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  1. #1
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    Novara Bikes (Buzz vs. Safarie)

    Hello there. I am new to the forum and looking for some input.

    My wife and I currently have 6 bikes. Nothing noteworthy except for my fixe that I hand built a few years ago. We are having a baby, sometime in the next week or two, so our riding style will change a lot. We are going to off-load all 6 of our bikes to pick up 2 new around town rides.

    I know a touring bike might be too much for what I plan to use it for, but from what I've heard, a steel frame just rides better/sturdier than a aluminum frame.

    Based on my budget I have narrowed my search down to the Novara Buzz or the Safari. Right now REI is offering the 20% off deal, so I'm hoping I cash in on that and get more for my money. Adding fenders, racks, etc.

    Below are my specific questions at the moment...

    1) The components on the Safari look better to me. But is it worth the $200+ more for them?

    2) The Buzz comes with disk brakes, but probably pretty low end disks for the price. Are they better/worse than the brakes on the Safari? I've ridden a mountain bike with disk brakes and LOVED them... but I've heard on a road bike they are less of a automatic pro. Maybe true, maybe not.

    What else am I overlooking about the differences between the two?

    More than anything we will probably be cruising around town with a trailer in tow for the kid. However I could see myself commuting a bit for work and maybe going on some longer rides with friends. For the sub-$1,000 price range, which would you go with?

    Safari: Novara Safari Bike - 2014 at REI.com
    Buzz: Novara Buzz Bike - 2014 at REI.com

  2. #2
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    I love the handlebars on my safari. I've found the rack that comes on it to be fairly sturdy (I put my clarinet one one side and computer/other school stuff on the other when I commute to school, but it rides fine with just one heavier bag, too). I don't really know anything about the Buzz, though, so I can't really compare the two!

  3. #3
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    No question I'd go with the Safari. Better components and a better frame material. The Safari also has front fork mid-mounts so you can add a front rack when you are ready. In my opinion the Safari is there clear winner between the 2.

  4. #4
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    treitz, If this is your first child, things are about to become expensive. Buy a couple of the Buzzes.

    And congratulations.

    Brad

  5. #5
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Always bear in mind any parts on the frame can be changed..

    point of sale there is take-off credits towards what you want.

    ask if you can get a new fork, full length un cut steerer, so You can decide how high the bars are ,

    and not the cut to formula length the factory did.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 03-30-14 at 08:23 PM.

  6. #6
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    Treitz, congrats and good luck! My babies are 25 and 27 and I had a few bikes before and after they were born. Frame material is somewhat irrelevant. I haven't ridden either bike, a test ride should settle the question.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the input and congratulations guys. Based on cost, the Buzz is looking good. Based on longevity and quality the Safari is looking good.

    Ill l'll definitely test ride them to see how they feel.

    Fietsbob, you can request this at REI?

  8. #8
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    The Safari is clearly a better bike than the Buzz (whether it is worth the price difference is something only you can decide). However I wouldn't recommend a touring bike as an only bike because handling suffers when ridden empty.

    Component wise (and price wise) the Big Buzz is closer to the Safari than the Buzz, but the Big Buzz is aluminum.

    Quote Originally Posted by treitz View Post
    Fietsbob, you can request this at REI?
    If the manager thinks they can sell the take-off as a misc. bike part, they might allow it. They also might take into account whether it will make or break the sale so it might be harder when they're already offering 20% off.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bezalel View Post
    The Safari is clearly a better bike than the Buzz (whether it is worth the price difference is something only you can decide). However I wouldn't recommend a touring bike as an only bike because handling suffers when ridden empty.

    Component wise (and price wise) the Big Buzz is closer to the Safari than the Buzz, but the Big Buzz is aluminum.



    If the manager thinks they can sell the take-off as a misc. bike part, they might allow it. They also might take into account whether it will make or break the sale so it might be harder when they're already offering 20% off.
    I will be riding the bike "empty" the majority of the time. As in, nothing in bags, etc. However I do plan to pull the kid around in a trailer a lot.

    Are you recommending that instead of a "touring" bike I look for more of a flat bar aluminum road bike? That was what I was originally looking at until my buddy mentioned how much more he enjoys riding his steel frame bike.

  10. #10
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    treitz, One of my sons-in-law hauls ~70 lb. of kids and trailer around using his aluminum hardtail mountain bike, something your Blast can do. If your wife has a favorite among the current bikes, you won't really need a pair of new ones. Of course wanting a new bike is a time honored tradition.

    Hauling the baby in a trailer is about a year, or more, into the future as the infant needs to be capable of controlling their head. You have a lot of time to make a decision, in other words.

    Brad

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
    treitz, One of my sons-in-law hauls ~70 lb. of kids and trailer around using his aluminum hardtail mountain bike, something your Blast can do. If your wife has a favorite among the current bikes, you won't really need a pair of new ones. Of course wanting a new bike is a time honored tradition.

    Hauling the baby in a trailer is about a year, or more, into the future as the infant needs to be capable of controlling their head. You have a lot of time to make a decision, in other words.

    Brad
    Yeah, I know I've got time. But when you start thinking about a new bike, it's hard to be patient

    My wife definitely needs a new bike as none of hers have gears, and she wants something with gears. I know my Kona would do fine especially with some street tires, but I guess the thought of a new bike has gotten the best of me. haha

  12. #12
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    One thing of note that people have mentioned--I just bought a Novara Randonee and you CAN'T get take-off credits for components you want. All their bikes are SKU'd so you have to buy the complete package, and THEN you can talk about getting new components taken on/off. They won't adjust the price, though, at least not at the one I went to.
    If it's peace you find in dying, and if dying time is near,
    Just bundle up my coffin 'cause it's cold way down there!

  13. #13
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    Also, this probably isn't the right place to ask this, but I don't see a section on the forum for this. While selling my bikes someone just pointed me to bicyclebluebook.com to value my bike. How much weight do you guys put on this site? Is it trustworthy at all?

    It's telling me that my Kona mountain bike is worth about $100 less than I thought... and a couple of bikes I've looked at to buy on Craigslist are priced at about twice what they should be.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bezalel View Post
    However I wouldn't recommend a touring bike as an only bike because handling suffers when ridden empty.
    Because I'm fairly ignorant of such things, what specifically do you mean by "handling" that suffers? I ride my safari unloaded fairly often and haven't noticed any big issues compared to with weight on the rack (other than it being easier to get up the big hill on my way home!!), but my previous bike was a seriously clunky mountain bike that had spent more than 1 too many winter storms locked outside a dorm, so what do I know?

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    Just my 2 cents, I really like the used 2008 Novara Safari I bought recently. Mine is the aluminum model though. I can tell you the quality is excellent, and the deore components seem solid, and if you want steel, the newer ones are steel. Components are probably better on the Safari than the Buzz. I've had steel, carbon, titanium, and aluminum bikes. I'm still not sure which one is the better material to this day. I will be forever puzzled in this regard I think.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by treitz View Post
    Also, this probably isn't the right place to ask this, but I don't see a section on the forum for this. While selling my bikes someone just pointed me to bicyclebluebook.com to value my bike. How much weight do you guys put on this site? Is it trustworthy at all?

    It's telling me that my Kona mountain bike is worth about $100 less than I thought... and a couple of bikes I've looked at to buy on Craigslist are priced at about twice what they should be.
    It really depends on the local market.

    Quote Originally Posted by LaetaPuella View Post
    Because I'm fairly ignorant of such things, what specifically do you mean by "handling" that suffers? I ride my safari unloaded fairly often and haven't noticed any big issues compared to with weight on the rack (other than it being easier to get up the big hill on my way home!!), but my previous bike was a seriously clunky mountain bike that had spent more than 1 too many winter storms locked outside a dorm, so what do I know?
    The longer wheelbase of a tourer combined with a typical touring bike's geometry make it less agile than a road race and some CX designs. Also, a lot of a touring bike's weight is in the wheelset and tires which can make it feel sluggish, again in comparison to sportier designs. I personally find riding an unloaded touring bike enjoyable. If I want to rail some turns I'll grab one of the roadies.

    Brad

  17. #17
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    Again, more great input. I still have yet to ride any of these bikes, so as someone mentioned, I'm sure some test rides will answer a lot of questions.

    On another note, have any of you heard of or ridden these "civilian" bikes? They don't sell them here in Boise, but someone is selling one on CL. Thoughts?

    Commuter bike

  18. #18
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    Also, it's worth pointing out that I was originally planning on purchasing a aluminum frame flat bar road bike before my buddy sold me on the steel frame. If I'm not planning on touring, should I really reconsider the steel frame touring bike and test out a few aluminum frame flat bar road bikes too?

    Component wise I'm not sure where you get more bang for your buck?

    For instance... nearly the same price as the Safari: http://www.rei.com/product/826068/no...-2014#specsTab

  19. #19
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    treitz, I wouldn't use the Civilian to pull a trailer as it only has one solid seat stay to accommodate the belt drive. Your wife may like it if it fits, which maybe difficult to discern presently.

    Brad

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    Quote Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
    treitz, I wouldn't use the Civilian to pull a trailer as it only has one solid seat stay to accommodate the belt drive. Your wife may like it if it fits, which maybe difficult to discern presently.

    Brad
    Ha yes, considering she is due tomorrow, I don't think she'll be hopping on a bike anytime too soon
    Last edited by treitz; 04-01-14 at 02:58 PM.

  21. #21
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    Given the price difference ($300), and the 20% off, I'm leaning towards getting the Buzz and customizing it to my liking.

    But on the other hand, with 20% off I feel like I should get the better more expensive bike to advantage of the discount. Especially since the Safari comes outfitted stock with 2 of the 3 items on my "immediate replacement" list for the Buzz.

    Things I'd add/replace immediately on the Buzz (Probably $150 worth of stuff)...

    1) Handlebars. I'd like more riding positions, so either drop bars or mustache bars.
    2) Fenders.
    3) Rear rack.

    Things I'd update down the road if necessary on the Buzz (another few hundred at least... wow that brings me up to the Safari price pretty quickly!)...

    1) Shifting components.
    2) Brake components.



    Things I'd update down the road if necessary on the Safari...

    1) Fenders (pretty cheap, so why not?).
    2) Brake components (only if I decide to go disk).
    3) Front rack (only if I need it).

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by treitz View Post
    ... But on the other hand, with 20% off I feel like I should get the better more expensive bike to advantage of the discount. ...
    ya, think of how much you'd save if the bike cost a million. 200,000 dollars. wow!

    sort of like that uneasy feeling i get at an all-you-can-eat buffet. don't really want to do the diet thing. ya know?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by hueyhoolihan View Post
    ya, think of how much you'd save if the bike cost a million. 200,000 dollars. wow!

    sort of like that uneasy feeling i get at an all-you-can-eat buffet. don't really want to do the diet thing. ya know?
    Helpful observation. wow!

  24. #24
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Other than at REI, the LBS here will put the tires you didn't want in with the other tires and

    offer something for them .. wont be retail of course ..

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Other than at REI, the LBS here will put the tires you didn't want in with the other tires and

    offer something for them .. wont be retail of course ..
    Sorry, I don't understand what you're saying. Local bike shops will swap out tires for different ones?

    I'm actually fine with the tires on both the Buzz and Safari. Unless there's something I don't know about one of them...

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