REI is retiring the 34-year-old Novara cycling brand next year and replacing it with a new line of bikes called simply, Co-op. This spring the company plans to release its first mountain bikes, the DRT 1.3 and DRT 2.1. The idea is to offer bikes that outdoor enthusiasts who already participate in other sports (like climbing or paddling) will find both appealing and accessible.
With that in mind, REI is offering solid builds at affordable prices, ranging from about $1,000 to $2,200. The new Co-op brand will be positioned a bit higher in the market than the old Novara MTB line, while still maintaining a good value compared to name-brand bikes.
The DRT 2.1 is a hardtail, 27.5+ bike, and is one of two mountain bikes to be offered in the initial Co-op line. The aluminum frame features internal cable routing, while the parts kit includes an X-Fusion fork, Shimano SLX drivetrain and brakes, and Novatec wheels. It’s obviously not the sexiest set of components one can buy, but it does represent a solid mix that checks many important boxes for recreational riders.
As you can tell from the photos, Co-op bikes will generally come in muted, outdoorsy colors instead of the primary colors utilized by many MTB brands. According to REI, the thinking is that these bikes are meant to be ridden outdoors, off-road, and in conjunction with other activities, and the look should reflect that.
Novara offered a solid value for REI customers looking to get into recreational mountain biking, and it appears the Co-op brand is set to do the same.