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Novara Randonee

Old 05-14-19, 05:09 PM
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Novara Randonee










Here is a purple one that I picked up the other day. I've been trying to figure out the year of sales. Anyhow it sure is purdy, here's a few shots.
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Old 05-14-19, 05:15 PM
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Post the serial number and someone can probably decode it for you.
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Old 05-14-19, 05:28 PM
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I just put together a free one for a friend. (Free because it was not in as good a shape, although I took care of the issues.) Seems to be a nice bike to ride. The one I worked on is the same color and has the same top and down tube decals. The head tube decal is different though. I suspect they are from around 1987.
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Old 05-14-19, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Aubergine View Post
I just put together a free one for a friend. (Free because it was not in as good a shape, although I took care of the issues.) Seems to be a nice bike to ride. The one I worked on is the same color and has the same top and down tube decals. The head tube decal is different though. I suspect they are from around 1987.
The Randonee was in production for many years by my estimation, I have one with Stag's Head components.
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Old 05-15-19, 07:44 AM
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A combination of Shimano DX and LX, if OEM, would suggest circa 1990-1993. The Novara we seen from this period are typically sourced from Fairly of Taiwan or a Japanese manufacturer believed to be Tano. Given that it has a country of origin label indicating the latter it may be a Tano product. As noted. there is a good probability that the exact year of manufacture can be determined from the serial number.
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Old 05-15-19, 09:07 PM
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Interesting the 84, best guess since the serial number wasn't an exact match to the T-mar excellent guide, Novara Randonee I picked up this spring off FB Marketplace is a caliper brake bike with Suntour Components including symmetric center mounted DT shifters, I like the touring bent of yours OP that is an excellent find.

Here's mine post refurb new cockpit but otherwise pretty stock.


Last edited by ryansu; 05-15-19 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 05-16-19, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by ryansu View Post
Interesting the 84, best guess since the serial number wasn't an exact match to the T-mar excellent guide, Novara Randonee I picked up this spring off FB Marketplace is a caliper brake bike with Suntour Components including symmetric center mounted DT shifters, I like the touring bent of yours OP that is an excellent find...
Being a house brand up against the major brands, REI obviously made some cost concessions and traded-off some features. Despite the absence of cantilevers brakes, I'd still classify this as a "touring' bicycle, as it has wide range gearing with a triple crankset, long and relaxed geometry, and provisions for fenders and racks. This was pretty much the standard touring configuration up until the very late 1970s when cantilever brakes gained popularity.

Once cantilevers became popular, many manufacturers continued to offer a caliper brake touring model, along with a cantilever version. The caliper version was typically more economical and often had other cost concessions, with the most popular being a lower grade tubeset, 36 versus 40 spoke rear wheel and less brazed-on fittings (ie. less bottle bosses, clamp lever mounts, etc.). I prefer to call the economical and deluxe versions "light touring" and "grand touring", respectively. Europeans often use "randonneur" when referring to light touring models. Of course, these terms are subjective and there may be some disagreement over which class is more appropriate for certain bicycles..

Still, I'd classify your Randonee as light touring. It was not alone during this era.. Bianchi had the Sam Remo, Centurion had the Super Tour, Panasonic had the Touring Deluxe, Raleigh had the Wyoming. All these used caliper brakes though at least 1984. Miyata's 610 wasn't upgraded with cantilevers until 1983 and the 210 held off until 1985. Many members would also place Specialized's Sequoia into this category.

The top mount shift levers are an interesting feature, They lasted quite long on touring bicycles, with some models featuring them as late as 1986. This popularity seems to stem from the fact that the levers are located ~4 cm higher that conventional down tube shift levers, placing them in easier reach for the more upright touring cyclist. Of course, the other option was to spec bar end shift levers, but that was more expensive.

Given that your S/N format doesn't quite match those in my guide, I'd be interested in seeing your S/N. Please post it or send it to me via PM. TIA.
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Old 05-16-19, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Being a house brand up against the major brands, REI obviously made some cost concessions and traded-off some features. Despite the absence of cantilevers brakes, I'd still classify this as a "touring' bicycle, as it has wide range gearing with a triple crankset, long and relaxed geometry, and provisions for fenders and racks. This was pretty much the standard touring configuration up until the very late 1970s when cantilever brakes gained popularity.

Once cantilevers became popular, many manufacturers continued to offer a caliper brake touring model, along with a cantilever version. The caliper version was typically more economical and often had other cost concessions, with the most popular being a lower grade tubeset, 36 versus 40 spoke rear wheel and less brazed-on fittings (ie. less bottle bosses, clamp lever mounts, etc.). I prefer to call the economical and deluxe versions "light touring" and "grand touring", respectively. Europeans often use "randonneur" when referring to light touring models. Of course, these terms are subjective and there may be some disagreement over which class is more appropriate for certain bicycles..

Still, I'd classify your Randonee as light touring. It was not alone during this era.. Bianchi had the Sam Remo, Centurion had the Super Tour, Panasonic had the Touring Deluxe, Raleigh had the Wyoming. All these used caliper brakes though at least 1984. Miyata's 610 wasn't upgraded with cantilevers until 1983 and the 210 held off until 1985. Many members would also place Specialized's Sequoia into this category.

The top mount shift levers are an interesting feature, They lasted quite long on touring bicycles, with some models featuring them as late as 1986. This popularity seems to stem from the fact that the levers are located ~4 cm higher that conventional down tube shift levers, placing them in easier reach for the more upright touring cyclist. Of course, the other option was to spec bar end shift levers, but that was more expensive.

Given that your S/N format doesn't quite match those in my guide, I'd be interested in seeing your S/N. Please post it or send it to me via PM. TIA.
@T-Mar thanks as always for sharing your knowledge I went the Japan Manufacturer unknown route when dating my Randonee - Serial # below

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Old 05-16-19, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ryansu View Post
@T-Mar thanks as always for sharing your knowledge I went the Japan Manufacturer unknown route when dating my Randonee - Serial # below...

The frame was definitely built in January 1984 by a Japanese company, H. Tano. I don't see how your S/N doesn't exactly match the N(1) format listed for Novara in my guide? Regardless, the Tano connection comes from a 2011 article wherein Geogena Terry lamented that her sales plummeted after her Japanese contractor. H. Tano. started manufacturing identical proportional designs for WSI under their Centurion brand. The serial numbers that I've collected for the Centurion Ironman Proportional and Centurion LeMans Proportional models use the same N(1) format as found on your frame, so it would appear to be Tano manufacture. I consider the article to be strong and reliable evidence, so have been considering changing this format in my guide from N(1) to Tano.

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Old 05-16-19, 03:03 PM
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This model is STILL in production, they just changed the name a couple years ago when they re-branded as CO-OP instead of Novara. It's a nice dark satin purple this year which is a welcome change from the last few years of camouflage colors
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Old 05-16-19, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by ryansu View Post
Interesting the 84, best guess since the serial number wasn't an exact match to the T-mar excellent guide, Novara Randonee I picked up this spring off FB Marketplace is a caliper brake bike with Suntour Components including symmetric center mounted DT shifters, I like the touring bent of yours OP that is an excellent find.

Here's mine post refurb new cockpit but otherwise pretty stock.

What model brakes/hoods are those?
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Old 05-16-19, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
What model brakes/hoods are those?
Tektro RL340 Ergo Brake Levers, Not everyone's cup of tea but I tend to ride on the hoods and I like their substantial chunky feel, and the built in quick release. Oh and at about $22 on amazon they are relatively inexpensive

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Old 05-16-19, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
The frame was definitely built in January 1984 by a Japanese company, H. Tano. I don't see how your S/N doesn't exactly match the N(1) format listed for Novara in my guide? Regardless, the Tano connection comes from a 2011 article wherein Geogena Terry lamented that her sales plummeted after her Japanese contractor. H. Tano. started manufacturing identical proportional designs for WSI under their Centurion brand. The serial numbers that I've collected for the Centurion Ironman Proportional and Centurion LeMans Proportional models use the same N(1) format as found on your frame, so it would appear to be Tano manufacture. I consider the article to be strong and reliable evidence, so have been considering changing this format in my guide from N(1) to Tano.
It would have been more accurate for me to say the SN didn't map to Fairly so I used N(1) - thanks for confirming the year.
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Old 05-16-19, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by ryansu View Post
Tektro RL340 Ergo Brake Levers, Not everyone's cup of tea but I tend to ride on the hoods and I like their substantial chunky feel, and the built in quick release. Oh and at about $22 on amazon they are relatively inexpensive
Thanks, those do look comfortable for some uses.
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