Author Topic: Which Thorn Rohloff model for rough bridleways and forest trails?  (Read 213 times)

TandemPilot

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I currently have a Mercury MK2 with the 853 fork for road use and a Surly Ogre (with Rohloff - EX box) for all terrain use, mainly rough bridleways and forest trails.

I'm really tempted to replace the Ogre with another Thorn, but which one. Realistically I'm not going for long distance overseas tours, mainly day riding with some lightweight cycle camping in the UK.

I'm thinking maybe a Sterling, if I could find one, if not then maybe a Nomad MK2. I'd really appreciate views from those with first hand experience of this type of riding.

Danneaux

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Re: Which Thorn Rohloff model for rough bridleways and forest trails?
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2021, 08:09:22 PM »
Hmm. If you aren't sure you might wish to consider an older model from the used market as a cheaper way to "try". If you could find one, I think a used Nomad X would pretty well fit the bill, but they're hard to find. Basically a Nomad made with lighter/smaller frame tubing, so a slightly "ruggedized" version of the old Raven Tour. Appeared briefly around 2012 or so.

A used, older Sterling might also do.

Best,

Dan.


brummie

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Re: Which Thorn Rohloff model for rough bridleways and forest trails?
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2021, 08:26:20 PM »
Maybe a mk3 Mercury (Disc?)  with 650b wheels would tick the boxes? You'd also be be able to utilise your 700c wheels as a second set for more road orientated riding.
 

JohnR

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Re: Which Thorn Rohloff model for rough bridleways and forest trails?
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2021, 09:15:20 PM »
Page 23 of Thorn's Bible http://www.sjscycles.com/thornpdf/thorn_mega_brochure.pdf has a matrix of suitability for different uses and this http://www.sjscycles.com/thornpdf/BUILD8MERCURY650bROHLOFF.pdf states "A 650b Mercury Mk3 would also make an outstanding  GRAVEL BIKE". That red Mercury is now mine  :) but I've only been on short sections of gravel. It's currently wearing Panaracer GravelKing SK tyres which I put on for the dirty winter roads but their name implies that they should be a good choice for gravel while still running well on smooth road surfaces.

PH

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Re: Which Thorn Rohloff model for rough bridleways and forest trails?
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2021, 10:11:21 PM »
I currently have a Mercury MK2 with the 853 fork for road use and a Surly Ogre (with Rohloff - EX box) for all terrain use, mainly rough bridleways and forest trails.
SNAP!
I have these two bikes and if I could only have two (And neither of them had to fold) it would be these two.  Before getting the Surly last year, I looked long and hard at the Nomad MK3, I'd have preferred the EBB and the build quality, but in the end I wanted something with less overlap and bigger tyre clearance.   I haven't been disappointed,  I haven't toured on it yet, but I've done a couple of overnighters, and a few century rides, it isn't fast, but neither is it as staid as I was expecting.  Maybe it's help if you said in what way you thought it could be improved. 
The Nomad looks at least as sturdy as the Ogre, I can't see any build for it you couldn't do on the Surly without it getting too close to the Merc.  Likewise with a different Mercury build, I know some people don't mind having several fairly similar bikes, but I try and avoid it (Though it sometimes happens anyway)
I don't know anything about the Sterling,  Thorn didn't stay in that market for long, though the SS prototype advertised recently shows they're considering other genres.

martinf

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Re: Which Thorn Rohloff model for rough bridleways and forest trails?
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2021, 10:40:46 PM »
I'm really tempted to replace the Ogre with another Thorn, but which one. Realistically I'm not going for long distance overseas tours, mainly day riding with some lightweight cycle camping in the UK.

I'm thinking maybe a Sterling, if I could find one, if not then maybe a Nomad MK2. I'd really appreciate views from those with first hand experience of this type of riding.

If you're not carrying a serious load I reckon a Nomad would be overkill.

My Raven Sport Tour (can be considered as fairly similar to a Mercury) does OK on bridleways and mild off-road with lightweight Marathon Supreme 26" tyres in the 42 mm width. I don't have a rack on this bike, so load is limited to a saddlebag.

If I know in advance that I will be doing a lot of off-road riding I use a bike with fatter tyres, which are more comfortable on uneven surfaces. My Raven Tour copes well on tracks and paths WITH a substantial touring load, using lightweight Marathon Supreme 26" tyres in the 50 mm width. If planning a long tour with a lot of serious off-road riding I would probably change the tyres for at least Marathon Duremes (still light, but tougher than Supreme), maybe something even tougher, but I would trust the bike itself for everything except serious expedition type touring.

So a second-hand Raven Tour or Raven should be OK, if you don't mind having V-brakes rather than disks. For the Raven I reckon it would be better to have a 531 fork rather than the lighter 853 option.

A Mercury set up as a "gravel" bike with wide tyres (650B) should also be good, but a lot more expensive than a used Raven or Raven Tour.

The Raven Sport Tour is limited to about 42 mm max tyre size with mudguards, so not a good choice as you already have a road-going Mercury.

TandemPilot

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Re: Which Thorn Rohloff model for rough bridleways and forest trails?
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2021, 06:10:21 PM »
Many thanks for the replies.

When I bought the Mercury I spent some time talking with Andy B and was not convinced that he was really happy with the idea of rough bridleways and tracks; well surfaced ones yes, with the 531 fork, but he always seemed reticent.

I'm not keen on risking the Mercury (or even getting it filthy if I'm honest), and while the Surly is as tough as old boots I do really admire the ease of the Thorn drop outs compared to the Surly adjuster (why is it always raining and the bike filthy when I get a puncture?) and the stainless steel fittings.

martinf

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Re: Which Thorn Rohloff model for rough bridleways and forest trails?
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2021, 08:09:28 PM »
When I bought the Mercury I spent some time talking with Andy B and was not convinced that he was really happy with the idea of rough bridleways and tracks; well surfaced ones yes, with the 531 fork, but he always seemed reticent.

Do you mean the 853 fork? This is lighter than 531 or the Reynolds ST (Super Tourist), which seems to be the current equivalent to 531. I would be wary of hammering an 853 fork on off road rides, but have no qualms doing this with 531.

In the Thorn Mega Brochure, the Mercury with a 650B steel disc fork and 50mm tyres is rated as the best combination for lightweight off-road use on gravel roads and bridleways.


PH

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Re: Which Thorn Rohloff model for rough bridleways and forest trails?
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2021, 08:53:31 PM »
I'm not keen on risking the Mercury
Yes I agree, I've always considered the Mercury to be well described as a sports tourer.  While I'm sure it can be used for other things, I doubt I'd buy one for anything else.  Having said that, I've had the one I crashed last year repaired and painted, so I'll be building that up with an Alfine and as it owes me less I may be less precious with it  ;)
I don't mind the Surly dropouts, though would have preferred an EBB.  I have a nutted Rohloff and a Tuggnet, so the wheel is sat in the dropouts before I need to line anything up and the tuggnet means it goes back in the same place.  Are you using one?  I'd recommend if not.  What do you think about the Nomad?  Would it suit you?  It went on and off my shortlist a dozen times before tyre size eliminated it.

Clive.

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Re: Which Thorn Rohloff model for rough bridleways and forest trails?
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2021, 11:43:04 AM »
I've had a Mercury Mk2 for the past couple of years (delighted with it), and I wanted another Rohloff bike that would act as an MTB (I ride out once a week with a group who are no longer young enough to be MTBers, but we do a little bit of off-road and pretend), and also for a couple of supported tours I had planned in Africa ie no significant load carrying capacity needed. I definitely wanted discs (for the pretend MTBing!), and was happy that touring support would be extensive enough that discs wouldn't be asking for trouble when on tour.
I managed to find a disc equipped Sterling after some looking and I couldn't be happier with it - gear changes when stopped and the 'easy clean' transmission really come in to their own off-road, and it's a real pleasure to ride.
Plan B would have been a Mk2 Nomad (to allow suspension forks), but forum comments suggested that unladen Nomads feel a little too 'solid'. I did wonder whether that changed at a certain body weight though?