Monday, March 17, 2008

Mini Review - Novara Bonanza

I went with a friend a few weeks ago to Tribble Mill to try out an easy single-track trail she found. She rode her cool new Electra Townie and I rode my crappy Columbia dirt bike that I later returned (see earlier posts). I bought a Novara Bonanza (REI's store brand) and wanted to take it on the same trail. The group decided to try the trail after we kayaked earlier
that afternoon (see previous post).

I can truly see why there are price differences in bikes. I previously thought that there was not going to be much more than a weight difference between a good MTB and a crappy one, but I was mistaken. Everything about the bike feels better. For example, the brakes really feel progressive (more pressure slows you down more without locking up) and they don't warp or get out of alignment when running them hard. The drivetrain seems to be able to deliver much more power than even my K2 Easy Street Deuce, but I haven't figured that one out yet. Maybe it's due to the chain or the crank length? The front suspension fork is much smoother and seems to have very little 'stiction' (sticky friction that prevents the initial movement of the sliding surfaces). The tires would not let go of the track, even when I rode along the length of a wet rock on the side of the track at around a thirty degree slope. Roots were very fun to traverse, and were easily overcome, even when going up a hill filled with them.

All of us were riding the track on bikes we had not taken off-road before, so there were lots of stops along the way as we figured out how things worked and made adjustments. I want to go again now that everyone has figured things out so that I can ride it continuously as much as possible.

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