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PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:39 pm 
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November Bikes - The company is very local to me and I'm in the unique position to try out their products from time-to-time.

Their new bike frame, dubbed the dojo, is a perfect example of this (not too long ago I was privileged to get a set of their Rail 52 carbon clinchers, I reviewed them in Everything Wheels). If you haven't heard of November Bikes I recommend that you check them out. They're a small (U.S. Based) company that's been around a few years. They have partners in the UK, NZ .. maybe other places.

Even if you don't have any interest in their products or philosophy, the blog is real good reading. They talk about the industry at times, trends and have some good insight to share on a regular basis.

Their FB page: https://www.facebook.com/NovemberBicycles
Also, their main page: http://www.novemberbicycles.com/

Image

So, the frame, the dojo. First of interest to me is that It's from an open mold. This brings questions in my mind which I won't go into detail over now .. but, I do know and can say that it's made with the more expensive time consuming layup process and primarily (solely?) T1000 carbon (from their website). They seem to be shooting for a very high end high performance frame here, not just some 3k weave bike around 1000g. If you check the links above you will notice they just released pricing and build options. They will presell it as just a frameset but offer just about every other option as well.

So, to say I demo'd this bike is an understatement. I've gone to the LBS and tried out a bike for 30 minutes. This was nothing like that. I rode this bike for about a month. The GPS tracks show I did about 450 miles on this bike. This includes some popular local group rides, solo rides with lots of climbing, plenty of riding on rough tarmac as well as some non-paved bike path. I almost solely rode this frame for about a month, everything except commuting (it was requested I don't commute with it). I rode it with the wheels it came with mostly (November's own 38mm carbon clincher - the RSFC-38). It was outfitted with SRAM Force, 53-39 (with Quark power meter), but also used it with the Rail 52s.

I really wasn't expecting to like this bike as much as I did! From the git go I was taken aback by the ride quality, it's ability to handle road vibration, jolts big and small. The ride was better than any steel frame bike I'd ridden. I found myself not minding some particular roads I used to loathe. It's funny because when there is nobody else to talk about this bike with - who better to talk about the bike with than the only other guy I know that has ridden it. And that was owner Mike. I remember him telling me about it before I'd gotten to ride it. It kind of went in one ear and out the other. Now that I'd ridden it I could bug him with all the positive feedback. The bike is awesome. For comparison sake, I've ridden a 2013 R5 before - that was a fantastic riding bike, very comparable, yet I think I like the dojo more. It's hard to really say because I only was on the R5 for about 20 minutes. And to clarify, if someone let me choose between a R5 and dojo for free, I'd probably pick the R5. But they're NOT the same price, not even close. And truly, the performance difference is negligible to me. I had the dojo for a month, I loved it as much the first day as the day I returned it. And a word about that - I was lucky they were so busy with their new wheels being so popular - that let me have some extra unplanned time with it. In the end it was tough giving it back to say the least.

Other notes - Frame stiffness is also top tier. The bottom bracket area is very robust. I think some perspective on my part is in order, yes, I sometimes ride a Ti frame bike also (Litespeed). Very easy to scrape the front derailleur in certain gears and while sprinting. That simply was not ever a problem on this frame. I always had the feeling that every watt I was producing was getting to that back wheel. A very efficient and rigid powerhouse of a frame. Standup and sprint out of the saddle and the bike bobs nicely below you. It likes to climb. A stiff frame - in the places where it should be stiff. It's got the big rigid and tapered head tube up front, this must add to it's overall stability and a secure feeling on fast descents. The demo bike had a BSA BB but I understand it's going to be sold with a BB30 (or similar).

Other things I can add, I'm told the frame weight is about 850 grams. That seemed about right, the bike feels very light. In the month I had it I never weighed it. But, I'm sure this will show itself when they start producing them.

So the short of it -- I believe they have achieved their goal of high-end, high performance lightweight race machine. Yet, you can have it for all day comfort as well - it would be perfect for any grand fondo or century in my opinion. It doesn't have the cache of any of the competing high end bikes, but I'm okay with that because it also doesn't have their prices either. Plus from a reputable company trying to build a customer base. Since I'm a past customer I have that good experience and can recommend them to anyone asking - yes, I know one of the owners but really, they treat me just like anyone else.

Bob

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Posted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:39 pm 


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:16 pm 
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Bobalou, did the store fit you for the frame you tested? It looks quite big based on the seatpost height.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:19 pm 
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Thanks for this. I ran across their website recently and found their blog posts refreshing.

Any others that can comment on the quality of these frames (no disrespect of course bobalou, just interested in a sample size of n+1). :wink:

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:26 pm 
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mike wrote:
Bobalou, did the store fit you for the frame you tested? It looks quite big based on the seatpost height.


Good question and good observation. It was offered to change out the stem for me, and I thought I might take them up on it but turns out that wasn't necessary. I am short but like a bike a size bigger usually - short legs with a long torso (my current bike a size 52 has a 140 stem on it). The dojo that I demo'd is a 54.

The bike looks much nicer presented on their Facebook page, no doubt! Look at that photo. Maybe I'll post it here.



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:28 pm 
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@mike, I read this as a "loaner" bike... you get what you get and you don't get upset. ;-)

@bobalou, am I mistaken?

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:35 pm 
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This doesn't seem like an advert in exchange for letting you use their bike, not at all... One thing if this was a small company making their own stuff, but really. How is this not just another one of the zillion other dealers of re-branded open moulds straight out of a chinese catalog? Fairly certain the T1000-upgrade is a ready option, just tick the box in the checkout.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:44 pm 
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Powerful Pete wrote:
Thanks for this. I ran across their website recently and found their blog posts refreshing.

Any others that can comment on the quality of these frames (no disrespect of course bobalou, just interested in a sample size of n+1). :wink:


None taken! A note on their previous frame, called the Wheelhouse. I actually never rode that one but am familiar with it. Their first foray into bike frames and not a bad one from what I have heard and read.

I had the privilege of watching November go through some growing pains with that first frame, perhaps (I'm guessing) they learned some lessons from that. Perhaps because of that or as a result of that .. I know they took extra time to get the dojo right, find the right supplier with the relationship and the build they were seeking.

Maybe a better way to judge - if a guy brings phenomenal beer to a party, but for himself to drink, that's the guy you want building your bike. Maybe that's their philosophy in a nutshell. They want the good stuff for themselves.


Powerful Pete wrote:
@mike, I read this as a "loaner" bike... you get what you get and you don't get upset. ;-)

@bobalou, am I mistaken?


Good analysis. But I couldn't complain - I know the seat looks low but I loved the bike fit.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 9:01 pm 
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Bobalou, it sounds like you need a sloping frame for your size. Shorter standover height but longer top tube


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 9:16 pm 
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DMF wrote:
This doesn't seem like an advert in exchange for letting you use their bike, not at all... One thing if this was a small company making their own stuff, but really. How is this not just another one of the zillion other dealers of re-branded open moulds straight out of a chinese catalog? Fairly certain the T1000-upgrade is a ready option, just tick the box in the checkout.


Well, it was never asked that I review it (or even hinted).

Mike and I know each other mostly because our daughters grew up together and are friends (they're 6 now so that's about how long I've known Mike). I knew from the beginning that Mike raced but over time watched him start the company with a friend. Fast forward a few years from there, I get to try some of their stuff - no strings attached. But really, the least I can do in return is talk about it. What would you do in the same fix? Nothing bad in that I think!!

I'm glad you bring up the chinese catalog. I think there is another blog where this was discussed (and November answered).. let me try to find a link. Their words are going to answer that better. But my feeling, I'd rather pay a little more and know what I'm getting and who I'm talking to then roll the dice on emailing with "nancy" from China. And it leads to other questions which I can't really answer - is the quality of the frame and customer service really comparable when buying direct from China?


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 9:26 pm 
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Here's what I found. You might have to go to page 2 I think.

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php/768561-November-Bicycles-any-thoughts/page2?highlight=November


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 9:37 pm 
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mike wrote:
Bobalou, it sounds like you need a sloping frame for your size. Shorter standover height but longer top tube


Any recommendations? I have such a bike already, a Specialized Roubaix .. but still with the long stem. Short legs and long torso is good for tennis and raquetball but strange for bike fit.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:07 pm 
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I'm a big fan of November's blog and their honesty. Had I not already bought an open mold frame (Hongfu fm066, ridden hard all season without issue) I likely would have bought one of theirs, simply because of the ease of warranty should that arise. They seem to put a fair amount of research into their sources, and there is some level of comfort there. My open mold experience was very satisfying but there was a bit of anxiety on the front end.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 11:27 pm 
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Well nothing wrong with open moulds, if you know what you're getting yourself into. And nothing wrong with bike shops or other retailers putting their own brand on such a frame in order to turn a profit.

I was more getting at the rather blatant sugar pouring of yours over this product, to which you yourself are sort of affiliated. To me, taking the actual content of your first post into consideration, it just smells like a pile of promotion/spam/advertisememt disguised as a forum post.

But that might just be me, so I'll end my ramblings here.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 11:45 pm 
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What November is doing is no different than Ritte, but they don't slap a gaudy paint job on it and spam it on Instagram to hipsters. No bullshit approach and they don't hide anything. I haven't ridden their bikes, but respect them for that. Never met an unsatisfied customer of theirs and there are lots of their products floating around locally.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 12:08 am 
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DMF wrote:
Well nothing wrong with open moulds, if you know what you're getting yourself into. And nothing wrong with bike shops or other retailers putting their own brand on such a frame in order to turn a profit.

I was more getting at the rather blatant sugar pouring of yours over this product, to which you yourself are sort of affiliated. To me, taking the actual content of your first post into consideration, it just smells like a pile of promotion/spam/advertisememt disguised as a forum post.

But that might just be me, so I'll end my ramblings here.


Well, the best I can hope is maybe someone from November reads this and sees me taking flak for their product .. and I'll get a beer out of it or something. Otherwise, I'll be lining up like any other customer. I'll say it again as maybe I didn't put enough of a disclaimer in. I am in no way affiliated with November Bikes nor do I benefit in any way whatsoever from reviewing any of their products. I stand by all I said in my original post.


Last edited by bobalou on Thu Dec 12, 2013 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Posted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 12:08 am 


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