User Tools

Site Tools



Novara was the private label brand of bicycles for REI, a chain of sporting goods stores, from 1983 → 20161). Until 2021, REI was headquartered in Kent, WA, which is coincidentally also home to the headquarters of Diamondback Bicycles, the early supplier of Novara bicycles 2). It's a coincidence because back in 1983, Diamond Back was in Newbury Park, CA. Did they move closer together on purpose? In mid 80's REI likely had only a dozen locations, increasing to over 165 by 20203).

Starting in 1987, Scot Nicols, of Ibis Cycles designed and produced Novara's Ponderosa mountain bikes.4)

Mary (1909→2017) and Lloyd Anderson (1902→2000)
Founders of REI, in 1946.

1983 Outback

SunTour Superbe Tech L (1983)5). Front fork bosses supposedly only on 1984s - yet 1984 rear derailleurs were MounTech (82-84.)

This bike is nearly identical to the 1983 Diamond Back Mean Streak, except for the rear derailleur cable guide needed for the Outback's odd SunTour Superbe Tech L6). They even have identical fork bosses, cable guides, and almost the same component sets.

The ParkPre history page states that Junya (Cozy) Yamakoshi, the founder of Diamond Back and Centurion7) designed the early Novara bicycles. Further evidence of the Novara - Diamond Back relationship.

Superbe velobase
Another look at SunTour's Superbe. The entire parallelogram is sealed, which is unique amongst all derailleurs, then or since.

1983 Outback
1983 Outback facebook

1984 Outback

Looks identical - except for the rear derailleur, the cable guide, seat tube stickers, and missing water bottle cage holes.

1984 Outback
1984 Outback facebook

1987 Ponderosa

Designed by Scot Nicol, of Ibis Cycles.

Deore derailleurs (87-88), 29.5 pounds, $589. This appears to be identical to the Ibis Avion, which Ibis designed and imported from Japan.

1987 Ponderosa
1987 Ponderosa ibiscycles

1988 Ponderosa

Fillet brazed! 1988 Ibis Avions remained TIG welded. 8)

1988 Ponderosa
1988 Ponderosa bikeforums

1990 Aspen

Shimano Exage, 29 pounds.

1990 Aspen
1990 Aspen svipshops

1991 Arriba

First gen Shimano Deore LX. The tires don't look very mountain bike like.

1991 Arriba
1991 Arriba proxbid

Details from wikipedia.
Kent, WA. is also the home to Raleigh Bicycle and Redline Bicycles
Six stores in 1980 and twenty six in 1990 and wikipedia
Scot also designed Novara's X-R Road bike. Catalog scans can be found here: ibis cycles
This is not the long cage GTL, but simply the medium caged Tech L. See: velobase
Is this the only mountain bike the Superbe Tech derailleur exists upon? Disraeligears states: “The story of the SunTour Superbe Tech series is a perfect example of hubris - of overweening pride, self-confidence, and even arrogance resulting in fatal retribution”, as a preface to how bad this derailleur was. They were also spec'd on early Univegas.
The US version Centurion sold only road bikes. Easily confused with Centurion of Germany, who had a similar logo early on - but appear to be separate.
With some exceptions. See: Facebook. This Ibis Avion, from the Vintage MTB Workshop, has completely different cable routing. Perhaps it's possibly a custom order using Avion model name? Or did they import fillet brazed frames?
novara/start.txt · Last modified: 2022/01/07 15:42 by mtbtimeline