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  1. #1
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    novarra full suspension bikes? what's the word?

    the price seems right, but I can't find any recent reviews here on Novarra or K2 bikes (sold at REI).

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjohnson
    the price seems right, but I can't find any recent reviews here on Novarra or K2 bikes (sold at REI).
    My uncle has a pretty sweet Novarra Hybrid Touring bike, with the Softride stem on it. Its about 6-years or old so, I dig it though.

    That said, I doubt I would ride one of their mountain bikes, they seem too....whats the word....."LL Bean" for me.

  3. #3
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    My perception

    Quote Originally Posted by Shwaa
    That said, I doubt I would ride one of their mountain bikes, they seem too....whats the word....."LL Bean" for me.
    The above statement is a pretty good description of my knee-jerk reaction to the original post. REI is a great store that sells very good products. I would hope their bikes live up to their reputation as a solid sporting goods store. The problem I'm having is two-fold. First, most sporting goods store bikes are somewhere between department store quality and LBS quality. Secondly, REI typically commands top dollar for their products (at least on the camping gear side my experience is that their prices are not very competitive). Looking at the specs on their full suspension bikes, they seem to have a nice component build, so my question is more from the standpoint of the quality of their frames. If REI holds true to what I believe is a company that is not necessarily the most competitive from a pricing standpoint, then why do their bikes seem to have a reasonable cost? Something doesn't add up, and I suspect it's in the frame. I could be way off here, and it wouldn't be the first time. Just read my signature line to put it all in perspective.

    With any luck someone with first hand experience will come along and give their thoughts.

    Bob
    'If Wal-Mart sold parachutes, who would jump?' Frank Havnoonian (quoting his father) Drexel Hill Cyclery

  4. #4
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    one thing I would be curious about is there frame weights? Some of the higher end bikes appear to have a nice parts spec, but not suprisingly they don;t list the bike/frame weights, not on the website or in their catalog. If it were me, I'd pass on both Novara & K2 bikes. IMO, they're both low end cr@p, might as well buy a bike from Target or Walmart.

  5. #5
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    I would SPECULATE that it is a durable, dependable frame, but not particularly high performance.

    Don't know much about their suspension (isn't it faux-bar?), but my father in law has a Novara road-oriented hybrid with WAY over 10k miles on it. He's ridden Pacific to Atlantic, Canada to Mexico, etc.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by red5
    one thing I would be curious about is there frame weights? Some of the higher end bikes appear to have a nice parts spec, but not suprisingly they don;t list the bike/frame weights, not on the website or in their catalog. If it were me, I'd pass on both Novara & K2 bikes. IMO, they're both low end cr@p, might as well buy a bike from Target or Walmart.
    I wouldn't go that far as to compare Novara and K2 to the crap that Sprawlmart sells. Both lines have namebrand parts we have heard of. The bikes at the chicken-tires-jewelry-beer-motoroil Mega Discount stores don't have a single reliable part on them.

  7. #7
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    I'm a parttimer at REI and have owned several Novara bikes. One of my current rides is a hardtail that was converted this past fall into a singlespeed. While not the most bling-blingy bike out there, my SS Pondo has held up well over the past couple of years even when it was a gearie. Hell it's even survived trips to Brundage Resort (ski resort in central Idaho that opens up for MTB'ing in the summer) a couple of times. Punishing as hell being a hardtail and only 80mm of front travel, but it didn't come close to falling apart.

    Last year I got to ride around a Buzz King B in Portland, but only around the downtown area so obviously I didn't get to really test it out. We have a couple of the new '06 FS bikes in our store, but I haven't looked at them closely.

    I have spoken with a couple of folks involved with the Novara line and they seem to be genuinely interested in designing quality bikes. Are these Turners or Ventanas or SC's? Probably not. But they are spec'd out pretty decently and are at a decent price point. And don't forget that REI has a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If 4 years down the road/trail you ain't satisfied with the bike. Bring it back in (hopefully with the original receipt) and they will take care of you.

    Sorry for sounding like a Novara homer, but they are good bikes for the $ and the return policy can't be beat. I think one of the biggest strikes against Novara is that whole "department store brand bike" image that it has a hard time shaking. Their other products from footwear to clothing to tents is top notch, but for some odd reason I don't think Novara is getting their fair shake. Bike reviews are very rare and frankly you just don't see alot of them out there.

    With that being said, in addition to owning a Novara, I do also own a Yeti 575 and Scott road bike. If I didn't want a Yeti ASX, I'd definatly have a Novara at the top of my list...just all depends on what kind of prodeals I can get from other manufacturers.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by @dam
    I would SPECULATE that it is a durable, dependable frame, but not particularly high performance.
    I'm on my 9th year at working at REI, and IIRC back when I first started working there, I was told/or read that the frames were made by the same factory that made Giant frames.

    And I swear I thought I read somewhere that a company by the name of "Merida"? or something like that put the frames together.

  9. #9
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    I don't think I have a problem with them except that I always seem to find a Haro or Giant with a similar component spec for cheaper. REI is too expensive.

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  10. #10
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    Galyan's prior to becoming ***** use to sell Ellsworth(yes really, I remember saying that myself when i saw them on the rack.) and The North Face branded bike. From my understanding, the north face bike was actually made by Iron Horse. It was really spec'd out really nice. Merida is a big bike maker in Europe. They have some sweet rides too. A couple of world champion racers, I think. So, it's a serious mtb company.. I remember reading in a magazine that they also assemble/make bikes for some big name companies(not sure which ones) here. The bikes are for the average joe who doesn't care what label it has on it. Belayslave is right, you can't beat that satisfaction gurantee. The Novarra line is just another bike on the floor right next to the higher dollar cannondales.

  11. #11
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    Great info, belay

    Quote Originally Posted by BelaySlave
    I have spoken with a couple of folks involved with the Novara line and they seem to be genuinely interested in designing quality bikes. Are these Turners or Ventanas or SC's? Probably not. But they are spec'd out pretty decently and are at a decent price point. And don't forget that REI has a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If 4 years down the road/trail you ain't satisfied with the bike. Bring it back in (hopefully with the original receipt) and they will take care of you.


    With that being said, in addition to owning a Novara, I do also own a Yeti 575 and Scott road bike. If I didn't want a Yeti ASX, I'd definatly have a Novara at the top of my list...just all depends on what kind of prodeals I can get from other manufacturers.
    Sounds like the bike is like most of the "non-major" players out there. You buy the frame from one of the same manufacturers that the name brands to, and put your name to it. This can definitely be an advantage to the consumer in that you get a decent quality bike for less money. I have two bikes that come from similar manufacturers and I couldn't be happier with the products.

    Thanks for the education.

    Bob
    'If Wal-Mart sold parachutes, who would jump?' Frank Havnoonian (quoting his father) Drexel Hill Cyclery

  12. #12
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    I liked the K2 Apache 5.0 at Interbike

    I demoed bikes for two days and rode all the bling. My favorite bike for the cross country course was the K2 Apache. All the other bikes I rode except one other cost more than 4K retail. The Apache 5.0 ($1600) was not on my list of bikes to demo but it was late on the last day and after asking 6 to 8 other companies for a demo, only K2 would allow me to demo while they packed up. I thought it hooked up very well and just felt like it was part of me.

    Except for this aberration, I thought Tschesny(sp)'s observations were the same as mine but clearly explained.

  13. #13
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    about Merida

    Quote Originally Posted by 95Stumpy
    Merida is a big bike maker in Europe. They have some sweet rides too. A couple of world champion racers, I think. So, it's a serious mtb company..
    IIRC Merida owns a big chunk of Specialized, and manufactures bikes for them. Some of the XC models use the same basic rear triangle layout as the Epic.

  14. #14
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    I cannot speak to the suspended bikes, but I have been HAMMERING on a Novara Ponderosa for 18 years. All rigid, all steel, not dead yet. I have truly abused this bike and it has taken way more than it should. Definitely worth the $$$ I paid for it. (Got it new in 1988). If they have kept it up since then, I would not hesitate to get another one (depending on the kind of riding I wanted to do).
    -Skimming the successpool of corporate America-

  15. #15
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    So what about the Method 2.0...

    List... 1799 with a 15% off coupon... which will equal $1530

    still overpriced for fox shocks and xt components?


    http://www.rei.com/product/47968612.htm

  16. #16
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    looks like a pretty decently spec'ed out bike for the price

    DMR

  17. #17
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    Nice bike

    Quote Originally Posted by Boogie
    So what about the Method 2.0...

    List... 1799 with a 15% off coupon... which will equal $1530

    still overpriced for fox shocks and xt components?


    http://www.rei.com/product/47968612.htm
    Not many $1500 bikes out there with Fox fork and shock. While I love BB7's, I'm surprised this bike doesn't have hydros. Probably a big factor in the price being where it is. I say if it fits and you like it, buy it. Great price, IMO.

    Bob
    'If Wal-Mart sold parachutes, who would jump?' Frank Havnoonian (quoting his father) Drexel Hill Cyclery

  18. #18
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    I had a 2004 Novara Bug Buzz B bike or somthing. I got it used at REI's garage sale.

    Normally selling for $1600, I got it almost new for $580. I was happy, it was my first FS bike and it had the best component spec. of all of my other bikes. LX rear der., Manitou Black Elite SPV, Swinger 3-Way, Huffelset cranks, Hayes HFX 9s, WTB wheelset etc.....

    At the time, I was mainly XC and that was what I used it for. But, then I started riding with Dieselbikes (Local freeride group, dieselbikes.com) and I was bottoming out everywhere and things started breaking.

    Eventually, I broke the Seatpost (Titec). But, more importantly, I cracked the headtube. A REI tech. thought I bent the swingarm.

    I have to give Novara credit though. Yes, I broke the frame, but it was only because I was not using it for it's intended purpose. I was the 2nd owner and the previous guy cracked the swingarm. He returned the bike, REI replaced the part and sold it to me at $580 from $1600. Not bad. Although the cable routing s*****, it was still a good bike. Will I buy another Novara, maybe, maybe not. As for now, I love my Marin and Fisher.

    I'm currently selling off the parts to pay for my Fisher. (Thanks Trek credit card!)



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  19. #19
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    I'd pass on both Novara & K2 bikes. IMO, they're both low end cr@p, might as well buy a bike from Target or Walmart.
    you're wrong. i have had a k2 zed v since 1999. i have riden this bike very hard, and it has held up just fine. pre kid days, i was riding 5 days a week. i upgraded to a nicer fork, and that's it. once i replace my stolen fs, i am going to convery it to an ss.

  20. #20
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    Terrific bike: 06 Method 2.0

    I got a closeout for $1400. Fox front & rear, XT/LX mix, BB7s, lots of Truvative, and WTB wheels. The frame is made by Giant (I'm told). It's a 4-bar with a large rocker for 4-plus inches of travel.

    I did a 5.5 hr Downieville loop on it last weekend. I am a very satisfied customer. I could have spent $2400 for a similar Kona or RM.

    My gripes: the derailleur hanger screws and rear caliper mounting bolts were only hand tightened.

    My upgrades: Shimano XT skewers, and a SRAM 11-34.

  21. #21
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    I've had a Novara Float 06' for a few months now that I got on sale for $750 from $1000 and it's been very good for a (relatively) cheap full suspension and I plan to do some substantial upgrading for both front and rear shocks and brakes (low end Manitou and tektro I/O's) to something more along the lines of a Marzocchi for the front fork

    but otherwise they seem to be a good quality line, deffinatly some solid Taiwanese frames

  22. #22
    CURB HUCK!!!!!!
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    don't compare K2 to Novara or either of them to... *shudder* department store bikes

    k2 ( www.k2bike.com )has been around for years, they aren't just a store brand. K2 bikes are sold at many bike shops. Novaras are exclusivly sold at rei. I totally believe they're made by giant though, everythings made in tiawan it seems like. I don't think there are very many cheapy frames out there anymore, even re-branded bikes and smaller name
    companies are made by a lot of the same asian companies.

    hmm... that rei warranty sounds good...
    [SIZE="1"]Kona Coiler[/SIZE]

  23. #23
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    Novara isn't so bad...

    I'll echo some earlier comments:
    REI has an unbeatable return policy. Yeah it's not quite like supporting your LBS, but will your LBS give you your money back on a bike after you bash it for several years? Nope.
    Novara makes a decent bike. I work at REI part-time. I ride a GT i-drive and in a few days will be riding my new VooDoo Dambala 29er SS. However, on a budget I would certainly consider Novara. Several co-workers ride Novaras even though we can prodeal (purchase at wholesale more or less) names including Ellsworth, Cannondale, Scott, and of course, VooDoo. In fact, we just built a VooDoo Wanga SS for a customer with everything ordered through us.
    As far as the bike shop in REI, our mechanics are every bit as good as LBS in my experience. You may feel a little better supporting a family-run LBS, but at least REI is a co-op and not a publicly-owned bottom-line-obsessed monster. REI is DEFINITELY not comparable to Walmart/Target/Kmart.

  24. #24
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    Novara's not just for a buyer "on a budget"

    I could have paid cash for (nearly) any new mountain bike. I chose the Method because it was a good value and gave me just what I was looking for. I recommend the REI bikes to anyone.

    Also, the Sacramento REI mechanics have been very skilled and have had a helpful attitude, in my experience.

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