The Novara Fusion, designed and sold by REI exclusively, has been significantly updated for 2011. It is the high-end commuting and utility model, above the more moderately-priced Novara Transfer. When it was last reviewed in 2008, the Fusion had an 8-speed Nexus hub, roller brakes, and a dynamo-powered halogen headlight, on a diamond-shaped aluminum frame. Now the Fusion has a steeply angled frame, almost a step-thru design, made of 4130 chromoly steel, the hubs have been upgraded to a Shimano Alfine 8-speed rear and Alfine dynamo front, powering Basta Pilot LED lights, and the brakes have changed to mechanical disks.
Oddly, a chain tensioner is included, which gives the bike an appearance of a derailer set-up, but the gears are internal. The steeply sloping top tube and the short accessory tube in front of the seat are unusual, but have the practical effect of allowing a low stand-over height and easy boarding, without appearing too much like a “ladies bike”.
This bike is still the complete package, with fenders, a chainguard, kickstand, and a well-designed rear rack, and at $949 it has a very reasonable price, considering the Alfine-group components, and the usual 10% discount available to REI members. A cheaper option is the Novara Transfer. In practice, after including a $20 membership, the bike costs $879.
Frame: Chromoly 4130, TIG-welded, steeply sloped top tube with low-standover
Rims: 700C – Weinmann SEC-16 Alloy double wall
Tires: 700×35 Vittoria Randonneur, with reflective sidewalls and puncture guard
Front hub: Shimano Alfine Dynamo, 36h
Rear hub: Shimano Alfine 8-speed internal gear hub, 36h
Shifter: Shimano Alfine RapidFire trigger shifter
Handlebar: “Lee Chi” alloy, all-rounder bar
Stem: Kalloy quill
Headset: FPD threaded
Crankset: SR, 42t
Bottom bracket: SR square taper
Rear Cog: Shimano, 20t
Chain: KMC Z99
Pedals: FPD alloy platform
Front & rear Brake: Shimano BR-M416-L, mechanical disc
Brake levers: Tektro
Saddle: Velo plush (foam paddled)
Seat post: Kalloy
Chainguard: Alloy, plus chainring
Kickstand: Single, center-mount
Fenders: Novara (Alloy)
Rack: Alloy rear rack
Lights: Basta Sprint dynamo-powered LED headlight with standlight capacitor, and Basta battery-powered LED taillight with sensor
Extras: Integrated bell
Colors: “Coastal Gray” (blue-gray)
|Height range||5’3″ – 5’7″||5’7″-5’11”||5’11-6’3″|
|Seat Tube Center-Center||15.7||18||20.5|
|Effective Top Tube||21.5||22.4||23.6|
|Head Tube Angle (degree)||70||70||70|
|Seat Tube Angle (degree)||73||72||72|
There are few reviews of the Fusion for 2011, but many reviews of the previous model are available.
Wired Magazine has reviewed the 2011 Fusion
About Bicycles test-rode the 2009 Novara Fusion
Let’s Go Ride A Bike also had a test-ride in 2009
Commuting Cyclist bought a 2009 Fusion
The 6-Miler compared the Fusion with the Breezer in 2005; out of date but interesting
Has anyone tried out the new 2011 model? Please leave a comment with your thoughts.
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