There's another thread going concerning the use of a (lightly-ish) loaded road bike for a tour. Judging from searches I have down into the forum archives, there seems to be mixed feelings on the topic. My question is this - how much does total weight impact one's choice to feel the need for a touring bike, versus the use of a modified road bike (p-clamps, etc.)?
Being that many modern road bikes have carbon front forks, it would seem that a four-pannier setup is out. Having never road-bike toured but being that I am seriously considering doing so, it would seem that the use of a road bike for touring would come down to a few issues - comfort, handling, heel strike, total weight.
There's total weight (of everything being carried by the bike) and rider weight. As rider weight factors into total weight, am I wrong to think that a light-enough load and an on-the-light-side rider would be "fine" doing a tour on a road bike? Sure, some modifications might need to be made, such as increased spoke count/wider tires, but ... I'm beginning to question some of what I read to be apprehension of the usability of a road bike for loaded touring. [Surely, the question here is one of "how loaded"?]
I guess part of my questioning is in the details. I've had one buddy do two lengthy, medium-load tours on a Specialized road bike and another do a week in Europe on a medium-loaded Trek, so it has to be not only possible but do-able for certain people. Right? Both of these guys are probably 150-160 in weight and were carrying prob 25-35 pounds including racks. So less than 200 pounds on aluminum frame with 32-spoke tires and front carbon fork.
Being that I weigh 160, and low 150s in good riding shape, I just don't feel that adverse to the idea of going on a major tour on my Lemond Etape. I'd be sure to pack light (but not ultralight), check for heel strike (that would be a deal breaker, obviously), and make sure I'm aware of handling changes.
Seems there are more than 2 camps (not just do it/don't do it) on this issue, but I'm approaching it from at least five important points - I pack light, I am light-ish, I like road bike geometry, I like going fast, and I think that markets are often created to create need, not to respond to a need.
To contextualize, I'm talking about touring on paved roads where 700C tubes are available...