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Novara Bikes

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Does anyone have any opinion, good or bad, about the Novara line of MT bikes that are marketed by REI?

I have shopped there (XC skis, clothing, etc.) with good results in the past, and have assumed that, because the company has a reputation to maintain, their bikes would be up to some reasonable quality standard. But that's an unfounded assumption and any opinions from MT bike folks would be appreciated.

post #2 of 17
Don't know anything about the Novara bikes. I just took a quick look, and it seems like the components on the 2 most expensive bikes (about $3200 & $1700) they offer are decent. Having said that, I still think you'd be better off at the lbs where you could choose from multiple manufacturers, and probably have more price points too.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Yeah, that is a concern, especially for someone who doesn't know much about contemporary bikes. I am pretty mechanically-minded but haven't informed myself about brands, price, quality, performance, reputation, etc. My only reference point is my son's 5-yr old Specialized Hardrock, which I was using up till last September when he decided he wanted it at school with him.

It's the usual problem, whether we are talking cameras, fishing rods, skis or whatever: how much toy do you need? You want to get your feet wet as a novice without unloading a lot of cash, but deep down you suspect that you may really wish later on that you had bought better quality or performance .

I think I want something that will serve me well a couple times a week to go out on easy single tracks to clear the cobwebs and stay in reasonable sking shape but.... I also want to reduce the chance that, if I should get more immersed in this sport, I'll end up wishing I had more bike.

Anyhow, thanks for the opinion.

post #4 of 17
Joe, there are a plethora of really good bike shops in your area. A bike is so much more than the sum of it's parts. If you feel like you don't really know enough to know if the Novara bikes are good, you should go to one of those shops and let them guide you through the process. Obviously, there are many here on EpicSki that would be glad to help too. In order to do that, we need to know the same things the bike shop guy needs to know. What kind of riding do you want to do, how often do you want to do it, etc...
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Epic, thanks; I assume Belmont Wheelworks would fall into your category of good shops; what about International Cycle in Newton? Any others around here that you can recommend?

Your point on providing more information on my use parameters is well taken:

Frequency: I plan on going out a couple times a week

Riding: I am 62, and while fit and strong, don't anticipate doing anything too heroic, especially downhill

Terrain: Harder to specify, as my experience consists of a few rides on some decent singletrack in Newton, Mass, and Canton Mass.

Me: I am 6', 190 lbs, pretty athletic.

Any and all reactions are welcome.

Thanks, again,
post #6 of 17
If you're in Newton, you have to stop in to a real institution, Harris Cyclery. Check their website at If you're nice, they'll let Sheldon out of the basement to talk to you. Nice folks.
post #7 of 17
For what you intend to do their HT (hard tail) bike seems adequate. There is no reason to get full suspension.

Of course, if you get hooked then you may end up spending tons of money on bikes, and you may even have more than one bike.
post #8 of 17
JoeB I would suggest an LBS but dont take that as an end in all.. Sometimes you can find pretty good deals online.s. I would suggest getting fit for a bike as well.. hard tail would be more fun for meandering rides than a Full Suspension.. Belmont wheelworks, Harris, Cycleloft are all great shops..
post #9 of 17
Whichever bike you get I highly recommend taking it for a ride first, preferably on terrain similar to what you will be riding. The geometry of bikes varies from model to model just like ski boots and a proper fit for one person might be a pain for someone else. Your local bike shop can do some adjusting by switching the stem and handlebars but they can't do much with a frame that isn't right.

As for Novara bikes, the few that acquantances have owned have held up well.
post #10 of 17
I bought the Novarra Ponderosa HT a year ago after my Specialized was stolen. The bike listed for $800 but I got it on sale for 20% off. At the time, I checked out the competition and it compared favorably with the offerings from Trek, Specialized, Giant and a couple of other brands that now slip my mind. Components seemed to be a notch higher than the competition at the same price point.

I think Rio's advice is right on point--there is substantial difference in responsiveness and feel in bikes from one maker to another. Personally I liked the Novarra and have been happy riding it the past year.
post #11 of 17

Riding crosscountry on a full suspension bike is easier on the back than a hardtail. At your state of advanced young age I'd try a hard tail and a full sus bike on a 2-3 hour ride of the terrain you intend to ride (try renting or borrow from a friend) and then decide which you could live with.

Don't know anything about Novara but found this .....

Maybe these threads will help
post #12 of 17
Originally Posted by DangerousBrian
Riding crosscountry on a full suspension bike is easier on the back than a hardtail.
It's easier on everything.
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone, for all the good thoughts and advice. I'm pretty convinced, especially after visiting the bike site suggested by Brian, that I will go with a LBS. I actually trust and respect REI, but I am also a big believer, for expensive toys, in going to a shop you trust and then take their advice. It's what I do for everything else.

Harris Cyclery is 5 min from my house, so I may as well pay them a visit first.

Thanks, again, guys, and I will keep you posted.

post #14 of 17
Just like skis and boots, fit and feel are the most important properties to consider when buying a bike. Get fitted by several local LBSs and demo, demo, demo. Cannondale, Giant, GT, Fuji, and Trek are all reputable companines...both the dealer carrying them and the manufacturer should stand behind their porducts. Try to buy in the $500 and up category if you're looking for a dependable off-road ride (if your finances allow). This is another sport where more $$ is usually $$ well spent.

I'd highly recommend a X-country oriented full suspesion that will allow you to go anywhere without beating you up.

Good luck, and great hunting!!
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks, volkgirl. Yeah, there seem to be good parallels with buying ski gear. I guess I didn't have as much respect for the fit issue as I should. That seems to point more toward local shops with knowledgable people.

post #16 of 17
Joe: Let us know what you think of Harris. It's not the flashiest shop, but the depth of knowledge can't be beat, and I'm sure their wrenching is expert and honest. If you're five minutes away, you must be near my father, at Lasell Village in Auburndale. I'm there a couple of times a summer, so maybe you can show me some of the Newton singletrack.
post #17 of 17
A new Hard Rock Sport Disc can be had for under $500. Decent componenets, bullet proof frame, it will hold up to far more abuse than you're going to give it.

Stay away from the REI bikes.
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