Novara Ponderosa Bike 1998 or Older

4.33/5 (12 Reviews)


Product Description

Ponderosa


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Reviews 1 - 12 (12 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by khangrider a Weekend Warrior from Green Bay, WI

Date Reviewed: April 21, 2010

Strengths:    components are a plus, you get sram x7 front derailleurs and x9 derailleurs, sram x7 shifters and avid bb7 disc brakes, can't complain with that especially for the price!

Weaknesses:    none so far

Bottom Line:   
This bike is a great bike. very very tuff frame, and light as well. Have wiped out many times and still rides smooth. The only thing i had to replace have been the shifters. (cracked on a wipe out) overall a really great bike for the price cant beat it. recomend to all.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   all

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $450.00

Purchased At:   REI

Similar Products Used:   K2, GT, Gary Fisher, Trek


Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Booradley a Cross Country Rider from Kirkland, WA USA

Date Reviewed: December 22, 2008

Strengths:    Great components, light, good climber

Weaknesses:    not great for jumping.

Bottom Line:   
I sent this bike through the ringer and for the most part it did exceptionally well. It was jumped quite a bit and handled it well. Eventually I flattened the back wheel and had to pick up a new one but that was my own fault. The bike is extremely fast and can really take a beating.

Since I've been jumping more and more, I had to move on to full suspension as this bike istn "really" meant ot by flying too much. Its meant for speed and handling.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Big Finn Hill

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $849.00

Purchased At:   REI

Bike Setup:   Off the shop floor, changed out fork for tora 318

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by John Law a Weekend Warrior from Sacramento, CA.

Date Reviewed: August 24, 2008

Strengths:    Before I explain the strengths of this bike I have to explain the set up. Twin Beam road lamps, Advocet Computer, Rear constant burn lamp with turn signals and control module at the bars, rear rack loaded down with about an extra 10 to 15 pounds of gear, twin water bottle cages. Other than that the bike is stock, with exception to the tires. The rubber are IRC Mythos XC’s. Total the bike weighs about 45 to 50 pounds “Tool Kit and full water bottles included”.

I try to ride every day, mainly at a park after work and I put it through light to slightly medium use. On my days off I hit the trail fully loaded down to the gills. The bike runs well on single track smooth trails like the front side of Jenkinson Lake near Pollock Pines, CA. Get toward the back end and it will still handle well in areas where the mountain goats hang out. Salmon Falls near Folsom Lake and trails like Sweet Water do not phase the frame or the components one bit. I have yet to replace anything in over 10 years. I keep banging away at it and it takes every minuet of it with pride and pleasure.

Side Bar: about 1 year ago I did tear the bike down to the frame, clean everything out, shine the contact points and re-assemble everything using Mercury Marine grease with a slight mixture of Pro-Long (Yes that Engine Treatment Stuff). A nifty trick I learned when rebuilding outdrives. High Viscosity grease with a water / moisture repellant and a tight set of seals will enhance the performance and longevity of the equipment.


Weaknesses:    Weaknesses are few and far between. Mainly the only drawback is having a 1 inch receiving tube for the forks. I will make me a little nervous when negotiating a steep grade with stalagmite rock and boulder protrusions. This is where a slightly thicker fork tube enhances ones piece of mind and sense of safety when my 220 pounds of forward momentum is dangling over the handlebars. Things to think about.

Bottom Line:   
Here is the deal, If you are lucky enough to come across one of these bikes, you will not be disappointed. The Scot Nicol Design is the one to have in the REI – Novara - Ponderosa Model. I continue to beat the heck out of it 1 day a week and the other six days are spent on trails and fire type roads. I check the weld joints every week and they are still holding on, with no signs of stress fracture on the tubes (And my fat arse should put it under plenty of stress). If I had to do it again and buy a hard tail bike, I would gladly pay another $750.00 for this set up.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   American River / Natomas

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $750.00

Purchased At:   REI Sacramento

Similar Products Used:   Cannondale, TREK, Peugeot, Specialized and so on.

Bike Setup:   The stand alone bike is stock. I have add-ons that are described above. Otherwise there have not been any component replacements, just tires and break pads.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by maximdonch a Cross Country Rider from Milwaukee, WI, USA

Date Reviewed: August 13, 2008

Strengths:    The SRAM X.9 and X.7 set up... You can't beat it for the price. (Wife has a Specialized, with Shimano Deoro LX... and it is crap in comparison) The brakes are top notch for cable fed and not hydraulic (good for me since I don't like extensive maintenance. The bike only weighs 25lbs. The WTB rims are both light and strong for X-country (don't think they are strong enough to bounce off a 4 foot drop, but then again neither is the front shock)

The WTB seat was the most comfortable seat I sat on for a stock bike.

The SRAM brand TruVativ and cane creek gear throughout the bike really show the quality.

Lifetime warranty on the frame (beats everyone else)

Basically a $1200 bike for half price.


Weaknesses:    The Rock Shox Dart 2 is the only weakness... only has 80mm of play. However this bike overall has been bulletproof... I say that because I am a heavy rider (250lbs) and it has taken what I've thrown at it without complaint.

Bottom Line:   
This is a great bike for the money... you really can't go wrong. The lifetime warranty and the top notch components really give you a great deal.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Tomboy (in Telluride, CO)

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $639.00

Purchased At:   REI

Similar Products Used:   Specialized Rockhopper Comp Disc
Trek 6700



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by David Weisenhorn a Cross Country Rider from Raleigh

Date Reviewed: July 11, 2007

Strengths:    Manitou Axel Elite fork, WTB dual duty XC rims and WTB Weirwolves tires , disc ready hubs, Truvativ FireX cranks, Shimano SM-PD22 clipless pedals, Avid SD5 brakes but disc ready, Truvativ XR stem, handlebar and seatpost, WTB pureV saddle. Deore LX shifters and front derailleur, real derailleur XT.

Frame is solid and is reasonably lightweight. Overall weight of bike is 25 lbs, which is hard to find at this price.


Weaknesses:    Manitou Axel Fork - like a pogo stick

Bottom Line:   
This is a great bike for the price. I have raced this bike several times and it never lets me down. The components are high end for the cost. This is definitely a bike I would recommnend to someone looking for a great bike at a great price. It can take a real beating! A great bike to start with if you are looking to do any kind of XC riding.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Beaver Dam

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $700.00

Purchased At:   REI - Arlington, VA

Similar Products Used:   Trex 4900, Gary Fisher Wahoo - Better than both


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Madayan a Weekend Warrior from St. Louis, MO

Date Reviewed: April 17, 2006

Strengths:    Pretty nice setup with decent mid-level to upper mid-level components - Manitou Axel Elite fork, WTB dual duty XC rims and tires (can't remember which one), Shimano HB-M475 hubs, Truvativ FireX cranks, Shimano SM-PD22 clipless pedals, Sram PG970 cassette, Avid SD5 brakes, Truvativ XR stem, handlebar and seatpost, WTB pureV saddle. Nice drivetrain - LX shifters and front derailleur, real derailleur upgraded to XT.

Frame seems solid and is reasonably lightweight. Overall weight of bike is about 27 lbs, which is pretty nice for this pricepoint. Note that i got this 2005 model on clearence (original price was $800 I believe). Also, hubs are disc ready.

Just took the bike for its first long ride this weekend and it performed very well - shifting was very smooth and it really wasn't strenuous riding the bike for 40 miles - most of the route was paved :-P

Bike geometry is good and provides the perfect fit for me (15" frame and I am 5'8"). Also the crowbar shaped handlebar is very comfortable. Great brakes and good grip with the tires.


Weaknesses:    Forks could be better, but for my purpose (mainly trail riding), I can't even complain about it.

Bottom Line:   
Excellent bike for low to medium level trail riding. Can't say how these forks will perform for harder trails - I wouldn't bet on them much (esp going by reviews here on Axel elite).

Overall, I am very happy with this purchase - couldn't get anything better for this price! Will have to give 5 stars for value and performance. Can't say what my rating will be at original price.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $540.00

Purchased At:   REI

Similar Products Used:   Test rode a few other bikes in this price range - Specialized, Raleigh, K2 and Scott. This had the best componentry and best ride (obviously correlated!)

Bike Setup:   Stock setup mentioned above.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Madayan a Weekend Warrior from St. Louis, MO

Date Reviewed: April 17, 2006

Strengths:    Pretty nice setup with decent mid-level to upper mid-level components - Manitou Axel Elite fork, WTB dual duty XC rims and tires (can't remember which one), Shimano HB-M475 hubs, Truvativ FireX cranks, Shimano SM-PD22 clipless pedals, Sram PG970 cassette, Avid SD5 brakes, Truvativ XR stem, handlebar and seatpost, WTB pureV saddle. Nice drivetrain - LX shifters and front derailleur, real derailleur upgraded to XT.

Frame seems solid and is reasonably lightweight. Overall weight of bike is about 27 lbs, which is pretty nice for this pricepoint. Note that i got this 2005 model on clearence (original price was $800 I believe). Also, hubs are disc ready.

Just took the bike for its first long ride this weekend and it performed very well - shifting was very smooth and it really wasn't strenuous riding the bike for 40 miles - most of the route was paved :-P

Bike geometry is good and provides the perfect fit for me (15" frame and I am 5'8"). Also the crowbar shaped handlebar is very comfortable. Great brakes and good grip with the tires.


Weaknesses:    Forks could be better, but for my purpose (mainly trail riding), I can't even complain about it.

Bottom Line:   
Excellent bike for low to medium level trail riding. Can't say how these forks will perform for harder trails - I wouldn't bet on them much (esp going by reviews here on Axel elite).

Overall, I am very happy with this purchase - couldn't get anything better for this price!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $540.00

Purchased At:   REI

Similar Products Used:   Test rode a few other bikes in this price range - Specialized, Raleigh, K2 and Scott. This had the best componentry and best ride (obviously correlated!)

Bike Setup:   Stock setup mentioned above.

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Garrett a Cross Country Rider from Tacoma, WA, USA

Date Reviewed: July 17, 2004

Strengths:    strong frame, great paint(pearlescent blue), solid cranks, good value, handles and rides nice and its stiff, REI used to be more of a co-op.

Weaknesses:    The pedals sucked- plastic with plastic toeclips and its 30lbs currently but new it was 31 which was average to light for the time(lower level race bikes were 30lbs then). REI is now much more about profits while still claiming to be a co-op.

Bottom Line:   
Its a 92 or 93 model I bought new 1993. It has been a good bike overall. a few bits could have been one notch higher in the component rankings but it wasn't bad stuff. Shimano like to build a set life into their stuff I found, it all wears at the same rate and can't be rebuilt.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $600.00

Purchased At:   REI

Similar Products Used:   test road a bunch over the years but thats it.

Bike Setup:   Currently the stem, cranks, front derailer, frame, and seatpost are thats stock and the Mt. rack I got with it is still there. In 98 or 99 I'd wornout most of the parts that can wear with moderate usage and got new wheels shifters brake levers and combind the the best parts stock shocks with another set of the same brand(shock company was no more) ending with a mildly better but still below par pair of shocks as the elastomers are not availible for tange struts any more and they do go bad. I broke the handle bar around the time of the rebuild.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by steamship a Weekend Warrior from sherman oaks ca

Date Reviewed: July 5, 2003

Strengths:    Price to Quality ratio. Strong frame. Comfortable ride(even with the hard seat). Nice frame welds. Great brakes!

Weaknesses:    Colors. Noisy suspension. Hard ass seat. Cheap rubber fitting(very minor-both front and rear rubber brake line protectors ripped the first day out-cost $.50 to repair-no big deal)

Bottom Line:   
I am happy with this bike so far. No complaints. Bike feels good in the turns at high speeds. Rear slides out the way it should with complete control. Suspension sounds a little "creaky" for lack of a better word. Maybe it just needs to be worked in a bit. We will see after all it was my first day out on the bike and I gave it my all for 2.5 hours. Good bike for weekend warriors or even daily trail runs for exercise. Light enough to strap on a roof rack yet durable enough to jump(small jumps that is). Definately a good buy...

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $749.00

Purchased At:   REI

Similar Products Used:   Specialized Stump-Jumper FS

Bike Setup:   Stock

Overall Rating:4
Submitted by Donks a Weekend Warrior from boston, ma

Date Reviewed: April 13, 1999

Strengths:    
reasonable price, sepecially when you consider REI dividend policy; manitou sx fork; ritchey and shimano LX components


Weaknesses:    
front wheel keeps going out of true


Bottom Line:   
Pretty pleased. It climbs very well and snakes through the woods far better than my old cro mo. 27 speeds are sweet and the 27 LX and Manitou work smoothly.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   
3 months

Similar Products Used:   
specialized stumpjumper; marin



Overall Rating:4
Submitted by frunkstein a Cross-Country Rider from carbon city, ma

Date Reviewed: April 13, 1999

Strengths:    
stight on the singletrack, great climbre, good components


Weaknesses:    
fugly colors


Bottom Line:   
pretty freakin' sweet considerin' the price! would't mind a repaint job, tho bro! Get out and rip out.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   
less than 1 month

Similar Products Used:   
cdale f700; bianchi grizzly; trek 8000



Overall Rating:5
Submitted by ziggy a weekend warrior from va

Date Reviewed: November 4, 1998

Bottom Line:   

I got my Ponderosa from REI about 1.5 years ago. It's held up great and is very
enjoyable. The high end components and fork provided on this bike result in
one of (if not THE) best deals in mountain bikes. The frame is strong and is
made by Park-Pre. I turned on a couple of friends to this model also. Lastly,
REI customer service is EXCELLENT! On a dollar to dollar comparison with other
bikes, I give it a 5 star rating.

Reviews 1 - 12 (12 Reviews Total)

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


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