Audax Bikes

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Ontherivet77
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Audax Bikes

Postby Ontherivet77 » 7 Jun 2009, 12:57pm

What's the difference between an Audax bike and a Race bike, is it just chainstay length?
Also, is Titanium as comfy as the marketing suggests. Anyone got any recommendations for long distance bikes that aren't specifically tourers.

Freddie
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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby Freddie » 7 Jun 2009, 1:07pm

Why would you want anything other than a tourer for long distance riding?.

I tend to think audax bikes are for racers who don't want to get wet, with a proper tourer you have the option of usably wide tyres(usually to around 37mm) and a geometry better suited to long distances. It needn't be heavy if you aren't going round the back of beyond.

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Si
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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby Si » 7 Jun 2009, 1:22pm

Audax bikes tend to have clearance and mounts for mudguards with wider tyres and mounts for a rear rack. Handling may be a little less aggressive than a race bike and (ideally) the head tube might be a tad longer.
Compared to a tourer an audax bike won't necessarily be built to haul heavy loads day after day and so may be a bit lighter. The handling, in some cases, might be a bit sharper than a full on tourer.
Generally an audax bike ought to be as comfortable as a tourer for long distances but will sacrifice load carrying ability for a little more speed (ie it'll be lighter). But there is a lot of cross over between the two types, and between audax and race/sportif bikes.

Frameset design and tyre and saddle choice will make a lot more difference to comfort than frame material.

Freddie
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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby Freddie » 7 Jun 2009, 1:41pm

Si wrote:Audax bikes tend to have clearance and mounts for mudguards with wider tyres and mounts for a rear rack.


That's if you count 28mm as wider, very few audax frames will fit bigger tyres than this and mudguards. Unless you always like to go fast and watch the road surface a lot, the benefits over a racing frame are pretty marginal.

Also, the chainstays tend to be too short, especially for the taller person which increases the chances of pannier/foot interface and decreases comfort and stability by sitting further over the rear axle.

A touring frame isn't going to be much heavier than an audax one, the versatility gained far outstrips any weight difference.

I tend to think the "audax" bike is a concession to racing types who think an "actual tourer" is far too uncool and grey-beard for them.

willem jongman
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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby willem jongman » 7 Jun 2009, 3:10pm

I have a superb full out loaded tourer that is certainly not an audax bike. I can use it unloaded, and I have some nice light and flexible tyres that make it an enjoyable bike for that purpose. However, for a proper audax ride I will ride an audax bike any time. My tourer really is too heavy and stiff for that. So it all depends what you want to do. If you want to race the Tour de France on its super smooth tarmac, you even need a proper racing bike (and some training....). For any other racy riding I suggest a nice audax bike is more practical (mudguards, more comfort from a more relaxed geometry and from wider tyres, more bad road capability). If you wanted even wider tyres but still not the stiff and heavy frame of a loaded tourer, a framebuilder could also build you an audax bike around the new Tektro 73 mm drop sidepulls. These would allow you tyres up to about 37 mm, plus mudguards, for even more comfort, and even more bad road capability. But it would still be an audax bike with lightish tubes and lightish wheels, so do not overload it.
As for suggestions, I think the Thorn audax mk III really looks like something you might enjoy. If you want to spend more, I think the biggest benefits will come from a custom frame. On long rides, the comfort of a perfect fit does make a difference.
Willem
Last edited by willem jongman on 7 Jun 2009, 3:21pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Si
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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby Si » 7 Jun 2009, 3:15pm

That's if you count 28mm as wider,


as the question was comparing race bikes with audax then, yes, 28mm is wider. Audax bikes are built for audax riding, thus they are pretty good at it.

drossall
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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby drossall » 7 Jun 2009, 4:08pm

Audax bikes are just the latest manifestation of not-quite-racing bikes. Fifty years back everyone had one bike and, maybe, a second pair of wheels for racing. Now many people can afford specialised racing and touring bikes, and something in between. Before Audax was popular, you'd have called it a "sports" bike or a "training" bike or something. Of course, now "training bike" means a racing bike in all but name, such as last year's model. I don't think there's anything about an Audax bike that doesn't appear on other models or wasn't available before the name became popular.

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Si
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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby Si » 7 Jun 2009, 4:13pm

drossall wrote:Audax bikes are just the latest manifestation of not-quite-racing bikes. Fifty years back everyone had one bike and, maybe, a second pair of wheels for racing. Now many people can afford specialised racing and touring bikes, and something in between. Before Audax was popular, you'd have called it a "sports" bike or a "training" bike or something. Of course, now "training bike" means a racing bike in all but name, such as last year's model. I don't think there's anything about an Audax bike that doesn't appear on other models or wasn't available before the name became popular.


Yep, 'tis like the new wave of cyclo cross bikes. Similar bikes have been around for years but it's easier to sell bikes if you can give them a new image. As I said somewhere, there really is little difference between many audax bikes and what we might call a light tourer apart from the badge.

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meic
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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby meic » 7 Jun 2009, 4:40pm

Freddie,

You seem to be evaluating Audax bikes from a tourer's point of view. So they dont offer you any advantages over a tourer, that makes sense.

However some Audax riders have been known to ride what many people might consider "long distance" as the OP asked.

So if like most Audax riders you are carrying minimal luggage but more than a racer. Rackbags being the favourite, all you need is a lightweight rack. So long chainstays are not an advantage here. Nor is kicking panniers a problem.

With the lesser weight on board 25 or 28mm tyres tend to be quite adequate but 19 and 23mms are much less popular.

So from an Audax rider's point of view a tourer is just making your ride needlessly harder.

The differences are tiny but if you are in a position to choose why choose the less suitable one?
Yma o Hyd

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meic
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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby meic » 7 Jun 2009, 4:45pm

As for saying if a light tourer is better or worse than an Audax bike. I dont know of any difference between the two.
My light tourer is an Audax bike.
Maybee some people have higher gears on an Audax bike than a tourer but as an inhabitant of a hilly area I have nice low gears.
Yma o Hyd

drossall
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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby drossall » 7 Jun 2009, 4:50pm

My Audax bike is a Dawes Imperial. I bought it (the frame) in 1990, before Audax bikes had been invented, but it's still a classic Audax bike.

thirdcrank
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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby thirdcrank » 7 Jun 2009, 4:57pm

drossall wrote:... Before Audax was popular, you'd have called it a "sports" bike ...


I'm with you for every word except this bit ... (In my memory, a sports bike was built to look like a racing bike but not perform like one, weighed half a ton, cheap steel components, and a bottom gear of around 42 x 22, and respnsible fporputting an awful lot of beginners off cycling forever....)

Freddie
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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby Freddie » 7 Jun 2009, 5:56pm

meic wrote:Freddie,

You seem to be evaluating Audax bikes from a tourer's point of view. So they dont offer you any advantages over a tourer, that makes sense.

However some Audax riders have been known to ride what many people might consider "long distance" as the OP asked.

So if like most Audax riders you are carrying minimal luggage but more than a racer. Rackbags being the favourite, all you need is a lightweight rack. So long chainstays are not an advantage here. Nor is kicking panniers a problem.

With the lesser weight on board 25 or 28mm tyres tend to be quite adequate but 19 and 23mms are much less popular.

So from an Audax rider's point of view a tourer is just making your ride needlessly harder.

The differences are tiny but if you are in a position to choose why choose the less suitable one?


I suppose I just lament the ultra-specialisation of everything cycling.

What harm is there in having a sensible fork crown and chainstay bridge that can, if it's wished, support tyres up to 37mm or 42mm even, I just don't know what's to be lost by this?. A few scratchings of a kilo?. Of course you can still run 25's if you want, but you have options.

How this is makes life harder is beyond me, cheaper perhaps, harder...I just don't see it...

drossall
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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby drossall » 7 Jun 2009, 7:27pm

thirdcrank wrote:In my memory, a sports bike was built to look like a racing bike but not perform like one, weighed half a ton...


Slight difference of interpretation really. You could argue that a racing bike sold from certain outlets met that definition. Racing bikes of this type were not really racing bikes. For me a sports bike is a broader term than a racing bike for a lightweight, in the sense that a sports car is less specialised than a racing car.

For this reason BSOs tended, in my experience, to be called racing bikes because it sounded more exciting and shifted more stock. In practice, of course, they were neither racing nor sports bikes, but weightlifting equipment with the wheels and tubes arranged slightly differently.

Ontherivet77
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Re: Audax Bikes

Postby Ontherivet77 » 7 Jun 2009, 7:33pm

Thanks for all your posts. Freddie I take your point that the tourer is the best all rounder for all types of riding. I'm just looking to go further without a wet backside and a bit more comfort, so as someone previously stated a saddlebag would be sufficient. Hence the comparison between audax and race bike to see if it's worth having 2 bikes. :D