Just received this email that lots of you probably have seen too:
“ An update on Nova Cycles
We have been in discussion internally for some time about closing the business down. I took Nova over about two years ago, as the previous owner was related to my husband and unexpectedly passed away. Although I love riding, I am not entrenched in the bike world, and certainly not in the handmade bike world. Through searching what is best for my family and I, I have decided to go back to school to teach. During the same time, Becca, my warehouse manager decided to move her family out of state - making my decision even clearer.
Nova is a great company that is well know throughout the custom bike world and I know many folks rely on us to supply them with parts for their builds - making the decision even harder. If anyone is interested in purchasing the company, we are happy to entertain that option. Please email me with any inquiries.
We are slow-walking the closure and working thorugh inventory with our sale. We have now bumped the sale to 60% off - so come and get it while you can.
We sincerely appreciate all the support that you all have given us and are truly dissapointed that we couldn’t make this work.”
Thank you for sharing this. Even though we are competitors, it’s never a good thing to hear when any business has to close.
Nova had a warehouse and a warehouse manager?
I always figured it was basically Lon’s/New Person’s garage and a solo operation.
Sorry to see them go, they were really the best provider of tubes for beginners and hobbyists out there and I fondly remember when you could get a whole bike worth of tubes for like $70 in one of their kits.
I would strongly advise caution to anyone buying their branded tubes right now, I got a batch of tubes from them riddled with defects and totally unuseable, and they are refusing a refund saying, their words about the following tubes - “it shouldn’t be that hard just to buff it out”
Sounds like they’re not willing to do any refunds now for any reasons. Really disappointing.
Are those just tiny rust spots? Or something else? I can’t tell from the pics, but I don’t think they’ve restocked any of their house brand stuff for years, so anything left will have been sitting for a long, long time.
It’s very deep pitting. In some spots almost clear through the tube. Also, most of the tubes with welded seams are full of porosity the entire length of the tube. I wouldn’t use these tubes even for student frames which is what I bought them for and am now stuck with a box of scrap.
I emailed them with 100+ photos asking if maybe it was just a bad batch, supplier issue, or bottom of the box thing and the tone/pushback I’ve gotten from them has been absolutely shocking.
Makes sense given they are just trying to clear product out and get money in but still a huge disappointment.
@anon91558591 I remember the first time I visited Nova after moving to CA in 2012. They were located in Rocklin, really close to my house so would’ve been silly to pay for shipping and they were cool with me picking up the orders. They were in a pretty typical industrial type location, my powdercoater at the time was in the same complex. I walked in to meet the front desk/admin person Karen and a waft of cigarette smoke surprised me. She was awesome and super helpful. I met Lon and he gave me a tour of the place. Other than an old Columbus poster you’d never know it was a cycling business until you went in back. It was a family business started by Lon’s dad in the late 70’s i think? Lon’s brother worked there too and there was another guy that I didn’t meet who did most of the boxing and shipping, so maybe 4-5 employees? I think it had 3 offices in front and then a back warehouse. Way bigger an operation than i thought would be possible for supplying the handbuilt bicycle market. It made me wonder how many people were out there making bikes!
The back warehouse was a pretty big space with a ton of tubing on racks. Lots of stuff to look at including old fixtures and a nice metal flat plate/alignment table. He gave me some fatbike unicrown fork blades to try since i was making a lot of fatbikes at the time, as well as a Ti tube to test out. Extremely nice! He would talk your ear off if you didn’t have some place to be, but I learned a lot from him about tubing and the history of Nova over the last 30(?) years. Pretty amazing how long Nova has been around. I could tell he was looking for potential buyers and eventually he took on a 50/50 partner in another Sacramento area framebuilder that I’ve forgotten the name of. That apparently didn’t work out and Lon ended up selling to someone else that passed away and left the business to a family member and it’s current owner. I heard Lon went back to school and may be in the health care world now.
It’s sad to see it go but I do think there have been others that have stepped up (and beyond) to what Nova was doing. I’m bummed to hear they’re not refunding your money @Schonstudio for those bad tubes. I’ve not had any tubes look like that before but I haven’t been ordering from them since Lon left mostly because Paragon, BFS and others have better options.
Two sets of their recent disc fork legs were super soft and bent under me while riding. I’m 260 lbs, but still… Caveat emptor.
Too bad. Back in the '80s when we started Co-Motion Nova was the place to buy most everything. Lon and his dad were it and we bought lots of tubing and braze-ons form them. I remember unpacking boxes that used empty cigarette packs for padding.
We had good experiences with them except once in the early 90’s they designed and sold a simple plate fixture. I bought one of the first ones and built a couple frames before I figured out the bb shell holder was off, by a lot. Managed to destroy a Tange Prestige downtube on the alignment table and had to cut it out and replace it. Just happened to be my future wife’s frame which is now her town bike.
I have done two orders in the last few months. One was the wrong tube and the other had a dent. Two brand new tubes were sent to me the next day no charge. Great service. Not sure if I will do another order if stock is old and rusty.
As a first time builder, I could get something to test on.
Yeah, I ordered a some practice tubes from them when they had the year end 40% off sale. FWIW, I don’t see the problems with pitting described above on the tubes I got. Being that it’s 60% off now, I would not expect perfection though.
I have recommended to beginners that they build from Nova tubes at 60% off. Pitted or not, it’s is better than them trying to build with XCR. Nova recently sent a picture of a polished stainless fork crown that was badly pitted. That’s the whole point of polished lugs, you know if they are pitted or not and don’t build the frame only to find out the lugs are pitted. That’s when it really struck home that the current owners are not framebuilders.
I’m going to miss Nova’s disc blades, but Reynolds has some nice ones. I’m not sure how long Andy Newlands is going to want to hang around though. This is a concern with all these suppliers.
I am planning to complete my first this year and bought a few sets of the stamped lugs, among other things. Perfect practice was my thought as well!
Oh gosh. I’m really sad to hear that about Nova. Way back in the day, it was basically just Nova, Henry James, and Joe Bringheli that you could get framebuilding stuff from. Lon at Nova was always really good to me. Sorry to hear that some people have had some issues and that they are going out of business. I hope all is well with their family.
I received everything, it was pretty fast.
That said, I can see how business is dwindling down, somehow I ordered an alu tube that wasn’t marked as such… Oh well.
They are now at 80% discount, got a few extra rear dropouts but I received two right sides instead of a pair
I wrote them that I will buy the two lefties that they should have hanging around but I am not confident on my chances.
Any idea what I can do with two right dropouts?
I sawed off the hanger part
They are asymmetrical, I thought about it but it will not look good…