Author Topic: THORN E- BIKE  (Read 1255 times)

KIRASNOSE123A

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THORN E- BIKE
« on: April 23, 2019, 09:31:08 AM »
IS THORN GOING TO PRODUCE AN E- BIKE

Prince of Darkness

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Re: THORN E- BIKE
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2019, 01:08:24 PM »
I'm guessing probably not  :)

PH

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Re: THORN E- BIKE
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2019, 01:15:21 PM »
It's become such a huge sector of the cycle industry I'd guess it's a matter of when not if.  I can't see how any cycle business could avoid doing so, other small specialists (Like Tout Terrain and Santos) have already joined the trend.  Not only that but Thorn's expertise with hub gears fits well with the high end mid drive motors.  It's a fast moving technology, that maybe doesn't favour those producing for longevity at the cost that involves, but I simply don't believe it can be ignored.

Andre Jute

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Re: THORN E- BIKE
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2019, 12:12:22 AM »
...Thorn's expertise with hub gears fits well with the high end mid drive motors.  It's a fast moving technology, that maybe doesn't favour those producing for longevity at the cost that involves, but I simply don't believe it can be ignored.

Couple of really important points there. Hub gears are a given base expectation on an upmarket electric bike. However, my experience, and the expectation of most electric bike owners who have thought about the matter, is that an electric motor for a bike is not a capital asset but a consumable expense, just like its battery; the electronics controlling both may or may not last well: my experience is not. Paradoxically, the batteries for my electric bikes give every appearance of responding well to a rigorous schedule of recharging to keep them fully charged after even minor current draws, and have already outlasted one motor and control system but I doubt that in the long run this will be a general experience: the other electric bike owners I meet have no bicycling background, and without exception they abuse the batteries, and that leads to general dissatisfaction with their electric bikes; a common trope is, "Can I buy your [clearly succesful] electric bike instead?"

I think Thorn, and other small quality bike makers, are between the devil and the deep blue sea here: a maker of quality bikes, at least some of whose customers may aspire to leave their bike to their grandchildren, could easily harm its reputation if they fit even the best of the current crop of Chinese motors (Bafang is the most advanced and popular) with their known MTBF (mean time between failures) being obviously so much lower than the practically infinite useful lifespan of a Rohloff hub gearbox or a Thorn frame.

It's just one of those problems that it helps to be a large manufacturer to solve, because reputational damage to one of many lines will not be as financially damaging as loss of faith in a single or one of a few product lines.

Utopia, often said to make the best bikes in the world (and they do make a really good bike -- I have one and it is eminently satisfactory, but you pay something in the order of double the Thorn price for it, and up from there), when they first made an electric bike because their clientele demanded it, solved the quality problem by fitting well-proven heavy industrial type motors from The Netherlands to the front wheels, and providing a facility (double-sided "pannier" batteries hanging over the rack, with soft touring panniers fitting over the battery "panniers") for doubling the battery power then thought adequate for a utility or commuter bike to give some approach to a touring range on at least the routes with charging stations that were then already in existence in Austria and part of Germany, and projected to be widespread quite soon. They also had their own control electronics developed, in their usual cost-no-object style. The whole affair was stylish, mechanically simple, hefty, unbreakable, and heavy. I totted up the weights and did my own electrification for about a quarter of the initial price of Utopia reliability, but got a lighter, much nimbler bike, together with the knowledge that in the end I would probably spend Utopia money on replacements of various electrical and electronic components every few years, which is how it worked out. But imagine if I was some solid German burgher who Utopia sold a bike with my sort of lightweight consumable electric motor and associated components -- I wouldn't count on the fellow being reasonable or quiet about his disappointment when inevitably it wore out in three years or so.

In this regard the only important differences between Utopia and Thorn are:

1. The typical Thorn customer is a knowledgeable long-time cyclist who does his own maintenance. The Utopia customer spends money instead of experience and anyway takes his bike to be serviced once a year by the dealer (his ten-year guarantee, which is very valuable, depends on it).

2. Thorn is saddled* with an "exceptional value for money" image; that is exactly what right now an electric bike is not, value for money. (Oh, sure, I, and several others here with very specific and thoroughly costed but actually rather particular personal problems to do with our health to solve, consider our electric bike installations good value for keeping us cycling, for the fresh air and the exercise, which is of very high value to us, but ours are not universal calculations of value.) Eventually, since an electric motor and its control electronics are a well-understood standard set of components, the only conflicting bicycle requirement being low mass, which is not an insuperable problem, and presumably quite soon, electric bike components will become more reliable without the price increasing too much, and then, as has been said in this thread already, Thorn won't be able to stay out.

* Peculiar times we live in when a good reputation for providing a quality article at a value-for-money price can be described as even marginally a drag on innovation.

PH

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Re: THORN E- BIKE
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2019, 06:32:20 PM »
However, my experience, and the expectation of most electric bike owners who have thought about the matter, is that an electric motor for a bike is not a capital asset but a consumable expense, just like its battery; the electronics controlling both may or may not last well: my experience is not.
...................SNIP.............
Eventually, since an electric motor and its control electronics are a well-understood standard set of components, the only conflicting bicycle requirement being low mass, which is not an insuperable problem, and presumably quite soon, electric bike components will become more reliable without the price increasing too much, and then, as has been said in this thread already, Thorn won't be able to stay out.
An interesting users insight Andre, compared to my speculation..........
My point regarding longevity, wasn't so much about how long the components last, but how long those components remain the best for the job.  As an example - in the time I've had my Rohloff I've had six digital cameras. With the exception of one failure they were all replaced when something markedly better came along, it's only in the last couple of years that I've felt I had a camera that's good enough.  Buying a 1,000 electric bike that might possibly be obsolete in five years is a different proposition to spending 4,000 for what may be a better bike now, but IMO is no less likely to be superseded long before the end of it's possible lifespan.  It would be like me still using my Olympus 2mp brick of a camera which was considered top of the range in 1999!

Danneaux

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Re: THORN E- BIKE
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2019, 08:45:29 PM »
Quote
My point regarding longevity, wasn't so much about how long the components last, but how long those components remain the best for the job.
<nods> Good point and exactly why I haven't purchased an Edelux headlight. It is a superb light and build quality is outstanding but optics are changing so fast, I can get a B&M with largely equivalent optics -- or better - for a lower price and can therefore afford to upgrade every couple years or so. The difference with each upgrade is really noticeable as optics and light sources improve. If I splashed out for an Edelux, I'd feel compelled to keep it past the point of obsolescence in order to justify the price.

Best,

Dan.

Andre Jute

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Re: THORN E- BIKE
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2019, 10:12:19 PM »
It would be like me still using my Olympus 2mp brick of a camera which was considered top of the range in 1999!

Ha! I still have as my spare camera my old Canon Digital Ixus, which replaced a Canon that took actual film back when it was necessary to say a camera was "digital". That old Canon still is much more pleasing to use than my current Olympus which has umpteen dozen sophisticated bells and whistles but doesn't take a better picture for my uses, which are mainly newspaper reproduction.

But I take your point, and Dan's, about replacing gear simply because it is obsolete rather than worn out in the natural course of affairs. I waited as long as I could before electrifying one of my bikes, but circumstances of my wife wanting to move up a hill and health considerations overtook me. I have four decades of experience with escaping being an unpaid beta-tester for fat-learning-curve high-tech software for designers in the Apple sphere by buying my Macs on the day Apple declares them obsolete, which is just about when all the important software has caught up to the newly obsolete OS -- without any of it happening on my dime. So I first bought a relatively inexpensive but mature front motor, and learned a lot from it, before I went for the obviously superior mid motor, which in the intervening time had benefited by more sophisticated control systems, and has since I bought mine benefited from at least one or possibly two important cycles of control system developments. If I were given a free choice I would still have been waiting and watching, possibly for another year or eighteen months, by which time one should be able to buy a rock-solid, sophisticated mid-motor bicycle electrification package.

PH

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Re: THORN E- BIKE
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2019, 12:09:13 AM »
Quote
My point regarding longevity, wasn't so much about how long the components last, but how long those components remain the best for the job.
<nods> Good point and exactly why I haven't purchased an Edelux headlight. It is a superb light and build quality is outstanding but optics are changing so fast, I can get a B&M with largely equivalent optics -- or better - for a lower price and can therefore afford to upgrade every couple years or so. The difference with each upgrade is really noticeable as optics and light sources improve. If I splashed out for an Edelux, I'd feel compelled to keep it past the point of obsolescence in order to justify the price.

Best,

Dan.
Lights are a good example of what I was trying to say.  Except a hundred quid every four or five years for a light is more acceptable to my wallet and I justify it as I do a lot of night riding.  I have one of the original Supernovas, engineered to last a lifetime and a beautiful bit of kit, yet despite having the LED upgraded a few years after I bought it, it's now outclassed as a light by the 10.99 Halfords job I use as a back up. It sits in a draw...

geocycle

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PH

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Re: THORN E- BIKE
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2019, 12:31:36 AM »
Here's a talking point:

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/bikes/riese-muller-2019-delite-gx-rohloff-kiox-deep-blue-sea-metallic-56-cm-for-display/
Reduced from seven grand to five and a half :o
I'm sure there are ways to justify the price and if I was after an electric bike to last me my days I wouldn't object to spending those sorts of sums.  But it illustrates the point I was making earlier; what if in a couple of years e-bikes are so much better?  Or they change the regulations and maybe go faster? Or something else that makes your investment feel outdated? 

geocycle

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Re: THORN E- BIKE
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2019, 09:16:29 AM »
Yes I agree, I think the tech has already moved on so quickly already.  A year ago it used to be obvious when you were dumped on a hill by a chunky ebike.  Now, the newer versions are so subtle and the weights are not that different to heavy tourers.  They are rapidly becoming mainstream so costs should decrease.   At the moment I'd rather save up for a Mercury but I'm sure things will change.
 

bobs

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Re: THORN E- BIKE
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2019, 11:17:16 AM »
Last November i sold my Thorn Nomad mk2 and bought a Giant Explore e bike.  This has been the best thing I have done . The following 6 months i did 1000 miles on the bike which is a lot for me. All of these miles have been extremely enjoyable and included a trip to the Austrian alps where some formidable mountain passes were tackled.
I have enjoyed e biking so much that I have sold the Giant  and now have on order a Riese and Muller Supercharger. I know that technology is improving all the time and next year bike should be better but who knows what is  waiting around the corner for us so I'm going to enjoy it while I can.
The cost of the new bike is no more than the annual deprecation of a new car.


Bob

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Re: THORN E- BIKE
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2019, 03:40:39 PM »
Has anyone tried  (and succeeded without injury) loading an e-bike onto a train ?
I now have to de-bag my RST unless I want to do my back in again !
My e-bikes are rather unwieldy but absolutely great for riding  but they are rather cumbersome.
The superb R&M bikes are more mopeds wrt weight I tried one in the shop and could hardly lift it.

bobs

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Re: THORN E- BIKE
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2019, 06:20:29 PM »
I regularly travel by train locally with ease. On my trip to Austria I used 8 different trains all of which posed no real problems.  Some of the trains would have been problematic for someone on their own.

Bob

martinf

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Re: THORN E- BIKE
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2019, 07:52:40 PM »
Depends on the train.

In Brittany where I live the old trains (now rare) have steps and narrow doors, so on those I always remove the bags to manhandle a full-size bike to the bicycle spaces. The high-speed TGV trains are similar, and also have restrictions on bicycle carriage.

All the other modern trains have level access to the platform, so no problem even with a heavy electric bike. I did have to remove the bags on my last trip, but this was because lots of touring bikes boarded the train and it was necessary in order to fit all the bikes in without completely blocking access to the doors.

For trips involving TGV trains I take my lightweight folding Brompton instead of a full-size bike, partly because of the ease when boarding, partly because a Brompton placed in a bag avoids any problems with restrictions on bicycle carriage.