Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Deep In The Heart
Bikes: Seven Ti Tandem, Blue T12 tri bike, 92 Paramount, 93 Schwinn Mesa MTB, Soma Saga
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For touring purposes, a chainstays of sufficient lenght is necessary to keep your heels from hitting the panniers every time your pedals go around. Longer chainstays will also cause more weight to be distributed to the front wheel, which will give a little more stability. But we're talking only a small amount.
Longer wheelbase and lower center of gravity, as well as some "rake" in the fork, will give you a smoother ride. Of course, longer chainstays contribute to longer wheelbase.