Author Topic: Nomad or Raven - concrete tour examples  (Read 1392 times)

renma

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Nomad or Raven - concrete tour examples
« on: March 05, 2019, 08:42:10 AM »
Hello

I am an owner of a Mercury (lightweight build), which I use for
training and special tours with small camping kit on sealed roads and
good quality non sealed roads. I love my Mercury, it is outstanding!

For longer tours with more load I currently use a Surly LHT. But I
like to replace it with a Rohloff based Thorn Nomad or Thorn Raven.

I am not sure whether I should go with a Nomad or a Raven. To be more
concrete: if one will carry 20kg of luggage (plus water) and will
cycle the following...

- Ruta Nacional 40 (Argentina)
- Pamir Highway (Central Asia)
- Iron Curtain trail (Eurovelo 13)
- East coast route (Eurovelo 10)

...which is more suitable Nomad or Raven?

Thanks
René

geocycle

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Re: Nomad or Raven - concrete tour examples
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2019, 09:46:43 AM »
Nice problem to have!  I would suggest a nomad would be the best option for the routes outside Europe.  I am sure the raven would cope but that is what the nomad was designed for you.  Given you already have a mercury there is little advantage in having a raven for more general use.
 

Matt2matt2002

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Re: Nomad or Raven - concrete tour examples
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2019, 10:38:36 AM »
I've only used the Raven. Mine took me across the Pamir Highway, 4 panniers plus tent etc.
Performance was perfect. I came back thinking about how a Nomad could be better. I guess for carrying more weight over a longer period? But it certainly did the job for me.
I've since taken it on several fly in fly out tours where I haven't carried as much weight.
I did have a very short ride on a Nomad and recall feeling the extra weight of the bike.
Someone told me that if you're on a Nomad and see a tough track you consider taking, you'll take it without hesitation. On any other bike, you'll think twice.

If I get around to a long extended tour, it will be on my Raven with no doubts it will do the job.
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j-ms

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Re: Nomad or Raven - concrete tour examples
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2019, 02:30:51 PM »
It was the sight of a Nomad that had just traveled down the length of Africa that first got me motivated to own a Rohloff hubbed bicycle and a Thorn model specifically but in the end I bought a Raven.  In the past two years I've done more than twenty thousand kilometers of touring on my Raven, mostly carrying between 20 and 30 kilograms of luggage, without any problems.  This includes the Carretera Austral in Chile continuing from Villa O'Higgins over the mountain to Lago del Desierto and on to Ruta 40 in Argentina and later crossing the Andes a couple of times further north.  Some of this was on really rough terrain.  Also the length of Japan and various other meanderings around Japan, Korea, SE Asia and South Africa.  I'm sure a Nomad would also have come though unscathed but I went for the Raven because I felt that as a smaller person (I only weigh about 58 Kg) the Raven suited me better.  If you are a much heavier person the Nomad might be a better choice.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2019, 02:33:20 PM by j-ms »

mickeg

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Re: Nomad or Raven - concrete tour examples
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2019, 05:45:16 PM »
I had a first year of production LHT, but mine was defective.  Surly refused to warranty it, I eventually put the frame in the metal recycling bin.  I have a Sherpa (derailleur bike) and a Nomad Mk II.

I do not know what the weight rating of the Raven is, but I think it is similar to the Sherpa.  I have used my Sherpa on routes that would probably have worked well with a non-defective LHT.

Nomad is rated for something like 60kg of gear not counting weight of rider.  That is a LOT of stuff.  Bike unladen is roughly 20kg, which is pretty heavy for a bike.

I wrote up my Iceland trip on my Nomad here if you are looking for some real world examples with photos:
http://thorncyclesforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=11917.0

My advice would be to not get the Nomad if the Raven will be sufficient.  My Nomad has S&S couplers, my bike with the S&S Backpack Case will exceed most airline weight limits, I have to carry a few bits of the bike in my other luggage.

Do not get me wrong, my Nomad is a great bike. But, you will notice it is a heavy bike.  My next trip will likely be with my Nomad, but that is because it has the S&S couplers, my Sherpa would be a better bike to actually use on that trip, but getting it to and from in a full size bike box would be a hassle.

A side note on the Nomad, it will also work with a 100mm suspension fork.  I do not have a mountain bike but I have used my Nomad with a suspension fork on a couple trips that would have been more appropriate to use a Mountain bike.  That is not something that you can do with the Raven.  Some on one of those trips here, skip down to the post that has large text that says UPDATE:
http://thorncyclesforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=11321.0

On the Rohloff, new users often have the cables to tight, you need plenty of slack.  And do not ford any streams that would result in submerging the hub. 

I use drop bars on most of my bikes, Thorn recommends flat bars on the Nomad.  After my Iceland trip, I moved my shifter location to the end of the handlebar with the Hubbub adapter, that allows me to have both hands on the bars for steering in difficult terrain while one hand is also on the shifter.

Since I have not used a Raven, I can't comment on the different shifter cable setup on that, I have only used the EX box that I think works quite well.

martinf

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Re: Nomad or Raven - concrete tour examples
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2019, 09:38:36 PM »
I reckon it depends on:

- 1 how much (or how little) luggage you intend carrying.
- 2 your own weight, a really heavy (or strong) rider is more likely to need a Nomad.
- 3 how often you use tracks and paths, especially sandy ones, where the ability to fit wider tyres on the Nomad will be an advantage.
- 4 how much water you need to carry to be safe on the longest sections between water sources.

You should tell Thorn the routes you intend riding and ask what they recommend.

I intended to get a Nomad, and after I told Andy Blance what kind of riding and where I intended to do it (camping load in Europe, with occasional use of tracks and paths) he persuaded me to get a Raven Tour instead. It has coped well with all my rides so far and I don't regret taking the advice.

IMO a Raven would be fine for the two Eurovelo routes (you should be able to get water more or less every day). I suspect that the South American and maybe the Pamir route may push the balance towards a Nomad.

mickeg

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Re: Nomad or Raven - concrete tour examples
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2019, 12:32:07 AM »
The comments I wrote above, I was in a hurry to write them as I had to go somewhere.  And I looked at your comment on 20kg (excluding water) for a load.  I think my Sherpa is rated at 30 or 35 kg, thus I was thinking that your load would be on the lighter side for a loaded touring setup.

Europe and the S America route, the Raven I think would do.

But now after I am back at home, I put Pamir Highway into Google and clicked on images so I could see photos.  That looks more like Nomad territory.  Looked very similar to the photos I have from Iceland interior (link in my post above).  And I have no idea how much food you might need to carry, your estimate of 20 kg might be rather light.  I think I had over 40 kg on my Nomad at the start on my Iceland trip, at that time I had over two weeks of food on the bike.  If you might need to carry weeks of food or large quantities of water or both, then the extra weight capacity of the Nomad may be pertinent.

So, you will have a difficult choice.  I agree with MartinF, the people at SJS could provide good advice.

To point out how heavy duty the Nomad is, the rack bolts are 6 mm bolts, not 5 mm.  Virtually all other bikes use 5 mm for rack bolts.  (I at one time heard that some Nomad forks were 5 mm but my fork has 6 mm bolts.)

Thorn rates their heavy duty rear rack at 40 kg with 5 mm or 60 kg with 6 mm bolts.  Thus when they are using 6mm bolts on their Nomad, that really says something about the weight capacity of the Nomad.
https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/carriers-racks/thorn-expedition-steel-rear-cycle-pannier-rack-black-powdercoat/?geoc=US

macspud

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Re: Nomad or Raven - concrete tour examples
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2019, 12:36:53 AM »
I've only used the Raven. Mine took me across the Pamir Highway, 4 panniers plus tent etc.
Performance was perfect. I came back thinking about how a Nomad could be better. I guess for carrying more weight over a longer period? But it certainly did the job for me.
I've since taken it on several fly in fly out tours where I haven't carried as much weight.
I did have a very short ride on a Nomad and recall feeling the extra weight of the bike.
Someone told me that if you're on a Nomad and see a tough track you consider taking, you'll take it without hesitation. On any other bike, you'll think twice.

If I get around to a long extended tour, it will be on my Raven with no doubts it will do the job.

Remember Matt, yours is a Raven Tour not the newer Raven, so it's a bit sturdier. 

Matt2matt2002

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Re: Nomad or Raven - concrete tour examples
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2019, 10:04:08 AM »
I've only used the Raven. Mine took me across the Pamir Highway, 4 panniers plus tent etc.
Performance was perfect. I came back thinking about how a Nomad could be better. I guess for carrying more weight over a longer period? But it certainly did the job for me.
I've since taken it on several fly in fly out tours where I haven't carried as much weight.
I did have a very short ride on a Nomad and recall feeling the extra weight of the bike.
Someone told me that if you're on a Nomad and see a tough track you consider taking, you'll take it without hesitation. On any other bike, you'll think twice.

If I get around to a long extended tour, it will be on my Raven with no doubts it will do the job.

Remember Matt, yours is a Raven Tour not the newer Raven, so it's a bit sturdier.

Good point.
Don't doubt you but what stats are there?
Never drink and drive. You may hit a bump  and spill your drink

renma

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Re: Nomad or Raven - concrete tour examples
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2019, 11:28:17 AM »
Many thanks for the  complete and detailed answers to all involved!

The feedback is confusing me ;-) I was quit sure that everyone would
opt for a Nomad as the people at SJS do.

In fact the are many pros now for both the Nomad and the Raven.

It seams that heavier Raven builds are not recommended anymore
at SJS. I have an old Thorn Mega Brochure (2.02 from 2016) where
recipe [E3] is a Raven with sturdy Thorn carriers, Rigida Zak-19 rims
and Schwalbe Dureme tyres. In the actual Mega Brochure (4.01 from
2018) recipe [E3] is a Thorn Nomad with Thorn carriers, Zak-19 rims
and the Dureme...

I will have drops, this is maybe an argument for a short Raven (but
also the 565M Nomad will fit for me perfectly with drops).

Another argument for the Raven is that my plans for the Pamir aren't
in the near future and "mickeg" proposed not to get the Nomad if the
Raven will be sufficient.

On the other hand I am not light wight (74-80, depends summer winter ;-),
I like the "silhouette" of the Nomad, the long chain stays with possibility
of rear only loads and the Ex-Box cable routing.

I have to think about...

Beside the frame tyres and rims are important as well. Any experience
with the Zak-19-Dureme-Combo or do you use an Andra-Marathon-Combo in
any case?

John Saxby

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Re: Nomad or Raven - concrete tour examples
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2019, 05:36:34 PM »
Back in 2013, I was debating your choice, renma.  At that time, there was a Nomad X available, a slightly lighter version of the Nomad Mk 2. The Nomad 2 was way more bike than I could use, so I was looking at a 590M Nomad X.  After looking more closely/realistically at my requirements, though, I decided that the Raven was better suited to what I needed than the "Nomad-lite".

You might ask SJSC if there are any Nomad X frames still around, or perhaps a good used example that might work for you.

mickeg

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Re: Nomad or Raven - concrete tour examples
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2019, 09:55:22 PM »
I am not sure how wide a tire you would want.  Someone above (I do not recall whom) also mentioned tire width.

My Sherpa takes up to 50mm wide tires with fenders, I assume the Raven would be the same.  The Nomad will take 57mm tires with or without fenders.

You asked about rims.  I feel that the Andra 30 rims are too narrow for a tire as wide as 57mm.  If you max out at 50mm if that is what the Raven has room for, that could be a good rim.  I have Andra 30 rims, front and rear on my Nomad, in part I bought them because I wanted CSS rims.  I do not know what the status of CSS rims is, they were dropped from the Ryde website.  If you are interested in them, I have no idea if SJS still has any in stock or not.

I am in USA, I built up my Nomad from the frame.  When I ordered my frame from SJS, I also included the rims in the order.  If CSS rims had not existed, I probably would have bought a different brand and model rim here.

I am not familiar with the other rims you mentioned, I have no opinion.

You said you would use drop bars.  Just curious, where is your shifter on your Mercury and where would you put it on the next bike? 

You mentioned racks.  Since I did not buy a complete bike from SJS and there was no discount to buy a Thorn rack when I bought the frame, I did not get the Thorn racks.  I have been quite happy with the Tubus Logo rear rack on my bikes, have used it for most of my touring.  It has a very narrow platform but the rack is designed for panniers, not for carrying a rack top bag without panniers.  I only use the Logo for touring, around home i instead use a rack that has a wider platform.  The Logo also lowers the center of gravity a bit.

And you mentioned rear load only.  I tried a rear load with a pretty massive load, maybe 30 kg.  And the Nomad did not ride as well as I had hoped.  I think front and rear is best.

I am not recommending a front rack, the one I use on my Nomad I am not very happy with. It is not a Thorn.

Perhaps one thing that might help to decide is to firm up your weight estimate that you would have on the bike.  Not just your gear, but your food, your water, the weight of the panniers and racks, and have that figure handy when you talk to SJS next.  I assume your estimate would vary from one locale to the next.

renma

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Re: Nomad or Raven - concrete tour examples
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2019, 08:52:32 AM »
You said you would use drop bars.  Just curious, where is your shifter on your Mercury and where would you put it on the next bike? 

On the Mercury I use Van Nicholas Rohloff drop bars (22.2mm diameter drop bars, which are joined in the middle) with a Van Nicholas lightweight stem. Used it for more than 10'000km now. No problems so far.
I have to think if I will used it on a Raven or Nomad or if I will use the Thorn 55mm Accessory bar.

And you mentioned rear load only.  I tried a rear load with a pretty massive load, maybe 30 kg.  And the Nomad did not ride as well as I had hoped.  I think front and rear is best.

I am not recommending a front rack, the one I use on my Nomad I am not very happy with. It is not a Thorn.

Interesting! The Mega Brochure says that the Nomad will handle 27kg rear only and the Raven 18kg.

I have used a Tubus Tara for more than 10 years without faults.

Thank you very much for your inputs.

martinf

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Re: Nomad or Raven - concrete tour examples
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2019, 09:20:00 AM »
My Sherpa takes up to 50mm wide tires with fenders, I assume the Raven would be the same.  The Nomad will take 57mm tires with or without fenders.

My Raven Tour is OK with 50 mm wide tyres. It would take slightly wider ones at the expense of mudguard clearance being tighter than I would like. AFAIK the current model Raven will also take 50 mm wide tyres with reasonable mudguard clearance.

You asked about rims.  I feel that the Andra 30 rims are too narrow for a tire as wide as 57mm.  If you max out at 50mm if that is what the Raven has room for, that could be a good rim. 

Andra 30 rims work OK with 50 mm tyres, but if getting rims now I would prefer the wider Andra 40. Both are very strong rims. 


You mentioned racks.  Since I did not buy a complete bike from SJS and there was no discount to buy a Thorn rack when I bought the frame, I did not get the Thorn racks.  I have been quite happy with the Tubus Logo rear rack on my bikes, have used it for most of my touring.  It has a very narrow platform but the rack is designed for panniers, not for carrying a rack top bag without panniers.  I only use the Logo for touring, around home i instead use a rack that has a wider platform.  The Logo also lowers the center of gravity a bit.

And you mentioned rear load only.  I tried a rear load with a pretty massive load, maybe 30 kg.  And the Nomad did not ride as well as I had hoped.  I think front and rear is best.

I am not recommending a front rack, the one I use on my Nomad I am not very happy with. It is not a Thorn.

I have Thorn racks front and rear and am happy with them. Not tried any other front low-loader, so can't compare. The platform on the Thorn rear rack is substantially longer than the Tubus rear racks I have used or seen, useful for piling on sleeping mats, tent, sleeping back, etc. A 45 litre rucksack also fitted strapped over the tops of the panniers without problems when I used my Raven Tour for a fixed centre cycling/walking holiday with my wife when I carried most of the luggage to even up our cycling abilities a bit. For really heavy loads I prefer the Thorn rear rack over anything else.

I have had over 30 Kg as a rear-only load on my Raven Tour on short shopping trips, it affects the handling so I wouldn't want to do this on tour. Adding front panniers means you can also increase the weight on the rear while maintaining stability. My own preference is to put heavy stuff (tools, spares etc.) in the smaller front panniers, the rest of the suff in the rear panniers and only use the top of the rack for bulky light items.

My Raven Tour works OK on roads and easy off-road tracks with full front and rear panniers, plus the 45 litre rucksack on the rear rack (not weighed the total with this set up, but enough luggage for two people for a week including walking boots/anoraks, etc. but not camping equipment). One full load I did weigh was 123 kg for everything, including rider.

I wouldn't want to carry any more stuff than that on tour, with the very important exception of extra food and water, probably only necessary outside Western Europe. Weight doesn't matter much on flat tarmac roads, but the lighter the load, the easier it is to climb hills and tackle off-road sections.

The current Raven from Thorn is probably slightly less suitable for heavy loads than my old model Raven Tour, so an intermediate option between a full-on Nomad expedition bike and a modern Raven would be a used Raven Tour.

julio

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Re: Nomad or Raven - concrete tour examples
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2019, 03:08:52 PM »
About me, i reckon that the Raven looks like so many other bikes, compared to the Nomad who seems as a prototype.

It is true, Nomad is heavy and extremely rigid without weight, but so much comfortable and stable loaded.

I had a heart stroke for Nomad bike, today i will be curious to try the Nomad X, just to compare how it behaves..

What i love on the Nomad, frame geometry,  finishing as brake and rohloff cable passage, welded fastening points in 6 mm for luggage racks, the  Rohloff ex-box system, and the yellow color of course.

What i don't like, his weight, about 3 to 5 kg more compared with other bikes of same category, his rigidity to ride without weight.

« Last Edit: March 08, 2019, 05:14:37 PM by julio »