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.
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
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.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: May 26, 2006
Strengths: Strong Steel Frame with fillet braised welds, designed by Scot Nicol at Ibis Cycles,internal cable routing,rack mounts,good customer support from REI,NOT made in China!!!
Weaknesses: 1" steer tube, no shock fork, must use frame prep to avoid rust damage internally if used in humid or wet conditions
I bought this frame to build up as a touring bike for a trip to New Zealand in 1991. It performed very well with 75lbs. of camping gear strapped to it for 2 months. I never thought I'd be writing a review about it 15 years later! I've been through a few frames since then so I had to give my input on steel bike frames over the current trend in aluminium frames which in my experience don't hold up very well over time. The Pondo has been to Whistler/Blackcomb for serious downhill pounding as well as numerous trips to Arizona & the High Sierra. It survived 2 summers on the HORDE Festival Tour getting ridden by rowdy roadies. I've only made a few component upgrades over the years & never had any major issues with any part on this bike.If weight is not a big concern & Strength,Reliability & Longevity are, you should consider a steel frame when buying for the long- strong haul. BUY USA STEEL BIKES!!! AVOID THE CRAPPY POT METAL ALUMINIUM BIKES FROM CHINA!!!
I'm having a really hard time finding any information on Novara Ponderosas from years past. A new one (which is a 29er) is $999. But I can't find any info on 26" bikes from 2009.
Anyone have an idea? This bike looks nice but I really don't have a good feel for the value.
[url=http://raleigh.cr ... Read More »
Hi, I'm a new rider just getting into mountain biking to get my weight down to a more manageable level and to have some fun doing it. I'm 6'3" and about 265 lbs and I was looking for an 29er under $1000. I think I have narrowed my choices down to the 2013 Specialized Rockhopper ($879) and the Nava ... Read More »
I posted in the 29er group but was suggested to post here.
[COLOR=#333333]I'm a big guy - currently at 315 pounds and 6'1". I've lost 45 pounds over the last 3 months by eating better and working out more. I want to help continue to drop the weight by biking in the spring/summer/fall. Frie ... Read More »
Hey folks! After FAR TO MANY HOURS researching and obsessing, I decided to purchase my first REAL mountain bike. REI has the Novara Ponderosa 29er listed at $899.99 but members get 20% off through april 16th which in ... Read More »