Mar 8, 2012 at 8:27 am #1286807
I need more exercise and am thinking of purchasing a Novara Express bike from REI. Does anyone out there in the know about bikes have a concern about this purchase. I hate buying something and then later finding out it was a dog or I could have gotten something much better for the same price.Mar 8, 2012 at 4:58 pm #1850784
If you get serious about riding a bike, you will soon wish you bought a better one. Better means lighter and smoother operating componentry. Cheap bikes fight you back.
If you ride alone and ride purely for fitness, then maybe you won't care about how efficient your bike is. If you can't ride as far as you like or can't climb hills or can't understand when "obviously less physically talented" individuals consistently blow past you, you can blame the bike.
What you might consider instead is visiting a serious bike retailer (not REI) and test out a series of bikes. A low end model, a middle range one, and a top of the line one. This will give you the best sense of what you are getting for the incremental money. You'll find that you get what you pay for.
I'd buy a used good bike on Craig's list. There are plenty of people out there who are bike-crazy and are willing to let go "last season's best thing" for a song this year. Of course, this assumes that you learn how to fit yourself (if you don't already know how). With maintenance, bikes last a mighty long time. I have 45,000 miles on my Co-Motion Americano and it rides as well now as it always has.Mar 9, 2012 at 6:28 am #1851014
First the bike you posted is not a cheap bike. It is fine. Bikes from Walmart are cheap bikes. Its comps are fair to decent. I think you need to determine if you want to ride sitting upright(hybrid/mnt bike) or bent over (road).
If you are going to sit in the saddle for long rides(>60 miles) I recommend going with a road bike. Sitting up on a hybrid for long rides puts a lot of pressure on your backside. Your weight can be distributed better on a road bike: feet/legs, hands, bum, stomach will all hold some of your weight. Now, I have ridden many centuries on mnt bikes with no problems at all when I first started riding seriously.
I think the best bike to start road riding is an old rigid frame mnt bike from the 80-90's. There use to be lots out there and often inexpensive, under $200. Look for Deore(LX or XT comps, Alivio is OK as well), probably 7 speed with thumb shifters, no suspension at all, wheels should be true(when spinning them they don't wobble), and make sure it fits. There are lots of site to check out fit, road and mnt fit are different. Consider this bike a test bike. Once you know what you want then go in that direction. Use the old Mnt bike as a beater bike that is used in bad weather, no worry if it gets ripped off, riding muddy rutted rail to trails etc. C.L. is a great way to find your first bike.Mar 9, 2012 at 10:44 am #1851164
@pauldalleyLocale: Gulf Coast
I agree with previous two posts. I would add however, that Novara would not be my first choice for a bike manufacturer (more likely brand). I would recommend that you check out bikes by Giant, Trek, Specialized, or Cannondale. These companies offer a wide variety of bikes for different uses and in prices competitive with REI. For a general exercise I recommend a Specialized Cross Roads. Nice bike for fitness: http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/SBCMain.jsp?scid=1102&menuItemId=17554. I owned one its a nice bike to get back into cycling.
For a more relaxed ride and fitness I like Electra Bikes:http://www.electrabike.com/Bikes/townie-original7d-bikes-mens. My wife has Townie and loves it for riding around the neighborhood. For a more aggressive version try:http://www.electrabike.com/Bikes/verse-verse21d-bikes-mens.
For true 60+ mile touring there's Trek:http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/road/touring/ and you could try and find a used Cannondale Touring one or two.Fuji also makes touring bikes: http://www.fujibikes.com/bike/details/touring5.
I have been into biking for years, and like packs, you can't have just one.Mar 18, 2012 at 3:24 am #1855429
There's nothing wrong with the Novara bike you posted, but I think you should refrain from making any major purchases until you really know how you're going to use it. If you're relatively new to cyclist, I'll warn you- you will be buying another bike, and spending money on upgrades, accessories and a lot of stuff you didn't know existed a month ago, but now can't live without.
If you want to do long rides by yourself for fitness, and you haven't biked in a while, then you could do a lot worse than the Novara Express.
If you want to take part in larger group road rides, then I would suggest a more traditional road bike. Not that the Novara is in any way inferior, but speaking personally, I'm always a little intimidated by a pack of cyclists stronger than I am, so the more I can fit in, the better.
If you want to be more of a utility cyclist, running errands, commuting and the like, then I kind of like the Novara Buzz, but it lacks in essential accessories (mainly fenders, racks, lights and a lock)
Buy a bike that fits what you want to do, but accept that until you have experience, you won't be able to make an informed choice, and might get it wrong.Mar 18, 2012 at 6:03 am #1855444
I like all the bikes above, but to know if they work for you, test ride – a lot. It's kind of tricky when you are trading to a new style bike and fit, but keep riding them until they sort themselves in your mind. This is "old advice" but it has worked for me.
(Given that you live in a bike-centric area, you might find someplace that rents higher end bikes like these for longer tests.)Mar 18, 2012 at 6:05 am #1855445
I kind of concur on craigslist, but it's easier when you really know what you want (sizes and brands).Mar 18, 2012 at 9:02 am #1855492
Thanks for all your advice. I have an old mountain bike I have been riding for years, but doesn't fit me very well and I find it uncomfortable. Looking for something to take on long fitnesses rides that wont leave me with a sore back and neck. After doing additional research my new favorite is the Trex 7.5 FX.
Any suggestions on good bike forums?Mar 18, 2012 at 9:12 am #1855499
In general speed oriented bikes will lean you forward and comfortable bikes will sit you up. That Trex 7.5 FX looks a little aggressive to me, but that's what I generally like. It's a balance.
If you can find someone who let you go off for a 5 or 10 mile test ride, you'll have your answer.Mar 18, 2012 at 9:13 am #1855500
Good bike forum is kind of an oxymoron. If ever there was a group of elitist, look down their nose at beginners group of people, it's cyclists.Mar 20, 2012 at 10:03 am #1856568
@Rick: The trek is a very popular bike for city riding. The upright position gives one a good view of the car traffic. Your back and neck will be more comfortable as well. Your bum will suffer though. Get a very comfortable seat, perhaps with a small shock or springs. I like leather(once broken in) or you can get a padded one.
@Joe: Now, now, not all cyclist look down on newbies. In fact bikeforums.net has been a valuable resource for me. Mechanics section helped me rebuild many bikes, commuter section help me fine tune my gear for daily commuting(11 years), long distant riding section helped me achieve distances I never dreamed I could handle and the touring section is a place where dreams begin. Now, I will admit the roadie section gets a little testy at times. I seldom go there.Mar 20, 2012 at 10:10 am #1856573
@asciibaronLocale: Mid Atlantic
"Good bike forum is kind of an oxymoron. If ever there was a group of elitist, look down their nose at beginners group of people, it's cyclists."
roadbikereview.com is an excellent forum and like everything, there are good people and ego driven jerks.
the bike you posted is perfect for your want and need. the name on the down tube doesn't matter, the quality of the frame and components is the ruling factor. and REI has a great warranty and return policy.
full disclosure – i raced road and mountain bikes in the late 80's early 90's. i have 3 bikes – Fisher MTB, Cannondale road bike, and a Surly touring bike.Mar 20, 2012 at 10:29 am #1856586
@davidlutzLocale: Bay Area
I'm also looking for a bike but more for touring.
I'm considering a Novara Randonnee or a Surly Long Haul Trucker.
But recently I came across BikesDirect.com. They have all kinds of bikes on there. They have a Motobecane tourer that's seems reasonably well kitted out for about 2/3 the price of the Randonnee and LHT.
Anyone have any experience with this seller?
I hope this post doesn't drift too much, but the OP might find this information useful too.Mar 20, 2012 at 11:58 am #1856647
@asciibaronLocale: Mid Atlantic
some people liek the bikes but you aren't getting a 2000.00 bike for 1000.00 – you are getting a 1000.00 bike. the components aren't complete groups, the brakes, shifters, and cranks might be all different makes and models and the derails different levels from the same maker.
i was looking at the Randonne and the LHT and decided that i liked the ride of the LHT much better.Mar 20, 2012 at 2:27 pm #1856716
I bought a Bianchi Volpe for around $900. It's a pretty solid bike, though kind of an odd duck. It's not exactly a tourer, and not really a cyclocross bike. You can find lots of reviews around.
If you have both an REI and a Bianchi dealer handy you could compare. As I say above, it's about the test ride for me.
Though as Joe notes, I am a bicyclist and cannot be trusted ;-)Apr 6, 2012 at 8:14 am #1864337
Finally pulled the trigger on a Trex 7.5 FXApr 6, 2012 at 9:27 am #1864365
It is beautifulApr 6, 2012 at 9:39 pm #1864611
@davidlutzLocale: Bay Area
That's a nice looking Trek.
I ended up using my REI dividend and coupon on a Novara Randonee.
So far so good.
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