Author Topic: Sherpa v Club Tour for camping tours?  (Read 463 times)

Gorsejumper

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Sherpa v Club Tour for camping tours?
« on: November 30, 2019, 01:46:52 PM »
I use an Audax Mk3R with low and wide gears for day rides and a few BnB tours with two small panniers.
I'm researching Thorn options for a second bike to carry lightweight camping equipment - say 15kgs in total - for trips to France next spring.
I also want wider tyres, better brakes and a hub dynamo.
Can those experienced Sherpa (26") and Club Tour (700C) riders please advise me on their experiences and the relative advantages / disadvantages of each model particularly for camping touring?
Any advice gratefully received and if anyone has a suitable bike for sale even better! (I'm 5'8")  :)

many thanks.

mickeg

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Re: Sherpa v Club Tour for camping tours?
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2019, 02:10:52 PM »
I am not familiar with the Club Tour, but I have a 700c touring bike so I can comment on that.

I bought my Sherpa frame and fork in 2010, thus it is an earlier version of the Sherpa.  I often have used it with twice the load you are contemplating, and it has performed great with a load.  I typically use 40mm wide tires on pavement or 50mm wide tires where I might be riding more on gravel.  The max tire size is 50mm with fenders.

I have never had toe overlap on any of my 26 inch wheel bikes when they are fitted with fenders.  Every 700c bike I have used with fenders has toe overlap, that may or may not be an issue with the club tour.  I do not know what the maximum tire size in the Club Tour is, on my 700c touring bike it is 35 or 37mm wide with fenders.

For me, the choice is tire width based, wider tires favor the 26  inch wheel bike and if you expect to only use narrower tires the 700c might work better, but at the possible cost of toe overlap.

Both of my derailleur touring bikes share the same drive train components, thus have nearly identical gearing.  But my Sherpa has slightly lower gearing than my 700c touring bike due to smaller wheel diameter, but the difference is very small, maybe about 7 to 8 percent difference.   
 

lewis noble

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Re: Sherpa v Club Tour for camping tours?
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2019, 06:45:10 PM »
Hello!

I think the Club Tour can take wider tyres that many other 700 'touring' machines (check website), though I have never ridden one.  Toe overlap I think also has been specifically avoided, except perhaps large footed riders on smaller frames. 

I have an Audax Mk3R and a Sherpa, never toured with the Audax but I did spend 3 weeks in France on the Sherpa in 2016 I think it was.  Load c 18 kg.  I specced my Sherpa as light and lively as possible, the lighter forks, lighter rack (I sometimes wish I had gone for the Thorn rack, and probably would if starting again), lighter wheels etc than many are equipped with.  It is a very good bike, and handled that load without any problem.  In fact, in bad weather, traffic etc I prefer the Sherpa to the Audax.  We have now done two summer trips to France (dayrides) with the Audax, where it was superb. 

Some people prefer the 'smaller wheeled' feel of the Sherpa - I'm one of them in many circumstances except smooth rolling roads.  A personal choice.  Either bike would look after you well.
 

martinf

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Re: Sherpa v Club Tour for camping tours?
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2019, 09:35:44 PM »
I'm researching Thorn options for a second bike to carry lightweight camping equipment - say 15kgs in total - for trips to France next spring.
I also want wider tyres, better brakes and a hub dynamo.
Can those experienced Sherpa (26") and Club Tour (700C) riders please advise me on their experiences and the relative advantages / disadvantages of each model particularly for camping touring?

From the Thorn brochure, the recommended load carrying capacities for the Sherpa and Club Tour are very similar for on-road use:
28kgs max in front and rear panniers or 18kgs max in rear panniers only for the Club Tour for "relaxed, sweet handling"
This varies with frame size for the Sherpa, 28kgs max in front and rear panniers or 20kgs max in rear panniers only for a frame in the 565S size, which is probably about the size you would want.

Sherpa is quoted as having higher recommended load carrying capacities than the Club Tour for off-road use.

So as far as load carrying capacity is concerned either Sherpa and Club Tour would be good.

If you want wide tyres, assuming mudguards Sherpa will go to 50mm, Club Tour less, it depends on the fork you choose but 40mm seems to be the maximum. I like the 50mm Supremes on my Raven Tour (Rohloff equivalent of a Sherpa), I noticed no great difference in rolling resistance between 40mm and 50mm (tried both widths), but 50mm are more comfortable and I believe they cope better than the narrower tyres when loaded. I also like to use the occasional track or path, where wide tyres are even more useful. That said, in the past I have done a fair amount of winter cycle camping on my old Woodrup lightweight (I'd rate that as in between Audax and Club Tour) with 32 mm tyres.

If by better brakes you mean discs, the Club Tour can have these and AFAIK the Sherpa can't. Personally I find V-brakes perfectly adequate, even down steep hills in the wet with a full camping load.

Either model can have a hub dynamo, but if using a front disc brake there is less choice and generally only in the more expensive models. I have Shimano, SP and SON dynohubs on my bikes, all have worked well, I have noticed no significant difference in efficiency between brands and I have had zero problems so far. Shimano is the cheapest, in this brand I prefer the mid-range DH-3N72 which has a steel axle.

For a camping load, whatever bike you choose I would recommend a good quality tubular steel rack for stiffness. Thorn's own brand rack is very solid, with a very long platform, useful for strapping bulky things on (tent, sleeping mat, 10 litre waterbag for wild camping). Tubus do a (more expensive) stainless steel rack (Cosmo model) that has no paint to rub off and cause rust spots, and a much shorter platform (so IMO les suitable for camping). I have a Cosmo on my old utility bike, where it has performed very well with heavy (non-camping) loads up to about 44kg. I reckon the Tubus isn't quite as strong as the Thorn rack, but more than adequate for 15kg. 

With 15kg, you might not need front and rear panniers, unless you like to have a fair amount of spare capacity for food, etc. The only front rack I would recommend is Thorn's own brand low loader. This rack seems very rigid, I have even tried it with a pair of full Ortleib rear panniers and my Raven Tour still seemed to perform OK (but absolutely not recommended as this amount of luggage overloads the forks, except perhaps on a Nomad expedition bike).

in4

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leftpoole

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Re: Sherpa v Club Tour for camping tours?
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2019, 04:41:53 PM »
Hello,
Iíve used a Sherpa and a Club Tour for camping trips. Heavy laden trips.
I prefer the Sherpa overall for wonderful comfort and relaxed feel.
My personal opinion obviously.
I love the Club Tour generally but for trips with luggage I preferSherpa.
Regards,
John

B cereus

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Re: Sherpa v Club Tour for camping tours?
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2019, 09:22:38 PM »
I've got a Club Tour Mk IV with the 853 front fork option. I chose it for its ability to accommodate fatter tyres for more comfort on unsurfaced tracks. I routinely ride it with 32mm tyres but have gone as large as 37mm, in both cases running Vittoria voyager Hyper tyres with mudguards. Its also performed  surprisingly well against more sporty machines on the odd club run when equipped with 28mm slicks on a spare set of Open Pro wheels. It's a very capable tourer  but remains fun to ride when unladen, especially with the option of a second lightweight wheelset.

The 853 fork is not suitable for front panniers. This was of no concern to me because I built the bike specifically for lightweight touring, and in any case Thorn do offer a fork option with pannier braze-ons if ever I decide that I need more capacity. Having said that I've done two week long tours this year with a full camping load. Total weight would have been around 15kg distributed between two rear panniers, a Carraddice saddlebag, the rack top and a front bar bag.

As an aside, and as a left field suggestion, my companion on those two tours was riding a Thorn Mercury. He was carrying even more luggage than I was, albeit he had swapped his 853 fork  for the supertourist fork to enable him to use front panniers. The Mercury is another very versatile bike if your budget stretches that far.

trailplanner

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Re: Sherpa v Club Tour for camping tours?
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2019, 09:55:21 AM »
Touring in France: Are you on roads mainly, or will you use gravel tracks and rough roads too?  If the latter I'd prefer the Sherpa when carrying weight.  If mainly roads then perhaps the CT with drop bars?  I personally prefer straight bars as they are easier to handle in towns/villages and over rough terrain and in traffic and gear change with Dura Ace shifters is a delight.

I have two bikes now: Sherpa and an Mk4 Audax.  With these two bikes, I cover a wider range of uses than I would with a CT and Sherpa. 

The Audax is new and for light B&B touring and very light camping.  The Sherpa is for major expeditions over a variety of terrain, allowing me to take long inland, traffic-free routes.

See https://trailplanner.co.uk/2018/05/28/thoughts-on-the-thorn-sherpa/


leftpoole

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Re: Sherpa v Club Tour for camping tours?
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2019, 11:02:53 AM »
I use an Audax Mk3R with low and wide gears for day rides and a few BnB tours with two small panniers.
I'm researching Thorn options for a second bike to carry lightweight camping equipment - say 15kgs in total - for trips to France next spring.
I also want wider tyres, better brakes and a hub dynamo.
Can those experienced Sherpa (26") and Club Tour (700C) riders please advise me on their experiences and the relative advantages / disadvantages of each model particularly for camping touring?
Any advice gratefully received and if anyone has a suitable bike for sale even better! (I'm 5'8")  :)

Hello (again),
After reading this question again following my previous response, I feel that I should give a different answer (suggestion)!
I think as a former rider of a Club Tour and Sherpa, that the proposed type of use should really be undertaken by Club Tour. The Sherpa is a lovely bike to ride, but for the purpose in mind would just be a bit too 'cumbersome' unless fitted (loaded) with lots of luggage!
John

many thanks.

PH

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Re: Sherpa v Club Tour for camping tours?
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2019, 09:44:22 PM »
Thorn's take on the Audax bike is already pretty far to the touring end of that spectrum, if you're not careful you could end up with two bikes and a lot of overlap.  Nothing wrong with that if it's what you want, but it's the reason I sold my Audax frame last year (Similar to, but not a Thorn).  For a fraction of the price of a new bike you could possibly reduce your 15kg load to say 12 and for a tour you could always take the guards off and up the tyre size.  I haven't had a Sherpa, though I did have one of the original Raven Tours, which apart from the gearing had a lot in common.  It was absolutely brilliant loaded up with 25kg in four panniers, and entirely uninspiring with anything less - just my opinion of course ;) Unless you're planning future trips to include more luggage and off road, I doubt the Sherpa is the right bike for you. 
If it were me, well... it's not.   Really I'm not sure what I'd do, when I realised I had one bike too many it took two years to decide which one was going to go.  The thing is we buy bikes as we feel a need for them, if we started with a blank piece of paper we'd probably have different collections.  I'm currently running a Hewitt tourer with many of the bits that came off the Audax, there so little difference between them I consider it a mistake to have had them both.  If there's any other gap in your cycling needs, I'd consider touring on the Audax and putting the money there.

mickeg

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Re: Sherpa v Club Tour for camping tours?
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2019, 11:38:14 PM »
..., when I realised I had one bike too many ...

Blasphemy.

martinf

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Re: Sherpa v Club Tour for camping tours?
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2019, 09:44:19 AM »
Thorn's take on the Audax bike is already pretty far to the touring end of that spectrum, if you're not careful you could end up with two bikes and a lot of overlap.

There is overlap between Club Tour and Sherpa - you can have a heavy build Club Tour with strong rims and (relatively) wide tyres and a light build Sherpa with 853 forks and lightweight wheels/tyres.

As I see it, the main advantage of going for a Sherpa over Club Tour is the potential for better performance on paths and tracks.

For a fraction of the price of a new bike you could possibly reduce your 15kg load to say 12 and for a tour you could always take the guards off and up the tyre size.

Also a very valid point, though I'd leave the mudguards on. It sometimes rains here in France.

IMO the advantage of a dedicated touring bike over paring down the luggage and using an Audax is the extra luggage capability, mainly useful if wild camping or buying bulky food for the evening meal. For wild camping I fill my water-bag a few kms before stopping so I don't have to carry the extra weight far. When I used to do this with my Woodrup the extra 10kg made the bike wobble, so I wouldn't recommend it with an Audax.

leftpoole

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Re: Sherpa v Club Tour for camping tours?
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2019, 12:26:31 PM »
..., when I realised I had one bike too many ...

Blasphemy.
Seconded! Indeed,,,,,,,