Swapping wheels on a Novara Safari
Tough question for you all:
We own two 2009 Novara safaris, one small (26 inch wheels), one XL (29 inch wheels). We are quite fond of them. So fond, in fact, that we are considering doing some longer pavement rides on these bikes instead of our other options. These rides would NOT be tours, just 60-100 mile day trips. The problem is that the very heavily built wheels that come with the safari, while perfect for the dirt-road tours, are real overkill (and too heavy) to handle a century on pavement.
The question is, can we buy a road wheelset that is disc-brake compatible and use those when we want to hit the tarmac? I'm not engaged in the technical details of bike design, so perhaps there's an obvious answer here that I'm not aware of. Are there particular wheelsets that you'd suggest? What about the 26 inch wheel problem?
(I am aware of one obvious answer--just swap out the fat tires on the touring wheelset with something really skinny. The problem with that is that we do use the safaris for the purposes they were designed for--loaded, off road touring--and don't want the inconvenience of switching tires. Also, tires can't improve the situation too much, those stock wheels are built HEAVY!).