Author Topic: Novara Randonee Bike - 2011???  (Read 12528 times)

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Offline hawkhero

Novara Randonee Bike - 2011???
« on: July 26, 2011, 07:57:44 am »
Hi, I am starting to look for a new touring bike and saw this on REI's website. Any opinions on this bike? Also looking at a Surly LHT.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Novara Randonee Bike - 2011???
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2011, 02:23:09 pm »
It's a commonly-used touring bike, certainly worth being on your list to consider.

Offline TwoWheeledExplorer

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Re: Novara Randonee Bike - 2011???
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2011, 07:06:38 pm »
Novara touring bikes are good machines; I have an '07 Safari. But you can spec an LHT almost any way you want it. 700c or 26in wheels, "s" couplers, your choice of brakes and drivetrains, bar-end or STI shifters, etc. I would give it every serious consideration if I were in the market for a new ride. (And I may be, next spring!) It is a true "semi-custom" touring bike.

A new arrival on the touring scene is the Marin Four Corners. I have yet to ride one (or even see one in person) but the specs look really great.

Ride safe,
Hans
« Last Edit: July 26, 2011, 07:10:11 pm by TwoWheeledExplorer »
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Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Novara Randonee Bike - 2011???
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2011, 10:29:25 pm »
I've got one, got my daughter one, got my brother to get one, but I wouldn't get one now.  The reason is that they've gone with compact double gearing instead of the triple; in gear inches, that's a low around 30" vs. a low around 20".  If that doesn't make sense to you, I'd say the new Randonee is geared for lightly loaded short routes -- like commuting -- instead of loaded touring over several hundred miles and weeks or months on the road.  Maybe you can make it work if you're young, strong, and credit card touring (i.e., no tent, sleeping or cooking gear).

Now, I'd look at the Surly LHT, Trek 520.  Maybe the Fuji Touring, and swap out the crank for something geared lower.

I think it's a shame, the Randonee was a good bike.

Offline hawkhero

Re: Novara Randonee Bike - 2011???
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2011, 07:26:14 am »
The website shows a Shimano Deore LX, 44/32/22 crankset for the 2011 model.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Novara Randonee Bike - 2011???
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2011, 01:59:29 pm »
The website shows a Shimano Deore LX, 44/32/22 crankset for the 2011 model.

I have always thought that mountain bike components of at least LX are what every touring bike should have.

As for frames...

Remember that all of these are technically light touring bikes.  That means they are not designed for four panniers and 60+ pounds of gear.  Some of them work just fine for some riders and others have issues with frame flex or steering stability.  So bottom line is that you should try and ride it with panniers with realistic weights in them, before you buy it.  I know of several people who have eventually worked their way up the food chaing to a Co-Motion just to get a frame that does not wiggle or shake.  I worked my way up to a Waterford for that same reason.  Most of the people who buy one of these bikes never tour on them.

On paper, a Jamis Aroura Elite looks good as it is built from a viable tube set (the component choices scream chosen by an idiot).

Touring bikes are actually very specialized.  My touring buddy has a Co-Motion Americano.  He has tried to use it for club and events rides by stripping racks and fendors off and putting narrow high pressure tires on it.   Under those conditions, the Americano is a brutal ride.  The frame is supper strong and stiff to carry the load and dampen load induced vibrations.  Without cushy touring tires, the rider takes the brunt of every road imperfections.  He is now saving his pennies for a more appropriate "event bike".
Danno

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Novara Randonee Bike - 2011???
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2011, 02:48:02 pm »
The website shows a Shimano Deore LX, 44/32/22 crankset for the 2011 model.

Oh, good!  I guess their production was late/slow this year, and when they finally got it up, REI's web site was showing it with the compact double crank.  With the LX triple, try it and, if you like it, get it! 

My (2009) is a solid bike, carried 300 pounds of me + load across the country with no problems.  No shimmy problems in the Appalachians or Colorado/Wyoming; very slight shimmy flying down Chief Joseph Pass into the Bitterroot Valley, touched up wheel true in Missoula a few days later, and no problems over (and down) 4.5 passes on the NT in Washington a few weeks later.  Tell the REI wrenches you're going to be doing loaded touring, and they can tension the machine-built wheels so they won't go out of true or break spokes for a long time.

Offline happyriding

Re: Novara Randonee Bike - 2011???
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2011, 10:09:19 pm »
Quote
very slight shimmy flying down Chief Joseph Pass into the Bitterroot Valley,
I remember that descent.  Crazy.  The climb up the pass was on brand new pavement, and it was really enjoyable.

Offline TwoWheeledExplorer

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Re: Novara Randonee Bike - 2011???
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2011, 04:29:14 pm »
I've noticed REI/Novara has "commuterized" both of their touring bikes. The Safari like I have used to be one of the few (if not the only) "trekking" bikes available in the US. (I don't remember when Koga started selling the World Traveler here.) Now it has a standard Chromoly frame and 700c tires. It's basically a commuter bike. Sounds like the Randonee may be going the same way. Even though they sold out of the 26 inch, aluminum frame Safari every year, have to go where the $$$ are. :'( I wish somebody would come up with an affordable (I love the Co-Mo Pangea, but it costs more than I paid for my car!) trekking-type bike on this side of the pond again. :(

Ride safe,
Hans
« Last Edit: August 02, 2011, 01:21:53 pm by TwoWheeledExplorer »
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Offline BigPapaK

Re: Novara Randonee Bike - 2011???
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2011, 10:07:20 pm »
It's to bad Novarro changing the specs and "commuterizing" their bikes. I'm curious about where the Gunnar Grand Tour fits in all of this. I hear a lot about the LHT and it seems to be a really solid bike; what about the Gunnar?

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Novara Randonee Bike - 2011???
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2011, 01:18:29 am »
It's to bad Novarro changing the specs and "commuterizing" their bikes. I'm curious about where the Gunnar Grand Tour fits in all of this. I hear a lot about the LHT and it seems to be a really solid bike; what about the Gunnar?

The Gunnar Grand Tour is almost certainly a very nice steel touring frame.  I have a Waterford 1200.  Waterford also makes a touring bike and I suspect the dimensions are similar between the Waterford and Gunnar touring frames.  Made by the same people making the Gunnar frames.  In Wisconsin.  Gunnar frames are TIG welded instead of lugs.  Frame/fork price is $1025.  So compared to the Surly LHT or Trek 520 or some of the other bikes mentioned in this thread, its frame/fork costs about the same as the complete bike for the others.  Of course they are made in different continents.  Over the years I have succumbed to the lure of cheap Asian frames instead of American frames.  So I'm kind of torn whether one should spend the extra money for American/European frames or go the cheap route with Asian bikes.

Offline BigPapaK

Re: Novara Randonee Bike - 2011???
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2011, 07:33:17 am »
There is a certain pride to riding American steel. I had a VooDoo Bizango from the last year they were made in the USA~ nice ride, extra special. Gave it to my son and he treats it like an heirloom. The nice thing about the LHT is the 26" option. But, realistically, the 700 can do the same. But, the real difference seems to come into play when you go south of the border into Mexico and beyond, or off the North American Continent. Well, I got the itch. Although I'm still tweaking my Casseroll commuter (which could do well on a light tour), I find myself looking elsewhere for something that might manage a heavier haul. Certainly the Grand Tour is an option, but so is the LHT.   

Offline staehpj1

Re: Novara Randonee Bike - 2011???
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2011, 09:01:42 am »
Hi, I am starting to look for a new touring bike and saw this on REI's website. Any opinions on this bike? Also looking at a Surly LHT.

The specifications look good to me except that I personally would very much prefer STI shifters.  I really don't like bar end shifters, they are my last choice of shifter types.  I could live with down tube shifters, but STI brifters are so nice.  Retrofitting STI is kind of expensive, enough so to rule it out for me.  That said some people love bar end shifters, so if you are one of them it might suit you.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Novara Randonee Bike - 2011???
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2011, 12:55:57 pm »
The Gunnar Grand Tour is almost certainly a very nice steel touring frame.  I have a Waterford 1200.  Waterford also makes a touring bike and I suspect the dimensions are similar between the Waterford and Gunnar touring frames.  Made by the same people making the Gunnar frames.  In Wisconsin.  Gunnar frames are TIG welded instead of lugs.  Frame/fork price is $1025.  So compared to the Surly LHT or Trek 520 or some of the other bikes mentioned in this thread, its frame/fork costs about the same as the complete bike for the others.  Of course they are made in different continents.  Over the years I have succumbed to the lure of cheap Asian frames instead of American frames.  So I'm kind of torn whether one should spend the extra money for American/European frames or go the cheap route with Asian bikes.

I think things are lot more complicated than where the frame is made.  There are only a handful of tube set vendors.    Generic 4014 chromoly steel (as sold by your local supplier) would make a pretty miserable bike frame.  Bicycle grade tubing is really exotic.  Reynolds does license some of its alloys to Asian manufacturers.  Most of the Asian built frames are for light touring bikes that may or may not be strong/stiff enough to tour on with a full compliment of gear.

The Grand Tour was designed to be a touring bike.  Yes you have to buy a build kit, and that makes the completed bike uncompetitive with buying a ready made bike.  The Gunnar frame is about $600 more than a LHT frame.  I would have to ride them both to decide whose frame was better.

I don't actually know anyone who has toured on an LHT (I barely know people who tour ).  So for all I know, it really is the best bike for touring, ever made. :)
Danno

Offline pptouring

Re: Novara Randonee Bike - 2011???
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2011, 08:30:04 pm »
Also looking at a Surly LHT.

Surly Long Haul Truckers have circumnavigated the globe by plenty of folks, so I would count them out. My daughter and best friend each own one and are about to go with us for a month and tour Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, & Germany.