IB16: REI taps members to relaunch bicycle brand as adventure focused Co-op Cycles

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REI has reworked their house cycling brand to create Co-op Cycles. They took feedback from their members (REI is a Co-op, hence the name) to get the desired new features and married them with the good stuff from Novara. The new brand will replace Novara and have a more aggressive lineup that’s less focused on the city commuter and more on touring, all road and mountain bikes.

The lineup is launching with DRT (mountain bikes) and ARD (all road). Following soon are ADV (adventure), CTY (we’ll give you one guess), and REV (youth) bikes. Matching apparel options will coordinate bike and kit for the intended use.

Starting with all road, the ARD 1.4 is a carbon gravel road bike that comes with 700×28 tires (clearance for 35mm treads), thru axles and cable/wire routing that can be done internally or externally to suit your tastes.

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Hidden fender mounts on the fork and rear triangle give the bike year ’round ride-ability.

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It’ll display in REI stores with 105 for $2,299.

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The ARD 1.2 is essentially the same bike in alloy, but it adds the ability to carry a rear rack. It also gets Shimano 105 but with mechanical TRP Spyre brakes at $1,299.

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On the mountain, the DRT 2.1 is a 27.5+ bike running 2.8″ tires that’ll also take Boost 29er wheels with up to a 2.25″ tire. Like the big brands, it gets a long, low and slack trail geometry.

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It’s ready for a stealth dropper post (not included) and is spec’d with Shimano SLX 1×11 and an X-Fusion McQueen 120mm fork. Retail is $1,599.

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The DRT 1.3 steps down to Deore 2×10 and a Suntour Raidon 120mm fork for $1,099.

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keoni
keoni
6 years ago

This one of the “WORST” logos I have ever seen!!! It looks like it says COOP if you don’t read close enough….nothing exciting about those bikes, but a poor attempt to knock off other IBD brands.

anonymous
anonymous
6 years ago
Reply to  keoni

Coop is an acceptable spelling for co-operative/cooperative. It’s a house brand, it’s not meant to be exciting.

Antipodean_eleven
6 years ago
Reply to  keoni

Actually, it’s smart and probably will do quite well for them; the bikes are solid and well spec’d enough to be legitimate contenders for the given market and being ‘within’ the REI Co-op, should be enough to nab the casual buyer who likes a one stop shop.

The logo is OK but I agree, does read ‘Coop’…. though if you you know, ‘Coop’ is also pretty cool… though I don’t think ‘Coop’ himself would approve.

eatridegrow
6 years ago

comment image

mudrock
mudrock
6 years ago

A better name IMO would be Whitaker, to honor Jim Whitaker, first American up Everest and founding member of REI in ’62, I think. If they provide good value doesn’t really matter that much. Plus if you’re a member you get approx. 10% rebate at the end of the year. That’s $220 the ARD 1.4.

Chris
Chris
6 years ago
Reply to  mudrock

Actually REI was founded in 1938.

Andy
Andy
6 years ago
Reply to  mudrock

Yikes, Whitaker gives the impression of a heavy, outdated, old school touring bike.

Dirty Sanchez
Dirty Sanchez
6 years ago

They brought in Salsa for adventure bikes so they could turn around and launch their own brand of adventure bikes to compete with the Salsa’s with. Or compliment them if you’re an REI exec explaining all of this to Salsa.

anonymous
anonymous
6 years ago
Reply to  Dirty Sanchez

They had Surly before when they had Novara. This is nothing new. House brand bikes are often sold side by side with more premium products.

Dirty Sanchez
Dirty Sanchez
6 years ago
Reply to  anonymous

Did their Novara’s copy Surly’s M/O? I don’t know, I’m asking. The article says adventure focused Co-op. Isn’t Salsa’s branding Adventure By Bike? At first glance it seems Salsa will be there just long enough for the Novara’s to rip off and duplicate them.

Dirty Sanchez
Dirty Sanchez
6 years ago
Reply to  Dirty Sanchez

Sorry, Co-op to duplicate them.

Chris
Chris
6 years ago
Reply to  Dirty Sanchez

Actually it’s the other way around! Novara offered the Safari which for years was pretty much the only dedicated production off road touring bike. It was a model years before Surly or Salsa jumped on the bandwagon. The Safari was in turn a less expensive and beefier version of the Bridgestone XO-1 from the early 90s. Nothing is ever as new as it seems!!

Dirty Sanchez
Dirty Sanchez
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris

Chris I’m not following. Are you saying a bike called the Novara Safari was ripped off by Salsa? I get that REI of all people would probably have an “adventure” bike, I’m not getting why they would bring in Salsa and then change the focus of their house brand to mimic them. Why not just rebrand Co-op and skip Salsa. They’re both overseas ma…..oh forget it. Everythings great

Chris
Chris
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris

Not saying Salsa ripped off REI (or vice versa). Two different companies can independently come up with an idea. As for why they would sell Salsa and Novara that’s simple: diversity. Same reason they sell jackets from Marmot, North Face and Mountain Hardwear even though all 3 are functionally the same and in many cases are made in the same factories from the same materials.

Mashira
Mashira
6 years ago

These look totally respectable. REI’s steel bikes were pretty awesome bikes for the money, but everything made of aluminum seemed very…. yawn.

Allan
Allan
6 years ago

It’s fine…doesn’t blow me away, but I get why they are doing it. Touring and “adventure” cycling is the newest thing, so they should take advantage of the trends. Pricing seems about right, not too cheap to be dept store level, but not trying to compete with people who have to have the coolest/best thing out there. I personally wouldn’t buy one, but I’m sure there will be a good market for the typical REI shopper.

Shadowy REI Tech
Shadowy REI Tech
6 years ago
Reply to  Allan

I can’t speak to corporate’s thought process here, as I’m not privy to that information, but if I had to hazard a guess I would say that the move to making mid-line bikes is a deliberate push to distance themselves from Novara’s entry-level reputation. Right now Diamondback and Ghost (and Cannondale in some shops) are doing a more than admirable job of handling the lower-cost bikes in most of our shops, and I think it’s going to stay that way for a few years at least.

What I am curious to see is how the softgoods update to match the new “adventure” focus. Even we REI employees haven’t seen what is in store for that. My hope is a little more MTB focus, but keeping the more muted colorways Novara is using right now. Unless they make a full teal enduro kit, you can never have enough teal.

Mike D
6 years ago

Never enough teal.. though I am also found of aqua and turquoise.

TJ
TJ
6 years ago

As someone with direct experience, admittedly several years out of date, this direction is pretty surprising, because those price points are actually well above what most REI shoppers are willing to spend. Their bread & butter in the Novara line were the beginner hardtail mountain bikes and hybrids/commuters in the 500 to 750 range. When Novara did attempt to make higher end bikes, like the Squadra or the Intrepid, very few customers bought them. The bikes look perfectly fine for what they are, but unless their core customer has changed significantly in the last 4 years, I will be surprised if they sell a lot of them.

Chris
Chris
6 years ago
Reply to  TJ

Right? I’m pretty sure 70% of the Squadras were pro dealed by emoyees and the rest sold on clearance.

John
John
6 years ago

I remember Novaro from 8 or 10 years ago when their aluminum frames would snap in half, seemingly for no reason at all. Worse still, REI tried (unsuccessfully) to dodge financial liability by blaming the company in Taiwan doing manufacturing of REI’s frame designs. One of the individuals injured was a long-time REI employee. For anyone interested in the story, search ‘Novaro’ on Wikipedia.

Gary
Gary
6 years ago

I love REI, but their Novara bikes have always been made in China, not Taiwan, for what it’s worth. Another disincentive for me has been that their steel bikes have always sported the cheap-looking welds either side of the rear dropouts that can be seen in your photo of the new mountain bike. I don’t know whether this method of construction makes any difference in terms of durability, but I don’t like the look. (Can any engineers or fabricators out there hazard an opinion?)

John
John
6 years ago
Reply to  Gary

The KOMO 4 article (from the Wayback Machine) clearly says Taiwan. Remember that ten years ago Taiwan was the Asian hub of bike manufacturing.

web.archive.org/web/20130618191601/http://www.komonews.com/news/problemsolvers/REI-defends-reputation-despite-claims-of-broken-bikes-and-injured-riders-208380251.html