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Reviews: Touring bikes (regular)

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Novara Safari (thread)
Rating: ****_   (Average: ****_  from 3 votes)
By Alex Carr on Thu 28 Feb 2008 14:06 (US/Pacific) Edit Delete   Reply (2)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Novarra Safari

The Safari is an often mentioned and frequently used as a comparison bike BUT no reviews have been posted. I have more than 5000 miles on my Safari, including two mini tours, the rest being commuting/local miles.

No bike is perfect and every rider has his or her personal preference. These two factors often over diagnosed and argued ad infitnitum on the biking sites, including CGOAB. I think the Safari could compete with any bike for a long tour, including some of the more extreme worldwide tours featured on this site.

+Cheap, value is unbeatable

-even better if you are REI member and use dividend 20% coupon (as I did)
+good components
+REI butterfly bars
+integrated rear rack
+disc brakes
+26 inch rims
+REI service and Return policy
+hassle free maintenance
+relegation to commuter and 'beater' status is seamless
+a good looking bike (if style is important to you)

-front disk housing on front fork

-interferes slightly with rack and fender attachments
-heavy (30+ pounds empty)
-did not like stock seat (personal thing)
-some trouble with spoke breakage with rear wheel
-some people do not like foam wrap on butterfly bars
-when loaded both front/rear the bike is somewhat 'flexy' along the longitudinal axis
-I notice this only on the first day of a tour OR when climbing in too high of a gear
-Neil Gunton noticed this 'wobble' as well
-perhaps a slightly aggressive geometry
-just a feeling here, I have not data to support
-Judging from the fact that I can maintain a fast ave speed and have hand numbness, I suspect that the geometry is a little more commuter than tourer

Toss up:
* Aluminum frame
* Suspension seat post
* Stock tires

-I blew my rear tire catastrophically, I suspect tire manufature defect

Suited for:
+new commuters or tourers
+Especially good choice for US riders with REI stores in many states across the USA
+budget tourers
+those looking for a disk equipped bike
+those looking for an aluminum frame
+those looking for a Expedition style bike

Not suited for:
+early adopters, 'Custom freaks', 'hip'
+weight weanies
+frustrated racers (those who cannot live without drops handlebars especially)
+those who dislike grip shifters
+those who dislike or distrust disc brakes
+those who dislike or distrust aluminum

4 Stars, since I believe 5 is a custom or otherwise perfect bike.

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Loaded Safari for my Netherlands Tour.

Journal: "Belgian Bash" by Alex Carr (Completed May 2006)

Journal: "Tulip Touring" by Alex Carr (Completed Dec 2007)

Message on Forum "Website": "Neil takes to the road" posted by Neil Gunton on Tue 16 Oct 2007 20:51 (US/Pacific)

Message on Forum "Bikes": "Novara Safari vs Surly Long Haul Trucker - Update" posted by Neil Gunton on Sat 9 Feb 2008 17:33 (US/Pacific)

Message on Forum "Bikes": "And Neil's new touring bike is..." posted by Neil Gunton on Tue 18 Sep 2007 14:34 (US/Pacific)

Message on Forum "Bags & Packing": "2006 Novara Safari front rack" posted by Jonathan Bauer on Wed 7 Feb 2007 15:33 (US/Pacific)

Message on Forum "Bikes": "Novara Safari/Great Divide?" posted by Miranda Gohn on Tue 29 Aug 2006 09:49 (US/Pacific)

Message on Forum "Bikes": "REI Novara Safari??? Does anyone out there have any feedback?" posted by Bob White on Mon 8 May 2006 18:57 (US/Pacific)

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The Safari, fully loaded, girded for the rain.

Image on journal page: Setting Off in journal Bounded ShoresFeatured Journal #77 by Robert Kirkpatrick (Completed Jun 2004)

Page: Day 1, in journal "Solo on the Great Lakes" by Jonathan Bauer (Completed Jul 2006)

Message on Forum "Bikes": "Front rack + disc brakes + Ortlieb panniers?" posted by Neil Gunton on Sun 2 Sep 2007 15:07 (US/Pacific)

Message on Forum "Bikes": "Off road touring bike question" posted by Kurt McDaniel on Fri 21 Sep 2007 10:16 (US/Pacific)

Page: Nov 15, 2006: 3 weeks to go - Some bicycle information and equipment choices, in journal "2007: NH Old Man of the Mountains goes back to New Zealand" by Bob White (Completed Feb 2007)

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#2: Re: Novara Safari (thread)
Rating: ****_ 
By Eric Knudstrup on Thu 12 Jun 2008 19:23 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
I've put a few hundred miles into mine on 30-50 mile rides, and can only say I like it, so I'll give it a "4" too.
I have mixed feelings about the grip shifters. Mostly that they're REALLY cheap.
The other is that I tend to hit them when I stand up.
Since I have better parts lying around I'll almost certainly use them instead.
I did notice that I can twist the frame if I reef on the handlebars. I haven't noticed any bad behavior, but I've only used it with lightly loaded rear panniers.

#3: Re: Novara Safari (thread)
By gav master on Mon 8 Sep 2008 16:33 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
I'm at 5,500 commuting miles on my year-old safari and the thing performs just as good as day one. I switched early on to Schwalbe Marathon XRs, but other than that, it's stock. I can go ANYWHERE and do ANYTHING on this machine, whereas my friends are always switching bikes. The safari is a TRUE expedition bike. I plan on riding this one into the ground (whenever that is) and then just gettin' another.


#4: Re: Novara Safari (thread)
By Eric Knudstrup on Tue 9 Sep 2008 01:38 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
I have more than a thousand miles on mine now and still like it.
While I still don't like the shifters, they've held up better than I thought they would.
I'm also growing pretty fond of the handlebars. Very convenient.
It might be a little more convenient if the wheels took Schrader valve tubes, but I can live with the Presta wheels for now.

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