SPA Elan for touring

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Ianwhitwell
Posts: 6
Joined: 13 May 2020, 10:31pm

SPA Elan for touring

Postby Ianwhitwell » 29 Aug 2020, 5:13pm

Hi

Had been considering a Spa Wayfarer as a touring bike. Sadly it looks like my size won't be available to next year.
Rang them today and two other options came up

1. Disc trucker, but in my size that would mean 26" wheel. I has wanted 700c originally to be honest. But I'm not sure if I should compromise on this ( currently by the way I ride a 26" adapted MTB).

2. A Spa elan with steel forks, as I want front pannier option. This was an choice I hadn't considered and and means I can have drop handlebars, 700C reasonably fat tyres, and disc brakes. However, I'm a little worried about whether the frame is unto the touring. I intend to tour in developed countries and predominantly on roads. Has anyone used the Elan in this way and have they been happy?

PS I also will use the bike for daily riding around the country roads where I live.

pwa
Posts: 12693
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: SPA Elan for touring

Postby pwa » 29 Aug 2020, 7:58pm

For a smaller rider the Elan could even be a better choice than a Wayfarer. The frame will be fairly stiff simply because the tubes are relatively short. So long as you are not the sort who packs a really massive load you should find it works well.

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531colin
Posts: 13108
Joined: 4 Dec 2009, 6:56pm
Location: North Yorkshire

Re: SPA Elan for touring

Postby 531colin » 30 Aug 2020, 9:46am

Ianwhitwell wrote:Hi

Had been considering a Spa Wayfarer as a touring bike. Sadly it looks like my size won't be available to next year.
Rang them today and two other options came up

1. Disc trucker, but in my size that would mean 26" wheel. I has wanted 700c originally to be honest. But I'm not sure if I should compromise on this ( currently by the way I ride a 26" adapted MTB).

2. A Spa elan with steel forks, as I want front pannier option. This was an choice I hadn't considered and and means I can have drop handlebars, 700C reasonably fat tyres, and disc brakes. However, I'm a little worried about whether the frame is unto the touring. I intend to tour in developed countries and predominantly on roads. Has anyone used the Elan in this way and have they been happy?

PS I also will use the bike for daily riding around the country roads where I live.


I'm not sure what you are asking? The Elan frame is strong enough, the construction is not that different to the (rim braked) Tourer, both in titanium and steel, and the steering is stable enough.
The smaller Truckers are 26" wheel so they can get toe clearance for big tyres and mudguards without making the reach too long, and without thinking about it too much.
For the Wayfarer, I thought about it a bit, and I got toe clearance without an over-long reach by using a long fork offset and slack head angle, so the Wayfarers all use 700c wheels.
The Elan is designed as a bike which encourages spirited riding un-loaded, for example on your day rides from home. For this sort of bike, the market demands a carbon fork, and so I'm limited to 45mm offset. (the steel fork has to be the same for the steering to work) This means that for the small sizes you have to keep an eye on the "front centre" dimension in the geometry chart. This is the distance from the bottom bracket axle to the front wheel axle, and it governs how much room there is for your toes, mudguards, and fat tyres. If you only have 26" wheels at the moment this will be difficult for you to judge, and its impossible for somebody else to judge as we don't know how you place your feet on the pedals! With Spa there is always the option to make an appointment for a test ride; people who do this say its a day well spent.
The Elan also has slightly shorter chainstays than the touring type bikes, but at least you can judge whether or not you are likely to get heel/pannier strike, its independent of wheel size.

If you use the same bike for 4-pannier touring and for un-loaded day rides, there is always a compromise to be made.

PH
Posts: 9393
Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 12:31am
Location: Derby
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Re: SPA Elan for touring

Postby PH » 30 Aug 2020, 10:08am

Ianwhitwell wrote:Had been considering a Spa Wayfarer as a touring bike. Sadly it looks like my size won't be available to next year.

If I'd decided a certain bike was the right choice, I'd wait for it, unless there was some pressing reason not to.
I haven't always done this myself of course, but when I haven't I've regretted it...

slowster
Posts: 1587
Joined: 7 Jul 2017, 10:37am

Re: SPA Elan for touring

Postby slowster » 30 Aug 2020, 10:56am

I too would recommend waiting if you can. I would also recommend that when it is back in stock you test ride both the Wayfarer and the Elan back to back, so that you can decide for yourself which you prefer. (NB Spa usually have demonstrators of each size, so if they have not yet sold the demonstrator of the Wayfarer in your size, you could test ride it now).

FWIW, I would describe the Wayfarer's handling as 'serene'. You might like that for loaded touring, and not like it (so much) for day rides predominantly on roads. I bought mine for its ability to take >40mm tyres, which make a big difference for riding off-road on tracks. I don't think there is a significant benefit in such wider tyres for road riding, even for loaded touring, i.e. I think 35mm (or possibly 32mm) is likely to be better for that.

If disc brakes are not a deal breaker, I would also suggest you consider the Spa Tourer, which seems to be midway between the Wayfarer and the Elan. For me it would be the optimum choice for your types of cycling, i.e. it's well regarded both by those who use it for loaded touring and also those who just use it for day rides.

Ianwhitwell
Posts: 6
Joined: 13 May 2020, 10:31pm

Re: SPA Elan for touring

Postby Ianwhitwell » 15 Sep 2020, 9:06pm

Hi all
In follow up. Had a drive up to SPA today as I was in the area. Took the Elan 725 and the Surly out for a spin and wasn't struck with the latter. In the end I really like the feel and the look of the Elan, so I've gone for this in a size 52 with steel forks . I suspect the 54 wayfarer I was waiting for would poss have been a little too high for my crotch and the 50 feel just on the small side. So in the end I'm very happy with the outcome. Thanks for your comments and advice.