I am interested in building a mountain bike for touring, as well as regular trail use.
Must be steel, 26 inch wheels, disc and cantilever, and have front suspension. I already have most of the componentry so I'm looking for frame only.
I have been doing tons of research and am leaning towards the Thorn Ripio (other considerations are the Soma Groove, Voodoo Bizango, Kona Explosif).
The reason I am leaning towards the Thorn is because of the super long chainstays which is good for my size 15 feet and panniers and it seems to be tough enough for loaded off-road use. Also although I've heard good things about the Groove and Bizango I've also heard horror stories about weld quality. Plus when the guy at my LBS is more enthusiast about the Thorn over the Soma and Voodoo (having owned both brands), which he could sell me, I take it as a strong endorsement for Thorn.
I'm NOT looking to spend a fortune on this so $800 max for the frame is my extreme limit.
So what are your thoughts on these bikes? Would love to heard from Thorn owners, especially Ripio ones!