Author Topic: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub  (Read 495 times)

JanieB

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I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« on: December 04, 2017, 05:38:14 PM »
Been dabbling in the touring business for round about 2 years now and just keep on experiencing that morish feeling.

So yes, after having bought bikes and fiddled with them to fit we are now in the process of researching bikes that fit us and of course, working at a bike charity means I am overloaded with opinions, ideas and mechanical advice but then...then I stumbled across THE pdf.

My goodness, I am just shy of page 50 and have already learned so much plus I think I might have already made up my mind what I think I want. However, I am holding back and reading and researching more.

So my question is, should I rather search the forums for answers or are newbie questions not frowned on?
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Donerol

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2017, 06:02:23 PM »
Of course newby questions aren't frowned on - we'll all enjoy giving our (sometimes conflicting) opinions and advice and help you spend your money.  ;D 

Welcome aboard!

geocycle

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2017, 06:37:40 PM »
Welcome to the forum, I hope you find us a friendly bunch with the usual range of idiosyncrasies brought together by a love of touring bikes and of course Thorn's in particular.   
 

Danneaux

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2017, 06:50:58 PM »
Quote
So my question is, should I rather search the forums for answers or are newbie questions not frowned on?
Newbie questions are indeed encouraged here -- welcome!

Besides the direct interaction, one of the most valuable parts of the Forum is the search function. Chance are your questions -- or ones very like them -- have been asked before. My suggestion you view them is in no way meant to discourage new questions, just to say "even more" data is available from past responses.

All best wishes going forward on your selection!

Dan.

Danneaux
Thorn Cycling Forum Administrator

JanieB

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2017, 06:57:01 PM »
Thank you for the warm welcome.

Yes a colleague had actually suggested Thorn after I had paged Las the usual Genesis, Ridgeback and oh so popular Surly suggestions.

Where do I begin, maybe let me list the definite decisions (but open to having my mind changed):

*  26" wheels - we carry all our own camping and cooking gear plus food if and when needed
*  Neither one of us has ever used front wheel panniers but for touring a few months at a time I don't think they are an optional.
*  The jury is still out concerning disks v V- brakes...
*  I am nearly 100% for a Rohloff, from what I have read so far mechanical issues are few and far between.
*  Up to now we have ridden with camelbacks, I use a triangle frame bag for tools and spares so no space for water bottle cages. Good ideas welcome.
*  I never realise just home important crank arm lengths are and suddenly realise that my knee pain might have more than one originating point.
* Definitely would like dynamo hubs, also no prior experience so allot of research happenjng.
*  I am considering a Jones H-loop bar. Also still researching.

So friendly knowledgeable Thorns, looking forward to your wise Intel.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2017, 07:03:50 PM by JanieB »
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StuntPilot

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2017, 08:22:40 PM »
Welcome to the forum!

Based on a few years of being a Thorn Raven Tour owner and with a couple of long tours under the belt ...

*  26" wheels - we carry all our own camping and cooking gear plus food if and when needed

Yep, 26" for longer, more remote tours seems to be the preferred option based on many internet touring blogs I have read.

*  Neither one of us has ever used front wheel panniers but for touring a few months at a time I don't think they are an optional.

The balance and control obtained using the standard front and rear panniers set up is favoured by many long distance tourers. Half filling front and rear panniers gives you more space for additional food and water storage. The alternative rear only pannier/frame bags/bikepacking setup/trailer setup are also good options depending on your preferences/location and type of travel.

*  The jury is still out concerning disks v V- brakes...

Haven't used disk brakes so unqualified to comment here, but very happy with V-brakes after two three month tours. Simplicity rules!

*  I am nearly 100% for a Rohloff, from what I have read so far mechanical issues are few and far between.

No problems for me after almost 13000km with a Rohloff. There are reports from some about having failures but if it should happen Rohloff and SJS Cycles will sort it all out for you by all accounts. May have to hang around a bit if you have a failure but in relation to the reliability of a Rohloff it may never happen. Fit and forget rules!

*  Up to now we have ridden with camelbacks, I use a triangle frame bag for tools and spares so no space for water bottle cages. Good ideas welcome.

I have used 2 x 2L Ortlieb water bags and found that to be a great solution - store them in your half empty front and rear panniers! I don't like wearing anything on my back.

*  I never realise just home important crank arm lengths are and suddenly realise that my knee pain might have more than one originating point.

Go with the info from Thorns PDF Mega Brochure. I did and use a 165mm crank due to my shorter leg length. Never had any knee problems.

* Definitely would like dynamo hubs, also no prior experience so allot of research happening.

The SON front dynamo is a wonderful piece of engineering. Though expensive its been worth the investment. Get one! Really useful for running a GPS or charging batteries especially when combined with a Cinq 5 or Sine USB unit. Good too if you are ever caught out by darkness or poor weather - can run your dynamo lights too! Another fit and forget!

*  I am considering a Jones H-loop bar. Also still researching.

Sorry, don't know the one but will have a look!

So, plenty folks on his forum willing to help. The only silly question is the one not asked. There are quite a few great touring bikes as you mentioned. Thorn is one of them. Maybe even the best - but then I'm biased!
« Last Edit: December 04, 2017, 09:09:21 PM by StuntPilot »

geocycle

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2017, 08:38:53 PM »
Your list fits exactly with the thorn range. I guess thereís the decision between kitchen sink (raven) or kitchen sink and most of the garage (nomad) but other than that youíll not be disappointed. Disc brakes are fashionable and effective but v brakes are also very effective and easily maintained. You will not regret using a Rohloff. Like all bits of engineering they can go wrong but very very infrequently. They also hold their value if you look after them. Iíve done 30,000 miles on mine and other than being a bit heavy when riding unloaded it has been perfect for a do it all bike.
 

David Simpson

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2017, 10:03:39 PM »
Welcome to our forum! We all were newbies at one time, so ask away.

I have a 2013 Thorn Nomad that I love. I haven't done touring (yet!), and most of my riding is commuting year round. Here are my opinions on your topics:

*  The jury is still out concerning disks v V- brakes...

I commute year round in Vancouver, so I put a TRP Spyke disk brake on the rear of my Nomad. I have a V-brake on the front, since the Nomad fork doesn't allow for a front disk brake. I wanted a disk brake for riding in the rain. It works great. My previous bikes were mountain bikes, so I'm familiar with disk brakes (usually hydraulic). I prefer the simplicity of the mechanical disk brake over the hydraulic disk brake. I actually find the disk brake easier to work on and adjust than the V-brake, but that's because it's what I'm used to. It comes down to personal preference and past experience.

* Definitely would like dynamo hubs, also no prior experience so allot of research happenjng.

I have a SON28 dyno hub. Get one. There is no noticeable drag when riding.

*  I am considering a Jones H-loop bar. Also still researching.

I had a Jones H-loop bar on my Nomad for a couple of weeks. I really liked the riding position, except that it was a bit to "leisurely" for riding in traffic. I now use a Thorn eXp Flat handlebar. I'm planning to built up a second bike for recreational riding (with the family, where I don't want the weight/expense of the Nomad), and I'll use the Jones bar for that bike. If I was doing touring, I would definitely consider the Jones bar. Again, it comes down to personal preference.

- DaveS

Bippers

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2017, 10:06:40 PM »
Let me tell you about my partners experience of a Thorn Raven.
She too is in her early 50's owns a Salsa and a Brompton so knows her bikes! The real problem she has is, "she's a Princess with a capital P".
She wanted a Raven with a Rolhoff so we visited SJS one Friday afternoon and she had the very detailed measure up, the whole process with a ride around the block took us about 3 hours. The order was placed and a few weeks later "Theo" arrived flat packed. Handle bars rotated and any other assemblies completed fairly simply,  we set off for a spin. As I said she is a Princess and I was expecting hours of minor adjustments to get everything just perfect for a Princess. How wrong was I, not a single tiny adjustment required. SJS had set the bike up just perfect as measured for her. Well, it was almost perfect, she complained about chaffing on the inside of her thigh. Not a lot SJS could do about that as it was the embossing on the Brookes saddle. A pea in the Princess's bed one could say.
Back to serious. We have toured Loire River last year and Rhine from source to sea this year with front and rear Carradice panniers with camping kit. One of the best bits of kit we have added is the Hebie steering damper, supplied by SJS and to us a must have extra.

Donerol

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2017, 12:24:55 AM »
A few years ago I was lucky enough to get a s/h Raven Tour. I absolutely love it and is my most used bike. As I don't camp any longer (too wet and uncomfortable!) it is probably a bit heavier and more solid than I need but I don't mind as it is so comfortable and goes anywhere. The lighter Raven Sport Tour might have made more sense but I couldn't afford to buy new. The current Raven lies somewhere between the two older models.

Quote
*  The jury is still out concerning disks v V- brakes...
I have V brakes and they are very good, but my ideal would be a disc brake on the rear and V-brake on the front. IME the rear rim always wears faster than the front as it picks up more crud. CSS rims are supposed to wear less quickly but reports seem a bit mixed, with some people unhappy with their performance in the wet.

Quote
*  I am nearly 100% for a Rohloff, from what I have read so far mechanical issues are few and far between.
The two things I love most about the Rohloff are 1) you can change gear when stationary, e.g. if you have to stop suddenly on a hill or at lights or whatever; and 2) it doesn't need nearly so much maintenance. It is easy to clean and chains and sprockets last for ages.

Quote
*  I never realise just home important crank arm lengths are and suddenly realise that my knee pain might have more than one originating point.
I changed the original 170mm cranks for 165 and my knees definitely appreciate it. Keeping up with some basic knee exercises also is a good idea.

Quote
* Definitely would like dynamo hubs, also no prior experience so allot of research happenjng.
My Raven came with a Son28 - it has been completely reliable and any drag is so negligible that I haven't noticed it.

Quote
*  I am considering a Jones H-loop bar. Also still researching.
I prefer drop bars and achieved this with the Thorn flat bar with 'drop' style bar ends. It's not particularly elegant but works well. Thorn make their frames in two lengths: short for drop bars and long for straight bars. I presume the Jones H-loop counts as straight.

In spite of its solidity my Raven Tour it is surprisingly nippy when unloaded. Also it handles really, really well, whether loaded or not - it is predictable and can be ridden easily no hands, and yet can be flicked around potholes and other obstacles when required. (Though note that I don't use front panniers, only rear plus a bar bag.)

jags

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2017, 12:46:38 AM »
Can't make a comment on Rohloff (well i could but Dan would  fire me off the forum) ;D
but i can comment on Thorn bikes i owned Three  Sherpa 26 wheels built like a tank carry any amount gear comfy all day ride but a dog on hills.
 i now ride the Audax  no bother carrying a load excellent bike just could not faultit 700 wheels Tiagra groupset fantastic never misses a beat .

disc breaks stay away from them u dont need disc brakes unless your doing 60mph down a rocky slope even then  :o
Thorn bikes are old school build (frame) but there seriously well put together,few pals of mine ride Raven sports tour with the dreaded Rohloff  they love them,
so yeah imho the disc and rohloff make for a heavy bike just don't like them .
Have you looked at the 700c club tour good wheels on that baby and you and your good womam are away in a hack save yourself loads money  and you will have one hell of a touring bike and thats a fact.

oh btw welcome to the forum not a bad place to spend an hour or so. best of luck with whatever you choose.

anto. 

martinf

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2017, 07:15:56 AM »
Two different views here:

SON hubs are good, but mid-range Shimano also work well at a fraction of the price. I have the steel axle DH-3N72 on some bikes and have not had any problems yet.

I am fairly tall, theoretically I should have 170-175 mm length cranks. But short 150 or 155 mm cranks work very well for me. So the standard crank length formula doesn't work for everyone.

JanieB

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2017, 01:23:11 PM »
Thank you to everyone for the feedback, I decided to not answer each one individually, seemed like things would really just become way too long.

I have two bikes at the moment, one with V-brakes (touring) and one with disc brakes (commuter), I have to be honest, wet or dry, the V-brakes out perform the discs. So the suggestions for a mix with disc on the back and V on the front...hmm does this not complicate things with regards to spares? Does the disc on the back really bring about such a big change?

I am even more stoked to hear about the Rohloff fit and forget situation, specially with lights and of course charging of mobile and Garmin. I do carry a backup portable battery which is great but with mobile devices, Garmin, camera, lights and mini laptop, it's a pain on long tours to have to hang out at charge points when the time could be spent so much better. So despite the fact that my poor piggy back has watery eyes with ribs sticking out, I think I am going to have to feed it a whole lot more in order to splurge. Needs v wants.

I have never had a kickstand on my bike, I can see the value to that but I have also noticed that there are warranty implications. Does everyone use them and if it is not a center stand, how does a fully loaded bike work on a side stand?

Then there is the Raven v Nomad options. Still reading up on these so I am sure I will discover why I would choose one over the other, from what I can see up to now it is basically dependent on the load but since we are buying these bikes for a lifetime, should one not get the best money can afford, or do I look at say maybe a 10 year investment with the option to upgrade later? Feels like a pile of money to dump for any shorter period of time and I do like the idea of less spending more usability over a longer period of time.
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jags

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2017, 01:39:47 PM »
Reading a guys report on cyclechat he said the worst bit of gear he bought was the  son dynamo for charging stuff he bough power 2 banks   for charging his gear work like magic . so save yourself a fortune just get a custom set of wheels last forever.(well near enough)  ;)

better get back to cleaning me windows i have to get a few brownie points built up for christmas can't be sitting here all day.
anto.

geocycle

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2017, 03:20:39 PM »

Then there is the Raven v Nomad options. Still reading up on these so I am sure I will discover why I would choose one over the other, from what I can see up to now it is basically dependent on the load but since we are buying these bikes for a lifetime, should one not get the best money can afford, or do I look at say maybe a 10 year investment with the option to upgrade later? Feels like a pile of money to dump for any shorter period of time and I do like the idea of less spending more usability over a longer period of time.

Yes it is a big investment.  But the great news is I bought my raven in 2006 for £1200.  I have spent money making changes but the good news is if I were to sell it I would want close to what I paid for it!  Most of this is inflation of course but the rohloff really hold their value. Raven v Nomad is mainly down to the load being carried, both are excellent load bearers but the nomad is the tougher.  The raven is also a very meaty performer by most company's standards and possibly has a slightly broader range of applications. if you are carrying large amounts of water across deserts I would go nomad.