REI Novara Randonee – Touring Bicycle Overview

by jpc_touring-bicycle

Novara ought to be extra of a recognizable title within the bicycle touring realm. Though Novara isn’t actually a go-to touring model like Surly, Cannondale, and Trek, the Novara Randonee is simply as well-made and sturdy as a touring bicycle manufactured by any of these manufacturers. Once I confirmed as much as a six-week group experience throughout America with my Randonee, individuals questioned its potential to make it throughout the nation with out mechanical points. Regardless of their reservations, my Randonee had fewer points than any of the opposite bicycles. That’s to not knock different manufacturers — that’s simply to say that the Randonee can hold in there with one of the best of them. My Randonee has been with me for a number of thousand miles of touring now, and I might not have chosen some other bicycle to have carried me and my belongings to date.

The Randonee is designed for critical excursions, although may be used as a commuter bicycle if you happen to’re ready to haul the Randonee’s weight – it’s metal, so it’s on the heavy aspect (round 28 kilos). In the event you use this bicycle for touring, anticipate to not must make many mechanical adjustments — for essentially the most half, the bicycle is sturdy precisely as it’s bought. Not solely is it sturdy, it’s comfy with out making many modifications, not like many different bicycles. After simply changing the saddle and adjusting the headset, I discovered driving nice. You’ll be able to’t say that about all bicycles.

The Randonee is constructed so that you simply don’t have to switch it, and the body is constructed to final. In consequence, you don’t essentially must be a bicycle professional to take pleasure in a tour with the Randonee – you most likely received’t want to fret about fixing it, so you may merely benefit from the easy experience it gives.

When out there for a touring bicycle, I additionally thought of the Trek 520, Surly Lengthy Haul Trucker, and even a modified Bianchi Volpe. Why, then, the Randonee? Its options equaled or excelled that of all the opposite fashions I assessed, and its worth was cheap (on sale, it was a steal). It’s a buy I might positively make once more.


The Randonee is bought in 5 sizes: 47” (XS), 52” (S), 55” (M), 57” (L), and 59” (XL), so the Randonee will match most anyone. The body is metal, so whereas it’s heavy, it absorbs ridges within the street for a really easy driving expertise. There are 30 gears, spanning, clearly, sufficient of a variety that there are comfy settings for each climbing and descending even mountains. The tires are measurement 700c Vittoria Randonneurs, which, as shall be mentioned later, are extraordinarily sturdy. The handlebars are drop fashion, as anticipated of a touring bicycle. The brake elements are Tektro model.

Total, the Randonee has the options anticipated of a touring bicycle. The weather are high-quality and the bicycle was clearly designed for lengthy distances; the lengthened chainstays with further spokes, room for fenders (not included), and even three water bottle mounts all present that this bike was designed with the long-distance rider’s wants in thoughts.

Price & Buying Expertise:

The Randonee is nearly as costly as the opposite touring bicycles you’ll come throughout – R.E.I. sells it for about $1200. Search for gross sales, although; I purchased my Randonee in late February 2009 and paid solely $875. I bought mine within the retailer, off the rack, and the workers was very amenable – they allowed me to experience the bicycle across the close by neighborhood for so long as I appreciated and sufficiently answered all of my questions; they knew the bicycle , which I appreciated. In case your measurement bicycle will not be in inventory, R.E.I. will order the bicycle and have it assembled for you once you decide it up.

The workers at R.E.I. will seemingly throw in a number of free equipment, like toe clips (not large financial savings once you’ve simply spent lots of. I’d additionally advocate avoiding the inventory R.E.I. toe clips – they collapse inside three weeks). Using the bicycle was additionally extraordinarily useful for me in deciding whether or not or not the bicycle was appropriate. I might inform instantly that the inventory saddle was not going to work for me, so I switched it out for a nicer one whereas I used to be there. It was handy, and I obtained a $10 credit score towards the brand new saddle by giving them the inventory saddle. Aside from that, the bicycle rode extraordinarily cleanly – the brakes labored completely, it took turns simply, it was comfy, and it made the street really feel easy.

Choices & Elements:

The bicycle technically doesn’t include choices or upgrades. You purchase it “as is” after which can swap components (for instance, receiving the $10 credit score for exchanging my saddle) as allowed. The bicycle comes with a rack. All you must have to buy individually are pedals, toe clips, and water bottle cages. After all, you’ll have to replenish on the additional components crucial for touring, similar to an additional chain and spokes. The one out-of-the-ordinary accent I might recommend choosing up – and this can be a bit choosy — is further bar tape. The bar tape on my Randonee was not solely wrapped the unsuitable method once I bought it, but in addition was additionally very skinny, and have become worn by inside only some hundred miles of driving. I’d positively decide up some extra sturdy tape. It appears petty, but it surely’s price noting.


A lot of the (only a few) issues I skilled with the Randonee had been to be anticipated, contemplating how a lot put on I put the bicycle by. I did watch one in every of my rear brake pads crumble as I repaired a flat, however these brakes had not been changed in 3000 miles of tough terrain (together with the Rockies and the San Bernardinos). The cables (shifting cables, not brake cables) loosened up fairly shortly throughout the first two weeks of driving the Randonee high-mileage (as is anticipated of recent bicycles), however they required adjustment each two days all through these two weeks. After that preliminary interval, nevertheless, I skilled no additional issues with them. Minor level, however if you happen to’re choosy in regards to the paint in your bicycle, watch out with it, as a result of the paint on the Randonee chips simply. I’d additionally level out another factor – the headset was of some concern for me after I took a minor tumble and it shifted dramatically. Regulate the headset, and tighten its screws incessantly.

The worst factor in regards to the bicycle, although, is unquestionably the inventory saddle. It was very uncomfortable, and if I might change something in regards to the Randonee, it could be not having to spend an additional $40 (that’s after the credit score) to improve to an honest saddle.


The tires on the Randonee are extraordinarily dependable. On my 3000-mile cross-country experience, I obtained simply three flat tires. As a result of it’s metal, the bicycle rides extraordinarily easily – you positively received’t really feel all of the bumps within the asphalt. The rack is strong – my belongings at all times felt sturdily-positioned. The brakes are reliable so long as you monitor the wear and tear in your brake pads. I skilled no issues in any respect with the derailleurs. All collectively, the Randonee is incredible – it’s the overarching parts of the bicycle that I discovered sturdy and lasting, and solely small elements the place I discovered room for criticism. The Randonee’s finest options, I must say, are how extremely easy it feels to experience it – it actually does appear to soak up small cracks and bumps within the street – and the way sturdy the tires are. No person likes flats, and with the Randonee’s tires, you received’t have many.


I might wholeheartedly advocate this bicycle to riders trying to tour long-distance. I might not  advocate it as a commuter bicycle (at 28 kilos, it’s not price the additional weight only for commuting). Its elements are high-quality and made to final, and the bicycle was clearly designed for the consolation of the rider. This bicycle is made to go lengthy distances, and I actually plan on protecting a lot, far more distance with my Randonee.

Creator Bio: Elise Riley is at the moment a school pupil at Emory College in Atlanta who has devoted her summers to long-distance bicycle touring. Elise’s most in depth tour was a six-week, 3000-mile journey from Savannah, Georgia to Los Angeles, Calfornia.


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REI Novara Randonee – Touring Bicycle Overview  
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