Author Topic: Spa Ti Audax  (Read 2729 times)

Spa Ti Audax
« on: September 10, 2016, 05:16:15 pm »
While there is a thread already for the Spa Steel Audax (https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=73529.0), it struck me that the Ti version is probably sufficiently different that it warrants its own posting. Of course I would say that, I’ve just bought one :)

I bought this bike to replace my ageing Trek 2200, which I was using as my commuter and Winter training bike.

As you should be able to tell from the photos, I went with the brushed finish and the Sumo Titanium seat post. It is a 56cm frame which looks well put together and nicely finished. Most of the group set is Shimano 105 5800 11 speed, however they were having problems getting hold of a 53 / 39, 172.5mm crank in the 105 range, so rather than wait the best part of another month I up-graded to an Ultegra one. I supplied the Ritchie Carbon stream handlebar and Specialized Toupe seat for the build. My only criticism of the frame is something others may see as a plus, it has a point on the head tube to enable easy insertion of a frame pump under the top tube. I don’t like to carry my pump there, but I do usually place my light’s rechargeable battery there, which that thing stops me doing.

In general I’d agree with the comments for the Steel version of this bike, it is a nice responsive ride that feels stable. I didn’t try the Steel version, so I can’t comment on it, but the Ti version absorbs a good portion of the road’s bumps and vibration, making for a pretty smooth ride over the back roads and cycle paths of my weekly commute. It is certainly more comfortable than the old Aluminium and carbon fibre frame of the Trek, but not quite up there with sure footedness of my Lynskey Sportive, but then that bike cost several times more than the Audax.

It is a slightly lighter bike than the Trek, but I imagine it is down to the superior frame and slightly higher gearing that is the reason I’ve been setting some PBs on my commute this week.

I’ve seen the Tektro R737 brakes of the standard build criticised in certain quarters and while I swapped out the brake pads for my preferred Koolstop Salmons, so far I’ve found them to be fine.

I use a Topeak Explorer rack and bag to carry my clothes, etc. to work and with my usual load of roughly 15lbs it has no effect on handling that I can detect.

My one caveat is that these days I live in Cambridgeshire. I haven’t had a chance to explore the whole county yet, but I used to think Essex was flat until I moved here! Apparently the 50ft bump I go over on my commute is the local hill :(  So, I can’t comment on how well she climbs or descends yet.

I’ve only done a couple of hundred miles on her so far, but I will add comments as to how well the bike goes through the Winter.

One final point I thought I’d address is some of the criticisms of Spa Cycles themselves. Obviously I haven’t had a vast amount of dealings with them, just buying the one bike, but I spent a week or so emailing them to sort out the spec. I then drove up there and they were happy for me to go for multiple test rides on different bikes before I made my decision. I guess it took me about an 1 ¼ hours to make up my mind. During my visit another shopper spent roughly the same time umming and ahhing over a seven pound item; personally I’d have chocked him after an hour :)


Spa Ti Audax
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2016, 05:48:36 pm »
Great post. Thank you. Nice bike. You sure like your bar tape PHAT! (Me too) I've got a very similar bag by Ortlieb. Perfect when I don't need my panniers.

Re: Spa Ti Audax
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2016, 01:58:25 pm »
Interesting. I like my bar tape thin and hard! I would need the saddle nose pointed up a lot more. And I’d have to change those tyres immediately.

Otherwise it looks pretty good! What pedals are you using?

The steel version doesn’t have that pump pip on the head tube (or at least my 54 cm model doesn’t). Perhaps there are other small differences.

It would be fun to ride the steel and titanium Spa Audax frames back to back for comparison. I wonder if a lightweight like me would be able to tell the difference in ride.

Why did you opt for the titanium version, by the way? Just curious.

I’ll have to update the steel thread with new photos of my bicycle. I’ve enjoyed it so much this summer.

Re: Spa Ti Audax
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2016, 08:41:59 pm »
When it comes to seats and bar tape everyone is different. Like HeltorChasca I’m a Phat guy.

I must confess I’ve become a bit of a Ti groupie, my last 4 bikes have all been Ti. I thought about the Steel version for this bike, but on the one hand I like the ride of Ti and on the other, basically I’m a klutz, I’d probably put big scraps in the paintwork during the first week. For the same reason I’ve always steered clear of carbon. :)

I haven’t heard too many bad reports of the Schwalbe Durano tires and so far they seem fine to me. Of course tires are another thing that can be a bit of a subjective choice. A lot of people like Michelins, but you couldn’t pay me to use them, I’ve had loss of grip in corners multiple times with them.

The peddles are an old pair of Shimano Ultegra SPDs.

I’ll look out for your photos of the Steel version.

Re: Spa Ti Audax
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2016, 10:02:31 pm »
basically I’m a klutz, I’d probably put big scraps in the paintwork during the first week.

Me too! Shortly after building my Spa Audax, I leant its saddle against a tree with rough bark, walked away, and watched it roll back and fall against the tree with its top tube. Scratched the paint for sure. (But that keeps me from being too precious about it!)

I like your choice of the brushed finish.

I haven’t heard too many bad reports of the Schwalbe Durano tires and so far they seem fine to me. Of course tires are another thing that can be a bit of a subjective choice. A lot of people like Michelins, but you couldn’t pay me to use them, I’ve had loss of grip in corners multiple times with them.

The Duranos are a bit harsh and slow-rolling for me. But you’re right. Tony Oliver in Touring Bikes opens his tyre section like this: “Tyre choice is personal.”

I’ve done most of my Spa Audax riding on 25 mm Schwalbe Ones. Just today I ordered another pair from Ribble Cycles, who are offering a “twinpack” at £37.20 with the discount code TYRES20. They only had them in 23 mm, but that’s by far the best price on Schwalbe One tyres I’ve ever seen.

Hope you have many happy miles on your titanium Audax.

Re: Spa Ti Audax
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2016, 11:57:28 am »
Nice bike. I took one out for a test ride when I last called into Spa Cycles and was very impressed by it. Durano tyres? I use them on all my road bikes, apart from a badly-refitted inner tube bursting recently I have had no punctures at all for a couple of years. I rate them very highly.

Re: Spa Ti Audax
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2016, 06:08:42 pm »
I’ll look out for your photos of the Steel version.

Just a single photo, and not a pretty one but a document of the build.

Relayer

Re: Spa Ti Audax
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2016, 10:16:35 am »

I bought this bike to replace my ageing Trek 2200, which I was using as my commuter and Winter training bike.


If I was a cycle commuter I would gladly sacrifice some speed to maximise puncture protection.

Really nice bike and a good review, no doubt I'll be revisiting this since that's a bike I could see me buying sometime.

Re: Spa Ti Audax
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2016, 10:29:33 am »

I bought this bike to replace my ageing Trek 2200, which I was using as my commuter and Winter training bike.


If I was a cycle commuter I would gladly sacrifice some speed to maximise puncture protection.
That depends on how far you commute, surely?
I did the maths on that, when I commuted by bike, and went for a compromise. Speed was a huge factor and I decided that fat, fast rolling tyres were the best option. Audax-type comfort in fact.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Relayer

Re: Spa Ti Audax
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2016, 08:55:52 am »
OK, here's my Maths ...

Personally I wouldn't want to commute more than 15 miles each way, otherwise I'd be looking at car or public transport. 

Let's say I averaged 15mph commuting speed on fat performance tyres (which you can't get into a Spa Audax anyway) I'd be 60 minutes on the road each way. And let's say I averaged 12mph on Duranos (and I'm sure it'd wouldn't be anything like that much slower) I'd be 75 minutes on the road ... getting out of bed 15 minutes earlier wouldn't be a problem for me.

Repairing punctures, or sidewall failures on fat performance tyres, on a winter morning with rain and freezing temperatures would be no fun for me at all.

I daresay fitter and faster cyclists than me may well do more than 15 miles in which case faster rubber could well be more attractive.

Apologies to the OP for maybe diverting this thread from his lovely new bike.   :)

Re: Spa Ti Audax
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2016, 12:10:33 pm »

I bought this bike to replace my ageing Trek 2200, which I was using as my commuter and Winter training bike.


If I was a cycle commuter I would gladly sacrifice some speed to maximise puncture protection.
That depends on how far you commute, surely?
I did the maths on that, when I commuted by bike, and went for a compromise. Speed was a huge factor and I decided that fat, fast rolling tyres were the best option. Audax-type comfort in fact.

my bold

Probably also depends on the nature of your commute as well, traffic lights have far more of an effect for me than the few minutes faster rubber makes, coupled with the fact that the only place I can cross the ship canal pretty much guarantees I'm going to run through a patch of glass somewhere along there means D+ is a no-brainer, plus it gives me an excuse for struggling to keep up with my occasional commuting buddy who does run faster rubber but doesn't cross the canal*

*The  fact he's 10 years younger and probably 10kg lighter has nothing to do with it, no sirree

Re: Spa Ti Audax
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2016, 12:17:25 pm »
The steel Audax will take 32mm tyres without guards. Not sure about the Ti. Supple tyres are nicer to ride, more comfortable and bit, but probably irrelevantly, faster.

Tubeless let's you combine all advantages I think.

Mike

Re: Spa Ti Audax
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2016, 10:19:23 pm »
What rack bag is that. Does it have separate internal compartments?
The older you get, the better you get, unless you are a banana.

Re: Spa Ti Audax
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2016, 07:54:16 am »
That's one of the Topeak MTX trunk bags (they come variously with extend-out tops and drop-out side panniers). It has a velcro-clad divider which enables you to split the internal compartment into two, at whatever split you want. It is just a vertical divider though, so small stuff can sneak underneath.
Rust never sleeps

Re: Spa Ti Audax
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2016, 09:07:50 pm »
I’ve had the bike about 3 months now and it’s done 1,200 miles.

As you’d expect, she’s still looking good. I did add an up-grade to the lights, fitting a Busch & Müller IQ-X front light and a Toplight Line Brake Plus rear, running off a Son 28 dynamo. It adds a level of confidence on dark nights, knowing I wont get battery problems.

Handling is nice and steady, although currently it spends most of its time as a commuter. I remain happy with her. I am glad I fitted the Koolstop Salmon brake pads for the wet weather. The Schwalbe Durano tires are wearing well, but I still get my fair share of punctures, oddly they always happen on a Friday night!

The detachable Topeak MTX trunk bag has served me well for about 8 years and is particularly nice for commuting, it pops on and off easily and has plenty of room for my cloths and wet weather gear, lock, tubes, etc.