According to the September Leisure Trends report for the cycling industry, the only category to grow year over year was transit & fitness bikes. The increase was a full 11%. It’s without question that more and more people are looking back towards bicycles as a way to commute to work, get a quick workout and maybe even do some shopping without turning the key in their car’s ignition.
REI is no stranger to being on the ball with trends in the cycling world and earlier this week they released their newest transit bike. Dubbed the Novara Arkham, this new bike is sure to please a lot of riders. Starting with a lightweight and capable alloy frame, this bike has all of the necessary hardware for carrying a lot of gear. To make things a bit easier for commuters, Novara put a Gates CDC carbon belt drive system mated to a 3 speed SRAM iMotion internally geared hub. This system will be nearly maintenance free for riders and not having to lube a chain every week for the consistent commute is always pleasing, not to mention how quiet a belt drive can be. It’s like a Prius sneaking up on you in a parking lot.
More cool features on this bike includes mechanical disc brakes for strong stopping power with a heavy load. Mechanical brakes are easy to adjust and in most cases require very little maintenance. The bike also features a rear rack and front and rear fenders. If you’re really wanting to add more cargo capacity to the bike, the head tube has braze-ons for aftermarket baskets and to keep your pants clean, a chainguard is also stock equipment.
This bike offers a lot for $849 (even less for REI co-op members with $89 coming back in dividends in March). REI’s Novara bikes have been slowly, but surely getting better and better every year. This is a bike to watch, but ride it first and let me know what you think. -RA