Author Topic: REI Novara Safari  (Read 12402 times)

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Offline 2riders

REI Novara Safari
« on: October 14, 2012, 02:12:15 pm »
Being new to touring, we are taking our time in researching bikes.  We know about the Trek & Surly but now have been reading with interest about the REI Novara Safari.  The price is attractive (allows room for upgrades or other touring purchases), do like the handlebar configure to allow different positions,  it looks like shifters are on handlebars which we are used to on our Hybrids,  and as we may do shorter tours on both road and RailTrails it seems to be set up good for both.  Just looking for your expert advise on it and any thoughts are greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance.

Offline rockermike

Re: REI Novara Safari
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2012, 12:26:52 pm »
REI Novara also makes a bike they call Randonneur or something like that. Its a lighter touring bike, more appropriate to domestic touring in my opinion. The Safari is designed more for rides across Africa - heavy wheels and tires etc. But its all up to your tastes and preferred style. I've never owned a Novara bike but I know REI (Novara is REI's house label) takes care of their customers.

Offline 2riders

Re: REI Novara Safari
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2012, 09:30:33 pm »
Yes, it's the REI Novara Randonee.  Thanks for your reply...It does get many good reviews and I have considered it.

Offline rcrampton

Re: REI Novara Safari
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2012, 07:51:38 pm »
I've got both the Randonee and the Safari from REI and love them. They're good for the money and just plain good regardless of the money in my opinion.

I have models that are a few years old and are quite a bit different than the current ones so it won't help for me to tell you how much I love my Safari (aluminum frame, disc brakes, 26" wheels back then). But here's what I like about my bikes:

- Love the 26" wheel on one, it lets me put good off-road tires on (I prefer rails-trails type tours)
- Love the disc brakes. They are no-hassle and are fantastic for loaded touring.
- Like the butterfly handlebars pretty well. I don't use the various handlebar positions that much but I do some and it can be nice at times
- Love the grip shifters

As to the Safari as it's configured today:
- The gearing is great, nice and low 26/32 is fine for me for nasty hills
- 700c wheels are great if you think you'll mainly stick to good, hard surfaces
- I'd upgrade to disc brakes (the frame can support both) but it's not at all necessary, just a nice to have. Don't short change yourself on panniers for the sake of disc brakes.
- I'm not crazy about the Deore level of components but it wouldn't be a deciding factor. People make a bigger deal out of components than I think is justified. They can be upgraded at low cost later if you ever care.
- Wheels should be pretty good, like any factory wheel they can be a little hit or miss (I had three good and one not so good)
- The rack that REI used to put on their Safari was junk, the new one looks pretty good though.

I don't think you can go wrong with most any bike made for touring. To me, the differences between most of the models are in the noise unless there are some must-have features. For sure I'd buy mine from REI if I were in the market today and one of them was a good fit for me.


Re: REI Novara Safari
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2012, 08:51:02 pm »
I too have a Randonee. Mine is about 15 years old. Only one long tour under it so far, that was Portland to San Francisco on the ACA Pacific coast route. Other than being a little short on gearing for a couple of the more severe climbs, it did great. In the 15 years since, it has done commute duty, being left out in the hot Arizona sun all day, and other than the paint being faded, it works just fine. Oh yes, the STI shifters that my year came with gave up the ghost a year or so ago, and will replaced with downtube levers .  But the New models use bar end shifters anyway, which is a better choice.

From what I see in the specs, the new ones are even better yet in terms of the equipment that they have on them. So you should be fine.

I intend to use my now 15-year-old bike to do the Trans Am next summer. Other than the smallest chain ring which I have already swapped from a 26 to a 24, the previously mentioned shifters, and replacement of wear items, I expect to use it as it sits, and doubt I'll have any issues.

When I bought mine, the Randonee was more like half the price of alternatives such as TREK. Nowadays it's still cheaper though not by nearly as much. Still when you consider that it is cheaper and you get 10% back at the end of the year, I think it's one of the better values out there.

Just the two cents from a satisfied owner.