Author Topic: Novara Randonee  (Read 6171 times)

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Offline bobchauncey

Novara Randonee
« on: January 17, 2012, 12:28:04 pm »
I'm looking for my first touring bike.  Planning a self-contained cross US trip.  Appreciate any comments on Novara Randonee or similar ($1500 or less) bike.  Thanks.

Online RussSeaton

Re: Novara Randonee
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2012, 01:33:39 pm »
Based on the specs it looks very similar to the Trek 520 and Surly Long Haul Trucker bikes.  Similar price and similar specs.  All come with bar end shifters.  Some of us like these, some have only experienced the latest modern bicycling equipment.  All three of these bikes will function the same and all will serve very well as touring bikes.  Bikes Direct also has two touring bikes for $800 and $600.  They are fairly similar and will also provide adequate service for a touring bike.  Basically any and all plain jane basic bikes with very low gearing and the ability to mount racks front and rear and fenders will work OK for a touring bike.  Avoid anything fancy or expensive.  You want basic and low cost.  Not cheap, but low cost.  Low cost bike parts work very well.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Novara Randonee
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2012, 02:26:59 pm »
My Surly Long Haul Trucker hanldes relatively heavy loads very well (never any shimmy), has adequate gearing and the eyelets and brazeons for racks, fenders and three water bottle cages. And the wheels have never given me a moment's pause. They are retailing for around $1,400 these days. Whatever you end up getting, have the spokes properly tensioned before you shove off. I crossed the country on a Cannondale with a wheel set that was not up to the task. Didn't take me three days to break my first spoke. Wheel problems can really be a PITA.

And if you hit the lottery before your trip (or your budget otherwise increases), don't hesitate to buy something expensive or fancy if you so desire. I'd love a custom Co-Motion or Independent, but I cannot justify the expense.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Novara Randonee
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2012, 02:30:23 pm »
I'll go out on a limb and assert that any bike on the market sold as a touring bike will do just fine.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Novara Randonee
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2012, 04:01:54 pm »
I'm looking for my first touring bike.  Appreciate any comments on Novara Randonee or similar ($1500 or less) bike. 

First, the Randonee can be a good bike.  My daughter and I rode across the country on 2007 and 2009 models (in 2009).  REI in Bailey's Crossroads did a fine job getting mine set up, such that I had the wheels touched once (in Missoula, $8 re-truing), with no broken spokes.

Second, they've changed the gearing on the Randonee since then, going to 10-speed and bar-end shifters, as opposed to the 9-speed and brifters on our older bikes.  Drivetrain components will be more expensive to replace (chains and cassettes) as they wear out.  I actually like that this year's model has good low gears -- eastern Kentucky needs them!

Finally, check out http://www.adventurecycling.org/features/buyersguide.cfm for some good articles on what to look for, and what's available.  There's a fairly huge selection of stock touring bikes available now, compared to three models 15 years ago.  As John says, almost any of them will work well -- as long as the wheels are adequately tensioned, trued, and stress-relieved.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2012, 04:04:00 pm by pdlamb »

Online RussSeaton

Re: Novara Randonee
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2012, 05:47:15 pm »
don't hesitate to buy something expensive or fancy if you so desire. I'd love a custom Co-Motion or Independent, but I cannot justify the expense.

I'd advise someone to hesitate before spending too much money on a touring bike.  The Co-Motion and Independent Fabrications bikes you mention are indeed beautiful, wonderful bikes.  But functionally they don't do anything more than the Trek 520, Surly LHT, or REI bike mentioned here.  What they do worse is make you worry about them.  The Co-Motion Americano frame costs $2000.  The IF Steel Indpendence frame costs $2300.  You will spend more time worrying about the bike than enjoying the bike tour.  You won't just lay them down on the ground to take a picture.  You won't lean them up against a pole to go into a store.  The bike will be more important than the tour experience.  And the tour may suffer for it.  Equipment gets beat up, used, abused, scraped, gouged on a tour.  The $1000-1500 range is good for touring bikes.  You get a very functional bike and maybe racks and panniers too.

Its counter productive to have too nice of a touring bike.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2012, 05:50:36 pm by RussSeaton »

Offline DaveB

Re: Novara Randonee
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2012, 10:07:57 am »
Based on the specs it looks very similar to the Trek 520 and Surly Long Haul Trucker bikes.  Similar price and similar specs.  All come with bar end shifters.  Some of us like these, some have only experienced the latest modern bicycling equipment.  All three of these bikes will function the same and all will serve very well as touring bikes.
+1  Any of these bikes will do fine.
Bikes Direct also has two touring bikes for $800 and $600.  They are fairly similar and will also provide adequate service for a touring bike.
I agree ONLY if the purchaser is a competent bike mechanic.  Bikes Direct bikes come partially disassembled and often need a LOT of adjusting to make them fit and shift properly and sometimes come with defective or missing parts.  They can be a bargain if you can do the needed set up work and deal with any problems.  Otherwise a bike sourced from a dealer is a better bet.  Yes, you can take your Bikes Direct bike to a dealer for assembly and adjustment but the cost will negate a lot of your savings. 

Offline indyfabz

Re: Novara Randonee
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2012, 10:16:34 am »
don't hesitate to buy something expensive or fancy if you so desire. I'd love a custom Co-Motion or Independent, but I cannot justify the expense.

I'd advise someone to hesitate before spending too much money on a touring bike.  The Co-Motion and Independent Fabrications bikes you mention are indeed beautiful, wonderful bikes.  But functionally they don't do anything more than the Trek 520, Surly LHT, or REI bike mentioned here.  What they do worse is make you worry about them.  The Co-Motion Americano frame costs $2000.  The IF Steel Indpendence frame costs $2300.  You will spend more time worrying about the bike than enjoying the bike tour.  You won't just lay them down on the ground to take a picture.  You won't lean them up against a pole to go into a store.  The bike will be more important than the tour experience.  And the tour may suffer for it.  Equipment gets beat up, used, abused, scraped, gouged on a tour.  The $1000-1500 range is good for touring bikes.  You get a very functional bike and maybe racks and panniers too.

Its counter productive to have too nice of a touring bike.

Gee.  I never knew of this maxim.  There must be a lot of angst-ridden Co-Mo and IF owners out there.


Offline DaveB

Re: Novara Randonee
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2012, 11:04:05 am »
Gee.  I never knew of this maxim.  There must be a lot of angst-ridden Co-Mo and IF owners out there.
Don't take Russ's recommendation this too literally. i agree with him that a very expensive bike can be a distraction on a tour as it becomes the focus of too much worry and attention.  It's a bit like using a Range Rover with an all-leather interior for serious off-road driving.  Yes, it can be done if the cost doesn't bother the owner but it's likely to be more of an inhibitor than a Jeep CJ wouldn't be. 

Offline dkoloko

Re: Novara Randonee
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2012, 12:49:17 pm »
The 2012 Randonee has SRAM bar end shifters. While I prefer bar end shifters for touring, there is question if the SRAM are equal to the Dura Ace bar end shifters usually speced for bar end sifters on touring bikes.

While the Randonee may be a good choice for your needs, randonneuring bikes are usually configured for credit card touring, brifters, lighter tubing, higher gears, etc.

On the road touring I have noticed more Surly LHT. Trek 520 is another popular choice in your price range.

There have been complaints about Bikes Direct for customer service.

Offline Old Guy New Hobby

Re: Novara Randonee
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2012, 12:59:33 pm »
I agree with the other advice given, but ...

Personally, I would never buy a bike unless I first rode it at least several miles. When I bought the bike I'm riding now, I rode 4 bikes. All were well known. All were touring bikes. Three of them were fine. I thought the fourth was twitchy to the point of being unstable. All four bikes had good specs and good reviews, but that fourth bike was not a good bike for me.

Quote
Didn't take me three days to break my first spoke.

Don't tour on a new bike. Get several hundred miles on it first. My bike is a Trek 520. They are tanks. Lots of people like them. But my bike shop told me of one time he had to emergency ship a new wheel to a customer that went on a tour on his brand new Trek. You'll never know unless you put some miles on it first.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Novara Randonee
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2012, 05:36:59 pm »
While the Randonee may be a good choice for your needs, randonneuring bikes are usually configured for credit card touring, brifters, lighter tubing, higher gears, etc.

Agree with dk's points, but disagree with their applicability.  The Randonee is a touring bike.  It is not a randonneuring bike (except that most any bike can be, but that's beside the point).  It's built solidly, with beefy large tubes to handle loads.  The gearing (this year) is about as low as any stock touring bike.  It will carry a heavy load, including tent, sleeping gear, cold weather gear, cooking gear, and oh yes, a credit card.

Offline Mojo

Re: Novara Randonee
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2012, 01:32:01 am »
One thing I will point out about the REI Randonee, check the Q factor, or in other words how far apart the crankarms are from each other. Most bikes have a Q of 140-160mm. The one we bought for a family friend, had a Q of 190, this for a 5ft 5inch woman. It didn't seem to bother her, and big Q doesn't bother everyone. But for some it can make long distance cycling uncomfortable.

This was 3 years ago, so perhaps REI has fixed that 'problem.' Without calipers you can get a qualitative idea of Q by observing the crank. If there is significant space between the inner chainring and the chainstay, and/or significant space between the crankarms and the chainstays, then the Q is big.