REI retires Novara brand, launches Co-op Cycles

Leading outdoor retailer repositions cycling business

Cross Country Interbike News Road Bike

Interbike Mtbr

Novara is no more. In its place is Co-op Cycles, which sets itself apart with subdued graphics, low key branding, and affordable build kits.

Novara is no more. In its place is Co-op Cycles, which sets itself apart with subdued graphics, low key branding, and affordable build kits.

REI is the one place I enjoy shopping. This story holds true for many cyclists. The store is filled with everything you need to get outside and is backed by an incredible one year no questions asked warranty.

At the launch, almost half of the Co-op Cycle models will be rebranded Novara models (mostly their best selling road and adventure line up), but will be quickly upgraded over the coming year.

At the launch, almost half of the Co-op Cycle models will be rebranded Novara models (mostly their best selling road and adventure line up), but will be quickly upgraded over the coming year.

As long as I can remember, they’ve always had a portion of the store dedicated to cycling. They carry a number of premium brands, as well as their own in-house line of bikes. In the past, these models were branded Novara. This name didn’t link back to REI in any way, which lead to confusion among REI Co-op members and other consumers.

The Co-op line will feature everything from kids bikes to carbon road bikes.

The Co-op line will feature everything from kids bikes to carbon road bikes.

After performing numerous member surveys and collecting feedback from employees, REI has elected to sunset the old Novara line over the next few months. In its place, they’re introducing Co-op Cycles, which will include adventure, mountain, city, and youth models.

The DRT models are purpose built for off-road riding. Prices will start at around $599 and top out around $1,599. If you’re interested in bikes above those price points, REI also carries Cannondale, Ghost, Salsa, and Diamondback.

Co-op Cycles may not command premium prices, but they offer a smartly spec'd package.

Co-op Cycles may not command premium prices, but they offer a smartly spec’d package.

The entire Co-op line will consist of 22 models. At Interbike, they had two hardtails and two road bikes on display. The entry level DRT 1.3 retails for just over a thousand dollars and ships with a Shimano 2×10 drivetrain and thru axle 120mm Suntour fork. Other highlights include internal routing, options for stealth dropper post routing, and a wide bar/short stem combo.

The DRT 2.1 model is a plus sized hardtail with boost spacing that’s compatible with 29” wheels. It features a Shimano SLX 1×11 drivetrain and 120mm X-Fusion fork for just $1,599.

Over the next few months, REI also plans on launching a new Co-op brand of clothing. They’re also working to support local nonprofits to help build cycling infrastructure and improve trails.

For more info, visit www.rei.com.

This article is part of Mtbr’s coverage of the 2016 Interbike trade show in Las Vegas. For more from Interbike CLICK HERE.

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  • Anonamoose says:

    With all due respect to REI members, a rebranding isn’t what’s needed to solve the relentless slide towards being a fashion-first T-shirt shop. Once REI rivaled any store for the best value in serious outdoor equipment. Now >80% of the store is aimed squarely at car camping and backyard entertaining. Once you pass all the cotton shirts and overpriced folding furniture, back in the bike section you will find low-end CoOp bikes and a few Ghost mid-range bikes — but nobody who knows how to fit a bike properly or set up a suspension correctly.

    Sorry REI, we used to love shopping at your stores. But then you became just another retailer distributing what Columbia and an handful of other mega-manufacturers push at the masses. The range of products you carry only goes from chinese junk to taiwanese middle-of-the-road. Want a made-in-the-USA canoe or kayak? Not a chance. A bike with top-end SRAM or Campagnolo components? Forget about it.

    Rebranding bikes simply doesn’t make your store special. To do that, you need to get back to your roots, which served everything including the highest quality stuff — all at the best prices in town.

    • Payless says:

      Amen to that brother, I’ve been saying this for years now. 2 seasons ago I was planning a backpacking trip through the Whites and went to my local REI to pick up an updated map and trail guide and they had notta. Im in NJ, how do you have an outdoor store that doesn’t have maps to the most visited park on the East Coast.

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