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REI to replace Novara bike brand with new brand, Co-op Cycles

Published September 20, 2016

LAS VEGAS (BRAIN) — REI is replacing its long-standing house brand for bicycles, Novara, with a new brand called Co-op Cycles. The member owned co-op announced the change and showed a handful of new Co-op bikes at a media preview event Tuesday evening, prior to the opening of Interbike on Wednesday. REI will not have a display at the trade show.

The Co-op bike line, available next spring, includes all new hardtail mountain bikes and "all-road" bike models, priced up to about $2,300. At lower price points, some popular Novara models will be re-branded as Co-op, with new colors and graphics.

The bikes on display had a modern, understated look, with matte finishes with some flourescent accents. 

REI's Paul Calandrella said the line will capitalize on the recent popularity of adventure touring, which aligns with REI's reputation among outdoors consumers. He said the Co-op brand will be used on cycling clothing and accessories and might even be used on tents and other outdoor gear appropriate for bike adventures. 

Calandrella, a former Specialized and Amazon manager, has been REI's director of product strategy for bikes for about a year. He said the Novara brand is being completely scrapped. "It will be gone from everything by next spring," he said.

He said consumers were confused by the Novara name and unclear on REI's connection to the brand.  He said REI considered re-branding the bikes under the REI name, but decided that didn't feel right. However the Co-op brand makes it clear that REI stands behind the bikes and developed them with its member/consumers' needs in mind, he said.

He said the line also was developed to give consumers "a progression story" from entry level Co-op bikes to more expensive Co-op models and on to REI's more upscale offerings from other brands, including Ghost, Salsa, Cannondale and Diamondback. 

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