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Novara Strada for touring

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Novara Strada for touring

Old 03-08-11, 01:46 PM
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Novara Strada for touring

I have a Novara Strada that I use for road biking, but I'm thinking about doing a mini tour. Is this bike suffice? If not, is there anything I can upgrade to make it "tourable"?


Here's the spec of the bike

https://www.rei.com/product/807240
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Old 03-08-11, 01:53 PM
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You can tour in some fashion on any bike. How suitable or unsuitable it is will depend on a lot of factors. Where do you plan to go and what do you plan to carry?

It would be fine for credit card touring with a light load. It would be OK for carrying a very light camping load on flattish terrain. It would be OK for carrying a bit more gear in a trailer again on flattish terrain. If there will be lots of climbing, you will probably be happier with lower gearing.
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Old 03-09-11, 12:15 AM
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what makes it OK or fine? is it the frame? bike? are carbon fiber forks weak?
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Old 03-09-11, 03:32 AM
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It's a club riding bike and thus isn't as well suited to touring as a touring bike. The big differences will probably be:
- Higher gearing: your bike goes down to about 30 gear inches stock. You could drop this to 25 with a 11-32 cassette. Lower gears are useful when climbing hills when loaded. Lots of touring cyclists cite 20 gear inches as a good low gear.
- Possible problems with heel clearance: touring frames typically have longer chainstays, and one consequence of this is that it places the rear rack further back, which can help prevent problems with heel strike on panniers. However you can likely fandangle something that works on your bike, by shifting the rack and the panniers as far back as they can go.
-Less stable steering: your bike will have more responsive steering than a touring bike, which can be disadvantageous for touring when you may want stability for easy handling.
-Less wheel clearance: you can't fit as wide tires/fenders on your bike. However, your bike actually does apparently have fender eyelets, so you might be able to fit somewhat wider tires and/or fenders than many road racing frames. Wider tires are advantageous for touring because they absorb more road vibration and handle better on bad/unpaved roads, and fenders are nice because you can't always be picky about the weather you ride in when on a tour.
-Less strong wheels: Touring bikes tend to have stronger wheels with more spokes than club/racing bikes because they bear more load, and lighter/lower spoke count wheels can potentially break spokes. Also it should be easier to repair broken spokes on a higher spoke count wheel. Your bike doesn't have very radically light wheels, though.
-No braze ons for front racks: front racks can help you distribute your load more evenly over the bike. There do exist some models of front forks that will mount without them, though, such as those from Old Man Mountain.
-Less strong frame: your frame is probably not as strong as a touring frame. You might experience problems relating to frame flex with heavy loads.

Your bike is more serviceable for touring than many race bikes. It's probably not a great choice for very heavy touring. If I were you I'd give it a try on short trips and see how it works out. You should fine out if you can runner wider tires and fenders, and get a rear rack and some panniers. These would make your bike great for commuting regardless if you use it to tour. A lot depends on how much you have to carry.
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Old 03-09-11, 04:21 AM
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Originally Posted by ninhsavestheday
what makes it OK or fine? is it the frame? bike? are carbon fiber forks weak?
they aren't weak but if they aren't designed for attaching racks you're kind of limited as to what you can attach to the bike. For example the same bike with a steel fork could tolerate crude p-clamps holding a front rack of some sorts, low rider or mini-platform.
Getting some weight off the rear wheel onto the stronger front wheel will help handling and potential rear wheel damage. I think the bike itself is fine for it, if you aren't 200lbs trying to carry 30lbs. If you're 150lbs thinking of carrying 20lbs it's perfectly doable. The angles and dimesions on your bike are more forgiving than a racing bike.
What I would discourage is getting large panniers and piling up a heavy rear load. See what the largest tires you can fit comfortably, if you can't fit fenders then don't use them opting for larger tire over protection from wet roads.
If you're close to 200lbs and fixated on tent, cookware, and it's not light I'd get a stronger rear wheel. Whatever load you put together see if you can get 5lbs into a compressed sack and strapped under the handlebars, not cantilevered way out in front of the handlebars. The challenge is finding an attachment that allows for hand positions on the tops. I used to have some medium sized handlebar bags that were held by straps on the hoods and drops that allowed room around the bars for grip.
You'll have a lot more fun riding if you can reduce your gear to fit the bike than loading your bike to fit whatever stock mondo panniers exist out there that are better suited to 26"x 1.75 or heavy 700c wheels.
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