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Old 05-31-09, 07:12 PM   #1
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Swapping wheels on a Novara Safari

Hi, all,

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!).

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Old 05-31-09, 07:50 PM   #2
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Don`t underestimate the difference that tires make- it can be huge. If I understand correctly, you want a second wheelset for each bike to mount up with skinny slicks, then just swap the whole wheels rather than changing tires every week? That`s viable too- just obviously costs more. There are certainly wheelsets available. I`m not sure what`s out there for the 29s, but Mavic Crossrides would probably fit the bill for the 26 inchers. They`re cheap and relatively light. I don`t think I`d trust mine on the rough stuff if I were bigger, but they ought to do fine on an unloaded road trip for anybody. There are lots more out there, I`m sure- just that I know about the Crossrides. If you want to keep the cost down, I`d suggest just buying tires first and see if that does the trick for you.
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Old 06-01-09, 07:47 AM   #3
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Honestly, I think that buying a second set of wheels is a waste of money. I have a GT timberline, with 2.2" knobbies and 1.25" slicks. Changing the tires gives me a different bike. Before you buy wheels, get the slicks first, do a swap, and see how it rides. My guess is that once you try it, you'll forget about buying a second set of wheels.
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Old 06-01-09, 08:36 AM   #4
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The Safari comes with Vittoria Randoneur tires right? Those are supposed to be pretty easy rolling. The wheelset itself (theoretically) should not affect anything except for when you're just getting going. Think of all those aero but heavy wheelsets the pros use. Once you get going you should be fine.
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