Spa Tourer as a gravel bike?

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TrevA
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Spa Tourer as a gravel bike?

Postby TrevA » 17 Oct 2020, 4:19pm

So, I bought a Spa steel touring frame to replace my rusty Ridgeback Panorama, but then I bought a 2nd hand Dawes Super Galaxy complete bike to fulfil my touring bike needs. I’m thinking of turning the Spa into a gravel bike. Has anyone done this? Obviously it won’t have disc brakes but should have decent enough clearance. I have enough bits and bobs to make a complete bike and I have a spare set of Exal17 wheels built onto Deore hubs.
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Boring_Username
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Re: Spa Tourer as a gravel bike?

Postby Boring_Username » 17 Oct 2020, 4:37pm

Take all the components from your Galaxy, apart from mudguards and rack, and put them on your Spa. Job done. :wink:

mumbojumbo
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Re: Spa Tourer as a gravel bike?

Postby mumbojumbo » 17 Oct 2020, 4:49pm

I do not think there are many fudemental differences between the two.Gravel bikes may have more robust tyres,tourers have guards and a rack.With marginal changes one bike will do both jobs.

PH
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Re: Spa Tourer as a gravel bike?

Postby PH » 17 Oct 2020, 5:24pm

Yes, forget the labels for a moment, and the same frame could be the basis for several styles of bike. My Hewitt frame has been trad tourer, flat bar hybrid and currently Audax. It’s been fine for all three.
What are the differences likely to be? Brakes, a bit heavier, slower steering maybe, longer chainstays. Can’t think of anything else, are those things going to bother you? They wouldn’t me.

slowster
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Re: Spa Tourer as a gravel bike?

Postby slowster » 17 Oct 2020, 5:32pm

If the soil where you ride is not so abrasive that you need disc brakes to avoid excessively rapid rim wear, I would have thought it would make a very good bike for light off road riding.

I think the Spa Ti Roughstuff uses the same fork as the Tourer, so the front tyre clearance would be the same. A Spa Tourer therefore would presumably be a slightly quicker handling/more lively bike for off road than the Ti Roughstuff, but still a bit less so (in a good way?) than most gravel bikes.

What tyre width would you want to use? I think with the long cartridges/blocks supplied with V brakes the clearance at the forks will just about allow a 35mm, or possibly a 37mm tyre to be fitted and removed without partially deflating the tyre.

If you use the shorter cartridges/blocks as typically supplied with cantilever brakes, which do not extend behind the fork blade, and/or you are happy to partially deflate the tyre to fit and remove the wheel, I think you could probably use 40mm-45mm tyres, which would be my preference for gravel/roughstuff use.

I would then fit either 53mm Bluemels/SKS mudguards, replacing the ASR stays with Secuclips if Bluemels, or SKS Edge Al 56 mudguards or Bluemels Primus 28 53mm mudguards (the latter must be used with a rear rack attachment, and I would do that for the other mudguards as well). Although the mudguards with ESC stays only have a single stay, I think they compensate for that by being much larger diameter stays, and the ESC stay's safety release looks even better than the Secuclip for off road use, where a stick in the spokes is probably a bigger risk than mud or similar sticking to the tyre.


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Re: Spa Tourer as a gravel bike?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 17 Oct 2020, 5:43pm

531 Colin otp should be able to give all the lowdown on clearances for tyres, brakes and, if wanted, mudguards.

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531colin
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Re: Spa Tourer as a gravel bike?

Postby 531colin » 17 Oct 2020, 5:51pm

Bmblbzzz wrote:531 Colin otp should be able to give all the lowdown on clearances for tyres, brakes and, if wanted, mudguards.


Fairly likely to get it right too.

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Re: Spa Tourer as a gravel bike?

Postby 531colin » 17 Oct 2020, 6:25pm

Image002 by 531colin, on Flickr

Image006 by 531colin, on Flickr

Those 2 photos show how and why the Spa tourer was designed as it is.
Mudguard at the top of its slot gives 10mm between 'guard and 35mm Marathon on a 19mm rim with mini-vee cable touching the guard.
Mudguard at the bottom of its slot gives a decent non-gappy fit to a 32mm M. supreme on a 17mm rim.

ImageRoughstuff 001 by 531colin, on Flickr

The Roughstuff (above) fits 47mm marathons with 10mm under the 'guards....but not if you fit mini-vees. (ie. use cantis or fullsize vees)

So the Roughstuff fork is longer (axle to crown race seat) than the tourer; but offset and head angle are the same for both bikes.
Roughstuff has longer front centre and chainstay than Tourer; the Roughstuff top tube length is limited by my ability to ride comfortably on the hoods.
There are slight differences in handling between the 2 bikes, although trail (with the same tyres) will be identical.
The Roughstuff is a delight to tour on off-road; you point it at something, and it just rolls over.
(see MTB "new geometry" where they have pushed the front wheel way out in front; however the associated long trail and steep seat angles may not be for everybody.)

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Re: Spa Tourer as a gravel bike?

Postby peetee » 17 Oct 2020, 6:25pm

It’s entirely possible to use a touring bike for off-road use. If the design compromises in any way it is likely to be the section of tyre you are able to fit - but to a great extent what you need will be governed by the terrain you intend to tackle and your capability.
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531colin
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Re: Spa Tourer as a gravel bike?

Postby 531colin » 17 Oct 2020, 6:30pm

peetee wrote:It’s entirely possible to use a touring bike for off-road use. .


Some of us have been doing this for half a century. :wink:

ElCani
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Re: Spa Tourer as a gravel bike?

Postby ElCani » 17 Oct 2020, 6:39pm

My Surly Cross Check is currently built as a gravel bike, with 45mm (measured width) tyres. They just squeeze under the Campagnolo mini-Vs (after I took a file to the underside of the cable bridge :shock: ).
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531colin
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Re: Spa Tourer as a gravel bike?

Postby 531colin » 17 Oct 2020, 6:43pm

slowster wrote:.....I would then fit either 53mm Bluemels/SKS mudguards, replacing the ASR stays with Secuclips if Bluemels, or SKS Edge Al 56 mudguards or Bluemels Primus 28 53mm mudguards (the latter must be used with a rear rack attachment, and I would do that for the other mudguards as well). Although the mudguards with ESC stays only have a single stay, I think they compensate for that by being much larger diameter stays, and the ESC stay's safety release looks even better than the Secuclip for off road use, where a stick in the spokes is probably a bigger risk than mud or similar sticking to the tyre....


I have had a stick in the front spokes make a concertina-type fold in the mudguard. The secu-clips released, but I still came off because the folded 'guard came up alongside the downtube and prevented the steering turning one way. I don't see why a different type of stay release would work differently?
I now do all my back mudguards like the picture of my Roughstuff.....no problems so far!

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Re: Spa Tourer as a gravel bike?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 17 Oct 2020, 6:58pm

531colin wrote:
Bmblbzzz wrote:531 Colin otp should be able to give all the lowdown on clearances for tyres, brakes and, if wanted, mudguards.


Fairly likely to get it right too.

:D

slowster
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Re: Spa Tourer as a gravel bike?

Postby slowster » 17 Oct 2020, 8:58pm

531colin wrote:Those 2 photos show how and why the Spa tourer was designed as it is.
Mudguard at the top of its slot gives 10mm between 'guard and 35mm Marathon on a 19mm rim with mini-vee cable touching the guard.
Mudguard at the bottom of its slot gives a decent non-gappy fit to a 32mm M. supreme on a 17mm rim.
531colin wrote:The Roughstuff (above) fits 47mm marathons with 10mm under the 'guards....but not if you fit mini-vees. (ie. use cantis or fullsize vees)

So the longer axle to crown distance of the Roughstuff fork means that it will take a taller tyre than the Tourer fork. That leaves the question what the maximum tyre size is in the Tourer fork with full size V brakes or cantilevers. I've just measured the clearance on a Spa Tourer fork between the top of a Vittoria Hyper semi-slick (36.5mm actual width) on a 18mm rim and the underside of a Bluemels mudguard raised as high it will go, and it's 14mm. There's a 3mm gap between the mudguard and the underside of the crown, ergo filing the bottom of the slot would increase that 14mm to 17mm. So there is room for a wider/taller tyre, but I can only just squeeze that tyre through the V brake pads - any wider and I will have to deflate the tyre a bit.

531colin wrote:I have had a stick in the front spokes make a concertina-type fold in the mudguard. The secu-clips released, but I still came off because the folded 'guard came up alongside the downtube and prevented the steering turning one way. I don't see why a different type of stay release would work differently?

I haven't yet tried mudguards with the ESC stays, but looking at the video it seems the stay will pivot out of the way on the clip which secures it inside the mudguard. In contrast even after a Secuclip has released the double stay and the section of mudguard between the stay bridges will still form a fairly rigid triangular structure, and so if a stick in the spokes is still being pushed up against the lower stay, the structure may transmit that force to the mudguard and potentially cause it to crumple or fold as happened to you. It's not something to which I gave much thought previously, until I had a stick in the spokes which severely bent a Deore rear derailleur and realised that where I ride sticks on the ground are a bigger threat than mud. Last week a stick got caught up on the front tyre of my MTB, but fortunately there was enough clearance (25mm) between the tyre and mudguard that the stick just rattled around between tyre and mudguard until it was ejected at the front of the mudguard.

However, the downside of that 25mm clearance is that a lot more water and mud flung from the top of the tyre ends up on me if I am travelling at any speed or if there is a headwind. I plan at some point to try some 75mm mudguards with the ESC stays, and to use a rear mudguard on the front for the extra coverage which should deal with the spray off the top of the tyre.

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TrevA
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Re: Spa Tourer as a gravel bike?

Postby TrevA » 17 Oct 2020, 11:38pm

I won’t be putting mudguards on the gravel bike. I have a winter road bike with mudguards and the I’ll be keeping the Super Galaxy as bought, complete with mudguards. I’ve got enough spare bits from my Ridgeback, my broken Trek Domane and a few other bits I have lying around, to make a complete bike. I’ll probably use Canti brakes, as I already have a couple of sets. I’ve not considered what tyres to use. I do have some 37mm Vitoria Randonneurs that I can use for a start, and upgrade to proper gravel tyres later on.
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