Author Topic: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub  (Read 493 times)

John Saxby

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2017, 04:01:26 PM »
Welcome, Janie. I trust you'll find the forum a helpful and courteous place.

I've had a Raven for four seasons now, from early 2014. I use it for touring (mostly on tarmac, maybe 5 - 10% on gravel), and it's one of two day-ride bikes. My bike has about 12,000 kms on it. When I'm not touring with it, I take off the front and rear racks. This makes a surprising difference in weight, so that the Raven feels quite a bit lighter, though "nippy" isn't the word I'd use.

The Raven weighs a few pounds more than my derailleur bike, which has a titanium frame, but the Raven fits me better, is more comfortable, and over any day ride of more than an hour or two, my times on the two bikes are similar.

Some thoughts and observations on your questions on components:

1)    Rohloff:  I hadn't ridden a Thorn nor owned a Rohloff until I bought my bike. No regrets at all on either count. I had had a lot of troubles with the various rear derailleurs on my other touring bike (now used for day-rides only), and it's hard to describe the relief that comes from never having to wonder if you'll get the gear you want on a steep climb with a loaded bike.

       The Rohloff is low-maintenance rather than no-maintenance, but with the annual oil change, you get to do a regular annual ritual.

       There's a Forum thread on gear ratios which can be maddeningly technical if you're not so inclined, but briefly:  I started with a 38-tooth front chain ring and a 17-tooth rear sprocket. I changed that to a lower ratio, switching to a slightly smaller 36-tooth chain ring. I found that this small change (between 4 & 5%) made hill climbing much easier.

       One point to note: with certain ratios between your Rohloff hub sprocket and your front chain ring, you can fit a Hebie Chainglider, which encases your chain. This is a trick plastic clip-together German device, which doesn't fasten to your frame, but floats over your chain when the bike is moving. The 'glider radically reduces chain maintenance and helps extend chain life.  (More details available on fitting the 'glider if you're interested.)

2)   Brakes:  I use the garden-variety Deore V-brakes, fitted with Koolstop salmon-coloured pads. These have worked very well in rain and in dry conditions, including a 4-week tour in the Rocky Mountains in June/July 2016.

3)    Wheels: I have used different rims on my bike. The one I'd recommend is the Escapade, made by Velo Orange. (I live in Ottawa, Canada, and for cost reasons bought frame and forks from SJSC, sourcing other components elsewhere. Velo Orange is a firm in the U.S.)  I use Marathon Supreme 26 x 1.6" foldable tires. These are very good, but I'm considering moving to the 2" variant when my current tires wear out. The 2" ones are a bit heavier, but people like the comfort their extra volume offers.

       (You didn't ask about mudguards, but I use very spiffy alloy ones from Velo Orange.)

4)    Charging, lighting, etc.:  I have a SON28, and it's been troublefree. It's hooked up to a Sinewave Revolution charger. At first, I set up the hub with 2 circuits, one for charging, one for a headlight. But, I found that because the headlight has first claim on the current, charging any device or storage batt took forever. And, since I rarely ride at night, I need a headlight mainly for being seen. A flashing headlight would give me the conspicuity I need, but my European headlight had no flashing feature. (It had a couple of other problems too.) 

     So, I now use only one circuit, which I use to charge an Anker 5200 storage battery when I'm riding. I then use that in the evening to recharge my Cygolite headlight (which has a very nice flashing feature), and/or phone, camera, and batt-powered tail lights. Rarely do I need to charge more than one device at a time, so the Anker is doing its job for no more than 2-3 hours at a time, and I rarely use more than 50% of its capacity. The SON recharges the battery in 2-4 hours, depending on how low it is after its recharging exertions.

4)   Bars:  No opinion on the Jones H-bars, though I have seen lots of praise and some criticisms, the latter saying that there are not many different hand positions, once the rider has loaded the bars with all the things we use.

      I use Velo Orange randonneur drop bars. These are nice and swoopy and come in several widths. I mount them above the nose of my saddle, so that (i) when I'm riding with my hands on the upper/outer part of the bars, there's little strain on my 70-year-old back :), and (ii) the drops are easily reached.

5)   Frame pack, etc.:  I use a Revelate Tangle frame bag, attached to the top tube of my Raven. (I have one for each bike, a large and a medium).  These carry a lot of stuff--my rain gear, for example--and you can fit two water bottles beneath them. I use the third cage fitting on the Raven (forward of the downtube) for a fuel or water bottle.

      (In dry conditions, such as you'd find in Western Canada or the US, I carry an MSR Platypus as extra capacity.)

6)   Stand:  On tour, I use a Click-stand, a nice folding device which weighs just a few ounces. It comes in a four-piece or a five-piece version. The segments on the 5-piece are shorter, and this variant would fit in your handlebar bag. The slightly longer and thinner 4-piece lives in my Revelate bag. Here's the link: http://www.click-stand.com/

Hope that's helpful, Janie. Enjoy your winter project of research/planning/dreaming, and we'll look forward to hearing/seeing the results.

Cheers,  John
« Last Edit: December 05, 2017, 04:03:51 PM by John Saxby »

Danneaux

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2017, 06:04:00 PM »
Quote
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?
JanieB, enter "kickstand" or "Click-Stand" (no quotes) in the Forum's search box and you'll have a wealth of answers and even photos.  ;)

Click-Stand here on my Nomad and previous Sherpa...and on my other bikes. And yes, no problem holding my fully loaded Nomad (it weights 20kg dry and as much as 56-57kg when fully loaded with 26.5l of water for self-supported desert crossings). On soft surfaces, I do carry a can lid or a tennis ball with a hole in it. I fit one or the other so the end of the Click-Stand in those conditions so it won't sink into the soil. A "big foot" rubber cap is an option I ordered with the stand, but is sometimes not enough for sand, mud, or very wet soil/grass.

Best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2017, 06:09:26 PM by Danneaux »

mickeg

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2017, 08:20:15 PM »
I have three touring bikes:
 - Thorn Nomad with V brakes and Rohloff.
 - Thorn Sherpa with cantilver brakes and derailleurs.
 - a non-Thorn Titanium bike with derailleurs and disc on rear, V brake on front.

On brakes, I see no problem mixing rim brakes with disc brakes.  My one bike where I mixed them I did so because I bought a frame designed for a disc brake but instead of buying the new $300 USD fork for it that used disc brakes I used a fork that I already owned that used rim brakes.  So, my brake choice was based on saving a wad of money.  I find the disc is better in wet conditions, both are about the same in dry conditions.

If you get rim brakes, consider one or two CSS rims, the rim braking surface does not wear, but it requires a special brake pad.  I have CSS rims on my Nomad front and rear.  Thorn now recommends only one CSS rim, you should ask them why if you are interested.

The Nomad is a heavy bike.  I am a large person about 6' 1" (~185 cm) and about 80 kg.  I like the Nomad for heavy duty uses, but for medium weight I like the Sherpa better.  (The Sherpa is very similar to the Raven.)  So if it was a question of Nomad vs Raven, both are good but the Nomad is the heavier duty bike.  That heavy duty aspect comes with a weight penalty, it is a much heavier bike.  If you do not need the heavy duty aspects of it, the Raven might be a better choice, as it would be several kg lighter.  If you are a smaller lighter weight person, the Nomad might be more weight than you want to push around.

I have two SP PV-8 dynohubs, like them both very much.  I also have a Shimano (I do not recall teh number) on another bike that I bought used.  They are both roughly comparable, but the Shimano might have a bit more drag.  The SP has flanges that are very close to each other, I have seen on one other website that someone was suggesting that you should use four more spokes on a wheel with an SP than you would with other brands of hubs.  I have 36 spokes on one of my SP hubs, 32 spokes on both my other SP and on my Shimano hub.

I have three different ways to charge things with a USB charger and dynohub.  Two are headlight and USB charger combinations, one is a charger only.  I like all three.  But, each are quite different.
 - AXA Luxx 70 Plus has no cache battery, the waterproofing of it does not inspire me with confidence.
 - B&M Luxos U has a cache battery and is better waterproofed, but more costly.
 - Sinewave Revolution is possibly the most waterproof USB charger out there but it does not have a cache battery.  It is a charger only, no light.

I think that the AXA has maybe 10 to 20 percent less electric output at the USB port than the others but that is pretty much a guess on my part.

The AXA and the B&M both have good light patterns.  I use battery powered taillights, so I can't recommend a good one.  If I use my Sinewave charger, I have a very old (discontinued) B&M Lumotec oval light that is not very good but touring I rarely am using the headlight so it does not really matter.

Some devices (like my Garmin 64) will not play happy with a charger that lacks a cache battery.  I can plug my Garmin straight into my Luxos U, but for the other chargers I need to use an external pass through cache battery in the circuit.

I like kickstands, have them on most of my bikes including my Thorns.  But be forewarned that Thorn really does not like kickstands, you should have a conversation with Thorn about kickstands before you install one.  A Clickstand or something like it is also a slightly less convenient option.  I cut down a tent pole to use as a prop stand with my Titanium bike, then use some elastic on the front brake lever and handlebar to keep the bike from rolling off the prop stand.  My home made prop stand functions similar to a Clickstand.

Water containers, use what you prefer.  You will notice on my Nomad (first photo) that I have three large water bottles, each is a liter.  I prefer bottles over bladders because a quick glance and I know what my inventory of water is and how much water I have consumed that day.

I normally use fenders (mudguards) but the photo of my Nomad shows no fenders because when I packed up my bike to go to Iceland, there was no room in the case for fenders.

I attached four photos, first my Nomad, second my Sherpa, third and fourth is the prop stand I use on my Titanium bike - the blue thing is the home made prop stand that used to be a tent pole.

ADDENDUM ADDED SEVERAL HOURS LATER:

Regarding the choice of Raven vs Nomad, Thorn has rated bikes for maximum loads not counting the weight of rider.  I suspect that I have exceeded that rating by a tiny amount on my Sherpa (very similar to Raven) but I do not think I even got near that rating for the Nomad even when I was carrying two weeks of food on the bike.  Both of these bikes have handled the loads quite well without feeling like a wet noodle.  My point is that I think these weight ratings are good to use for deciding which bike is best for you.  If you have a good idea on how many kg of gear (including pannier weight) that you would be carrying, that may tell you which bike is better for you.

SECOND ADDENDUM ADDED NEXT DAY

On the weight of the Nomad, since every bike is built to the owners specification you can't say how much it weighs exactly.  But mine (size 590M with S&S couplers) with racks front and rear is 21.5 kg.  If you pack it up for shipping on an air plane and add in the weight of the shipping materials and box, you could trip over the weight limit set by the airline if you do not pull a few things out of the box and pack elsewhere.

My Nomad is S&S coupled, when I put that in the S&S backpack case, the rear rack, pedals and some other stuff was packed in a different bag to keep my weight below the airline weight limit.

My Sherpa (dérailleur, not Rohloff) is roughly 4 kg lighter than the Nomad.

Regardless of which bike you choose, if you fly with it you really want to invest in a luggage scale, that can be your best friend when traveling.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2017, 04:35:05 PM by mickeg »

jags

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2017, 08:41:23 PM »
Aww Mick goose a look at the TI  bike looks class.
great photos of the nomad and sherpa.

cheers,
anto.

mickeg

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2017, 08:59:21 PM »
Aww Mick goose a look at the TI  bike looks class.
great photos of the nomad and sherpa.

cheers,
anto.

Thanks, but unfortunately the Ti bike does not have a Rohloff.

jags

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2017, 09:05:48 PM »
 ;D ;D good now i really want to see it.
go on go on go on :o


anto

martinf

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #21 on: December 05, 2017, 09:37:30 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.

I thought I wanted a Nomad, but was talked out of it by Andy Blance at Thorn, who asked me what I intended using the bike for.

I replied "touring with a camping load in Europe, mostly on road but with some paths and tracks" and sent a photo of one of the rougher tracks I had used on a long tour.

He suggested a Raven Tour (predecessor to the Raven) with heavy-duty rims would be a better choice for me, and that the Nomad was really for expedition-type tours where it is necessary to carry a lot of water and/or food (not usually a problem in most of Europe) and/or extensive off-road use.

My Raven Tour can carry a lot of luggage, and has so far been more than adequate for my purposes.

DAntrim

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #22 on: December 05, 2017, 11:04:38 PM »
Welcome Janie,

I have 2 thorns both 700c, the Club Tour (derailleur) and the Mercury (rohloff), both of these bikes are disc’s as I prefer these over canti’s / v-brakes – though that is a personal choice. Most of my touring is UK /EU based, currently for a max of 2/3 weeks, I prefer to use the carradice saddle bag / front pannier combination which works well for me carrying full camping gear. I carry all my tools in a carradice zipped roll bag which is secured under the saddle

26" wheels - we carry all our own camping and cooking gear plus food if and when needed
Unless you are planning to go outside of  Europe / USA  then 700c wheels will work just as well as 26in

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.
With the weight spread correctly over the front / back panniers, you don’t really notice the front panniers, more than you do with a bar bag

The jury is still out concerning disks v V- brakes
Disc / V-brakes are a personal preference, I personally think disc brakes provide better stopping power in the wet, apart from that the only real difference to my mind, is having your wheels rebuilt at some point when using canti / v-brakes

I am nearly 100% for a Rohloff, from what I have read so far mechanical issues are few and far between
There is definitely less maintenance having to keep derailleur gears tuned, and fitting the hebbie chainglider makes for less maintenance of your chain and keeps things cleaner

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 ride with anything attached to myself everything goes on the bike, there are various cages which you can attach to the front fork or the seat post

I never realise just home important crank arm lengths are and suddenly realise that my knee pain might have more than one originating point.
No thoughts on this as standard 170mm work fine for myself, leave this to others more knowledgeable

Definitely would like dynamo hubs, also no prior experience so allot of research happening
A lot of people swear by the SON - I have the SP PD-8 dynamo hub (disc version) for the past 2 years and have had no issues with it,

I am considering a Jones H-loop bar. Also still researching.
Can’t comment on this as not used one - I was looking at one but went with the Thorn flat bar instead and have had no issues

Having ridden both thorn derailleur and rohloff, I wouldn’t go back to the derailleur version if it can be avoided.

Carlos

Mike Ayling

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #23 on: December 06, 2017, 07:16:28 AM »
G'day Janie

After a lot of research and questions on a number of forums we purchased a Thorn tandem mit Rohloff without ever seeing on of the bikes or a Rohloff. I like the EX box shifter connection.

The Rohloff is very low maintenance and as long as you slack off the pressure on the chain shifting is easy.

The tandem is built like a brick outhouse and not the nippiest bike that I have ever ridden but when loaded is  extremely stable and on our first tour we hit 72 km/h on a downhill and the bike was rock steady so I would assume that the Thorn singles perform in the same manner.
We credit card tour but still use front and rear lightly loaded panniers. The front panniers do balance the bike.
The tandem has V brakes with the Rigida CSS rims and i have never had a problem stopping the bike in wet or dry conditions.

So I liked the Rohloff so much that I bought a Thorn Mercury. This has a disc brake at the back, an Avid BB7 which stops the bike but really Does not seem more powerful that the V brake on the front wheel. Because the seatstays are light it is not possible to fit V brakes at the back of the bike. I think the Thorn has upgraded to Sprye discs on later models. You could call the Mercury a credit card tourer but although a fun bike to ride I think it will be too light for the type of touring that you intend.

You can't go past a Thorn bike with a Rohloff hub.

Mike
In (currently) sunny Melbourne Australia.
We did get 100mm (4 inches in the old money) of rain last weekend.   

JanieB

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #24 on: December 06, 2017, 08:37:34 AM »
Tremendous information everyone, thank you for sharing. It always pays to ask and of course search previous conversations.

The crystal ball starting to clear and the picture is emerging.
What next?

lewisjnoble

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #25 on: December 06, 2017, 09:40:26 PM »
Hello Janie - good luck in your planning and deliberations.  I don't know where you are, but if you can manage to book a visit to Bridgwater, I think that would be very helpful, both in terms of model choice and sizing - they take a great deal of trouble with sizing, and the range of sizes available exceeds pretty well any other manufacturer I think.  And remember that the final choice of spec can significantly alter the feel of the bike - a Sherpa, for example, can be anything from a pretty light urban bike / dayrider to a heavy duty tourer, capable of all except full-on expedition type riding.  Trouble is, altering the spec adds to the cost . . . oh dear . . .

In my experience, other bike suppliers often have a poor opinion of and are critical of Thorn.  I remember a few years ago, around 2012, I was looking for a new bike after my Cube was stolen - I had previously had a Raven Tour which I sold on as it was needlessly 'heavy duty' for me.  I heard comments like - 'they are behind the times, stick-in-the-muds . . fancy not being all that keen on disc brakes!!'  But Thorn produce sound arguments for their views in my opinion, and do change their mind when equipment improves or experience suggests that they should.  I am now on my 5th Thorn (a Raven Tour, chosen thinking I would do more heavy touring than I did - sold to someone who rode it to Vietnam), a derailleur tandem, a Ripio (now rebuilt to a lightweight Sherpa) and now, arrived yesterday, an Audax.  They have all been very well thought out bikes, which have never let me down, and have all handled superbly and sweetly.  The reason I have had so many, (what's the record?), is that my plans and needs have changed over the last 11 years. 

The service from Thorn has always been very good in my experience.

Good luck

Lewis
 

JanieB

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #26 on: December 08, 2017, 11:19:18 AM »
Hello Janie - good luck in your planning and deliberations.  I don't know where you are, but if you can manage to book a visit to Bridgwater, I think that would be very helpful, both in terms of model choice and sizing - they take a great deal of trouble with sizing, and the range of sizes available exceeds pretty well any other manufacturer I think.  And remember that the final choice of spec can significantly alter the feel of the bike - a Sherpa, for example, can be anything from a pretty light urban bike / dayrider to a heavy duty tourer, capable of all except full-on expedition type riding.  Trouble is, altering the spec adds to the cost . . . oh dear . . .

In my experience, other bike suppliers often have a poor opinion of and are critical of Thorn.  I remember a few years ago, around 2012, I was looking for a new bike after my Cube was stolen - I had previously had a Raven Tour which I sold on as it was needlessly 'heavy duty' for me.  I heard comments like - 'they are behind the times, stick-in-the-muds . . fancy not being all that keen on disc brakes!!'  But Thorn produce sound arguments for their views in my opinion, and do change their mind when equipment improves or experience suggests that they should.  I am now on my 5th Thorn (a Raven Tour, chosen thinking I would do more heavy touring than I did - sold to someone who rode it to Vietnam), a derailleur tandem, a Ripio (now rebuilt to a lightweight Sherpa) and now, arrived yesterday, an Audax.  They have all been very well thought out bikes, which have never let me down, and have all handled superbly and sweetly.  The reason I have had so many, (what's the record?), is that my plans and needs have changed over the last 11 years. 

The service from Thorn has always been very good in my experience.

Good luck

Lewis

Hi Lewis

We are in Glasgow but I do believe before we drop that kind of cash on two bikes we will make an effort to travel to Bridgwater and have a bit of a go on a Thorn or two, make sure the measurements are correct and then with watery eyes but very excited hearts hand over the pounds.

JanieB
What next?

jags

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2017, 01:53:14 PM »
Janie wait till i tell you.
you'll be dead for ever so while your still above ground   spend whatever you have no point been the richest guy in the graveyard.
meself i haven't the cross of christ that's the truth so when i do get the extra few bob i spend it straight away either that or the wife gets it  ;D ;D.

remember you spend on top class bikes that wont give you one bit of trouble fully guaranteed for life, think of all the adventures your going to have on those beauties  .
there you go that's me tuppence worth go buy them enjoy them keep them clean and have the craic.

anto.

Matt2matt2002

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #28 on: December 08, 2017, 11:51:37 PM »
Hi JaneB
I see you are in Glasgow.
If you ever pop up to Aberdeen you can check out my Raven.
Rohloff hub and been away with me to Sri Lanka and Tajikistan.
I have total faith in it.

Buy one and the only thing you'll have to watch out for is boring the pants off folk, telling them how it's the best bike in the world.
Never drink and drive. You may hit a bump  and spill your drink

Andre Jute

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Re: I have never ridden a Thorn or tried a Rohloff hub
« Reply #29 on: December 09, 2017, 03:20:02 AM »
In my experience, other bike suppliers often have a poor opinion of and are critical of Thorn.

That's very likely because what they're actually selling is an annual fashion change, whereas Thorn merely sells a good bike, and then stands behind it. It's not so much the bike design the detractors envy as the reputation. I understand them; I know lots of people like that, normally the second or third generation in charge after the real doers have died or retired. They've probably made no effort to understand the design and the service, because they don't grasp that those are more important than the marketing image, i.e. compliance with the fashion, or, if they're lucky, a very tiny step ahead of it.

It's just a different outlook: some people are well suited to the one, some to the other. And some are forced by their circumstance, for instance size of the concern, to choose only one outlook. I don't imagine either Thorn or Rohloff will ever be monstrously large business: their service (and attention to detail) is too personal. On the other hand, they're well suited to each other by engineering and service outlook. (Something they don't teach at business school is that a business outlook grows organically from the personality the man mover starts with; it isn't something optional the survivors have picked from a book of theoretical management theory.)
« Last Edit: December 09, 2017, 03:27:46 AM by Andre Jute »
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