In the woods
I have just arrived in Germany - job with the Brit Army for two or three years here
Luebbecke - the woods of the Minden Ridge to the south and flatlands to the north.
I have a brand new Robin Mather Audax
105 equipped on a Reynolds 725/525 frame shod with Cont Ultra Gators on Mavic Open Sport 36h Rims.
This is marvelous for the flatlands and the metaled minor roads in the foothills, but if I want to get deep into the woods on the tracks I need something more sturdy.
Just after I had ordered my Mather Audax I saw a Raleigh Granada Light Tourer in an LBS in Reading - about 15 years old and hardly used. Reynolds 531 frame. Tyres marked 28 x 1 1 /8 with ten speeds, a stem shifter and centre pull brakes. I bought it because it was a 25.5in frame and with the seatpost out and a suitable quill stem I can get almost the same geometry as my custom Audax.
Now to my question.
Would it work well in those woods if I put on a modern groupset with 32 or even 35 mm tyres and build it up virtually as a Cyclocross?
I could move the stuff on my Audax across and upgrade the Audax. I quite like the look of the new SRAM Double Taps, for example.
What should I do about the brakes? I have read putting modern v-brake pads on them would sharpen them up a lot, but long drop dual pivot calipers would be better. Without braze ons canti-brakes are not an option - so the calipers set clearance limits especially if I want mudguards.
Your views please folks.
Your Mather Audax is beautiful! I would hate to think of removing anything from that bike. Why not order two sets of Kool Stop salmon brake pads and a set of new 700c 32mm tires (same size as your old 28" tires) and take it for a test ride.
Thanks for the comment about the Mather Audax - I like it, but am reluctant to take it into the tracks in the woods, hence the questions about what to do with the 531 tourer. At the very least I have to fit a 100mm Nitto Technomatic stem to get the geometry right. The gears are sloppy in comparison to the 105 groupset on the modern bike - well they would be. And the brakes make me nervous at times. If I can get better performance from the centre-pulls I guess and get the handlebars in the right position, I could live with the rest. The brake levers have a primitive quick release on them (the brakes don't). The hoods are no more than OK, but if I replace them (if I can) I am half way to the cost of new basic levers.
And so it goes on . . .
But you may be right - new tyres and new brake pads and give it a whirl in them woods - the top gear is lower than the 105 triple on the Mather, but the bottom gear is about the same.