Author Topic: Things to consider before buying  (Read 4772 times)

flocsy

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 96
Re: Things to consider before buying
« Reply #30 on: July 05, 2023, 04:46:39 pm »
So here's a bit more about myself and my plans, and what I have:

I have an 1993 GT Timberline with Shimano Altus A10. It's a "classic" chro-mo MTB frame, with 1 catch that kind of prevents me from using it for touring: it has short chainstays (+ the usual GT 3 triangle frame) that makes it not practical with panniers. I did have a rack and some panniers in the '90 and dis some touring (I think some of it would maybe be called bikepacking, though at times I had a huge backpack on my back to carry all the stuff, which was not very healthy) The truth is that while this was my main bike until a few months ago I did not use it a lot in the last 15 years. (I also have a Trek 3500 (aluminium) from 15 years ago that I used to carry the child seat for short rides around the village, but it's junk with Shimano SIS that I wouldn't take for a week tour, nor is it feasible to upgrade it)

Last year I saw some inspiring youtube videos about touring in Europe (later also all over the world) and one day I asked my 10 year old son if he wants to come with me to a spontaneous bike trip, which he obviously couldn't reject, so in 48 hours we were sitting on the plane to fly to the Netherlands. I wanted to start "small", and easy, and where would it be better than in a place with no hills and lots of safe bike lanes. At the beginning I planned to buy some good-old but relatively cheap mountain bikes and either re-sell them at the end or if they are really worth then maybe take it back with us and then build something out of it. At the end it was a logistical nightmare (find a bike for me and for him in the same city...) so we went to rent 2 "dutch bikes", totally unfit for touring anywhere else in the world, but were just right in Holland for 8 days of ride.

Ever since I am dreaming/planning to do something more serious. What it will be (and when) is not crystal clear yet, but there are some clues:
- last year I had a tear in my shoulder, which still is not 100% cured, and have some other problems in the same arm/palm, so I am looking for a more comfortable seating position than my current bike. Anyway I'm 46 so probably with time I'd anyway want to be more and more comfortable. I guess this definitely affects the frame sizing options, and in theory maybe even the fork, but see that further down.
- If there weren't the above health problems, I would definitely go for the more practical fork that enables me to mount front panniers (and probably even with the problems, though maybe I just need to add another fork and switch them on demand depending on the amount of stuff we need to carry for the upcoming trip).
- even though I had a drop-bar bike when I was a kid, I wouldn't use it now. My GT has flat bars with bar ends that I am used to it. So flat bars with Ergon 5 or comfort bars (maybe butterfly, but probably not).
- I still have small kids so it's likely I'll carry more than my share, like I did last year. Though I have to admit that it wasn't really more than what I would have carried if I was alone. My son carried his clothes, sleeping bag, and I carried mine + tent + food which I would anyway. But what I am trying to say is that this is one more reason why I prefer the fork with the front rack mount.
- We live in Israel, so not much domestic touring. Small country, and most of the year it's hot. So we'll need to fly 95% of the time when we'll want to do a multi day trip. (Though I hope that with time and experience we might do some local backpacking as the kids grow, but still most of the tours will be abroad)
- For the same reason I started to read about S&S couplers. Sounds like having them with a soft case might be a good way to "get away" from Israel and get back (without having to search for a bike box for a few days on the way back) On the other hand if this is what makes a bike expensive, and there's an "identical" (there's no such thing in the custom built Thorn world...) bike without S&S but for much cheaper I'm not sure which one would I chose. Maybe then the color would decide ;)
- I think the next few years I'll try to go to Europe, start on Eurovelo routes and slowly move to more remote, challenging places.
- I fancy a dynamo hub, will certainly want one on the long run, but realistically I don't think it's a deal breaker. For Europe I can do without, and though I don't like the throw-away batteries, it looks like if the right bike for the right price finds me and this will be the only thing missing I'd go for it.

Since I am in Israel and the closest Thorn bikes in the UK, it is quite a challenge to buy a used bike. Some of them are so far from London that it adds another 8+ hours just to get there from the airport. I could buy one online and ship it to some hotel in London (I'm sure they'll get a heart attack when it arrives :) or to some friend nearby, but then I'd need to pay for a bike I've only seen in pictures, maybe live video, but not much more than that. Or I can go and see one, but then would I walk away after 5 hours of flight and 8 hours on bus + train if I discover something is not right? If anyone has experience buying expensive bike online, let me know what you've learned...

I find it hard even to check whether a bike is stolen because either I trust the seller tells me what's the serial number or I can't read it on pictures (the paint on Thorns is so thick you need to be a professional photographer to be able to take a shot (or even 3) and be able to read the serial number) Where do you check it? I found https://www.bikeregister.com/ and https://stolen-bikes.co.uk/ What can I say, even if I was looking at a stolen bike and checking it in these sites it would be impossible to identify them, though it's probably because most people don't know the serial number and don't even have a picture (not that it would really help, unless the bike was stolen last week in the same city, but I think the bad guys are a bit more sophisticated than that anyway)

I know the Thorn bikes are fore more than a lifetime (and my middle specced 30 year old GT having been kept in the house is in a pretty good shape, so a tough Thorn should be even more so) but I think it's ok to plan for 5 years only. If I'll realize my dream and take a month off work 5 years from now (or even 3) and after having some experience I'll know better a) what bike I need, b) even more importantly that I really use the bike every year for at least one 2 week tour, then I'm totally OK investing in another bike that'll fit "the big trip".

At the beginning I was thinking to buy some cheap "touring" bike (not Thorn) for 200-300 GBP, or a better one for 400-500 GBP including some panniers and stuff I'd anyway need to buy for a tour. And I do see some lucky bidders winning really cool stuff sometimes. Were I based in the UK I would probably already have something like a Ridgeback World Panorama or even some cheap, old Dawes touring bike. I guess that if I'd found a good one then it'll be more than enough for the next 5 years. Another advantage would be to be able to sell it locally just as a "city bike" and lose less money ('cause I don't think anyone would appreciate a Thorn or even any Rohloff bike here, they just don't know what it is)

Then I fell in love with the Thorn brand (eventhough I've never touched or even saw one in real life) and I thought I could maybe get a Sherpa, maybe add some used panniers, and go.

Then I started to think that maybe I can put some more money (7-8-900) and get a bit newer bike (though I'm not sure if "newer spec" has much value for me, 'cause I think I'll be fine with rim brakes for a few years, though there might be some improvements I didn't learn about yet) and get a Rohloff gear that seams to be useful, but not sure if it's worth the money at this stage given the 0 chance I'll be able to sell it unless I find someone who'll buy it online with shipping From Israel back to UK, which means it'd be at a reasonable loss)

And then there are bikes in the 1300+ range that are either even younger or in better shape and most probably better equipped, that seem to be the dream bike I'm sure I'll want in 5 years, but I'm not sure if the investment is right today.

mickeg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2686
Re: Things to consider before buying
« Reply #31 on: July 05, 2023, 04:56:28 pm »
So here is a crazy alternative suggestion. If flying with bike is complicated and cost intensive, how about sourcing a bike locally on arrival. For Eur 200-300 you can find a fair range of well but often hardly used bikes on 2nd hand market. If you are flying in/out of same airport perhaps seller would agree to buy bike back for half the price if you return it undamaged at end. Or you send it via Surface mail, fly it back with you, sell it to bike shop before returning or just donate it to a charity shop before flying home.
...

On my Canadian Maritimes trip in 2019, in a campground I met someone that was doing that.  Unfortunately I do not have a photo of the bike.

He was from the UK.  He said he bought a used hybrid bike, I think it was in Toronto.  Had to buy a front rack, if he brought one from the UK, it did not fit on the suspenstion fork.  Bought a cheap Axiom front low rider rack, might have used hose clamps to attach it.  He brought his four panniers from home.  I met him in Nova Scotia, so he already had gone quite a distance.  And he was going to New York City from where we met, his daughter lived there.  His plan was to give away the bike at the end of the trip if his daughter did not want it.

We did not talk long, the campsite was very thick with mosquitos.  So I did not hear much more for details.

That said, it can be hard to find a bike on the used market that fits really well and will be reliable.  The guy I met was retired and had plenty of time, but finding a good bike when you may have to get back to your job in a week or two could really complicate scheduling.

martinf

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1128
Re: Things to consider before buying
« Reply #32 on: July 06, 2023, 08:04:13 am »
though in my defense I'm pretty sure the rhetoric in Thorn's MKIII marketing presents it more as a general purpose bike than it did in the MKII.

The rhetoric does just that.

IMO Thorn now cover the whole range from light day rides to expeditions with just two frames, Mercury and Nomad 3.

This is considering only the Rohloff-specific options, but even the distinction between Rohloff and derailleur is blurred, as I believe you can now fit derailleur gears to a Nomad and Rohloff to a Club Tour.

Not necessarily a bad thing, as in the middle ground of loaded touring there is currently a choice of a lightweight (relatively) Mercury frame or a heavyweight Nomad frame.

Moronic

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 199
    • Amazon.com Bongs For Steve ebook
Re: Things to consider before buying
« Reply #33 on: July 06, 2023, 08:24:12 am »
Wow @flocsy that's a lot of background, and interesting!

It seems to me you've got a few things on the go here:

1. You're keen on bicycle touring but would need to fly to and from the site of each tour.

2. You want to take children with you.

3. You've got excited about Thorn bikes and would like to own and tour on one.

4. You would have to purchase your Thorn in another country, most likely England.

5. You're wary that these enthusiasms won't be sustained, and therefore want to limit your initial investment.

6. Your touring will be in Europe for the foreseeable future, with tour durations of 1-2 weeks.


I don't see an easy way to tie up all these threads. The only thing I'll offer is that it might help to de-prioritise the penny-pinching. Old, cranky, poorly sized equipment will kill your enthusiasm pretty fast, where a bike that fits you well, is nice to ride, and doesn't break will maximise the chance you'll have fun and do more.

Okay, you might still decide you're over touring and have to sell at a loss. So what. You'll have given your dream its best shot.

Also, here's an option for rented cycle touring in France, where they supply you with a proper touring bike with panniers and route maps.

https://www.bretonbikes.com/homepage/cycling-holidays-in-france

You could have a two-week camping holiday for what you list above as the cost of a mid-price bike (GBP 400), get bikes for the kids as well for about half that each, and be in a much better place to work out what comes next.
Bongs For Steve: a lyrical novel about smoking and friendship. https://www.amazon.com.au/Bongs-Steve-I-J-Baker-ebook/dp/B0B2BRTKM2

mickeg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2686
Re: Things to consider before buying
« Reply #34 on: July 06, 2023, 10:06:42 am »
Wow @flocsy that's a lot of background, and interesting!

It seems to me you've got a few things on the go here:

1. You're keen on bicycle touring but would need to fly to and from the site of each tour.

2. You want to take children with you.

3. You've got excited about Thorn bikes and would like to own and tour on one.

4. You would have to purchase your Thorn in another country, most likely England.

5. You're wary that these enthusiasms won't be sustained, and therefore want to limit your initial investment.

6. Your touring will be in Europe for the foreseeable future, with tour durations of 1-2 weeks.


I don't see an easy way to tie up all these threads. The only thing I'll offer is that it might help to de-prioritise the penny-pinching. Old, cranky, poorly sized equipment will kill your enthusiasm pretty fast, where a bike that fits you well, is nice to ride, and doesn't break will maximise the chance you'll have fun and do more.

Okay, you might still decide you're over touring and have to sell at a loss. So what. You'll have given your dream its best shot.

Also, here's an option for rented cycle touring in France, where they supply you with a proper touring bike with panniers and route maps.

https://www.bretonbikes.com/homepage/cycling-holidays-in-france

You could have a two-week camping holiday for what you list above as the cost of a mid-price bike (GBP 400), get bikes for the kids as well for about half that each, and be in a much better place to work out what comes next.

I think you summed that up rather well.

My opinion of this is that each brand of bike offers different models, if you get too enthusiastic for one brand of bike, you may miss out on some of what is going on in the rest of the biking world.

I am not saying anything is wrong with Thorn, I am happy with the two Thorns I built up.  I am going to put about 30 miles on one of my Thorns today.  But there are a lot of other brands out there that can offer alternatives.  After my most recent Thorn purchase, I built up two other bikes that are not Thorns.

For example, the rest of the biking world has switched to through axle bikes and wheels.  I personally see no great advantage to that and none of my bikes have through axles, I only list this as one major difference between Thorn and other brands.  There is a reason that Thorn has not embraced through axle like the other brands, Rohloff hubs are not (yet?) using through axles and Thorn is heavily invested in Rohloff bikes.

That said, some of the other brands at times make changes more to chase fads or attempt to set trends.  Sometimes that works and sometimes it does not.

Moronic

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 199
    • Amazon.com Bongs For Steve ebook
Re: Things to consider before buying
« Reply #35 on: July 08, 2023, 03:36:34 pm »
 ;) Thanks mickeg.

On the through axles, I imagine they're all about accommodating the forces generated at the dropout by disc brakes. Thorn designer Andy wasn't very happy about the implications of discs for the flexibility of the front fork, but IIRC (can't be bothered checking) the disc forks he specced for Thorns did/do have a through axle.

For the OP, the Raven presented right now in the for sale section of this site looks like an excellent buy, if it happened to fit. Appears to me it's priced at less than the reale value of the Rohloff alone. And after purchasing a Rohloff equipped Mercury, I don't expect ever to own another derailleur bike. That hub is the gift that keeps on giving. Mickeg, I know you aren't quite on the same page - just offering an opinion for the OP, who has little sense of what might be good about the late Herr Rohloff's contribution to the cycling world.
Bongs For Steve: a lyrical novel about smoking and friendship. https://www.amazon.com.au/Bongs-Steve-I-J-Baker-ebook/dp/B0B2BRTKM2

WorldTourer

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 112
Re: Things to consider before buying
« Reply #36 on: July 08, 2023, 07:09:12 pm »
On the through axles, I imagine they're all about accommodating the forces generated at the dropout by disc brakes.

Yes, but the industry's decision to adopt disc brakes is motivated especially by an accident that occurred around 2010, where a wheel held by a QR popped out under high torque, and the victim sued the bike maker. This was a freak accident, but the mere possibility of being held liable has scared the whole industry into adopting through-axles. There used to be a website detailing the original lawsuit and various companies’ responses to it, but I cannot find the link.

Quote
just offering an opinion for the OP, who has little sense of what might be good about the late Herr Rohloff's contribution to the cycling world.

My own feeling from interacting with the community is that Herr Rohloff’s contribution is quickly being forgotten, because the buzz now is about Pinion’s contribution. “Oh, you’re still riding a Rohloff?” is a comment I have heard multiple times from bikepackers I have met on the road in recent months.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2023, 07:10:56 pm by WorldTourer »

mickeg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2686
Re: Things to consider before buying
« Reply #37 on: July 08, 2023, 09:36:57 pm »
;) Thanks mickeg.

On the through axles, I imagine they're all about accommodating the forces generated at the dropout by disc brakes. Thorn designer Andy wasn't very happy about the implications of discs for the flexibility of the front fork, but IIRC (can't be bothered checking) the disc forks he specced for Thorns did/do have a through axle.

For the OP, the Raven presented right now in the for sale section of this site looks like an excellent buy, if it happened to fit. Appears to me it's priced at less than the reale value of the Rohloff alone. And after purchasing a Rohloff equipped Mercury, I don't expect ever to own another derailleur bike. That hub is the gift that keeps on giving. Mickeg, I know you aren't quite on the same page - just offering an opinion for the OP, who has little sense of what might be good about the late Herr Rohloff's contribution to the cycling world.

I have not been employed in the bicycle business for 51 years, so I really do not know what drove the through axle decision.  But I have a couple friends that feel strongly that through axles are a good idea, they say that the rear triangle on their full suspension bikes are stiffer with through axle.

And I have heard people complaining that with quick release they were always having to adjust their disc brake for alignment problems each time they removed and relaced the wheel.  But my one disc brake is on the rear on a quick release axle bike and it is always aligned perfectly every time I put the wheel into the frame, not sure why so many other people can't get it in right.  Perhaps their dropouts were not made with tight enough tolerances?

It was a bit over a decade ago that Trek recalled a lot of bikes.  The reason was that the quick release lever on the front wheel had a lever that could, when opened move inwards towards the wheel far enough to get stuck between the cut outs on disc rotors.  I have never owned a Trek, but I was a bit surprised at this.  I could not figure out why people were not using the quick release lever correctly, but then one day I saw a co-worker close the quick release on her front wheel.  She did not use the lever to close it as a cam action lever, instead she assumed that the lever was there so you did not need a wrench, she used the lever to rotate the skewer until it got tight and quit turning.  My co-worker was not an idiot, she was a scientist with a couple of degrees.  But, no bike sales person had ever explained to her how a quick release worked, so she had been doing it wrong for decades.  Perhaps too many bikes were sold by bike sales staff that neglected to explain how bikes work to customers, and that was why through axles were needed?

For several years I had heard that on the front wheel on a disc brake bike you should put the quick release lever on the right side, not left side of the bike.  I did not know why, and I have never owned a bike with a disc on the front wheel.  But when I saw that recall by Trek, it was clear that was the reason.  Apparently not everyone had heard that and most bikes when sold had the lever on the left, not right on the front.

It was not long after that when through axles started coming out.  My Lynskey, I bought the frame in 2017.  There are replaceable dropouts on both right and left sides, could be fitted with quick release or through axle.  I opted for quick release.  In the photo, you can see the replaceable dropout on the non-drive side, there are two small holes in the 10 oclock and 2 oclock position on that dropout, there are a pair of M4 screws in those holes that hold the dropout in the frame.  (The manufacturer did not use locktite on the screws, that was a huge mistake, but that is another story.)

I was a little surprised when the Nomad Mk III came out that it did not have replaceable dropouts for either option when they planned on some Nomads being sold as derailleur bikes.  I know a few people that now will not buy a quick release bike.

For some things, I prefer a Rohloff bike, for some things I prefer a derailleur bike.  At the cost of Rohloff hubs, I only have one Rohloff bike, several derailleur bikes.  I see advantages and disadvantages to both.  I suspect everyone reading this has ridden both, so I won't elaborate on my opinions on why I think there are advantages to both.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2023, 09:39:02 pm by mickeg »

flocsy

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 96
Re: Things to consider before buying
« Reply #38 on: July 08, 2023, 11:13:57 pm »
For the OP, the Raven presented right now in the for sale section of this site looks like an excellent buy, if it happened to fit.

If you mean the Raven "Adventure" (maybe they cut it off a tandem? ;) in ebay, then it's too big for me IMHO. I'm 175cm, that bike is 587L (it has a mid-tube standover height of 82, which is my crotch height in shoes)

flocsy

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 96
Re: Things to consider before buying
« Reply #39 on: July 08, 2023, 11:17:58 pm »
She did not use the lever to close it as a cam action lever, instead she assumed that the lever was there so you did not need a wrench, she used the lever to rotate the skewer until it got tight and quit turning.

Interesting. How did she first open it? I suppose they did secure it correctly in the shop. Or maybe they took off the wheel to help her put it in the car...