Novara Torero & Novara Matador
My dad got a $1000 giftcard to REI and he wants a mountain bike. I've told him that a hardtail 29'er would serve him pretty well. He would likely do fire roads, maybe some single/double track. Nothing too technical at all, he is is familiar with road riding and the whole mtb thing is foreign to him.
His roadbike is a Scott, so he is a bit of a Scott fanboy (its ok, im a Spesh fanboy)...
Looking at these three bikes what do you think is best? They seem pretty similar except the Matador is a little better when it comes to drivetrain...
Novara Torero $649 - 20% (novara coupon next month) = $519
Novara Matador $799 - 20% (novara coupon next month) = $640
Scott Aspect 940 $689
2006 Specialized FSRxc / 2006 Redline Conquest / 2009 Specialized Allez
Gone: 2002 Specialized Big Hit / 2004 Kona Stinky
I would ride all 3 first, Novara's then to have heavy and kind of dull frames. The resell of the Novara's will be much lower. Yes, I have sold and rode (demo)both brands.
If resell value is important, get the scott.
If planning to keep bike for a long time, try to get the weight and pick the lightest one.
I remember looking at the Novara Metaphor a few years back. Good bike for the value. The color choices and attention to spec. detail was actually attractive.
All have the Suntour fork which is not designed for trail riding only for bike paths and easy single track.
Suntour is offering an upgrade air fork, the Raidon for $175. From some reviews on the Suntour upgrade thread this is an excellent sealed cartridge fork requiring little maintenance. You could have fun on this for several years and not outgrow it.
So add that 175 to your options or look at the Ponderosa which already has it for 800.
What would I get with that 1k ? The Scott 930 is carbon with WC race geo and one of the best hard tails in the US. Once he got on that bike on a technical trail he would not get back on his road bike
Note- this bike is not stocked at REI stores so test it at a Scott dealer.
Last edited by eb1888; 02-22-2013 at 12:44 AM.
I was in almost the exact situation as your father, I just got my first mountain bike. I also have been a road biker for decades, and I plan on riding the same type of terrain as your dad.
A little full disclosure here: I work part-time in the bike department at REI, so take my comments with that in mind. At the store where I work, we sell Novara, Scott, GT, and Marin bikes and have all those in 29er configuration. As I said, I am retired, and I just bought my first mountain bike, so between selling and buying, I've done a fair amount of research and riding. Here are a few of my observations.
First, try to narrow the bikes down (which you have done to some extent), but the key will be in getting your dad on them to see how they each feel. For me, the Novara's had a longer top tube (and reach) than the others. I was leaning over more on their models and at my age, would feel more comfortable in a more upright posture. The Scotts and GTs were pretty similar in that I was able to be a bit more upright and more comfortable. The Marins were the most upright (and seem to be throughout their product line). As far as components, they are all so similar at any given price point - the $700 bikes are going to have similar quality components, and when you bump up to the $1000 level, those bikes will be similar. When you move from one model (say from the Scott Aspect line to the Scott Scale line), you most likely are going to get a better frame and better components. In talking with all the techs and hard-core bikers where I work, they all said I should get as good a bike as I could afford - even push it a bit if possible. And they also were mostly concerned that the brakes were hydraulic and that the shock was the best possible (for the money). None of them were impressed with the SunTour shocks - they recommended either Fox or RockShox. (Again, that's not a fact, it's an opinion.)
As far as the 20% deal coming up - that is the most you will ever find for an in-store deal on full price bikes at REI (other than close-out prices). And as you state. the 20% is only for Novara bikes. The other posters are correct when they talk about resale, but in my testing, the frames were quite similar at the given price points. (Note: During the Anniversary/Memorial Day sale, all of the bikes are 15% off - that would be the best time to buy a non-Novara bike.) The other thing is that since Novara is REI's brand, there generally are a few upgrades in components over the other brands at the different price points.
So, what to do? Here is my opinion - again, take it for what it's worth. If I had a $1000 gift card for a bike, I'd look at these in addition to the ones you listed (and maybe wait for the Anniversary Sale for the 15% off):
GT Karakoram 1.0 GT Karakoram 1.0 29er Bike - 2013 at REI.com
Marin Palisades Trail Marin Palisades Trail 29er Bike - 2012 Overstock at REI-OUTLET.com
and this one has fans on this forum - Cannondale Trail SL 29er 4
After looking and trying lots of bikes, I ended up ordering a Cannondale Trail SL 29er 1 for my first mountain bike. The key for me was the feel and the components (but my budget was a bit more than your father's). He really will need to get on a few bikes to see how they feel - then, the bike will most likely choose him. If you want any more opinions or observations, let me know.
Have a great time looking for his new bike!