Author Topic: Thorn Raven Sport Tour  (Read 10319 times)

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Thorn Raven Sport Tour
« on: September 22, 2009, 11:00:30 pm »
I posted the following piece on the old ACF forum on 27th December 2006.

Quote from: Wowbagger
Thorn Raven Sport Tour
I’m coming up to the end of my 100 day money back guarantee on my Thorn Raven Sport Tour, and I think it’s time to put my thoughts onto virtual paper.

I cannot claim any qualification to compare this bike to any other modern velocipede because I had such a long lay-off from cycling that the last time I rode, the mountain bike hadn’t been invented, much less the hybrid. I’ve owned a Brompton for a couple of years, I bought a Ridgeback Neutron (Shimano hub gear) because I couldn’t afford the Thorn, but then the funds appeared and, after some research, I took the plunge, safe in the knowledge that if the bike and I didn’t get on, there was Thorn’s famous guarantee I could fall back on if all else failed.

I took delivery of the beast on 22nd September and since then, I have covered 1188 miles on it. They haven’t been totally trouble-free miles: on the first Critical Mass I attended, I was having trouble with the seat pin slipping, and subsequently had similar problems with the carbon bars. Clearly, I had had to fit / adjust these myself and the problem arose because I was just too reticent with the allen key. I had read that carbon needed careful treatment, so a phone call to Bridgewater sorted me out: tighten up as much as you would for alloy bars/seatpost and any damage will be replaced under guarantee. Well, I did, and the seatpost problem was sorted out instantly. I think I have now got the bars where I want them as well, although this took a little longer.

Simon L3 had advised that a Thorn Raven was, first and foremost, for hauling heavy loads. Presumably the Sport Tour version was for hauling heavy loads a bit more quickly? If so, then that was exactly what I needed, because  every time I get on a bike, I am hauling a heavy load. The luggage is extra to this.

Rogerzilla tells us that his is dull to ride. That may be so, but at 52 years old, arthritic and overweight, I am not bothered about twitchy, responsive frames. I am keen to reduce my bulk, and I think that it is no coincidence that I have lost at least a stone since riding the Thorn. I just love riding it. It is relatively effortless, it has loads of gears which some have considered superfluous in flat Essex, but I need them, it is a stiff frame, made out of Reynolds 853 conical tubing. I have managed my first Audax, I have had at least one other 70-mile plus ride and several over 60, and I have had absolutely no aches and pains as a result of riding. Neither have I had any saddle soreness, although that is probably more down to the fact that in the last 100 days I have also taken to wearing purpose-built cycling gear, combined with a Brooks saddle.

I suspect that the wide tyres slow me down a little, and indeed during a 40+ CC ride one of the other riders, possibly fed up with waiting for me at the top of every hill, commented towards the end of a ride that he thought I might go a little faster if my tyres were pumped up harder. I countered that the tyre concerned (Panaracer Pasela Tourguard) were pumped to the 65lb/sq in recommendation, but that it was purely a result of my enormous bulk that I am slow.

People have passed comment on the noise of the gears, especially in 7. Yes, they do make a churning, meshy mechanical noise, but it is not particularly obtrusive, and I have known many a freewheel on a derailleur-equipped machine which is far louder. I can’t say I have noticed the noise getting any less, but it doesn’t bother me at all. While riding alongside Vicky, she commented that she rather liked the noise. Most of the time, the noisiest part of the bike are the saddle springs in the Brooks Flier.

One thing I have noticed is that, in some gears, freewheeling is quieter than in others. Also, in at least one gear, the ratchety noise pulsates as though at certain stages of the wheel turn there is more going on that at other stages. My poor brain can’t get round this, so I put it down to some sort of highly complex sun-and-planet movement within the hub.

I have a Schmidt front hub with B & M Lumotec front light, and it is pretty good, but I haven’t noticed it being any better than the Shimano / Basta combination on the Ridgeback. However, that has not stopped me spending some Christmas money on Solidlights, such has been the enthusiasm amonst some ACFers.

I should make a comment about the main reason for me getting so much carbon: as an arthritis sufferer, I wanted the nearest thing I could get to an orthopaedic bike. Very wide grips on the bars, padded bar ends, you name it, I wanted it. I am not sure how much it has helped my arthritis, but I am pretty sure that my pins-&-needles are rather less on the Thorn than they are on the Ridgeback.

I definitely wanted straight bars as I also have a fairly long-standing back problem which has recurred once since riding the Thorn. There was one spacer left on the aheadset, so I bunged it in below the bars and now I think the riding position is pretty well perfect.

I am very satisfied with my bike. I was wondering if I had made the right decision, and whether a straight-barred Condor might have been as good, and of course until I have ridden one I will never know. However, I am covering more miles than I ever have before while suffering no ill effects which I can put down to cycling. I would be out riding it now except for the fact that my left shoulder is currently suffering a good deal of arthritic pain and I have been unable to shake off a really nasty cough & cold which has been affecting me for the  past fortnight or so.

I have had one broken spoke, and the good people at Thorn sent me some spares and asked me to keep them informed of any other problems. I have been perfectly happy with the after-care service.

I shall be taking it to Derbyshire for the Hopey New Year ride on 6th January. I’ll let you know how I get on.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Thorn Raven Sport Tour
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2009, 12:01:47 am »
I bought my Thorn Raven Sport Tour three years ago today and also completed 10000 miles on it today.



22nd September 2006



22nd September 2009. They've landscaped East Beach and the blue lamp post is no more. I picked what I thought was the nearest post to lean the bike against.





It's a magnificent bike. Solid, reliable, a great load-carrier, I've had few problems. The rear wheel was called in by Thorn because they didn't allow for the angle at which the spoke entered the rim on the rear wheel (huge Rohloff hub, relatively small wheel diameter) and spokes were breaking at the nipple end. They now use floating eyelets so that there is no lateral stress on the spoke. I replaced the suppled halogen light with Solidlights and I've added a front rack (Tubus Duo - I think much better than Thorn's own) which I've taken on tour.

The front tyre (Panaracer Pasela) is the original, but I've bought a new rim for the front wheel (Thorn changed the rear rim when they recalled the wheel) and will be fitting that soon.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Re: Thorn Raven Sport Tour
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2009, 12:28:09 am »
SJS don't advertise it as much of a load carrier. Are they needlessly cautious? In your experience, how much can it carry happily?

I've looked at this bike with interest for some time.
"A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Type-Writer Girl, 1897

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Thorn Raven Sport Tour
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2009, 12:34:07 am »
SJS don't advertise it as much of a load carrier. Are they needlessly cautious? In your experience, how much can it carry happily?

I've looked at this bike with interest for some time.

They tentatively suggest a limit of 12kg at the back and about 5 kg at the front. I've exceeded this by lots (probably about 20kg total on the back - full camping tour). I'm not sure why they are so cautious because although the tubing is thinner-walled than the stuff they use for the Thorn Raven Tour, most of the rear rack luggage weight is supported by the stainless steel dropout. I'm over 17 stone and they haven't suggested a human weight limit so far as I know. It handles well on fast descents even when fully loaded.

You can now get this bike with S & S couplings which, if I got one now, I think I'd buy. They are great on the tandem and I think that you could put it in luggage space on trains then.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Re: Thorn Raven Sport Tour
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2009, 06:49:20 pm »
Sounds good. I don't think I've ever put 20kg on the back of a bike except when transporting beer.

Now all I need is a job, so I can afford somewhere to put it . . .
"A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Type-Writer Girl, 1897

Gnarlybluesurf

Re: Thorn Raven Sport Tour
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2009, 11:16:42 am »
Hi there,

Great review of the bike. I too have been thinking about this bike or similar Thorn for a while. One question though I was wondering about the gear noise whether that has stayed the same, reduced or you've just stopped noticing it?

Also what is that sound like? It seems some people find it unbearable yet others hardly notice it....

Many thanks

LEE

Re: Thorn Raven Sport Tour
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2009, 06:22:06 pm »
Hi there,

Great review of the bike. I too have been thinking about this bike or similar Thorn for a while. One question though I was wondering about the gear noise whether that has stayed the same, reduced or you've just stopped noticing it?

Also what is that sound like? It seems some people find it unbearable yet others hardly notice it....

Many thanks

In gears 8-14 it's almost silent, like a fixed.

In gears 1-7 it whirrs and is no louder or more annoying than many derialleur mechs out there.

The freewheel "ratchet" is noisier than my shimano hubs but quieter than Campag and Hope hubs (A 1920's gattling gun is quieter than a Hope hub).

Over bad surfaces/potholes there is no chain-lash noise.

Overall I would say a Rohloff is quieter than derailleur.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Thorn Raven Sport Tour
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2009, 01:54:50 pm »
The freewheel "ratchet" is noisier than my shimano hubs but quieter than Campag and Hope hubs (A 1920's gattling gun is quieter than a Hope hub).
It seems to me that the amount of freewheel noise varies depending upon the gear you are in. There's at least one gear in which the freewheel noise pulsates.
Quote
Overall I would say a Rohloff is quieter than derailleur.

Yes, although I think that does depend to some extent upon what the other bike is and, possibly, who is riding it.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Gus

  • Loosing weight stone by stone
    • We will return
Re: Thorn Raven Sport Tour
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2018, 12:37:03 pm »
10 years on and my Thorn Raven sport is still my everyday ride.
It was bought and build in May 2008.
It have performed flawless over the years.
Oil shift on the Rohloff every spring and new brak pads twice a year (wet & grit roads in winters here).
Rear rim replaced once and  I must be on my 10th set of tires now.

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: Thorn Raven Sport Tour
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2018, 01:14:38 pm »
I have sold my Raven Tour.

I don't have a bad word to say about it* but I just wasn't using it enough.

It was a bike that gave you confidence you'd get to your destination without any fuss.  It also handled brilliantly when fully loaded, I mean it was rock-solid, confidence inspiring and actually better than when it wasn't fully loaded.  A real Pack-Mule.

*Well it was a bit heavy but only in the same way that a Challenger tank is a bit heavy.

Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

Gus

  • Loosing weight stone by stone
    • We will return
Re: Thorn Raven Sport Tour
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2018, 01:39:12 pm »
The only thing I miss on it is that I can't use disc brakes, But it was designed when disc brakes were as effective as proper aligned V-brakes.

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Thorn Raven Sport Tour
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2018, 01:40:51 pm »
The only thing I miss on it is that I can't use disc brakes, But it was designed when disc brakes were as effective as proper aligned V-brakes.

But disc brakes *are* as effective as properly aligned V-brakes (when it's not wet).   ???
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Gus

  • Loosing weight stone by stone
    • We will return
Re: Thorn Raven Sport Tour
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2018, 02:03:28 pm »
The only thing I miss on it is that I can't use disc brakes, But it was designed when disc brakes were as effective as proper aligned V-brakes.

But disc brakes *are* as effective as properly aligned V-brakes (when it's not wet).   ???

Not when you are a Clydesdale  ::-) Well maybe they are, but my rims get very very hot on steep hills...

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Thorn Raven Sport Tour
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2018, 02:23:06 pm »
Ah, that.  My understanding is that discs would get hotter, but can do so without risk of the tyre blowing off.  (All things being equal, I think I'd rather have glazed pads than a blowout.)

The consistent wet weather performance and simplicity of adjustment (compared to V-brakes, which are an arse) are sufficiently compelling arguments for me, TBH.

The lack of disc options are by now conspicuous in the Thorn range.  No doubt Strong Opinions are involved.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: Thorn Raven Sport Tour
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2018, 03:27:42 pm »
I swapped my Shimano V-Brakes for Avid Ultimates.  They were as good as V-Brakes got..... but I also wore out several wheel rims which can be much more dangerous (if they crack and/or collapse on you) than a blowout due to overheated rims i think.

Always remember that Shimano brake blocks ARE suited to sharpening an Axe or sanding down stonework but NOT to be used near wheel rims (unless you actually need to reduce the weight of your wheels quickly).
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

thing1

  • aka Joth
    • TandemThings
Re: Thorn Raven Sport Tour
« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2018, 06:13:05 pm »
I have sold my Raven Tour.

Funny enough I took a couple quick snaps of my Raven Sport Tour yesterday, as an emotional test to see if could face selling it.
Bizarrely it's the most Sensible Mudguarded bike I currently own so having used it as a daily commuter in California for 5 years, having it on hand back here in Blighty would seem to be a no brainer. But, my commute is much further here so I want to go faster. The Raven is nice for hauling luggage and shopping trips, but that's not my current main need.

If I did sell it I'd likely be kicking myself in a couple years when needs change again.....

Ben T

  • What you saying, then?
Re: Thorn Raven Sport Tour
« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2018, 10:48:10 pm »
I bought my Thorn Raven Sport Tour three years ago today and also completed 10000 miles on it today.



Just seen this post from back in 2009. That's some seriously impressive riding there Wowbagger. Average of over 400mph.
Unless you put on overalls, boots, and a helmet with a high tech pre fitted lamp - and you dig coal - nope, you don't know me.