Audax Bikes

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby robwa10 » 7 Jun 2009, 8:45pm

Ontherivet77 wrote:Freddie I take your point that the tourer is the best all rounder for all types of riding.

I agree and sorta disagree with this. Most (but not all) touring bikes, my old one included, are not concerned with weight. I'm not trying to say they're extremely heavy beasts but most tourers are more concerned with things such as reliability, comfort and durability. My tourer was built around these things and it was a little portly. :) It was a good workout though when I went on runs with others who weren't on tourers. I knew I was pedaling more weight on hills and flats. It was extremely useful and well suited for commuting and touring and such things but it was harder work when I wanted to do 15mph or so with others.

[/quote]Hence the comparison between audax and race bike to see if it's worth having 2 bikes. :D[/quote]
Of course I'm biased :wink: because I got rid of all my bikes and built a Thorn MK3 up over Christmas. It's great for 'club run' type rides. The longest ride I've done so far on it is 40 miles and it was comfy. I use it for commuting and carry two panniers with laptop and other work things and it handles well though maybe slightly more twitchy than my old tourer. I have geared it for being an all rounder though with a 48/36/26 chainset and 11-32 cassette.

I think if you want to have one bike instead of two then I'd go for an Audax but maybe with gearing that's specific to your fitness. And if you want to do some long distance, heavy laden touring then I'm being converted by Mick to trailers. That and pulling my son in one recently.
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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby DavidT » 7 Jun 2009, 9:48pm

I used to have a Raleigh Royal Tourer (1992 model), but in 2006 went to treat myself to a Mercian. Looking at their King of the Mercia Tourer. In my view replacing a tourer with a tourer.
Having discussed my riding, Mercian recommended, and built me an Audax. My riding?

Popping out for an hour or so on local lanes on an evening after work a few times every week. A "training" run. :lol:
Day rides on a not infrequent basis, with a full saddlebag (Well actually a rack pack).
Three or four times a year a long weekend away with panniers and handlebar bag. B&Bs, not camping.

Just thought I'd throw that experience into the mix. Incidentally the Tourer cost more than the Audax, and I was expecting to buy the Tourer. So respect to Mercian. I like my Audax! It is certainly a faster bike than the (old spec) Royal, although perhaps that is down to motivation?.. Guess I must participate in an Audax one day.....

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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby willem jongman » 8 Jun 2009, 8:37am

I really do not understand the hostility or disdain with respect of audax bikes (or very light tourers if you wish). Bikes come along a very wide spectrum, from frail and ultralight true racing bikes on the one hand to off road tourers focused on terrain such as the Karakorum Highway on the other, and with much in between. There are many sweet spots along that spectrum, but where that spot is for you all depends on you and on your riding.
Personally I am not interested in the extremes of this spectrum, so I have a loaded touring bike with 26 inch wheels and a drop bar that can handle rough roads in Europe, and a bit of mild off road riding. It is superbly built, and weighs 16 kg. I also have a decent old "racing bike" from the 1970's that can use 32 mm tyres with mudguards. It would now be called an audax bike, I would think - fine with me. It is seriously faster than my touring bike, but I can only load it with modest amounts of luggage. Enough for a B&B tour, but no more than that. I have a two wheeled trailer that I use with it very occasionally, but for seriously loaded riding I much prefer my heavier tourer.
I am in the market for a new racy bike, since the old one is near the end of its useful life. I am not interested in ultimate speed, but I still want something that is really different from my loaded touring bike. I also like a bit of comfort. So what I really want is the modern incarnation of that old racing bike - i.e. an audax bike. I really don't mind how one calls them as long as they exist. They are the practical variant on the theme of racing bikes. Almost as fast, but far far more practical, with a load carrying capacity of some 10 kg (i.e. a rackbag, a saddle bag or two front panniers on a light rear rack), gearing that helps real people get up hills rather than only top athletes, hub generator lights, practical and reliable traditional wheels, and a more comfortable position and wider tyres.
Such a bike is too light for more loaded touring, because the tubing is too light for that, and because the maximum width of the tyres is not really enough for loaded touring. If you want more load carrying capacity, and wider tyres, the next step would be a 28 inch wheeled tourer with canti brakes, I guess. That would be a heavier and slower bike than the audax type, but it would let you carry more, and ride rougher roads. One more move would be 26 inch wheels, and a bit heavier tubing again, for yet more load carrying and off road capacity. What is ideal thus really depends on where you want to ride and what you want to take. Using a bike that is too light for the purpose gets you into trouble. Using one that is too heavy will work, of course, but is just no fun.
I think an audax bike is ideal for anyone wanting a bike that is almost a racing bike, but without the practical limitations of the full out racers.

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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby vorsprung » 8 Jun 2009, 2:04pm

I have a recent and modern racing bike and a recent and modern audax bike.

I have used both bikes for riding audax events.

The racing bike is a 2005 Orbea Gavia Sport. It is aluminium framed with carbon forks. It has shimano 105 triple gearing
The audax bike is a custom Ti frame made by Setavento. It has compact campag centaur gears

Note that Setavento don't make frames any more. But custom Ti frames (from sunday/sabbath, Van Nicholas etc ) are quite common with audax riders.

The similarities are:
the gearing. The bottom gear on both bikes is about 30".
the wheels. Both have 36 hole hand made wheels with open pros. This is just me getting them. The Orbea came with some pretty 28h semi-deep section wheels that were heavy and weak

The differences are

1) the tyre clearance on the audax bike is for 28mm+mudguards. The racing bike will only take 25mm without mudguards. The brakes on the audax bike are 57mm long drop tektros
2) the headtube angles. The audax bike is more relaxed
3) stiffness. The racing bike is stiffer.
4) the racing bike is faster. Even if I put 25mm tyres on the audax bike the lower bars and more stretched out position on the racing bike make it faster
5) fittings for rack etc. The racing bike has no fittings for racks or mudguards. The audax bike does
6) saddles. Both have Brooks saddles, the racing one has a swift and the audax a B17. No particular reason for this.
7) use. I use the racing bike for commuting in the summer. I use the audax bike only at the weekends when it's dry or when I'm doing an event.
8) cost. The audax bike was an eye watering 2000 quid and the racing bike 800

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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby drossall » 8 Jun 2009, 8:42pm

willem jongman wrote:I really do not understand the hostility or disdain with respect of audax bikes...

I don't think you are allowed to be a cyclist unless you are hostile and disdainful are you? It used to be that the letters pages of the comic were full of roadman vs time-triallist vitriol. Now, the current issues are full of people going on about the deficiencies of sportives.

I've never ridden a sportive (I'm happy in Audaxes), but I just don't get it. Sportives sound great fun, if only I were fit enough...

I don't understand the hostility either, Willem :(

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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby belgiangoth » 10 Jun 2009, 10:14am

Audax or Sportive bike, that's the question.

If space is an issue, a second set of wheels with different rear gearing is an option, just remember to re-set your brake spacing when you switch wheels.
If I had a baby elephant, it would point out that there is no evidence for planing. Then it would eat all my bananas.

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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby Pross » 19 Aug 2009, 11:39am

Hi all, first post on here so be gentle! :wink:

I've been reading the topic with interest and it's good to see such debate and useful comments as well as the fact that there are still plenty of divisions in cycling despite my 13 years away from it.

I am looking a re-starting cycling after a 13 year break having previously been a keen club cyclist and (very) low level racer. My ultimate aim is to start racing again but realistically the extra years and weight mean that is unlikely until the 2011 season and my immediate aim is to start getting out on some training rides to build up for a sponsored ride I'm intending doing next September (210 miles over 2 or 3 days) via some middle distance sportifs. I am not blessed with the money or space to buy 2 new bikes and although I have my old race bike to train on I am looking to get a new bike that I can use for racing once I'm ready but also that will have the capability of carrying some panniers for the sponsored ride and possibly some commuting of about 20 miles each way carrying laptop / briefcase. I don't want to invest in a tourer as I won't do much long distance touring but an out-and-out racer won't take the panniers I'll need if I do overnight stays. I'm assuming that a sportif bike would be ideal for this as they seem to be basically racing bikes with slightly more relaxed angles and some load carrying ability and more than capable of coping with the 4th cat road races I'll eventually be doing.

Sportifs are something that have come along since I stopped riding but from what I've seen the bikes are ideal for my needs. I was surprised by the gear ratios that appear on even racing bikes now as they appeared low with 48 tooth chainrings but having looked at the ratios provided they are actually giving the same ratios I had previously with a bit more at each end. Can anyone confirm that this is likely to be the best route to go along and suggest some ideas of suitable bikes (my budget is likely to be in the £600 to £800 range which would get me a reasonably well equipped racing bike).

Thank you. :)

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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby Big T » 19 Aug 2009, 12:28pm

I recently bought a copy of Cycling Active magazine and they did a test of bikes in the £500 to £550 range.

They tested:

Raleigh Airlite 300
Trek 1.2
Decathlon B Twin Sport 1.2
Pinnacle 1.0
Carrera Vanquish

The Trek came out on top. All except the Decathlon will take mudguards and have rack mounts. They all had Sora groupsets apart from the Vanquish, which had a mix of Sora and Tiagra with Tiagra shifters.
They slated the Raleigh but there wasn't much to choose between the others.

Edit - post upadted - to include Carrera Vanquish
Last edited by Big T on 20 Aug 2009, 8:19am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby Pross » 19 Aug 2009, 12:52pm

Thanks BigT will look them up. Trek seem to do a good job in that sort of price bracket.

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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby chambo3413 » 19 Aug 2009, 12:59pm

Where do fast tourers come into the equation then?
information on cycling in and around Chesterfield during the 1930's -1970's wanted

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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby willem jongman » 19 Aug 2009, 12:59pm

I think you are absolutely right that the audax style bike is ideal for realistic road riding/racing. I think the basic Dawes Sportif Comp is just about ideal, although I am sure there will be other offerings that I am unaware of. Not sure how much a Surly Cross Check would cost in the UK. As for gearing, I think most bikes are geared too high, because the standard parts all assume you are going to ride the TdF, and are fit enough for it. This is aggravated by the emergence of 12 and even 11 teeth cogs (avoid 11 teeth). I think you really do not need more than 44 teeth at the front if you have a 12 teeth cog, but that may just be me.
However, if your old road bike is indeed quite old it may be just what we now call an audax bike. In older times brakes with 57 mm drop were common, even on real racers, and these bikes could easily fit 32 mm tyres. (or 27x 1 1/ 4). Geometry and luggage carrying capacity too were often more as on a modern audax bike. So you may well have what you need.... Just look at it more carefully.

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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby Pross » 19 Aug 2009, 1:49pm

My old bike isn't that old, it's a 1991 Ribble 653 with Ultegra components. My other option is to use that for the training, sportifs and my mini touring if I can fit a pannier but the gearing is limited with it being 14 speed and the frame clearance won't allow for the modern 9 or 10 speed groupsets. If I did this I could then treat myself to a new race bike but having looked at the Trek 1.2 it looks fine for racing and the triple chainring option would be good for light touring. I'm going to have a nose at one in the shop tomorrow if I get a chance.

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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby glueman » 19 Aug 2009, 2:05pm

In the 80s through till the mid-90s people rode audax's on whatever bike they had. The only criterion was the bike fit the rider and was comfortable. There was a self-reliant ethic with the rider carrying sufficient food, spares and tools to fix whatever might go wrong.
I haven't ridden an event for a long time but my feeling is some elements of audax have become more competitive with specialised bikes to suit, though I dare say there'll still be an element grinding on with the usual knocks, clanks and creaks, which is as it should be. A few thousand miles in your legs is worth more than theoretical bicycle advantage.

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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby willem jongman » 19 Aug 2009, 4:46pm

I am not sure road bikes at this price bracket will buy you that much more bike than you have. You could adapt your current bike quite easily. Assuming you have a road double crankset, you could change the front rings for 38 and 48, to give slightly lower gearing (if you can lower the front mech). Similalry, with a 7 speed 13-28 cluster at the rear you get much lighter gearing than you probably have (more is possible, but perhaps only with a new rear mech). The combination should get you up most hills as long as you are not overloaded with luggage.
What is the drop of your brakes? If 57 mm, you can have something like 30 mm tyres with mudguards. If 49 mm, you are restricted to narrower tyres (25-28 max without mudguards). If you want mudguards on that bike, there are the SKS raceblades. Not as good as real guards, but still pretty decent. Fit modern rubber (Grandbois for something really nice) and modern brakepads (Koolstop), and you will be surprised how much life there still is in your old bike. A rack such as a Tubus Fly should not be a problem on an older steel bike, but a Carradice saddlebag is a classic alternative for hostelling etc tours.
Get back on your bike, and get fit and enjoy the ride. Once you do, make up your mind what kind of riding you really like now, in other circumstances.

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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby mattheus » 19 Aug 2009, 5:44pm

A couple of points to make:

- In case anyone wasn't clear, there IS no such thing as an "Audax Bike" i.e. Audaxes long and short still seem to exhibit a huge range of machinery. LEL featured flat bars, drop bars, fixies, carbon, steel, panniers, seatpacks, 36 spokes, knobbly tyres, 20 spokes, full mudgaurds-to-no guards etc ... (Having said that, it is now quite a useful shorthand, given that the manufacturers tend to sell similar bikes under this label!)

- I'm amazed that 'roadie' types (99% of whom NEVER race) don't buy an "Audax" bike instead of their close-clearance, limited-luggage wannabe racer machines. The flexibilty of tourers works the other way. Take an audax bike, leave off the guards and rack, buy some cheap skinny wheels-n-tyres (or just the tyres) and you have a machine that would probably go OK in all but the highest level racing. A few more mudguards would make winter club-runs a more pleasant affair, and keep a few cafe owners happy. These bikes would then make great commuters, credit-card tourers, etc.

- Errr... I think everything else has been said!