Novara Portal? GT Aggressor? Cash strapped guy would like opinions.
I get $20 monthly commuter checks from my employer that I can spend to get a new bike.
Only place that accepts these checks in a 75 mile radius is REI.
I can only have $240 worth of these checks before they begin to expire.
I'm very cash strapped, so total budget is about $400-500.
Approximately 90% of miles will be commuting on paved bike trails. The rest will be single track trails.
In my early 30's, 6'3", 215 lbs.
Any opinions or experience with either of these? I think Novara is REI's house brand.
Novara Portal Bike - 2012 at REI.com
GT Aggressor 1.0 Bike - 2012 at REI.com
I've never ridden the Novara but I have ridden a GT Aggressor. To me it felt very nice. I actually loved the geometry of it and am begging my buddy to sell it to me. The parts spec is fairly similar. I like shimano derailleurs better but have had more luck with the lower end Sram stuff so the Novara gets the win on that one. Best bet would be to ride them and see which one fits you the best....the GT has disk brakes but they are Tektro Novelas which suck; however it would be better to have disk brake mounts so you can upgrade later.
Out of the two bikes you list I would choose the GT. I have owned GT hardtails (low and high end) and their frames are solid).
Based on your size and weight, the Novara Torero 29 would be my recommendation if you could swing an extra $150.
The suspension of your bike sucks if it's different than mine. Really. It sucks. Big time.
Thanks for the responses. I admit I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to bike components so I love hearing other opinions. If I got one of the two I listed, I think a disc break upgrade would happen eventually (the Novara has the mounts according to the spec). Before your responses, I was also leaning toward the GT but mostly because I couldn't find lots of reviews of the Novara.
About the Novara Torero 29, I was also really interested in that one and this:
Cannondale Trail SL 29'er 5 Bike - 2012 at REI.com
I've heard from friends that REI has bikes on sale in the spring usually. I might hold off and stick with my ride during the winter, save more $, then I can justify getting one of the 29er's. But of course I WANT ONE NOW!