You didn't mention why you are opposed to a Brooks, but they are definitely worth a try if you haven't yet.
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Thanks guys; this is all very helpful.You definitely need to get comfortable using the front derailleur as well. Start by just shifting the front back and forth while riding in a level place without any obstructions - like a quiet parking lot or local street. Don't worry too much about cadence at this point, just get used to the operation of the front derailleur. Once you've become more familiar it will much easier to integrate its use in to your rides.
I think I am waiting too long to shift (ie. waiting until it gets pretty hard before downshifting).
Also.. I hate to admit this, but I only ever use my right shifter -- I think it's the rear derailleur. I think I need to practice this on flat road and then put it into action on the climbs.
I also have not yet pedaled my road bike standing up... only seated. I have stood and pedaled in my spinning classes -- just lack the confidence, balance, etc. on the road bike.
I have a Fuji.. I think it's a Roubaix.
I've used the Equipes for cyclcross riding without any issues. I was planning to carry extra spokes. And I was planning to carry no more luggage weight than 18 lbs, or less!Nuts?
Am I nuts?!
Got it. I will get the SORA components reviewed before spending on an upgrade. I will change the cassette to 9 speed 11-34. And the small ring to a 24.I have a pair of Ksyrium SL's on a road bike but I've never used them for loaded touring. The SL's were a race oriented wheel, I'm not sure how the Equips compare in that regard?? The SL's also have brand-specific aluminum spokes which could be very difficult to find should you need a replacement on the road. Again, I'm not sure how the Equips compare.
Does anyone have any concerns about the Mavic Ksyrium Equips running Conti 4S 28s for this kind of tour ride? And I usually run my tires at near max inflation. 112psi. I'm assuming a lower inflation would be better? Would any other tire configuration make sense? These wheels are rated up to 35mm, I believe.
The cassette is a 9 speed 11/30. So I gather I should change it for a larger one. Yes? The Sora front derailleur has never worked. In general the SORA drivetrain has been a pain. I'm willing to upgrade to the best touring drivetrain if it can be done affordably.
In Alberta, Canada the Icefields Parkway from Lake Louise north to Jasper has wide shoulders and tremendous sceneryI traveled by car and camped in that area 10 or so years ago. Beautiful country! Great suggestion. Thanks.
Almost everywhere in the country except for southern California fits your requirements. Note that you can typically get wide shoulders or very little traffic, but usually not both at the same time.
Try Montana, or Wyoming, or Kansas, or North Dakota, or northern Wisconsin, or the Erie Canal, or west Texas, or rural Kentucky, or Idaho, or any of zillions of other places.