Author Topic: Why the long steerer???  (Read 241 times)

Inbred

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Why the long steerer???
« on: May 05, 2018, 10:51:16 PM »
Before I start criticising things, can I just say that I love my Thorn Nomad.
It is by far the best quality bike I have ever owned (and I've owned quite a few!).
However, it's also the gawkiest looking!
This is mainly due to the ridiculous stack of spacers there are between the head tube and stem.
This seems to be common to almost every other Thorn bike I've ever seen.
Why are they like this?
Why not just build the frame with a higher front end or longer head tube?
My "friend" calls it "Giraffe Bike"....cheeky ####er!! 😡

Danneaux

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Re: Why the long steerer???
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2018, 11:11:47 PM »
Quote
Why are they like this?
To allow maximum flexibility in rider positioning. :) They can always be trimmed, but it is hard to add length later without going to a riser or adjustable stem. Once a rider finds their ideal position, the excess steerer can be cut to the preferred length.

The steerers are really robust and up to the task if left long/uncut.

I left mine uncut on my Sherpa Mk2 and my Nomad and filled the space with bottle cages, which proved very handy with no discernible effect on handling, given they were concentric with the steering axis. This nicely fills up the visual space for me. Having the steerer the full uncut length was a major selling point for my Thorns and I view it as value added. I've swapped in some Sherpa Mk2 forks on other bikes (mostly MTBs converted from riser/straight handlebars to drops) and found the uncut steerer was critical to getting good rider positioning (i.e. in my case, tops of handlebars even in height with my saddle's top, for some other riders, it put the handlebars a bit above the saddle, as they desired).

Best,

Dan.

mickeg

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Re: Why the long steerer???
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2018, 03:03:31 AM »
On most of my bikes I do not cut the steerer tube in case a future owner wants a longer steerer.  But my Nomad when I planned to put in an S&S case, I wanted that fork as short as practical.  Thus I cut it.  And to make sure I did not cut too much, I intentionally cut less off than I thought I would actually want cut off.  Over time I think I cut some off of it three times, better to cut too little off the first time than too much was my thinking.

And I bought a stem that has a very high angle, I think 35 degrees which allowed me to cut more steerer off.  See photo.

I suspect that Thorn/SJS just leaves more steerer on for those that might want it later, and I suspect a lot of people do not want to cut it off themselves.  To the non-mechanically inclined, removing the fork and getting out a hack saw could be a pretty traumatic experience.

PH

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Re: Why the long steerer???
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2018, 06:14:54 AM »
If you want your bars at a height that many leisure cyclists (Including tourers) do, then there's limited options to get them there, the smaller the wheel size the more that's evident.  Many manufacturers don't even give you the option, how to raise the bars is a frequent question on many cycling forums and there's a number of after market products to compensate for the manufacturers short comings. The common alternative to the length of steerer is a longer headtube, but this causes other compromises - standover height is reduced requiring more slope on the top tube, there's also the rigidity of a triangle over a quadrangle and the longer head tube moves that in the wrong direction.   
Fashion is for lower bars, that's what the athletes have and we all want to think of ourselves in those terms (Don't we ;))  Some manufacturer's publicity will include lower bars and then supply with a longer steerer, this offers more choice, but you may be disappointed your bike doesn't look like the one in the photo!  To Thorn's credit, the bikes are pictured as you'd expect yours to look. 
There's then the myth Vs reality, head tube lengths are listed in the brochure, if you compare them with information you can find about other makes, you'll see there really isn't much difference.  If there's more spacers, it's because given the choice that's what the riders want. 

martinf

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Re: Why the long steerer???
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2018, 08:02:33 AM »
Depends on frame size. I have 4 Thorns. All with uncut steerers.

The stack is very tall on my new visitor bike, it looks odd but this will allow me to adjust the handlebar height to suit a wide range of rider heights. It would probably make sense to cut the steerer if this bike was exclusively used by small riders.

On my other 3 Thorns I have the stem at or near the top of the steerer, so would not cut it. The stack looks a bit tall on my tourer, but not on my utility bike. On my Raven Sport Tour, to me the stack seems a bit short.

Height of steerer showing above the top of the headset race for the 4 frames:

Raven Tour 390 Step Through (visitor bike) - 18 cms
Raven Tour 587S (tourer) - 13 cms
Raven Tour 612S (utility bike) - 11 cms
Raven Sport Tour 611S - 8 cms. Head tube on this frame is very long - 24.5 cm between the headset races.

As a comparison, the old-style stems on three of the older family bikes have heights above the top of the headset race in the range from 8.5 cms to 12 cms. 

StuntPilot

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Re: Why the long steerer???
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2018, 08:58:57 AM »
Points raised above ring true for me. I find that leaving the steerer long has been instrumental in getting the correct set up, and would not consider cutting it down. I could have gone for the next frame size up but the Raven Tour 512L is still correct for my height etc. Some have said that my bike looks too small for me! I think its the 26 inch wheels that give that impression with so many larger wheel sizes around.

The benefit too of a smaller frame and long steerer results in a stronger frame and a lower centre of gravity for increased stability when fully loaded. It handles very well under all road conditions.  ;D

Thorns may have an unusual look for many however they are not designed to be 'racing stallions' but 'touring pack horses'. I have come to like the quirky look.

What to do with long steerer real estate on a Raven Tour? I added a Randijo Fabrications multi-use tote bag to carry hot coffee in an insulated flask as photographed over the Winter.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2018, 09:08:47 AM by StuntPilot »

John Saxby

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Re: Why the long steerer???
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2018, 08:29:17 PM »
Yep, mine's a long 'un too, on my Raven. See the photo below, where the length of the slightly-cut steerer allows:
  • two Thorn accessory bars, holding the mounts for my Arkel h'bar bag and the Rohloff shifter;
  • other spacers which allow me to locate the h'bar clamp well above the nose of the saddle.
To some, this setup may look odd. It's supremely comfortable for me, however, and when I see short steerers I wonder, "Why aren't all bikes like my Raven?"

Inbred

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Re: Why the long steerer???
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2018, 08:45:39 PM »
All these comments and photos are making me feel a little less "special" 😂
My steerer is positively stumpy, compared to some of these!
Mine has 80mm of spacers below the stem and 15mm of spacers above.
Sometimes, this doesn't feel like enough!

energyman

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Re: Why the long steerer???
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2018, 10:16:00 PM »
"To the non-mechanically inclined, removing the fork and getting out a hack saw could be a pretty traumatic experience."
You can say that again !!!!!!  :)