Lighter Spa Touring build

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newtotouring
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Joined: 7 Jan 2014, 7:49pm

Lighter Spa Touring build

Postby newtotouring » 13 Apr 2020, 6:59pm

Hello,

Has anyone built a lighter weight Spa Tour frameset build for audax?

If so, any info on how this has worked out would be very welcome.

Thanks,
NTT

PH
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Re: Lighter Spa Touring build

Postby PH » 13 Apr 2020, 8:20pm

newtotouring wrote:Hello,
Has anyone built a lighter weight Spa Tour frameset build for audax?
If so, any info on how this has worked out would be very welcome.
Thanks,
NTT

Not a Spa, but I went n-1 a couple of years ago and sold my SOMA Audax bike and built up my Hewitt tourer in Audax spec. I'm no lightweight so haven't gone overboard on the weightweenie front - Wheels are Archetype rims on XT hubs, 32/28 tyres, mix Campag/Shimano 3X9, no rack, no dynamo, full guards, comes in at 11.6kg, in touring spec it was around 14kg and the steel Audax it replaced was 10.8kg. There's no more easy weight to come off the Hewitt, it'll have to come off the rider :lol:
Ride wise, there's too little between them to notice, the SOMA probably had livelier handling but if there's any speed difference it's too small for me to register. The big question is that feel thing and it's always going to be subjective, I'm comfortable all day on either, though as I said I'm no lightweight (Around 100 kg) and they were both large frames. It's possible that someone lighter might find an unloaded touring bike too stiff and they could probably go touring on an Audax bike. The big difference and the decider for me was the tyre clearance, 28's were the limit on the SOMA and the Hewitt will take 35's.
I can't imagine the experience with a Spa tourer would be radically different, the big differences IMO are the wheels/tyres and what you leave off, what is it you're looking for?

Jamesh
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Re: Lighter Spa Touring build

Postby Jamesh » 13 Apr 2020, 8:47pm

Not build a spa audax but have both a Raleigh special products division 531 audax and a British eagle 501 framed bike and both are transformed by modern wheels.

I've got both Shimano r550 and rs10 and they ride so much lighter than with 32h plain Jane wheels.

A good set of handbuilt wheels from spa I'm sure would have the same effect.

My favourite tyres are Michelin pro4 in 25mm but more Ike 26-27mm tbh.

Cheers James

newtotouring
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Re: Lighter Spa Touring build

Postby newtotouring » 13 Apr 2020, 10:11pm

PH wrote:
newtotouring wrote:Hello,
Has anyone built a lighter weight Spa Tour frameset build for audax?
If so, any info on how this has worked out would be very welcome.
Thanks,
NTT

Not a Spa, but I went n-1 a couple of years ago and sold my SOMA Audax bike and built up my Hewitt tourer in Audax spec. I'm no lightweight so haven't gone overboard on the weightweenie front - Wheels are Archetype rims on XT hubs, 32/28 tyres, mix Campag/Shimano 3X9, no rack, no dynamo, full guards, comes in at 11.6kg, in touring spec it was around 14kg and the steel Audax it replaced was 10.8kg. There's no more easy weight to come off the Hewitt, it'll have to come off the rider :lol:
Ride wise, there's too little between them to notice, the SOMA probably had livelier handling but if there's any speed difference it's too small for me to register. The big question is that feel thing and it's always going to be subjective, I'm comfortable all day on either, though as I said I'm no lightweight (Around 100 kg) and they were both large frames. It's possible that someone lighter might find an unloaded touring bike too stiff and they could probably go touring on an Audax bike. The big difference and the decider for me was the tyre clearance, 28's were the limit on the SOMA and the Hewitt will take 35's.
I can't imagine the experience with a Spa tourer would be radically different, the big differences IMO are the wheels/tyres and what you leave off, what is it you're looking for?


Thanks very much for the info here PH. You have helped my thinking about this a lot. I've managed to find a good set of hand-built lightweight audax wheels at a good price and am thinking of doing a similar job with a Spa Touring frameset as you have done with your Hewitt tourer, and the reason for the touring frame choice is the tyre clearance. I think it'd be light enough for me for all day riding as I'm used to commuting a fair distance on my 15+kg alloy commuter bike 5-6 days a week. My dream bike would be a Thorn Club Tour tbh but I don't think I can justify that right now due to family commitments etc.

Many thanks for the quick reply.

NTT

newtotouring
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Joined: 7 Jan 2014, 7:49pm

Re: Lighter Spa Touring build

Postby newtotouring » 13 Apr 2020, 10:17pm

Jamesh wrote:Not build a spa audax but have both a Raleigh special products division 531 audax and a British eagle 501 framed bike and both are transformed by modern wheels.

I've got both Shimano r550 and rs10 and they ride so much lighter than with 32h plain Jane wheels.

A good set of handbuilt wheels from spa I'm sure would have the same effect.

My favourite tyres are Michelin pro4 in 25mm but more Ike 26-27mm tbh.

Cheers James


Many thanks for your reply, James. I've managed to get a decent set of hand-built audax wheels so I hopefully they'll have the same effect on a Spa Touring frameset. I really appreciate you taking the time to reply.

Many thanks,
NTT

PH
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Re: Lighter Spa Touring build

Postby PH » 13 Apr 2020, 10:31pm

newtotouring wrote: I've managed to find a good set of hand-built lightweight audax wheels at a good price and am thinking of doing a similar job with a Spa Touring frameset as you have done with your Hewitt tourer, and the reason for the touring frame choice is the tyre clearance.
NTT

Is the rear wheel hub 135 OLN? Worth checking as many Audax bikes will be 130. There are ways round that but I don't have any experience of it.

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velorog
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Re: Lighter Spa Touring build

Postby velorog » 14 Apr 2020, 3:41pm

I bought a Ti Tourer frame some 7 years back and built it up as Audax/Light Tourer/AllRoad bike. I decided on the tourer as it would take wider tyres. I did not particularly select the lightest components but did opt for carbon forks. Wheels are 32mm Gatorskin on Mavic A119 rims. With a B17 saddle and square taper BB bottom bracket it weighs in at 10.4 kg. If you are thinking of a steel frame just add in the weight difference. At first I was concerned that the oversize tubes would give a stiff ride but this is not the case. I can no longer ride audaxes but it has become my go-to bike.
SPT0149_B.JPG

PH
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Re: Lighter Spa Touring build

Postby PH » 14 Apr 2020, 4:48pm

velorog wrote: If you are thinking of a steel frame just add in the weight difference.

That's really nice velorog, a bit outside the box, I like that.
The weight's impressive - no guards, STI and the carbon fork will make a difference. I think when CJ reviewed it the difference between the steel and Ti was about 300g. Not to be ignored, but I think if weight was a primary reason for someone choosing Ti they'd be disappointed.
I think I'm glad mine doesn't way 10.4, the .4 would drive me nuts. I'd probably get obsessed with losing it, just because...

Norman H
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Re: Lighter Spa Touring build

Postby Norman H » 14 Apr 2020, 4:50pm

I built a lightweight tourer come audax bike very similar to your proposed build using a MK IV Thorn Club Tour frame. As others have said it's the ability to take wider tyres that gives these frames their versatility.


In audax style I run the bike with lightweight wheels and 28mm slick tyres and for light touring and off-road paths I use a set of Mavic A 319 wheels and 32mm or 35mm tyres.

In touring mode the bike comes close to the description of a so called gravel bike and I did look at buying such a frame. However all my spare wheels were rim brake only with QR hubs and most gravel frames seemed only to have provision for disc brakes and through axles. I was seriously considering the Spa tourer frame, probably in titanium, when I saw the Thorn advertised secondhand for a very good price as a complete bike. I retained many of the original components including the 3X9 gearing. I fitted full V brakes with Tektro drop bar RL520 levers and remounted the bar end shifters on Kelly Take Offs.

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531colin
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Re: Lighter Spa Touring build

Postby 531colin » 14 Apr 2020, 8:47pm

newtotouring wrote:Hello,

Has anyone built a lighter weight Spa Tour frameset build for audax?

If so, any info on how this has worked out would be very welcome.

Thanks,
NTT


Spa bike designer here. I designed both the Tourer and the Audax.
And the correct answer is.....sell the wheels, sell anything else you need to sell to raise the cash and buy an Elan.
I didn't want one....rising 70 years old, who needs the hassle of learning a whole new sort of brake.....anything that really needs doing with rim brakes, I could already do in the dark with cold hands.
But the damned thing just rides so nice! I kept borrowing the demo. bike and in the end the boss said "Have one for your 70th".....so I did, and never looked back. I shall always be indebted to Wayne (ex. Sabbath) for getting me thinking about manipulating the tubes, and Terry (frame man) for making it all work. Disc brakes are nothing to worry about, if I can do it, anybody can. Once set up right, they just work.
I shall be 73 in a couple of months, and its the nicest bike I ever owned. Its quick, its comfortable, its stable without being dull. It'll go as fast as I can manage, for as long as I can manage......and it'll do roughstuff as well. Go to the shop and have a go on all the test bikes.

A couple of other points;
Theres very little difference in the frame construction between the Audax and the Tourer. Rear stays a bit beefier in the tourer, and I think the biggest tourer has a bigger downtube than the biggest Audax. Weight saving is the carbon fork for the Audax. I personally wouldn't go fitting a random carbon fork to the tourer (or any bike, come to that) Fork offset and axle to crown race seat need to be similar to the design spec, (54 x 385 for the Tourer), or the steering will be wrong.
From a commercial point of view, rim braked bikes are dead; the Wayfarer (with manipulated tubes) is in reality the replacement for the rim-braked steel Tourer, and the latest lot are disc brake only. I did design a Mk2 Audax with manipulated tubes and we found a supplier for carbon forks with a longer offset than 45mm, but there isn't really a commercial reason to produce it, and the tyre size is still restricted by dual pivot sidepulls.
I think the Tourer is still 132.5mm OLN to take either 130 or 135 hubs, but you need to check that if you go ahead.

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pedalsheep
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Re: Lighter Spa Touring build

Postby pedalsheep » 14 Apr 2020, 10:36pm

531colin wrote:
newtotouring wrote:Hello,

Has anyone built a lighter weight Spa Tour frameset build for audax?

If so, any info on how this has worked out would be very welcome.

Thanks,
NTT


Spa bike designer here. I designed both the Tourer and the Audax.
And the correct answer is.....sell the wheels, sell anything else you need to sell to raise the cash and buy an Elan.
I didn't want one....rising 70 years old, who needs the hassle of learning a whole new sort of brake.....anything that really needs doing with rim brakes, I could already do in the dark with cold hands.
But the damned thing just rides so nice! I kept borrowing the demo. bike and in the end the boss said "Have one for your 70th".....so I did, and never looked back. I shall always be indebted to Wayne (ex. Sabbath) for getting me thinking about manipulating the tubes, and Terry (frame man) for making it all work. Disc brakes are nothing to worry about, if I can do it, anybody can. Once set up right, they just work.
I shall be 73 in a couple of months, and its the nicest bike I ever owned. Its quick, its comfortable, its stable without being dull. It'll go as fast as I can manage, for as long as I can manage......and it'll do roughstuff as well. Go to the shop and have a go on all the test bikes.

I didn't need a new bike but my 60th birthday was approaching, I was visiting friends in York so I took the train to Spa cycles just to have a look. Tried the audax, ok but didn't set the world on fire, tried a Sabbath, nice but no improvement over the bike I had. Tried an Elan and it just immediately felt right. But it was a lot of money and did I need another bike? Lay awake that night pondering this then went back to Spa the next day dragging my long suffering partner with me. Took the Elan for a longer test ride. It just felt so right! Bought the demo model at a good price. Love it! It's exactly how Colin describes it. Since my birthday in February I've put 1600 miles on it, it's lovely!
'Why cycling for joy is not the most popular pastime on earth is still a mystery to me.'
Frank J Urry, Salute to Cycling, 1956.

wirral_cyclist
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Re: Lighter Spa Touring build

Postby wirral_cyclist » 15 Apr 2020, 1:16am

pedalsheep wrote:SNIP Tried an Elan and it just immediately felt right.
SNIP. Love it! It's exactly how Colin describes it.
SNIP it's lovely!


I'll back this up too, just get one.
I got an Elan early last year and it is just so good to ride, I think it improved my cycling by 50% - 100% I kid you not. I immediately went from riding 40-45's and 'I felt that', to saying 'oh have we finished?' at the same distance, I even started getting up early to ride to starts (yes not driving to starts!) to ensure minimum 63's (a lifetime Eddington of 100x100km appeals to me (now :wink: )).
Mileage was up from 2,000 (3000 in my best ever year) to 4000 all without feeling it! I've even done 15 rides of over 70+ (2x100's) with ease - albeit I'm quite slow...

mcthebike
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Re: Lighter Spa Touring build

Postby mcthebike » 7 May 2020, 5:58pm

pedalsheep wrote:
SNIP Tried an Elan and it just immediately felt right.
SNIP. Love it! It's exactly how Colin describes it.
SNIP it's lovely!


I agree fully with the above. Travelled over for the World Championships and detoured to Spa for a test ride. I have my spa Elan set up for lightish touring with 35mm tyres, 45 mudguards, dynamo and a rack. I Audax with a large Carradice bag and tour with two Ortlieb small panniers on the rack. It has done five 200 km to date and is very comfortable. I’m 78 kg and a slow 11 ish hour 200 km rider but this bike matches my lightweight racer for speed at this distance and is much more comfortable. Uphill it definitely feels it weighs more on the steeper parts but I put it on the 30 at the front and 34 at the back and can go up anything. Anyone tried 38 mm or greater tyres on the bike?
P.S. My default Audax saddle was a Selle San Marco Rolls but the Spa saddle supplied has been very comfortable and with 5000+ km on it is staying insitu.
Thank you Colin for a job / design well done.

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531colin
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Re: Lighter Spa Touring build

Postby 531colin » 7 May 2020, 6:24pm

mcthebike wrote: ……..Thank you Colin for a job / design well done.

Its a pleasure. I really mean that....its a pleasure!

gloomyandy
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Re: Lighter Spa Touring build

Postby gloomyandy » 8 May 2020, 9:39am

Can I slightly hijack this thread to ask about the Elan and using it with front panniers? I currently have a steel Croix De Fer and have happily toured on that with 4 panniers, but I've always rather fancied a Ti frame... I assume that standard Elan carbon forks are not really suitable, I seem to remember a steel option? Does that change the way the bike feels in a big way?