Relative weights of Spa touring and Audax bikes with and without discs

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horizon
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Relative weights of Spa touring and Audax bikes with and without discs

Postby horizon » 27 Mar 2019, 11:02am

Now that the new Wayfarer and Aubisque bikes are up and running in the showroom, I thought I would take a look at the comparative weights of these bikes and the older non-disc versions. Spa kindly provide weights on their website. I don't expect these weights to be exact (a lot may depend on equipment and size) but are reasonably indicative:

Spa Audax with carbon fork: 10.2 kg
Spa steel tourer: 12.8 kg
Spa Wayfarer (disc): 14.58 kg
Spa Aubisque (disc): 12.42 kg

What I find surprising is that the Aubisque, which is AIUI an Audax bike, is almost as heavy as the old tourer and the weight advantage has been lost. I take it that this is wholly due to the disc brakes (and requisite steel fork). I think the Aubisque is not only a fine looking bike but is I presume a great combination of lightness, responsive ride and braking power - I wouldn't say no to one. But what I find difficult to understand is that the obession with weight, endemic in road riding, has been turned on its head when it comes to disc brakes.

I don't have a big problem with weight or disc brakes (I do know what it's like to go downhill, fully loaded, in the wet with rim brakes). But I don't understand how, if weight is such a big issue, disc brakes are now de facto even on Audax bikes. Thorn have also just launched their disc-braked Audax (and no doubt many other makers have done too).

My impression is that both Thorn and Spa have been pushed down the disc brake route against their better judgement, knowing as they do the effect it will have on forks, weight and ride quality. But they've no doubt done their best in the face of market pressure.

I'm not here opening up the debate between rim and disc brakes (I would be happy with either). What I am asking is, how do lightweight riders reconcile the need to reduce weight against the advantages of disc brakes given what is clearly a major weight penalty.

NB I assume the weights given above are correct or at least approximately so unless in error.
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PH
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Re: Relative weights of Spa touring and Audax bikes with and without discs

Postby PH » 27 Mar 2019, 11:28am

Pay your money and make your choice, but if comparing bike weights you need to be sure they're with the same components before attributing where those differences comes from. Over the last year I've sold my traditional steel Audax bike and built my traditional steel touring bike up with similar components, the difference is in the region of 500g. Those who consider weight to be an important factor are not going to buy a Aubisque, they're probably not going to buy any other Spa bike either. The traditional Audax bike has become less common on Audax, people are either choosing road bikes or wide tyre disc brake bikes which are sometimes labelled Gravel...

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Re: Relative weights of Spa touring and Audax bikes with and without discs

Postby Brucey » 27 Mar 2019, 12:14pm

steel forks are quite a bit heavier than carbon ones, and for steel forks in 1-1/8" ahead, fit for disc brakes, this goes double. FWIW I don't understand the thought processes at work either, but I do note that folk "aren't always 100% rational" when buying bikes, to say the least.

FWIW from memory, my 'supercommuter' build (which had no FD admittedly) weighs about 11.5kg. This includes pedals but didn't include mudguards and rack. The frame was not particularly lightweight (main tubes 501) and nor were the parts (much steel used in the RD for example), but it shows that it isn't that difficult to build a tolerable machine using SA drum brakes, as light or lighter than a more modern disc-brake equipped machine.

If one started with a lighter frameset, and used lightweight parts where possible, I think a target weight of well under 11kg isn't an unreasonable expectation for an audax type machine, even with SA drum brakes fitted. The fact that virtually no-one does this is testament to the success of various marketing efforts elsewhere and pervading 'groupthink' amongst cyclists, perhaps?

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reohn2
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Re: Relative weights of Spa touring and Audax bikes with and without discs

Postby reohn2 » 27 Mar 2019, 12:22pm

Brucey wrote:.

If one started with a lighter frameset, and used lightweight parts where possible, I think a target weight of well under 11kg isn't an unreasonable expectation for an audax type machine, even with SA drum brakes fitted. The fact that virtually no-one does this is testament to the success of various marketing efforts elsewhere and pervading 'groupthink' amongst cyclists, perhaps?

cheers

Or that discs are even lighter still than drums,and that caliper brakes are lighter again,the downside of calipers being they don't stop as well in the wet and the wear out rims at an alarming rate if ridden in wet and mucky conditions.
If someone wanted a really light Audax bike a Spa Elan with a CF fork takes some beating IMO,unless you want to get into race bike weights.
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Re: Relative weights of Spa touring and Audax bikes with and without discs

Postby PH » 27 Mar 2019, 12:54pm

I’ve just had a glance at the Spa website, the quoted weights between the Audax and Ambisque are for very different spec, wider tires, mudguards and an extra chainring for starters...

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Re: Relative weights of Spa touring and Audax bikes with and without discs

Postby fastpedaller » 27 Mar 2019, 1:44pm

PH wrote:Pay your money and make your choice


A worry of mine is that in a few years there will not be a choice :(

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Re: Relative weights of Spa touring and Audax bikes with and without discs

Postby reohn2 » 27 Mar 2019, 1:56pm

fastpedaller wrote:
PH wrote:Pay your money and make your choice


A worry of mine is that in a few years there will not be a choice :(

There's never been more choice IMO,where it does fall down is Shimano dominates the market across the spectrum for drivetrain and brakes with Sram trailing a poor second.
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Re: Relative weights of Spa touring and Audax bikes with and without discs

Postby horizon » 27 Mar 2019, 1:57pm

PH wrote:I’ve just had a glance at the Spa website, the quoted weights between the Audax and Ambisque are for very different spec, wider tires, mudguards and an extra chainring for starters...


Fair point, although it makes one wonder if the thinking is - well, if you want discs you might as well have a tea -making machine and everything else because this is going to be a seriously heavy bike.

I'm very attracted to the Aubisque but as in every other time I consider an Audax bike I know I will need luggage carrying capacity so I always default to a tourer. But with the Aubisque, I wouldn't get the luggage (full camping) and it would be as heavy as a touring bike anyway.

But, as you say, it is hard to make a direct comparison.
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Re: Relative weights of Spa touring and Audax bikes with and without discs

Postby horizon » 27 Mar 2019, 2:00pm

reohn2 wrote:
fastpedaller wrote:
PH wrote:Pay your money and make your choice


A worry of mine is that in a few years there will not be a choice :(

There's never been more choice IMO,where it does fall down is Shimano dominates the market across the spectrum for drivetrain and brakes with Sram trailing a poor second.


If discs become the default, the other bits disappear - AFAIK thick-enough braking rims are already hard to find. And then the old non-disc frame that you thought would last a lifetime becomes obselete. I know it's a mixed picture but a bit concerning nonetheless.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

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Re: Relative weights of Spa touring and Audax bikes with and without discs

Postby TrevA » 27 Mar 2019, 3:25pm

Why does the Disc-audax bike have to have a steel fork? There are plenty of disc brake cross bikes that have carbon forks.
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Re: Relative weights of Spa touring and Audax bikes with and without discs

Postby Brucey » 27 Mar 2019, 4:13pm

reohn2 wrote:
Brucey wrote:.

If one started with a lighter frameset, and used lightweight parts where possible, I think a target weight of well under 11kg isn't an unreasonable expectation for an audax type machine, even with SA drum brakes fitted. The fact that virtually no-one does this is testament to the success of various marketing efforts elsewhere and pervading 'groupthink' amongst cyclists, perhaps?

cheers

Or that discs are even lighter still than drums....


my whole point is that, for any given duty, they are not "lighter" by the time you have beefed up a frame locally to work with disc brakes.

cheers
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Re: Relative weights of Spa touring and Audax bikes with and without discs

Postby thelawnet » 27 Mar 2019, 4:41pm

I am not sure Spa bikes are sold by the kg?

FWIW the Trek Emonda SLR9 2018 model is 5.88kg. The SLR9 Disc model 2019 is 6.32kg. That's 440g extra.

For the less exotic SL model, there is a 570g penalty between the Ultegra & Ultegra hydro.

The ALR4, which uses Tiagra /non-series hydros, there is only 100g difference.

I would expect some weight penalty in each case, but would be surprised if it needed to exceed 1kg? Perhaps with steel forks it is worse?
Last edited by thelawnet on 27 Mar 2019, 5:29pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Relative weights of Spa touring and Audax bikes with and without discs

Postby landsurfer » 27 Mar 2019, 5:28pm

thelawnet wrote:I am not sure Spa bikes are sold by the kg?


:lol:

My SPA Steel Touring is weightless, in fact it is currently -22kg in mass ..
Since it's purchase i have lost 34kg so my bike weighs less than nothing :D
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Re: Relative weights of Spa touring and Audax bikes with and without discs

Postby 531colin » 27 Mar 2019, 5:37pm

TrevA wrote:Why does the Disc-audax bike have to have a steel fork? There are plenty of disc brake cross bikes that have carbon forks.

Because that was the design spec. I was given. The Aubisque is intended to be a disc braked all steel "clubman's winter bike" hence the mudguards and bigger tyres. Also with a steel fork I can have whatever offset I like, I'm not restricted to the "45mm offset fits everybody" nonsense. So the smaller bikes have longer offset and shallower head angle for shorter reach without toe overlap. If you can find me a carbon disc fork (at a "commodity" price) that does that with clearance for 32mm tyres without a great gap to the fork crown, please don't be shy.

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horizon
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Re: Relative weights of Spa touring and Audax bikes with and without discs

Postby horizon » 27 Mar 2019, 5:50pm

The great attraction to me of the Aubisque is that it does have a steel fork! And tyre clearance means it is a practical proposition. I might even be persuaded to overcome my reluctance to discs (I don't want them for practical reasons not because of the weight or fork issue). Maybe an Aubisque with cantis for now and discs later?

531colin: would you care to hazard a guess at total carrying capacity?
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher