Author Topic: Nomad Mk2 - Must haves  (Read 758 times)

Dakar

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Nomad Mk2 - Must haves
« on: February 10, 2019, 03:29:29 PM »
Hi

With a shortage of second hand touring bikes in the UK, and after selling my wrongly sized Raven, before i put a spec together for the Thorn sales team, i was looking for opinion on component "must haves" vs. "nice to have... As an example is the SON from hub and lights worth it ? Are the Tubus racks better then the thorn etc...

I'm going (thinking of) for the nomad, but suspect i'll go with lighter wheels for the immediate future, as it'll be mainly UK and Euro tours i'll be doing, but with such a large outlay, i'm trying to "future proof", so i can upgrade in the future for longer trips..

Cheers
Dave

julk

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Re: Nomad Mk2 - Must haves
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2019, 06:26:14 PM »
Dave,
These are my thoughts on this.
Charging:
I have a SON front hub and have never regretted getting it.
You have an unending supply of power for lights and/or a USB style charger for phones etc.
I use a separate front light and charging unit.
In daylight, with the light switched off, I can navigate by GPS map on my phone whilst charging it up.
Luggage carrying:
The Thorn rear rack is difficult to better if you are looking to carry heavy loads and use mudguards.
The connecting bars to the frame at the seatpost are the strongest on the market once shaped and fitted.
The mudguard stays are neat and short which reduces any flexing of the guards.
The Thorn front rack is very strong, I found the top bar was a bit crowded for spacing your pannier clips out as far as possible to spread the load on them. I ended up with a Tubus Duo front rack which I personally preferred.
I have the Thorn front rack on a commuting bike now.
The Tubus racks are very nice and offer a choice of shapes - you will have to decide what your requirements are.
Comfort:
Contact points make or break your comfort.
Go for a shape of handlebars and grips which suits your body and riding style.
Saddles can be a sore point so fit your favourite.
Choose pedals and clips or cleats to suit your feet.
Tyres at least 2 width for comfort and possibly low rolling resistance.
Julian.


martinf

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Re: Nomad Mk2 - Must haves
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2019, 06:55:02 PM »
I'd say Nomad is only for expedition use or if doing lots of off-tarmac riding with a heavy load.

Otherwise a Raven should be sufficient, and perform a bit better on ordinary roads. It will still take a big load.

SON is nice, and should last a long time, but performance is not necessarily that much better than a much cheaper mid-range Shimano. I have both (on different bikes), and have not yet had any problems with either. I prefer a steel axle rather than aluminium alloy, so choose an old version SON for my 2012 Raven Tour tourer and chose the DH-3N72 rather than the top Shimano model for my more recent Raven Tour utility bike.

For a rear rack, having both on various bikes I prefer the Thorn over the Tubus, the long platform and very solid construction allows more overloading than the Tubus. I only have experience of Thorn low-loader front racks, so can't comment on comparisons with Tubus or others.

Not sure it's worth going for lighter rims on a load-carrying tourer. Light but wide tyres are another matter, my current preferences are the Supreme for mainly tarmac roads or Dureme if doing a mix of roads and tracks, both in the 559x50 size which is about the maximum that fits on my Raven Tour frames.

If you do decide for a Nomad, this has the advantage of being able to fit wider tyres than the Raven, useful for riding on sandy tracks.

mickeg

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Re: Nomad Mk2 - Must haves
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2019, 08:02:54 PM »
As Martinf noted, the Nomad is a good expedition bike.  Photos of mine below.  I can't really say what a typical Raven is like for touring but I also have a Sherpa that is about nine or more years old (I bought the frame used in 2010, actual age unknown).  Assuming that the Raven is more like the older Sherpa than it is like the Nomad, I am guessing that my Nomad is probably about 3-5 kg heavier than a comparable Raven. 

I like having that extra weight in the frame when I am heavily loaded down on very difficult terrain.  But for touring on pavement (tarmac) or good quality compacted gravel, I would say that my Sherpa is more than adequate.  Thus, if the Raven is similar to my Sherpa, then the Raven would be good for paved road touring.  It really depends on the type of riding and amount of weight you anticipate on the bike.  I use my Sherpa on tours where I do not feel that I need the capacity of the Nomad, and I think the Raven would also fit that criteria well.

My Sherpa with fenders can take up to 50mm wide tires.  My Nomad can take up to 57mm wide tires, thus the Nomad can handle a bit wider tire if that is important to you.  My Sherpa, I usually use 40mm wide tires if mostly on pavement, 50mm wide if a significant part of my trip will be on gravel with a heavy load.

A 100mm suspension fork can be fitted to the Nomad, provided you get a fork with sufficient steerer tube, which depends on size.  I have also used my Nomad on mountain biking trails with a suspension fork since I do not have a good mountain bike for that sort of thing.

Rear racks, I use a Tubus Logo and am quite happy with it.  I live in USA, Thorns are quite uncommon here.  I do not believe I have ever seen a Thorn rack.  Thus, I can't make any educated comments on the Thorn racks.  I bought both of my Thorn bikes as frames and forks, built up the bikes from parts.

Front racks are a bit harder to select for a Thorn because on Thorns the mounting points are not the same as on most bikes and some non-Thorn racks can be hard to get the horizontal bar to be horizontal on a Thorn fork.  I tried a Tubus Tara on my Nomad, results were not good.  But I use a Tubus Ergo on my Sherpa and was quite happy.

I prefer drop bars, Thorn recommends flat bars for the Nomad, but if you are careful in your sizing, you should be able to make either bike fit whichever bars you prefer.  After all, the best bike is the bike that fits.

If you use drop bars, there are many options for where to put the twist grip shifter.  After trying many options, I became happiest with it mounted on the end of the handlebar using the HubBub adapter.  But that is not shown in the photos below, I made that change later.  Shifter location is personal preference.

I have the SP hub instead of the Son hub for charging, am very happy with it.

Regarding charging options, there are lights that have a charger built in (B&M Luxos U, and AXA Luxx 70 Plus) but having a separate charger from the light also has merit in the event that one fails, the other should still work.  I do not recommend any particular option, you need to decide which works best for you.  Most of my touring is camping and being able to charge up my electronics with the bike is important to me, but if your touring will include lodging where charging electronics is simple, a large powerbank could work well instead of the dynohub and charger.

You asked about must haves.  Toppeak Road Morph G is a very good pump, Lezyne Micro Floor Drive is also a very good pump.  I have both and I think they are both excellent.  In one of the photos below I have the High Volume version of the Lezyne strapped to the seat tube.

I usually use fenders (mudguards) but I could not get them into my luggage for my trip where I took the photos below.  I think fenders are another must have.

Must haves for touring, you will want some tools and spares, such as a quick link for the chain, perhaps cables, spare spokes, a couple tubes and patch kit, etc.  If you get the Raven, you should also have a spare internal cable. 


Dakar

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Re: Nomad Mk2 - Must haves
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2019, 08:36:46 PM »
Thanks guys.. really appreciate the advise so far.. when I was at Thorn in November,  it was them who mentioned the nomad with lighter rims to allow for future proofing.. I check again.. I think having a way of charging is ideal  but interesting to hear the views on the different option...
Thorn racks seem the way to go, living in the UK...
Keep the opinions coming.. very much appreciated..

Danneaux

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Re: Nomad Mk2 - Must haves
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2019, 08:41:07 PM »
Hi Dave!

I regularly ride all 15 bikes currently in my stable, including my 2012 Nomad Mk 2. I've owned a Sherpa Mk2 and have extensively ridden a Thorn Raven Tour, giving me some perspective on these bikes both on their own merits and compared to others.

I am thoroughly pleased with my Nomad and use it primarily for true expedition touring where I must carry a lot of food and water for sustained self-supported touring in areas where there aren't stores. It is also my best rough-road bike for logging roads and cross-country riding on singletrack and no-track. I'm very pleased with it overall and find it also good for up to 200km day rides unladen, though the rides are often that short because I am tempted off main roads by much slower rough tracks I would pass by on my lighter, less rugged bikes.

In off-forum correspondence I am often asked the same core question you are asking: Nomad or some other Thorn, like a Raven (or when it was being produced, the Raven Tour). The Nomad is a "lot" of bike, built very sturdy and designed ideally for carrying heavy loads reliably on questionable roads. To do so, the frame is stiff and robust and necessarily heavy or heavier than bikes with lesser capacity and capability. This also means the unladen ride can be stiff, too stiff for my tastes on rough logging roads without substituting a suspension seatpost, which fully addressed the problem and made it an ideal mount for all surfaces in my use (the bike has always ridden well and comfortably when fully laden). The robust frame also adds weight so an assembled Nomad with comparable components will weigh more than, say, a Raven -- outfitted the way I like, mine weighs 20kg dry.

I'd say of you want or need a healthy margin for carrying the heaviest of loads and/or on the most rugged of roads and might someday need or wish to fit a suspension fork, then the Nomad is an ideal choice -- I've never regretted mine and love it dearly. If, however, you want a bike that feels more lively and is lighter for unladen use and might even be a better general-use all-rounder, then the Raven could well be a better choice when considering more reasonable loads. Certainly, I found an older Raven Tour (more robust than the current Raven) kindly loaned to me by Forum member AndyBG to be ideal for a very long European tour that included truly awful roads in Bulgaria and Eastern Europe. The bike did very well for me and I could not have asked for more in those circumstances, but would have found it sorely lacking in load capacity for the kind of long self-supported tours I make in America's Great Basin deserts and through the mountain passes and forests I must travel to reach the desert.

I suppose each person builds their bikes in their own image of what is "ideal" for their needs. With that in mind, you may wish to look at my "Danneaux's Nomad" gallery for my approach to building a Nomad: http://thorncyclesforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=4523.0

As for your other questions...

I have found Thorn's front and rear racks to be very satisfactory, and I am extremely fussy about having stable, sturdy racks. I also own Tubus Logo Evo and Cargo Evo rear racks and one Duo and two Tara front racks. They are also good and stable, but at the extremes, I have not found them to be a sturdy as Thorn's offerings, which are a little heavier and seem to have thicker tubing and certainly more robust mounting points and hardware. In testing and use, I have found both Thorn and these Tubus racks to be more resistant to lateral movement than either of my Surly front or rear Nice racks.

I have found my SON dynohubs and various chargers to be well worth the cost and use them often for charging, leaving the lights operating in daytime for greater visibility to oncoming and following traffic on day rides and at night. As for chargers, they allow greater independence from mains power and allow me to recharge and power my phone, gps, and spare Eneloop batteries. I've had good luck with B&M e-Werk, Tout Terrain "The Plug" chargers in various iterations, and most recently, my two Cycle2Charge units. All have worked well and reliably for me in some pretty severe conditions without fail.

I readily agree tires are a big factor in bike feel, handling, and how it can be tuned. I prefer 2.0in Schwalbe Duremes for all-round use of the type described above, but others are also good. I briefly fitted some 26 x 1.5in Bontrager road slicks to the Nomad and found they provided a fun but harsher ride and really weren't any faster than the fatter Duremes. Given the cost of the Rohloff and SON hubs, I'd be inclined to fit the rims and spokes needed for heaviest/harshest use and then play with tires rather than build up two sets of wheels. Better to go with a lighter bike for those times when you want to go fast unladen -- horses for courses, which explains why I have a number of bikes.

If you do have Thorn/SJS Cycles build up your Nomad with lighter rims, then you could always replace them with a heavier-duty model later if need warrants.

Best,

Dan.

« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 09:49:04 PM by Danneaux »

Dakar

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Re: Nomad Mk2 - Must haves
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2019, 10:52:26 PM »
15 bikes! WOW...I'm impressed.. :) sounds like the perfect garage!!
Thanks for the detail... I'll talk to Thorn and see what they say about the rims for the nomad.. as always,  I'll may need make compromises between the nomad and the raven..
I'll have a look at the link too... thanks..

mickeg

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Re: Nomad Mk2 - Must haves
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2019, 04:06:44 AM »
..  the nomad with lighter rims to allow for future proofing..

With a Rohloff bike you likely will only have one rear wheel for it due to the cost of the hub.  Changing the rim usually (but not always) means new spokes too.  And if you do not do the labor yourself, a labor charge to put a different rim on the hub.  If you get a Nomad, I think you would be happier if you got the final rims initially.  The reason I say that is that putting a lighter set of rims on a Nomad might cut the weight maybe 5 percent.  You can cut the weight of a bike by that much by carrying one less water bottle that is full of water.  There really is no great advantage to starting out with a set of rims that is lighter duty than the rest of the bike.

Derailleur bikes, it is not uncommon to have a second set of wheels with a different set of tires, but those wheels cost a lot less than a Rohloff hub.

geocycle

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Re: Nomad Mk2 - Must haves
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2019, 10:37:50 AM »
I'd definitely second the advice above.  The SON hub dynamo is one of my favourite purchases and has served me through nearly 10 winters.  I'm less positive about Tubus racks.  They have a great reputation but I wore a hole in a Cargo and another badly rusted.  I do have a stainless steel Fly which is great and has lasted very well so far.  So I'd be tempted to look for SS if I was buying another rack.
 

martinf

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Re: Nomad Mk2 - Must haves
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2019, 01:46:16 PM »
The Tubus racks I have are the Cosmo stainless steel ones, these don't rust, but do discolor a bit in salty conditions.

Thorn racks are steel, so will rust once the paint comes off. This has not yet been a problem for me, I just sand and repaint the scratches from time to time. Despite this, I still prefer the Thorn rear rack for its sturdiness and big load platform.

Dakar

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Re: Nomad Mk2 - Must haves
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2019, 06:15:57 PM »
Thanks for feedback... mail gone to the sales team in Thorn... so we'll see what they say... also offered a second hand Tout Terrain ... interesting bike... but can't take a from rack, and the rear is fixed...
From the above, a charging device and dyno lights seem like a good idea and a must have :)

mickeg

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Re: Nomad Mk2 - Must haves
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2019, 06:16:38 PM »
I like to touch up the black painted wear spots on all racks regardless of brand.  I bought some black finger nail polish that has a built in brush, only takes a minute to touch up the wear spots when I see them or when I get home from a trip.

But, do not wear tan pants while using it if you are sitting down and touching up a rack that is disconnected from the bike.  A drop of black nail polish is not going to come out of the fabric.

...  I'm less positive about Tubus racks.  They have a great reputation but I wore a hole in a Cargo and another badly rusted. 
...

Regarding chaffing on a rack, I like to protect the rack wear spots.  Some of the Tubus racks I bought had some adhesive backed material that I never used, but others have spoken highly of it. 

Instead I have bought flexible PVC clear tubing, slit it lengthwise and put that on the rack in wear spots.  In the photo I did not use the little inserts that go in the Ortlieb hooks, instead the PVC tubing plus a few layers of electrical tape was the correct diameter.  I also put some of that tubing over the rack at the bottom where the Ortlieb will rub and chaff on the rack.

This would likely help protect any kind of steel or aluminum tubular rack that has similar size tubing, not just Tubus.

Andre Jute

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Re: Nomad Mk2 - Must haves
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2019, 12:55:15 AM »
I have several Shimano and SON hub dynamos. For practical purposes, in civilization, the best quality Shimano hub dynamos are as good as the SON ones, and quicker to light up usefully when starting off and also to come up to full output, and the Shimano is much, much cheaper. Be careful though: Shimano has three different quality grades, as Martin has already hinted at, and the lowest one is for undemanding commuting on lit streets, whereas the top one gets better axles, bearings and, most important, water-proofing. For the sort of tours in rougher places that a Thorn might tempt you to, the SON justifies its price by its great reputation for reliability.

Another vote for the Tubus Cosmo stainless steel rack that Martin mentioned too. It's a bit on the mean, small side, for a really large bike like mine, and you need to consider how you will fit it or you might be hit with a second carriage charge when you buy a necessary fitting kit, which consists of extender plates and some actually necessary bolts and nuts -- as you can tell, I was brassed off at being made to buy a fitting kit that should have been included in the package, and after I had been assured the thing would fit my bike without the fitting kit. It didn't. However, once fitted and retightened after a few hundred miles, it is a good zero maintenance rack and even lighter than some of the steel racks from Tubus I also considered.

mickeg

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Re: Nomad Mk2 - Must haves
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2019, 02:16:11 AM »
Sorry, should have thought of this earlier.  Several years ago I noticed that one of my two eccentric bolts was loose.  And they are oriented downwards, thus if they had any vibration they could easily come loose and be lost.

I put some rubber bands on the two bolts to prevent them from vibrating out, see photo.  Someone on this forum suggested  that if I cut rubber bands from a black inner tube, that the bands would be more weather proof, and I did so after the photo was taken.

The initial question was about spares - later I bought a spare one of those bolts to carry with me when I tour.  You do not want to lose one of them.  It is an unusual thread pattern that you might not find in a typical hardware store.

Jurr

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Re: Nomad Mk2 - Must haves
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2019, 09:33:43 AM »
I'd pick disc compatible hubs, to be able to switch to disc brakes in the future. Or when you're chosing disc brakes, I'd pick rim brake compatible rims.