be coming up soon! Are you a member?

  16. #16
    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
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    My vote is for the 520.
    Purchased at a dedicated bike shop.
    You will, or should, get the best service there.
    Test rides and basic adjustments first will help you make your decision.
    The one who has the most bikes wins.

  17. #17
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    Dedicated bike shop vs. a big store that sell everything is a outdoorsy ( is that a word..lol) does sound good. But as long as the bike dept. at REI is deicated to that section only wouldn't that be about the same?
    The trek store I did go to did sound more like a used car salemen and spend more time talking down all other bike vs. telling me about theirs. Easy fix there is a few Bike Tech in the Seattle/tacoma metro area.

  18. #18
    sniffin' glue zoltani's Avatar
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    REI bike dept is great IMO, good service, friendly, knowledgeable, and you can return the bike if it doesn't end up suiting your needs



    skilsaw, why the 520?

  19. #19
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    Rode both the Novara Randonee & Safari.... i Like the Randonee but it sure is different then my 1992 Diamondback Override that I have been ridding. Safari feels to much like a MNT Bike to me. Have not purchased it yet.

  20. #20
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoltani View Post
    REI bike dept is great IMO, good service, friendly, knowledgeable, and you can return the bike if it doesn't end up suiting your needs
    From what I've heard (and seen), it depends on the store. I can highly recommend the REI in Bailey's Crossroads, VA, right outside of DC. Tell them you're doing a loaded tour 'cross the country. They did a bang-up job setting me up, and the wheels stayed true and the spokes didn't break. (Unlike the Atlanta REI, where they let me roll it out, and spokes started breaking within 500 miles.)

  21. #21
    sniffin' glue zoltani's Avatar
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    OP is in seattle, flagship store is here, and the staff are great.

  22. #22
    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoltani View Post
    REI bike dept is great IMO, good service, friendly, knowledgeable, and you can return the bike if it doesn't end up suiting your needs



    skilsaw, why the 520?
    Trek 520 has been around forever. Solid mix of parts without getting too exotic.
    I think this was the bike for the middle class to get before the LHT came along.
    The one who has the most bikes wins.

  23. #23
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    I got my first touring bike today...

    Randonee
    Shimmano A530 SPD (flat on the one side and SPD on the other)
    Also had fenders put on

  24. #24
    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
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    Way to go! Happy trails to you.

    Tell us about your first couple of rides.
    The one who has the most bikes wins.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjbohl View Post
    I got my first touring bike today...

    Randonee
    Shimmano A530 SPD (flat on the one side and SPD on the other)
    Also had fenders put on
    $.02 the Shimano 324 are a better design. I've ridden with both and the only benefit to the 530 design is better cornering but if you pedal with non-spd shoes the narrow 530 pedal doesn't provide enough support. Spray the spring under the 530 pedal with some thick oil or T-9 as it rusts easily.

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