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  1. #1
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    Customizing my Thorn Sherpa: I need your help

    Okay, this is my third thread in this forum asking for people to help me. I am sorry. This was where I presented my idea, and this was a much less successful thread where I asked for advice on choosing a bike. The past two days I've been reading and doing calculations, and I've made the decision: I will order a Thorn Sherpa.

    However, the bike needs to be customized to suit my purpose, and I need to decide on which bike upgrades I am going to invest in. The most popular and relevant upgrades are listed in this PDF order form, but as DukeArcher pointed out, one can add to the build whatever they stock at St John Street Cycles.

    Okay, so I'm going from Norway to the Pacific and possibly back on the bike which I am going to order. It will be a "loaded tour" (I'll be carrying tent, sleeping bag, stove and lots of other things), although I am, otherwise, very committed to packing lightly. I have not toured yet, but I believe I will have a preference for smaller countryside roads (and I'll probably be avoiding big cities). (If any of this information matters to how the bike will be customized...)

    So, I need help with the customization and the picking of upgrades listed in the PDF (or things not listed there but available at SJS Cycles). While I could in theory afford all upgrades listed, I would have much less money for the trip itself. Therefore, I should order only what I will or may profit a lot from. I imagine spending anything between 250 and 500 on upgrades and additions.

    What I would need for sure:
    - Front and rear carriers, 70 and 50 (Thorn)
    - Brooks B17 (17)
    - "Ultimate bottle cage combination" (17)
    - Some pedals, would "MKS GR9 alloy platform pedals, including toe clips & straps" (30) be good?
    - Good tyres. Schwalbe Marathon XR 26 x 2.00 (35)? Wouldn't I want some slimmer tyres for Europe?
    - Front and rear light. Is a dynamo worth investing in, by the way? I don't intend to be riding much after dark...

    Basically I am wondering how much I would profit from making upgrades to brakes, gearing, wheels, and so on. Since I can't afford upgrading it all, I am wondering what to upgrade and what to leave as it is. I need your advice, and for any I will get, I am very grateful. Seriously.

    And also, which chainring size would you choose?

    Best regards,
    Jonas-
    Last edited by snusmumriken; 02-25-08 at 03:45 PM. Reason: Forgot to ask

  2. #2
    Senior Member DukeArcher's Avatar
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    Definately take the XR's or Continental Travel Contact tyres (my faves) for a trip like that. You could fit slicks for Europe and take the XR's in a pannier as folding tyres to switch over when the roads get rough - I am.

    As for the Dynohub, don't bother - just take some blinkies. Chainrings, the standard setup is fine, we spec the gearing for long-distance touring. MKS GR9's are good, I use MT-Lites myself, just as good, it depends on whether you want toeclips and straps (my choice) or clipless. As for wheels, go for the Rigida Andra 30's awesome, awesome rims - stronger than the SunRhynos in our and my opinion, plus they come in a carbide braking surface which can prolong rim life, but the standard brakes are fine.

    The bottle cages in that combo are good, but I've always been happy with el-cheapo alloy cages.

    Thorn Racks - VERY strong
    Brooks - Ultra worth it, especially for 17

    Hope I could help!

    Also, if you ring Thorn, ask to speak to Kyle, that's me!

  3. #3
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    ok first of all let me say you wont be disappointed in buying the sherpa great bike,i bought the frame and built it up with shimano xt ,if you have a look for my post on the sherpa you will see it in all it's glory, i put quality gear on through out the build,

  4. #4
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    I'd say get the lower gearing (44/32/22 on the front and 11/32 on the back). Definitely the tire upgrade and the B17.

    Don't forget to save some money for panniers (Ortlieb?) if you don't already have them. Otherwise, you are good to go with that rig,

  5. #5
    Senior Member DukeArcher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Smokester View Post
    (44/32/22 on the front and 11/32 on the back)
    I agree, It's a good ratio.

  6. #6
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    Thank you!

    DukeArcher: I sent an e-mail asking if you/they/Thorn could call me between 15.30 and 16.30 UK time on Wednesday. If it is possible, I will make the order then. Will you be calling me personally or someone else?

    I will consider taking two pairs of tyres.

    The Smokester: Regarding panniers, I wanted to buy Ortlieb, but perhaps I will save some money and go with two pairs of waterproof "Agu X Rain" (850 KF and 835 KF). I only found one review of the smaller ones, but it was a very positive one. Anyone know if they're good ****?

    Anyhow, I am surprised by the replies... I supposed they would be loaded with all sorts of encouragements to make all sorts of upgrades... You don't think it's so much worth the investment? Some better wheels/hubs, better brakes? No? I am happy to save the money... I just imagined I'd have to spend more.

    44/32/22 it wil be, then.

    Unless someone recommends me something else, I will also go with the Zefal HPX pump and the Cateye CC-MC100W cycling computer.

  7. #7
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    A good choice of bike, the Thorn Sherpa has an excellent reputation for laden touring.

    You don't say if you are getting drops or straight bars.

    If you are getting straight bars then I would recommend comfort bars fitted with the Ergon grips which have a flat platform at the rear. Proper bar ends are also good for more hand positions whilst riding.

    I recommend the widest tyres you can fit with mudguards, XR are a good choice. The standard mini front mudflap is worth replacing with a larger one to keep more of the road muck off the chain/chainrings.

    I use a sprung brooks saddle (conquest), which I find suits my relatively upright riding position.

    You may have these already, but if not, consider adding a pump and basic set of tools/spares. The further away from bike shops you will be the more need to carry some tools/spares. I have seen it suggested that carrying 2 pumps is a good idea. If your only pump breaks, then it can be a long walk before you can get a tyre inflated.

    As has been mentioned, a set of strong waterproof panniers is required.

  8. #8
    Senior Member DukeArcher's Avatar
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    Mark will probably ring you, I'm just a temporary employee who got a lucky job (and new bike to boot) on tour. I'm no advertiser, but thet do make a good product. The only recommendation I strongly suggest is the Rigida Andra 30 rims.

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    Aha, I just supposed I would get the dropped handlebars, because I supposed it would be the best. What do you think?

    Regarding riding position, I imagine I also like to sit relatively upright. Is this an argument for straight handlebars? I haven't been biking much, but I used to own a bike on which I was too much leaning forward. I found it very uncomfortable. My back hurt.

    I will need to find a good headlight. Also, do you think I should get a barbag? I thought I could do well without, but maybe it's very practical... I don't know. I will definitely get the Rigida Andra 30s, then.

    Apart from just that, I feel like I've got most of it. I just need to figure out if I'm going to invest in some more wheel or brake upgrades.

  10. #10
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    I would recommend the Topeak Road Morph G air pump. The G means it has a built-in pressure gauge.

  11. #11
    Slowpoach
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    Ask the people at SJS cycles for advice, not just us. They regularly outfit people for huge trips, and have a money back guarantee if you don't like the bike.

  12. #12
    Slowpoach
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Smokester View Post
    I would recommend the Topeak Road Morph G air pump. The G means it has a built-in pressure gauge.
    Yep, very good pump.

  13. #13
    Senior Member eric von zipper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cave View Post
    Ask the people at SJS cycles for advice, not just us.
    I agree. Mark entertained about a gazillion questions I had about the Sherpa and Paula was kind enough to email me when the size frame I need came in--they were out of stock the first time I tried to order. Overall great experience dealing with SJS.

    Btw, I put my order in Friday the 22nd for my Sherpa frame and have had 2 dreams about it.

  14. #14
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    Aha, I just supposed I would get the dropped handlebars, because I supposed it would be the best. What do you think?

    Regarding riding position, I imagine I also like to sit relatively upright. Is this an argument for straight handlebars? I haven't been biking much, but I used to own a bike on which I was too much leaning forward. I found it very uncomfortable. My back hurt.
    What handlebars are you used to riding with? Are you comfortable on a long ride?

    One way to consider this is to have a ride on some drop handlebar and then straight handlebar bikes to get a feel for the potential differences. Have you access to friends with bikes? Try riding good roads and bad roads to see if you notice a difference.

    I started as a lad on straights, moved to drops for many years and have now gone back to straights as I get older, less flexible and prefer the more upright position.

    Drops are very nice for long distances, giving many hand positions and a streamlined position for riding into a head wind. If you want V brakes the choice of levers is very limited.

    Straights will probably be wider and open your chest up more, a backward sweep will relax your shoulders and back. The wider stance gives more control in traffic, on bad road surfaces and carrying a load on the front of the bike - but increases the wind resistance. You can get some advanced grips now by Ergon which have flat wings to rest your hands on - very comfy for longer distances. Bar ends give many hand positions. If you want V brakes, then there are many more levers to choose from for straights.

    The choice of handlebars is very personal and is yours to make for your new bike.

    I will need to find a good headlight. Also, do you think I should get a barbag?
    As has been recommended, led battery lamps are pretty impressive these days. A 1 watt led will let you potter along in the dark on an unlit road, 3 watts leds or more will be needed to ride safely at speed on an unlit road.
    If you are planning to do a lot of riding in the dark, then a tyre driven dynamo or dynohub may be in order to do away with the need for batteries.

    Barbags are handy to carry things which you want at hand, especially handy with a map case mounted on top for you to glance at while riding. If you get a barbag, check that the handlebars have enough space to fit it without fouling the cables etc. or will it need to be mounted from an accessory bar? I tried riding with a heavily loaded barbag and found it made my steering feel really funny. So if you get one I recommend planning on only using it to carry lightweight items.

    I hope this helps and have fun choosing your bike specification.

  15. #15
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    Very, very useful. Big thanks to all of you! I will have to think about the bars. No, I know no one with a dropped handlebar bike. But I my body is quite flexible, and even more than leaning too much forward I dislike wrist pains. I think I will go for dropped handlebars.

  16. #16
    Slow Rider bwgride's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Smokester View Post
    I would recommend the Topeak Road Morph G air pump. The G means it has a built-in pressure gauge.
    I agree here that getting a pump with a flexible hose makes pumping more comfortable.

    For lights, I recommend getting a powerful multi-mode LED than runs on standard, rechargeable batteries. Fenix L2D is one such light that uses 2 AA batteries and runs for 2.5 hours on turbo with 180 lumens (very bright), and runs for 55 hours on low with about 10 lumen (good for reading or searching around in your tent) Here is a link:

    http://www.glowgadgets.co.uk/fenix-l...lights-torches


    Quote Originally Posted by snusmumriken View Post
    Very, very useful. Big thanks to all of you! I will have to think about the bars. No, I know no one with a dropped handlebar bike. But I my body is quite flexible, and even more than leaning too much forward I dislike wrist pains. I think I will go for dropped handlebars.
    I don't know about others, but I get lots of wrist pain with drop bars; I now use flat bars and the bars are a little higher than my seat for an upright sitting position. Wrist pain is rare now.


    and you can quickly mount and dismount it from your bike with this:

    http://www.glowgadgets.co.uk/detail....e=all-products

  17. #17
    Slowpoach
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    Fenix L2D is one such light that uses 2 AA batteries and runs for 2.5 hours on turbo with 180 lumens (very bright), and runs for 55 hours on low with about 10 lumen (good for reading or searching around in your tent)
    the turbo beam is bright enough to ride at 25km/h with, and lasts about 2 hr with 2 AAs. Very goog light, easy-to-find batteries, excellent value.

    fenixstore.com will prob. be cheaper than a UK source.

  18. #18
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    However, it says one shouldn't leave it in turbo mode for more than ten minutes..?

    Very cool, though. I think I will order.

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