REI Lightens Up the Gotham, Launches The Arkham Belt Drive Commuter and Barrow Cargo Bike plus Barrow Basket

2014 REI Novara Gotham profile

In 2012 REI dropped the Novara Gotham on us.  At the time, it was a steel framed, belt drive commuter making use of the NuVinci N360 internally geared hub.  The bike was pushing 41 pounds fully kitted with a rack, fenders, and lights.  For 2014, REI (and house brand Novara) looked to shed some pounds.  To do this, the frame is now produced in aluminum, dropping the weight to around 34 pounds.

The bike still comes specced with the N360 rear hub and a belt drive.  Tektro Gemini hydraulic disc brakes and included fenders should make dealing with the rain more palatable.  The included rack, plus front and rear lights make this a turn key commuter right off the store floor.  There are three sizes to choose from, and MSRP is set at $1399.

Head past the break for the Gotham’s sibling, the Arkham, plus the new Barrow cargo bike and basket.

2014 REI Novara Arkham profile

Pictured with optional Barrow Basket

Someone in marketing at REI (and Novara) seems to have a thing for Batman, and there is nothing wrong with that.  New for 2014 is the more affordable Novara Arkham.  The aluminum frame is carried over from the Gotham, the fork gets a nice curve for comfort, and the NuVinci N360 is replaced with a SRAM iMotion 3 speed hub being turned by a Gates Carbon belt drive setup.   Stopping comes from Promax Render mechanical discs.  As with the Gotham, fenders and a rack are included, but with the Arkham you will have to provide your own lights.  The Arkham hits a killer price point for commuters at $849.

Novara Barrow Cargo Bike

Also new for 2014 is the Novara Barrow.  The Barrow is being called “Novara’s first cargo bike,” and makes use of the Barrow Basket attached to their proprietary N-Dock on the head tube.  The steel frame looks to be very similar to the one used on the previous Gotham model, minus the frame spit for a belt drive.  The drivetrain is a SRAM Via using 8 speeds in the rear and 3 up front.  Promax mechanical discs are specced.  In keeping with commuting theme, the ride comes with fenders, a bell, and a rear rack.

Novara Barrow Basket

The Barrow basket will also be available as an add-on to fit any bike with an N-Dock (currently that includes the Barrow, Gotham, and Arkham).  It is capable of carrying 20 pounds and will include a stretchy cover to keep your items in place.  The aluminum front rack will most likely come in a polished silver version, as well as a black option, but final specs, colors, and price are still TBA.

Comments

fred - 01/26/14 - 9:53am

This is the proper way to mount a front basket: minimum affect on steering. However, I don’t know if this could really be classified as a “cargo” bike with a load limit of 20 lbs on the front. Anyway, kudos on the basket design, regardless of semantics.

fred - 01/26/14 - 10:00am

*effect..oops

Velociraptor - 01/26/14 - 3:33pm

Does the Barrow really need a triple on the front? How about a single chainring on the front and an SRAM Apex w/ 11-32 cassette on the rear?

sammyracer - 01/27/14 - 8:48am

I would say that the barrow DEFINITELY needs a triple up front. Its a cargo bike, not a mountain bike. If you lived in a hilly area loaded down with 50+ lb’s of gear in a situation where you want to minimize effort (minimize sweat or just plain lazy) a triple is the only option. Uphill, downhill, everywhere in between. Besides, its easy enough to eliminate the triple on your own. Doing so from the factory might save you $80 at the most. Adding a triple to a bike that came as a single chainring bike would cost upwards of $120 depending on the original set up. Seems like a no brainer to me. Adding Apex would also only add unneeded cost since the 8 speed drivetrain is probably already an 11-32 while costing less. Granted, Apex is likely higher quality, but Novara builds bikes to a price point.

Post a comment:

Comment sections can be a beautiful source of knowledge, conversation and comedy. They can also get pretty ugly, which is why we've updated our Comments Policy. If your comment isn't showing up or suddenly disappears, you might want to check it out.