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Hello Blue Sky,
The Echo is designed to take a maximum tyre size of 25c. Your weight should not be an issue at all, even for 23c tyres, however I recommend that you fit decent tyres for the best combination of strength, performance and longevity.
"I ruled out an Etape as I have neither a beard, Carradice saddlebag, tweed jacket with leather elbow patches or CTC membership."
Neither have I (well, I do have CTC membership, but that's cos I value the insurance, may sometime need the legal aid, and want to support an organisation that lobbies for cyclists' rights). Are you anticipating riding on wet roads? Then you really need a mudguard option. I have both an Etape and an Esprit and it's horses for courses.
Good point. No, it's just mainly for leisure / fitness rides, possibly club runs rather than commuting.
Is there a noticeable difference in performance between your two bikes ?
I guess there must be, otherwise everyone would buy an Etape.
Is that the only real difference then, the Etape can accommodate mudguards and rack and the Echo can't ?
The rack on the Etape only looks suitable for commuting, rather than a fortnight's touring.
I think that's helped anyway Tony so thanks for that.
Yes, there is a difference, the Etape is slightly more relaxed and a tad heavier. perhaps not quite as hard a ride. Definitely not as quick or as sharp as my Esprit, but then it has heavier wheels and tyres, plus mudguard drag.
The tubus rack should be perfectly adequate for loaded touring, other Enigmatics will hopefully be along to confirm that. Personally I use an old Blackburn rack on the odd occasion I go touring, and I've used that on both frames, with added Tubus fitments for the Esprit.
The reason I have both the Esprit and the Etape is that I use the Esprit when it's warm and dry, but the Etape comes into it's own on wet and muddy days, and for general clubruns. So I probably do at least twice the mileage on the Etape than on the Esprit, but I love them both. Of course, whilst you can't fit full guards on the Esprit, you can always take them off the Etape!
If you want to splash the cash and look flash, buy a race frame and understand you'll get wet and dirty sometimes. If you want an all-year-rounder, buy the Etape. At the end of the day the choice is yours so you have to be happy with it. What area do you live? If you can't get down to Enigma for a test ride, best bet is to find someone local who would oblige.
Thank you for taking the time to reply to my post.
I was interested that you said that you used the Etape for club runs - I'd have expected you to use the Esprit for club runs, with it being quicker. Although I can see that mudguards would be useful on a wet day when riding in a group.
Thankfully I have a very good bike shop within about 30 miles and they have Etape and Echo test bikes, so I'll be able to experience them both for myself, but the information that you kindly provided will be very useful as well.
Thanks again Tony.
As for which bike to use - it depends which clubrun I'm going on