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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought one of these last weekend, and since there's virtually nothing about them online I thought I'd post my impressions so far.

Novara Trenta Bike - 2013 at REI.com

I was able to use the REI members 20% off coupon, which brought the price down to $1280, plus my $300 dividend, which meant my pre-tax out of pocket cost was under a grand.

I weighed it several times via the highly scientific bathroom scale method (sans pedals and reflectors), and it came in at 18 lbs on the dot. My other main bike is a Salsa La Cruz, which weighs at least 23 lbs, so the Novara is quite an improvement on that front.

I've done two rides--a 25ish mile ride, and a 23 mile roundtrip commute. The ride quality is quite impressive, especially for an aluminum frame. I'm guessing the curved seatstays help, as do the slightly wider tires.

The Ultegra shifting is great, and significantly better than the 5600 105 setup on my Salsa. I'm especially impressed by how little effort it takes to shift up front. I also find the hoods a bit more comfortable for my slightly smaller hands. I hate the white hoods, however, as they already look filthy. The white bar tape seems to be pretty stain-resistant. The Shimano brakes work much better than Tektros that I've tried in the past.

I'm 5'7" with a 32.5 inch inseam, and I went with the medium. I dropped the bars down by about 1.5cm--the bike comes with 4 or 5cm of stack beneath the stem. I'm pretty happy with the fit otherwise--I was concerned I might need a 90mm stem, but I think I'm probably fine for now. The saddle is not revelatory, but it's plenty good enough that I don't feel a need to replace it.

It's a nice looking bike in person, though black/red/white wouldn't be my first color choice. I put on two Blackburn sprint water bottle cages (in red), which look good and work well so far. I thought the stickers on the wheels look obnoxious, but they come off very easily. The skewers come with screw-off QR levers (I guess for theft prevention purposes), but the store mechanic warned me that they don't screw in very tight and have a tendency to rattle off. I just unscrewed them and threw them in my saddle bag so I wouldn't have to worry about that.

Only thing I'm not pleased with so far is that I'm feeling a fair amount of vibration in the crankset (FSA Gossamer Pro), especially under heavy loads. I know the chain is lubed properly, and the bearings on the pedals are fine, so I'm not sure what's causing it.

I'm happy to answer any questions anyone has about the bike, or even take some pics this weekend if there's anything you'd like to see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'd have to say that the more I ride it, the more I like it. I'd buy it again in a heartbeat. The vibration in the crankset that I wrote about has definitely improved--I think the drivetrain parts just needed some time together. There's still some of that residual feel, but I think it's because there's too much slack in the chain. I'm going to take out at least a couple of links, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

Still not sure how I feel about the compact crank. I don't like the little ring on the flats, but I'm pretty far up the cassette if I cruise in the big ring. I may swap the 50t chainring for a 48, or even 46, since I don't race and I'm a giant wuss of a descender. That's all just a matter of personal preference, though, and I wouldn't let it dissuade you from buying the bike.
 
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