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  1. #1
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    Anyone for Thorn???

    I've been looking at a lot of touring-spec bikes and there just seems to be so many choices out there, from Trek20 to Bike-Friday. Ideally what I'm looking for is a bike that I can ride around Sydney and if I want to also ride across the Gobi Desert - good commuter and also expedition capable. I have been looking and interested in the Trek520, Fuji Touring, venerable LHT and many many others but I've decided that I specifically want 26" wheels and not 700c - please don't let that point provide the incentive for another pro's and con's wheel size battle in this thread.

    I know about bikes like the BG BLT and Beckman but haven't seen anywhere on the net where someone has used one for a multi-continental trip. I do like the Koga-Miyata but think it's overkill for riding around the city.

    Anyway for whatever reason I keep coming back to Thorn and in particular the Thorn Nomad and
    the Thorn Raven Tour. I think one of these bikes could be exactly what I'm looking for. My brother is currently in the UK and might be able to bring back either a frameset or a complete bike when he returns early next year.

    I would be very appreciative if anyone out there that has first-hand experience with either of these bikes can provide some detailed feedback.

  2. #2
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    Never rode one. but I did see them in the UK--but my impression was very, very positive. Owners like them. They seem well designed and specced for touring.
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  3. #3
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    26" Bikes

    I understand the interest in 26" bikes. If you are interested in the Raven, you might want to consider these as well ...

    http://www.kogswell.com/
    http://www.rivendellbicycles.com/html/bikes_saluki.html

    Rivendell bikes are expensive. But they have an intense group of followers.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand
    I understand the interest in 26" bikes. If you are interested in the Raven, you might want to consider these as well ...

    http://www.kogswell.com/
    http://www.rivendellbicycles.com/html/bikes_saluki.html

    Rivendell bikes are expensive. But they have an intense group of followers.
    Actually, the Rivendell Saluki that your link leads to takes 650B tires, not 26". 650B (584 mm tire bead diameter) is a size somewhere betwen the 700C (622mm tire bead diameter) that is common on road bikes and the 26" (559 mm tire bead diameter) that is common on mountain bikes. Whatever the merits or shortcomings of this tire size, it is going to be difficult to find tires in this size.

    Rivendell does make the Atlantis touring bike, which comes with 26" wheels in the smaller frame sizes, up to 56 cm seat tube length. My own Rivendell has a 58 cm frame and 26" wheels, and the appearance takes a little getting used to.

    You might find a few more people with firsthand knowledge of Thorn bikes on the Cycling Plus forums, www.cyclingplus.co.uk/forum/

  5. #5
    Arrgghh me hearties! damian_'s Avatar
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    I own and ride a Thorn. Since buying it, I haven't even touched any of my other bikes. It is absolutely brilliant.

    Thorn used to make beautiful lugged frames at the shop in England. A couple of years ago, they moved most of their production to Taiwan. Mine is one of the older (English) frames, so I don't have first-hand experience with one of the newer (Taiwanese) ones. From all accounts, they are great bikes too.

  6. #6
    Pedalpower clayface's Avatar
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    Only the eXp and eXXp are built in the UK, the rest of the Raven family is handbuilt in Taiwan. The frameset of my Club Tour was handbuilt in Taiwan, too. Quality is first class: Reynolds 725 thoughout and 531 forks with a powdercoat finish.
    Roberto

    Thorn Club Tour

  7. #7
    aspiring wannabe hoogie's Avatar
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    i have a thorn nomad ... it is a brilliant bike, well thought out, well built and i really do like it ... really built to survive an epic round the world tour and come back for more ... it was one of the fillet brazed frames made in the UK ... not sure if the current ones still are or not ... however it is up for sale ... thinking seriously about a thorn raven, but will need to reluctantly part with the nomad first ... more on my nomad here
    thought for today: "Does my ass look fast on this bike?"

  8. #8
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    Thorn are very good and very well made touring bikes. There is another company that I think is better...but not by much, is Beckman Designs called the Sakkit Expedition 26 or 700 (designations are their wheel sizes). http://www.coinet.com/~beckman/bikeframes.html Also click on tech specs for more info.

    These Beckman bikes are made for the serious tourer who wants the best and the bike can handle loads, carry 4 instead of the normal 3 water bottles, and have back up provisions as well as braze ons for lighting...too much to list just read the site.

  9. #9
    The Recycled Cycler markwebb's Avatar
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    Mercian in a touring configuration might suit oquite well, mate. Made right in Derby UK.

  10. #10
    I can't remember
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    I've got a Thorn Raven, and I can say it's a good bike. I REALLY like the Rohloff hub. It's ideal for touring. It's a matter of preference I suppose, but I don't think I could go back to derailleurs. I had my bike shipped to Japan, and while there were some issues, Thorn were very easy to deal with.

    However I have to say that I'm somewhat disappointed with the frame. It's not the quality (although I feel a bike like the Nomad is of better frame quality), but the aesthetics. The welding is neat and clean, but the frame just looks very ordinary. Very bland. Also, that head badge is shocking. Really tacky. I'm still considering just pulling it off my bike.

    The Raven does ride really well, so I'm not complaining. It's just I like a bike to look good as well as ride nicely.

    Hoogie,

    I've visited your website (from a link you provided on one of the threads on the Thorn website) a few times and have admired your Nomad. I've got the largest sized Raven. I'm 181cm and around 75kg. I believe that you're quite a bit bigger than that. Just my opinion, but if I were you I'd be very slow to part with that Nomad you have. I really think that the Raven frame while strong, is not as sturdy as the Nomad. I've visited SJS so have seen a Nomad first hand. Just my opinion and thought that in the interests of being helpful I'd mention it.

  11. #11
    aspiring wannabe hoogie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardtail

    Hoogie,

    I've visited your website (from a link you provided on one of the threads on the Thorn website) a few times and have admired your Nomad. I've got the largest sized Raven. I'm 181cm and around 75kg. I believe that you're quite a bit bigger than that. Just my opinion, but if I were you I'd be very slow to part with that Nomad you have. I really think that the Raven frame while strong, is not as sturdy as the Nomad. I've visited SJS so have seen a Nomad first hand. Just my opinion and thought that in the interests of being helpful I'd mention it.
    hey there,

    thanks for your comment ... it was really helpful and timely ... that was one of the things i was looking at but didn't have an answer to ... i have read all about the rohloff and how it is really good, but the nomad frame is very stiff and robust, whereas the raven frame is a bit thinner walled, although bigger tubing and the top tube is longer on the model i was looking at and was wondering if it would be more flexi than my current nomad ...
    i am 1.91m and 106kg so it would be carrying way more weight indeed ...
    could be grounds for keeping the nomad ...
    i'll also cut paste this into a pm ...
    thought for today: "Does my ass look fast on this bike?"

  12. #12
    More Energy than Sense aroundoz's Avatar
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    I am very pleased w/ my Nomad and can't imagine a better frame at any price. Just completed at 260 mile tour w/ 100 miles of it on dirt and it did great. Having said that, if you can only afford a 520, it will also suffice but you will probably be happier w/ the Thorn in the long run.
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  13. #13
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    The Mercian is indeed a fine bike but more on the level of a Rivendell or Atlantis or Thorn etc. It's not a heavy touring bike, by that I mean not for someone who is going to carry a lot of stuff. BUT the Mercian is every much the bike that the Rivendell or others are and maybe (?) better? It's at least cheaper in cost. By the way, the Mercian is the bike I chose for touring and not the Beckman because I won't be doing heavy expedition type of touring and it's hand made including the lugs without the expense of the Rivendell especially or the Atlantis.

  14. #14
    aspiring wannabe hoogie's Avatar
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    aroundoz ... nice bike mate, very nice indeed!
    thought for today: "Does my ass look fast on this bike?"

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