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Bi-Cylce from REI
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Yes 1000
Bi-Cylce from REI on 03/29/2013 08:47:23 MDT Print View

hey folks, I haven't biked since I was in elementary school. I'm thinking about putting the REI 20% coupon to get a commuter bike Novara big buzz 2013. Even with 20% off its a expensive buy ($640), educate me some on bikes and specially is it worth buying it from REI.

Sean Smith
decent on 03/29/2013 09:39:58 MDT Print View

That will be a decent bike for commuting and you probably wont find many options for less $ that will be any better.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Bike Law on 03/29/2013 10:03:30 MDT Print View

Bikes are like cars.

Buy a $2000 beater and you'll end up putting more money into it later.

Buy a $12000 new toyota and you could go years without maintenance.

If you're considering using the bike frequently and you are ready to clean the chain regularly and get it checkups once or twice a year, do yourself the favor and spend $1200 for the better components. The bike will last five times as long and you'll experience less frustration, encouraging you to bike more.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Other Thoughts on 03/29/2013 10:08:35 MDT Print View

The bike you see me lifting over my head is the Raleigh Port Townsend. When I bought it, it was $1000, but now it's $899 from REI. That would be an awesome use of your coupon, or a similar bike in a different style. My Port Townsend has lasted me about 5,500 miles over two and a half years, including a continuous 1,500 mile trip.

However, I have since spent $150 replacing my back derailleur with a Shimano XT Derailleur, which is much nicer (My old one got pulled through my rim.)Stepping up in bike componentry is noticeable. You will be glad you spent extra $.

I am still using the original front derailleur, cranks, all frame parts, and the rims are insanely durable. The bike is well-made.

Edited by mdilthey on 03/29/2013 10:09:15 MDT.

Yes 1000
Re: Other Thoughts on 03/29/2013 10:15:08 MDT Print View

this is the one I am planning to get

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Hybrid from Target on 03/29/2013 11:30:20 MDT Print View

Most of the bike frames are made at one of a few plants overseas. If you have that kind of budget then go for it but you could get the same thing for 1/2 the cost. There are no end of bikes on Craigslist from people who thought it sounded like a good idea but then never used it. I picked up my 29er that way. You can pick up a Schwinn with the same components from Target for 1/2 the price; disk brakes and the whole nine yards; the frame geometry looks nearly identical. I'd just take it to REI to have them tune it up. You could keep an extra $300 in your pocket for paniers, lights, etc.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 03/29/2013 11:30:52 MDT.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Re: Other Thoughts on 03/29/2013 11:35:35 MDT Print View

Pretty much all bikes are made in China these days and cuts out the middle man (they basically contract with the bike manufacturers and provide the shipping). You can get a lot of decent bikes for 40% off or more. Its worth looking into (albeit a huge selection to a hard learning curve).

I have a friend who got a pretty decent and light commuter bike for under $500 that he loves.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Schwinn vs Specialized on 03/29/2013 11:47:43 MDT Print View

It was funny to me to compare a Schwinn hybrid to the Specialized equivalent. Exact same frame and components except the Schwinn had disc brakes and the Specialized did not. Guess which one cost twice as much as the other.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Bike Law on 03/29/2013 14:29:48 MDT Print View

You can buy a new Toyota for $12K ?

Joe Lynch
(rushfan) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
try a road bike on 03/29/2013 15:06:52 MDT Print View

It all depends on how you plan to use the bike. That bike will be good for poking around town and shorter rides but will likely be uncomfortable for rides of any duration. With flat handlebars, you only get one hand position. With curved road bars, you get a variety of positions, which makes a big difference when you're on the bike for four hours. As others have said, getting better components can be noticed immediately. For me, there's a huge difference stepping up to combined brake/shifting levers ("brifters") for a road bike.

Before you buy, try out an entry level road bike and see which you prefer. REI has a good deal on this bike.

REI also has Scott and Cannondale bikes, very good brands.

dave p
(hipass) - F

Locale: Los Angeles
i would never buy new. on 03/30/2013 01:54:57 MDT Print View

You can get a much better deal on used.Bikes tank in value once out the store.I would do a lot of research vs impulse buy.Buy a bike with good components like xtr not lx.Ive seen 800-1000$ bikes with lx components or even generic brand-total rip off.
I would avoid any rei brand bike-making bikes is not their specialty.Its like buying a microsoft printer.You can get a really good deal on CL.

An old klein,trek or specialized among many that are way betterr than rei.Also do you really want disc brakes?

Edited by hipass on 03/30/2013 02:16:02 MDT.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: i would never buy new. on 03/30/2013 05:20:45 MDT Print View

"Also do you really want disc brakes?"

Good morning Dave,

If this is a reference to my post then I agree with you. Disc brakes are certainly not anything I'd require for a commuter bike. I was trying to make a point that there are good deals to be had for less money if you shop around and (as you also mentioned) buy used.



Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

+1 on Craigslist. on 03/30/2013 05:27:43 MDT Print View

I bought a $1400 touring bike on Craigslist in perfect condition for $600. Used works.

I don't think it's relevant to someone trying to use an REI coupon, though.

Edited by mdilthey on 03/30/2013 05:28:41 MDT.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: Bi-Cylce from REI on 03/30/2013 09:56:20 MDT Print View

Whether or not the purchase from REI is worth it to you is completely dependent on your situation. Are you itching to use that 20% off coupon? Do you have REI dividends you can use to bring the discount price down more? A little more info would help.

I would say with the potential savings in coupons, depending on your membership status and the above, you could be sitting pretty for a small investment (by modern bicycle standards). Walk into most any local bike shop and see what you can purchase for $640. Unless there is a sale going on at your local shop or you can get shop employee rates, you will be hard pressed to find a bike with the entry component group on that Novara Big Buzz. You're already under the entry level price from the "big name" companies, which usually starts around $850-1000.

The SRAM X5 component group on the Novara is perfectly fine and easily serviceable by you or your LBS need the occasion arise, and it will if you ride it enough. Functionally, the SRAM X5 group is going to work basically as well as the higher priced SRAM X7 and X9 groups. The biggest difference will be in material and construction, cast vs forged, and cost. So the weight to durability ratio changes as you go up in price, but functionally MOST riders aren't going to be able to tell the difference how they perform across the different component levels. If you decide to pick up the Novara you can take it in to your local bike shop, assuming they have skilled mechanics, and have them set up the bike properly (lube, assembly grease, torque down everything, etc. and adjust the derailleurs)

Search around and feel out your options before you plunge, of course, but I don't think you'll find much better in the way of a brand new bicycle. Used is a whole different story. You have to weed through all the listings and online forum classifieds and deal with shipping. Good luck sorting out issues with a purchased used bike. I would only go that route if you know exactly what you're looking for.

One big plus to purchasing from REI? RETURN POLICY.

They'll warrant the Novara if something goes south or allow you to return it down the road if you find that it isn't what you were looking for.

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
The Novara is a decent bike on 03/30/2013 10:03:43 MDT Print View

YES 1000,

The Novara Big Buzz is a decent bike and one that you will enjoy riding. Although I would personally prefer to buy bikes at that level from a dedicated bike store, it's a fine choice if you test ride it and like it. It's a fair price, the componentry is good and REI will back the product.

This is my opinion based on owning 18 bicycles of different types at this time, being a bicycle mechanic, a former bike shop employee and having owned, ridden, raced, toured and otherwise rolled around on many bicycles.

If you're still reading this thread by now, there are a few things posted above which may have concerned you that I'll try to address real quickly:

--You can get a better deal on Craigslist. Totally true, if you know what you're doing and what you're after. Bikes sell for about half-retail when used, generally. However, it's Caveat Emptor, there are no returns and no warranty. If you want the advantage of retail, you pay for it.

--You can get the same bike at Target (or Walmart or Dicks Sporting Goods). Totally false and wrong. The big-box stores do sell bikes at enticing prices but they are not the same thing, despite occasionally bearing recognizeable brand names. If you go to a Toy Store to buy a car, you get a toy car. Those are toy bikes using vastly lower-grade components and materials and they are assembled by the same fella that puts together the modular desks and the display of laundry soap. Don't be fooled by fools on this one.

--You need "high end components" like XTR. This is baloney, but you should entertain yourself by googling "XTR rear derailleur". See how much that costs, ha ha!! The X5 components on the Novara are more than fine for city riding, are easily tuned and will last years. If the time comes that you're ready to mountain bike on real trails, road ride for 30 miles a shot or etc... the bike you'll upgrade to should have better, lighter, smoother stuff and you'll happily pay more for it. In the meantime, the SRAM X5 will be great.

--Disc Brakes. Yes, you want these. Although the particular brakes on the bike aren't my favorites, they're fine and will work nicely. Importantly, disc brakes are much easier to manipulate when you put the wheels on and off the bike, aren't affected by rain and don't care if your wheel has a slight wobble. Although they "came from" the need for off-road racing brake power, they're now on all kinds of bikes because they simply work and are "easy". Go with the discs and never worry about it.

--You can get the same bike from China. Well, the Novaras, and about 80% of all other bikes, are made in China. However, you can't order up a Novara-branded bike from Alibaba. You can get similar bikes, perhaps at less money and weight, from chain stores such as Performance Bikes. If you have one local, I suggest you go shop there and pay attention to sales and their membership program like REI's (except you can cash it out immediately upon buying a bike to use the credit for your new helmet, etc..)

Good luck on your quest to get out there on two wheels!

Nelson Sherry

Locale: Mid-Willamette Valley
Re: The Novara is a decent bike on 03/30/2013 13:40:27 MDT Print View

+1 for everything Erik said.

REI markets bicycles much like the rest of their products. They are priced fairly, but seldom are the lowest priced or the cutting edge designs. Their return policy is excellent, but their staff expertise, although variable, is very average, and that includes bicycle mechanics that are building and tuning the new bikes they sell.

If you have, and can find, a top-notch local bicycle shop, even if you pay a bit more for the bike, you will get better service, get this very thread question answered in informative detail, and get a more reliable bicycle build and follow-up care.

You can probably find better deals than that Novara at 20% off if you shop local bicycle shops for 2012 close-outs or spring sales that are happening right now. But, 20% off the Novara is a very decent and fair price.

Last two points: 1) Yes, most bikes are built in one of a few factories in China and Taiwan, BUT, to suggest they are therefore the same is ludicrous! Just take the bikes you are interested in for a ride, and any debate on this point will quickly be pointless. Don't buy it if you can't test ride it. Different manufactures use very different designs based on their own patents and engineering, and they pay for, and police, very different levels of quality control - ask any experienced bike mechanic that works on different brands of new bikes, they are quite variable from brand to brand even among the big reputable brands. And, the mechanic building the bike is the last control point for bicycle quality control, do not underestimate this!
2) Bikes direct has great pricing on amazing looking bike specs, using old brand names that used to have meaning, but are now nothing more than generic bikes with historical brand names plastered onto them. The component groups are great deals, but they save money by using significantly down-spec frames (the heart of your bike), and the few hundred dollars saved going "direct" is not a savings in the end if you factor in the price of a professional level bike build, follow-up service and experienced advice in helping buy the right bike the first time.

Good luck. Bicycles and bicycling are awesome!

Matt Jones
(mjones) - F
ha on 03/30/2013 14:24:46 MDT Print View


Edited by mjones on 03/30/2013 14:25:28 MDT.

dave p
(hipass) - F

Locale: Los Angeles
aaaaaaaa on 03/30/2013 15:02:42 MDT Print View

To me buying a novara by rei would be like buying a tent made by sears.Not saying the rei bike is crap but why pay serious cash for a generic,no-name brand?Trek and many other american bike companies have been devoted to bike building and design for decades.Its their 'passion' and sole focus.I have a crappy made in china beach cruiser that rides fine but i paid 20$.I also have a used beat-to-hell specialized with hi-grade parts that i installed and its 15yrs old but rides super smooth.Its way lighter and better than my neighbors 900$ schwinn moab with cheap,low grade parts.If im gonna spend anymore than 50$ or the price of a walmart bike,i know i can do way better buying used.

Edited by hipass on 03/30/2013 15:22:21 MDT.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: Bi-Cylce from REI on 03/30/2013 18:54:32 MDT Print View


We can go round and round.

Here's another option, get yourself a beater bike locally or if you have a friend who has a spare (most cyclists do!) see if they'll loan it out to fill the time while you save up for a few more months to get you into a better quality bike.

I've seen Surly Crosschecks and Long Haul truckers go for around 1K. Sounds like a lot of coin, but it will be a bike that can take a beating and keep you riding for a very long time.

Just my extra 2 cents.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

+1 on 03/31/2013 14:57:22 MDT Print View

Surly bikes are awesome. Salsa is in the same vein.