2005 cross bikes
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  1. #1

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    2005 cross bikes

    If you're thinking about a new cross bike for the coming year you might want to wait until September and then head down to your local REI. Yes, REI. REI is actually putting out not 1 but 2 cross models in '05 under it's Novara brand. Now before I start to sound too much like a shameless schill I will say that I do work for REI though not in a capacity that has anything to do with the bike side of the company. I also spin wrenches for a Kona-sponsored team and have wrenched on all sorts of cross bikes including Alison Dunlap's Santa Cruz and Erwin Vervecken's Empella. My personal stable has included cross bikes from Colnago, Kona, Gunnar, Rivendell, and Alan.

    Those disclaimers aside, here's the info on the new Novara cross bikes:

    The Rivet
    Retail is ~$1400
    Aluminum main triangle with carbon seat and chain stays. Carbon fork w/ aluminum steer.
    Ritchey crank (w/ 48/38 rings), stem, bars, wheels, seatpost.
    105 rear derailleur, shifters
    Avid brakes w/ top mount levers.
    Geax Blade tires
    Crank Bros Candy pedals
    Color is a nice pumpkin orange with white panel decals.

    The bike is designed for racing so no rack mounts on this one. The bike was designed with a lot of input from REI employees who actually race cross in the Seattle area and it shows in some of the little details such as a seatstay mounted cable stop which avoids the tight cable bends found in seat collar mounted hangers. The Crank Bros pedals and Geax tires also show this bike has some thought put into it. Clearance appears to be comparable to my Kona (which is to say great).

    The Element
    Full aluminum frame and fork.
    Truvativ crank, 105 drivetrain
    Speedmax tires
    Color is a very light green. At first glance you'll think it's Bianchi Celeste but if you put it next to a Bianchi you'll see it's not. More pale. Fork is white.

    This bike is going to be more of an all-arounder type bike. If you're looking for a cross bike that can double as a commuting bike and triple as a light touring bike the Element would be a good choice. Not as light as the Rivet but it will have a rear rack mount and disc brake tabs.

    The bikes are really sharp. I'll be the first to admit that Novara isn't exactly a well-known brand and traditionally has been known for value, hybrids and touring bikes more than anything else. That's starting to change and the cross bikes are a great example of that.

  2. #2

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    when can we expect to see them in our local store?

    i worked for an REI in the bay area about 13 years ago before going away to college and loved the experience: the only "sales" job i could probably ever handle - one where your boss tells you to sell the customer whatever's best for them. it has changed quite a bit since then but is still a great store. i think i saw two guys on the floor there the other day that used to be on the floor back when i was there... pretty good testament to the company i'd say.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by jnichols959
    when can we expect to see them in our local store?
    The target date is early September. The Novara team is really making a push to get them in store in time for cross season. Delivery is looking pretty promising and our factory seems to be avoiding the Shimano shortage that's going to make 2005 a nightmare for shops.

    Our bike shops are pretty interesting. Most people wouldn't think of REI as being a "serious" bike shop yet some of our mechanics are the best out there. They're just as good as the guys at American Cyclery, City Cycle, River City, etc. We've got former bike shop owners and framebuilders working as mechanics in our stores simply because our benefits package is better than what any "real" bike shop can offer. Of course the downside is that you don't get to work on nearly as many higher end bikes.

  4. #4
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    Any info on other Novara bikes?

    Sounds very nice indeed, Flywight. Since you work there do you know anything about their touring bikes for 2005? Or any others. Thanks

  5. #5

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    Question

    Is there any truth to the rumor I heard that REI contributes money to the Sierra Club? You know, the Enviroterroist organization that would just as soon see us stay on the road and off the trails! Just wondering because I have seen this on MTB and Dirt Bike boards.

    Sorry for the diversion, not trying to stir the pot, just wanted to know the facts because I have not been going to REI since I heard this and would like to because it is a great store.
    Last edited by dpdsurf; 08-22-2004 at 06:27 PM.

  6. #6

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    I don't see any mention of the Sierra Club...

    ...in REI's grants information, but for the record, bonehead, they are corporate sponsors of IMBA, the country's leading trail access advocacy group, of which I'm sure you're a member* who contributes both membership dues and trail maintenance time, in light of your concern about your "rights" to ride. For the record, the Sierra Club does not have a blanket policy of advocating trail closures outside of wilderness areas, and IMBA recognizes that there are areas in which cycling is not appropriate. Equating restrictions on where you can ride with terrorism means you need to wear a helmet more often.

    *...and, yes, I belong to both.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Walrus
    ...in REI's grants information, but for the record, bonehead, they are corporate sponsors of IMBA, the country's leading trail access advocacy group, of which I'm sure you're a member* who contributes both membership dues and trail maintenance time, in light of your concern about your "rights" to ride. For the record, the Sierra Club does not have a blanket policy of advocating trail closures outside of wilderness areas, and IMBA recognizes that there are areas in which cycling is not appropriate. Equating restrictions on where you can ride with terrorism means you need to wear a helmet more often.

    *...and, yes, I belong to both.
    I don't want to turn this thread into a debate that it was not intended for so I'll keep it brief to explain my original post. And yes I know I kind of started it, so for that only, I appologize. The Sierra Club has left a bad taste in my mouth more from the Dirt Bike side of things and I'll leave it at that. I am not a member of IMBA but I am a member of the Blue Ribbon Coalition and CORVA .
    Last edited by dpdsurf; 08-23-2004 at 09:33 PM.

  8. #8
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    Just saw a preview of the 05 Cannondales and they have 2 cross bikes, one with Avid mechanical discs at pretty good prices.
    Dr. Cox: Lady, people aren't chocolates. Do you know what they are mostly? Bastards. Bastard-coated bastards with bastard fillings. But I don't find them half as annoying as I find naive bubble-headed optimists who walk around vomiting sunshine.

  9. #9
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    My bro worked at a REI and got a Novara Trianfo road bike. It is a very nice bike. Beautiful frame with great parts. They use the same aluminum as Lightspeed.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by lancezneighbor
    Sounds very nice indeed, Flywight. Since you work there do you know anything about their touring bikes for 2005? Or any others. Thanks
    The Rando is pretty much unchanged. Next year it will come in a nice copper color. The Safari is also pretty much unchanged but will be in a slate gray-blue.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpdsurf
    I don't want to turn this thread into a debate that it was not intended for so I'll keep it brief to explain my original post. And yes I know I kind of started it, so for that only, I appologize. The Sierra Club has left a bad taste in my mouth more from the Dirt Bike side of things and I'll leave it at that. I am not a member of IMBA but I am a member of the Blue Ribbon Coalition and CORVA .
    Yes, REI gives money to the Sierra Club. They also pony up a pretty big chunk of change to IMBA. When it comes to corporate giving REI splits it's money two ways:
    1) Half is given at the corporate level, mostly to organizations that have a regional/national impact such as IMBA or the Sierra Club.
    2) The other half is doled out at the individual store level to support local causes such as races and organizations like the Backcountry Bicycle Trails Club here in Washington.

    If you come from a throttle twisting background I can see how the Sierra Club wouldn't exactly be your best buddies!!

  12. #12
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    Thanks Fly

    I've always liked the rando but wondered why the gearing is so high for a full touring bike. Thhanks for the update. I'll be waiting to check out the bikes at REI. I always feel comfy buying from the co-op.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by lancezneighbor
    I've always liked the rando but wondered why the gearing is so high for a full touring bike. Thhanks for the update. I'll be waiting to check out the bikes at REI. I always feel comfy buying from the co-op.
    Most likely a combination of factors including availability of 8 speed cassettes at the factory and cost. The 30x28 is still a pretty low gear for most situations.

  14. #14

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    The curse of production tourers...

    ...I can't think of a single production touring bike (from the large manufacturers) that doesn't rely on the garden-variety road triple, where if you're lucky you'll have a 30in low gear. I see a lot of rigs from touring-oriented companies (Co-Motion has a great bike) that have more realistic gearing, but unfortunately touring just doesn't get enough respect for a company to be able to go to Shimano and say, "Bring back RSX!" When I'm on the road, I see very few bikes ridden by experienced tourists that don't have drivetrains modified to produce useful gearing.

  15. #15

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    It's really not a Shimano issue. Shimano makes cassettes and components that are fine for touring. It has more to do with the Taiwanese factories and what they stock, what's available during that phase of the production cycle, how deep their inventory can go, etc., etc.

    Designing a bike is about a whole lot more than simply picking what parts you want it to have. In fact, that's probably the easiest part of the job! The hard part is getting all the parts to show up on time in the same place so they can be assembled. Smaller companies that do their own assembly and simply buy frames from the factories have a much easier time with this (though going this route greatly increases the cost)

  16. #16
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    Fyi

    REI treats it's sales staff like Shiit. They get low pay and not enough hours for benefits. What a great Co-op!! The money stays at the top.

  17. #17

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    Giant TXC frame for 2005?

    Does anyone know what the Giant Cross TCX frame is going to be like for 2005?

    Thanks!

  18. #18

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    But Shimano no longer makes anything like a touring triple...

    ...and a 52-42-30 doesn't cut it for full-on loaded touring, regardless of the cassette used. Yes, I've seen people riding with them, and without exception they struggle on the climbs. It makes no sense to have a 120+ gear inch top end on a rig that's carrying 40+ lbs of gear, especially at the expense of the low end. I'd bet at least half the touring riders I know have something on the order of a 46-34-24, usually accomplished with an aftermarket crankset or a cherished older Shimano with a 110/74 BCD (I'm partial to the RSX; bought a bunch when they were discontinued). The Tiagra/105/Ultegra triple is fine for "credit card" touring or sag-supported rides, maybe even a lightly-loaded overnighter, but as far as we're concerned, it doesn't have a place on a bike you're going to be using for a self-supported, two-week ride with climbing.

  19. #19

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    rivet for touring?

    i was thinking of using the Rivet for summer touring in europe (rear panniers and rack only, probably).
    its not a touring specific bike, i know, but any thoughts on this?
    thanks!

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by t-roy
    i was thinking of using the Rivet for summer touring in europe (rear panniers and rack only, probably).
    its not a touring specific bike, i know, but any thoughts on this?
    thanks!
    It won't work. The Rivet uses a carbon rear seatstay (because they're cheaper and look cool). There are no attachment points for a rack. Furthermore, it's designed for cross racing which means the stays are pretty light. Depending on how much weight you put on the bike this can result in some very noticeable sway when you stand out of the saddle. Depending on how light you travel you might want to consider a Carradice saddlebag. I use one for commuting and it's way better than a rack and panniers. 2 big issues here are cost (they're from England so they're not cheap) and mounting (they require either a Brooks saddle or a special seat mounted mini rack).

    You can find Carradice bags at:
    http://www.wallbike.com/
    http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/bags/carradice.html
    http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/carradice.asp
    http://www.rivbike.com/webalog/baggage_racks/ (not Carradice but same idea)
    All of these shops are run by great people.

    For what you're looking to do the Novara Element is probably a better choice. The front triangle is the same. Only the stays and fork are different. It has full rack mounts.

    I've done some light touring on my Gunnar steel cross bike and found running rack/panniers to be so-so at best. If I loaded them up the sway in the rear was very noticeable. This is one reason why touring bikes tend to be made from pretty stout tubing.

    BTW, on our website listing for the Rivet I'm the guy in the blue shoes dismounting in the picture. They also got my bloody elbow in the catalog (mistakes were made during the photo shoot!) Woo hoo. All the people in our Novara catalog are actual employees, not models.

  21. #21

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    congratulations on your bloody elbow making it into the catalogue!!
    thanks for your info about the novara bikes, although i will say i'm a little bummed because i think the rivet looks so cool and has great specs...

    as a second choice (something with rack mounts) would you reccommend the Element or Kona Jake the Snake?

    thanks!

  22. #22

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    Yep, we still give money to the Sierra Club. I'm not a fan of the anti-MTB stance that some of their chapters take but on the whole they do way more good than harm! They've also tempered (for the most part) their MTB policy. We also give big bucks to IMBA through our corporate HQ. Basically, our corporate giving program works two ways:
    ~50% of the money we give is doled out by headquarters to organizations that operate at the national level. People like IMBA, the Sierra Club, etc. The bulk of this money ends up getting spent on political lobbying efforts.
    ~50% of the money is also doled out by each individual store to organizations in their community. The way it works is stores receive requests from local groups and then forward them to corporate HQ. Corp HQ then makes sure the organization is legitimate and in line with our stewardship goals. If it is, the store proceeds with the donation. Examples of store driven giving here in the Seattle area include supporting the Backcountry Bicycle Trails Club, Cascade Cycling Club, and Emerald City cyclocross series.

    If you work with a group that wants to receive funds from REI your best bet is to contact your local store and ask to speak with the manager. Even better is to find out if anyone in your club/organization works for REI. Many of our employees volunteer with various outdoors groups and we tend to give a priority to those organizations. Like anything else in life, it helps to have someone "on the inside".

  23. #23

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    Well I'm biased both ways. I work for REI but on the weekends I wrench for a Kona sponsored team.

    Unless you plan to run disc brakes I'd go with the Kona. It has a slightly nicer frame but also a heavier fork. Wheels are also a bit nicer for touring use. Basically they're both close enough that I'd go with whichever one fit me better.

  24. #24

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    One other bike to look at is the Kona Sutra touring bike. It's got a nice steel frame, comes with disc brakes, and a great parts pick.

  25. #25

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    thanks for the input!
    say hi to seattle for me (i miss it!)

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