Anyone ridden a Novara Mazama?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    since 4/10/2009
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    Anyone ridden a Novara Mazama?

    I've decided to sign up for my first charity century this year, and my group's training starts next weekend. I'm working on getting my Vaya equipped for that sort of riding with a drivetrain upgrade this week so it has gearing better able to handle the mountain roads around Tahoe (it's 1x10 now, setup for commuting in Indianapolis).

    My wife has tossed around for a little while getting a bike that's a bit more pavement friendly than her Santa Cruz FS. She occasionally thinks about trying a cross race. Sometimes she thinks about doing some greenway trail riding with me, and wants to be able to keep up with me, that sort of thing. Right now, she wants to come out with me on some of my training rides this spring. She's also accepted the fact that riding pavement is sometimes going to be the only way she can turn the pedals here with the weather (spring is a great time for road riding, as the trails tend to be mushy) and with her schedule (very busy). There's greenway 1mi out our front door that gives us off-street access to a big chunk of the city. She wants a versatile bike, though. Similar in category to my Vaya. She's looked at the Vaya and likes the bike, though it's a touch more than she wants to spend, and the model in question, IMO, is not my favorite build.

    She doesn't want to spend a ton, but she also doesn't want a super basic hybrid, either. She's set her budget around $1,000, give or take.

    She came across the Novara Mazama, and pointed me towards the bike for my opinion. I really like the spec for the price. That impresses me. Steel frame is good and comfy. Dirt drops out of the box. TRP Spyre brakes. Versatile Deore drivetrain. Gearing is just a touch lower than my Vaya, but only by 2 teeth on the big ring, so that doesn't bother me at all.

    Unfortunately, there isn't one she could test within 250mi of where we live, and there are several REI stores within the area. She'd have to order sight unseen. She has no experience with road bikes at all, so in some ways that's good - she doesn't have any preconceived notions about what the bike SHOULD be like. So as far as the barcons and dirt drops on the Mazama, she understands the mechanics of it, but her only real basis for comparison is her mtb. She knows she'll have to get used to the differences. I don't think any of that is a problem.

    I'm more curious if anyone has impressions on the fit of the bike. We have had some challenges with bike fit for her in the past on mtb's. She's got fairly short arms. According to the size chart REI has on the Mazama, she'd be near the bottom end of the fit range for the small.

    It's tough not being able to go try one.

  2. #2
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    You can order one online and have it shipped to the local REI for free. Then you can test ride it and return it if you don't like it.

    I was actually into this bike when it came out but decided otherwise. Mostly due to the long axle to crown fork (because I couldn't go carbon).

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_papa_nuts View Post
    You can order one online and have it shipped to the local REI for free. Then you can test ride it and return it if you don't like it.

    I was actually into this bike when it came out but decided otherwise. Mostly due to the long axle to crown fork (because I couldn't go carbon).
    I saw that complaint posted elsewhere. Looks like the fork isn't too unusual to me. Yes, it's longer than a "road" carbon fork, but I was finding carbon cross forks within 5mm or so of the 410mm I found listed for this bike elsewhere. But my wife really doesn't care about that, anyway. For that matter, the fork on my Vaya is steel and I'm perfectly happy with it.

    Yeah, I know we can do that, but that means paying for it first. We'd like to be pretty certain it'll work before doing so. Did you actually take a spin on one before deciding not to buy it?

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    Never got that far. The fork was a non-starter for me. I actually went with a Soma Double Cross Disc which was replaced, because it didn't fit well, with a Novara Element. I actually found the Element frameset for $75 on the local craigslist and built it up with 650b wheels and parts from the bin.

    IMO ordering the Mazama is basically risk free. It sounds like you already have the funds and have a year to make up your mind (if you wanna be that guy). I think the dividends are coming soon to, which usually means bikes will be on sale.

  5. #5
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    Does that type of cable routing work with top tube bags? Revelate Design gas tanks have me spoiled.
    You change your own flats? Support your LBS and pay them to instead.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_papa_nuts View Post
    Never got that far. The fork was a non-starter for me. I actually went with a Soma Double Cross Disc which was replaced, because it didn't fit well, with a Novara Element. I actually found the Element frameset for $75 on the local craigslist and built it up with 650b wheels and parts from the bin.

    IMO ordering the Mazama is basically risk free. It sounds like you already have the funds and have a year to make up your mind (if you wanna be that guy). I think the dividends are coming soon to, which usually means bikes will be on sale.
    We're leaning towards ordering it. We were talking about a bunch of different options, even -gasp- a couple of BD bikes. Good point about the dividends/sale coming up. I wonder if she'd be willing to wait that long.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Volsung View Post
    Does that type of cable routing work with top tube bags? Revelate Design gas tanks have me spoiled.
    I'm sure it'd work. Not ideal, though. I'd probably get a piece of closed cell foam (like is used with outfitting whitewater canoes/kayaks) and rig a spacer with cable pass-throughs to prevent bad cable rub. I have read a few reviews about folks cross racing with this bike, too. So I'll bet that cable routing was done with shouldering the bike in those situations in mind.

  8. #8
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    So, stumbled across a closeout Diamondback Haanjo Comp that ONLY had her size left. She had been looking at the 2016 model, and really liked it. It's got versatile geometry, too, but it was a bit more expensive than she wanted. With a 2015 model on closeout, that changed the equation a bit. Now she has no excuse when it comes to pavement rides when the trails are muddy.

  9. #9
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    Hi Harold,
    Are you still looking for opinions on the Mazama, or did you pull the trigger on the Haanjo? I'm a former fulltime mechanic at REI, and personally own a Mazama, but have experience with both bikes. The Mazama has a few quirks (related to the drivetrain) but once dialed in the bike is fantastic and an extremely good value. The Mazama and Haanjo are two very different bikes, with the Mazama being much more gravel/light single track/ adventure touring oriented. Also the 410 a-c fork is a non issue if you want carbon and know what to look for...in this case, you need a carbon fork meant for old school 26" mtb--you get all the plastic you desire and more tire clearance to boot. That is what I ultimately did. I've built and ridden a handful of mazamas in stock form and have consistently noticed certain things about it out of the box (poor paint, bent derailleur hangers, cable housing ends having burrs that affect shifting) that once solved result in a freaking amazing monster cross style bicycle. Its become my favorite bike but I personally ride one that is setup differently for my own preferences.
    Anyone ridden a Novara Mazama?-mazama.jpeg

  10. #10
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    We went with the Haanjo Comp. With the 2015 models being blown out, it became a bit better value, IMO. Yeah, it's a little different than the Mazama, but still within the realm of what my wife wanted. She wasn't terribly picky...she just wanted a versatile bike for road, gravel, cross (she's been thinking about trying it for a couple years now...now she has even less excuse).

    The bike showed up at the door today, too. The Haanjo we got has some quirks, too. The stem faceplate was a disaster with burrs all over. Had to take a Dremel to it. Thank goodness they're alu bars and not carbon. I'd toss the stem in the garbage if the bike had carbon bars. There's something nasty going on with the shift cables/housing, too. The left shifter, in particular, has WAY too much resistance. I'm going to have to recable it. Since I'll have to re-wrap the bars anyway, I think I'm just going to do the brakes, too. They're not as buttery smooth as my Vaya. So far, the fit looks pretty good for her.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by konrad1013 View Post
    Hi Harold,
    Are you still looking for opinions on the Mazama, or did you pull the trigger on the Haanjo? I'm a former fulltime mechanic at REI, and personally own a Mazama, but have experience with both bikes. The Mazama has a few quirks (related to the drivetrain) but once dialed in the bike is fantastic and an extremely good value. The Mazama and Haanjo are two very different bikes, with the Mazama being much more gravel/light single track/ adventure touring oriented. Also the 410 a-c fork is a non issue if you want carbon and know what to look for...in this case, you need a carbon fork meant for old school 26" mtb--you get all the plastic you desire and more tire clearance to boot. That is what I ultimately did. I've built and ridden a handful of mazamas in stock form and have consistently noticed certain things about it out of the box (poor paint, bent derailleur hangers, cable housing ends having burrs that affect shifting) that once solved result in a freaking amazing monster cross style bicycle. Its become my favorite bike but I personally ride one that is setup differently for my own preferences.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I just purchased the Mazama and wanted to know if you had any tips on the quirks you mention. Thanks

  12. #12
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    crazy. i just fondled a Mazama at REI for my wife. they had a small.

    we went in for lights for HER!! tomorrow is her maiden commute voyage. she rides some hybrid specialized, really just a cruiser. we grabbed lights and saw the Mazama. it's nice looking.

    if this commute thing works out for her, i think a bike along those lines would be damn near perfect.
    Santa Cruz 5010 C
    Surly Crosscheck.

  13. #13
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    I'd love to try the handlebar on my Surly


    Sent via Jedi mind trick.
    Santa Cruz 5010 C
    Surly Crosscheck.

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