upgrading bikes from Dawes Karakums to?????

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Vorpal
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Re: upgrading bikes from Dawes Karakums to?????

Post by Vorpal »

beeb wrote: 9 Jun 2021, 2:53pm
We have a Thorn Adventure tandem which is like a tank but we absolutely love it. It has Thorn racks front and back and even though it is over twenty years it still rides great. Only problem is we can no longer lift it on the roof of the car, or getting on and off trains would be almost impossible, so we'll keep it for tours from home.
While I would always encourage avoiding car use, there is a fun thread viewtopic.php?f=5&t=54363 about transporting a tandem on top of a car. If you scroll about halfway down the second page, there is detail, with photos, about loading a a tandem onto a car. Minimal lifting required.
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Jdsk
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Re: upgrading bikes from Dawes Karakums to?????

Post by Jdsk »

beeb wrote: 11 Jun 2021, 1:24pm do you think the charging hub a bad idea?

we will aim to be camping most of the time

in the past we have carried a little powerbank with solar panel as a backup

found ourselves sometimes in campsite toilets try to charge our phone, would rather charge it while we ride

is that not the experience of those that have a charging hub??
It depends on how isolated you'll be and how many devices you want to support.

I discovered:

• A 16,000 mA h USB battery pack will support two of us for several days.
• My satnav device is happier running off the battery pack than off the hub-driven charger. I now only charge the battery pack from the hub.
• I couldn't fix or change the proprietary USB charging system on the road.

Jonathan

PS: Current (!) set-up is a Garmin Edge 1000, two iPhones, two Bluetooth headbands, two Kindles; one B+M Luxos lamp with USB charger, one TeckNet 16,000 mA h battery pack, two SP PV-8 hubs.
rareposter
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Re: upgrading bikes from Dawes Karakums to?????

Post by rareposter »

beeb wrote: 11 Jun 2021, 1:24pm do you think the charging hub a bad idea?

we will aim to be camping most of the time

in the past we have carried a little powerbank with solar panel as a backup

found ourselves sometimes in campsite toilets try to charge our phone, would rather charge it while we ride

is that not the experience of those that have a charging hub??
Most electrical things like to have a steady current supply to charge them. Dynamo lights are a bit different, they're designed to be run off a hub and have built in stuff to smooth the power and hold some in reserve (for example when stopped, your lights don't just go out immediately!)

Phones and GPS devices don't tend to charge well off hubs - you can often get enough to keep them going but not to actually put much into them. For those I'd always use a powerbank and then charge the powerbank from the mains. Even in campsites there's often some sort of mains charging possibility even if you have to ask them to plug it in at reception for a couple of hours (obviously that only applies in official campsites, not wild camping!)

16 - 20,000mAh packs will do a phone and GPS half a dozen times at least, but you can go up to about 26,000mAh packs for £50 or so if required and they're still only the size of the average smartphone. Added benefit that it can come into the cafe or your tent with you!
slowster
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Re: upgrading bikes from Dawes Karakums to?????

Post by slowster »

Whilst not suggesting that you stick with your Karakums, something to be mindful of in considering new bikes is the potential for a new bike to be heavier, so much so that you might compare it unfavourably with the Karakum, especially in terms of how the bike feels and handles when unladen or with only a light bag for a day ride. If you choose something like the 700C version of the Nomad (which appears to be designed for more lightweight touring than the more expedition focused Thorns) with a Rohloff and hub dynamo etc., I expect it will still be heavier. I would suggest getting rides on Thorn demonstrators if at all possible, but I appreciate that might not be possible for you.

It might be worth comparing the Thorns with a more conventional/classic touring bike, like Spa's flat barred version of its steel or titanium tourer: no step through option, but I expect they could be built up significantly lighter than a Thorn Nomad. Use some of the money you save compared with a Thorn on upgrading your camping and touring kit with the latest lightweight products, and you might find that the result was a bike that when loaded or unloaded was much nicer to ride than a Thorn with a Rohloff.

https://www.spacycles.co.uk/m1b0s225p39 ... ar-9-Speed

Another option might be to go to Woodrup for a custom frame. Woodrup's framebuilder is Kevin Sayle, who was Thorn's custom builder before they switched to outsourcing all their frames (he probably built your tandem). He would be my choice if I wanted a bike that was in the Thorn style but custom built to suit me personally with the optimum balance of strength, luggage carrying capability, handling when loaded and unloaded, and no heavier than it needed to be. It might be that an off the shelf Thorn would fit your own needs perfectly, but that your wife might particularly benefit from going down the custom route.

https://www.woodrupcycles.com/bespoke/rohloff-tour/

As for a dynamo and device charging, I expect new and better storage devices will appear in future years, but hub dynamos themselves appear to be fairly mature products. I would get a Son28 hub simply to have the safety and peace of mind that comes with having reliable lights permanently fitted to a touring bike. The ability to use it with whatever charging technology I might in future choose to buy would just be a bonus.
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matt2matt2002
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Re: upgrading bikes from Dawes Karakums to?????

Post by matt2matt2002 »

7 years ago I upgraded from the Dawes K to a Thorn Raven Tour.
No regrets. Never let me down on any of my tours. Not as heavy as the Nomad but can carry plenty.
Rohloff hub: a marmite thing. I love mine but not for everyone. Plus a little £££!
2017 Ethiopia.5 weeks.
2018 Marrakech 2 weeks.
Lots more in hot countries.
Always on a Thorn Raven/Rohloff hub.
beeb
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Re: upgrading bikes from Dawes Karakums to?????

Post by beeb »

Great debate and advice

These bikes would be used just for our expeditions, 2 or 3 months at a time. We want to keep camping into old age as we love it, so may end up with bigger tents. Also carry cooking gear etc, so our daily distances may drop, but that's ok We got the time to go slow.

Really looking gr8 bikes that won't let us down.



We have other bikes, probably too many for day rides, day touring etc. In fact I am still riding a dawes super galaxy from 1974 which I got new when 12. The Brooks saddle is very comfortable.
slowster
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Re: upgrading bikes from Dawes Karakums to?????

Post by slowster »

The more information you provide, the more it sounds like a Thorn (or similar like Oxford Bike Works) is what you want.

You might want to start thinking about what tyre size(s) you would need or prefer. Thorn's expedition type bikes have historically been 26", but I note they are now also offering 650B providing front and rear disc brakes are specified, as well as the 700C version of the Nomad.

I suspect that is partly in response to much less choice and availability of good quality 26" tyres for road touring. Basic low quality 26" MTB tyres will probably be available for many years to come, but I would not want to use such tyres for touring, especially not on the road. SJS currently list only 9 folding 26" tyres, and one of the best of those, the Schwalbe Almotion, has already been discontinued. The Almotion is probably a good example of the problem: it is now offered in 650B, but only in one width compared with three different widths in 700C size. Chris Juden wrote on a thread recently that there will always be a good choice of 700C/28" tyres, because so many bikes with that size of tyre are sold every year in Germany.
Last edited by slowster on 12 Jun 2021, 12:11pm, edited 1 time in total.
beeb
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Re: upgrading bikes from Dawes Karakums to?????

Post by beeb »

Does our height have any bearing on best wheel size. We are both about 5 ft 5. Hadn't realised 26" wheels were becoming a problem in terms of sourcing tyres. As we will mostly be in Europe is 700c the best route for us ?
Thanks for raising this.
slowster
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Re: upgrading bikes from Dawes Karakums to?????

Post by slowster »

beeb wrote: 12 Jun 2021, 7:40am Does our height have any bearing on best wheel size. We are both about 5 ft 5. Hadn't realised 26" wheels were becoming a problem in terms of sourcing tyres. As we will mostly be in Europe is 700c the best route for us ?
Thanks for raising this.
Firstly, don't just take my word for it. Thorn can probably advise you, and it would be worth doing a bit of basic research yourself, but there have been numerous comments about this issue over the last few years, e.g.

Chris Juden - viewtopic.php?p=1610884#p1610884

Brucey - viewtopic.php?p=1542493#p1542493

Willem Jongman - viewtopic.php?p=1523626#p1523626

I don't think height matters as such, but toe overlap can be an issue for smaller riders with 700C wheels vs 26". A small bit of toe overlap is usually not a big issue riding on the road (as opposed to tricky off-road trails), because it would not be noticeable except when doing a very low speed tight turn, but I would still want it to have been designed out on an expensive touring bike, especially if it's for flat bars (it can be more problematic designing it out on small drop barred bikes, which necessarily have shorter top tubes).

I think the Karakum has 700C wheels, so if toe overlap is not a problem for you on those bikes, I would not expect problems with a 700C Nomad from the likes of Thorn. Like 531Colin who designs many of Spa's frames, Andy Blance of Thorn probably pays a lot more attention to this issue than the average mass market bike manufacturer, and the limited geometry information Thorn supplies seems to confirm that, e.g. the shorter top tube versions of the 700C Nomad use a fork with a larger 60mm offset, including the smallest step though 700C Nomad. The geometry charts don't supply the head angles, but I expect those frames also have shallower head angles as well.

That said, life is much easier when the manufacturer provides the front centre measurement (bottom bracket to front axle), like 531Colin/Spa do. If you measure the front centres on your Karakums, and then measure the clearance between the tip of your shoes in/on the pedals from the mudguard with the wheel and shoe at their closest points, you will know what minimum front centre measurement you want/need on any other bike after factoring in any differences like a wider/taller tyre, more mudguard/tyre clearance, or different crank lengths. You could then email Thorn and ask for the front centre measurements of the size(s) you were considering.

650B has recently experienced a huge revival in conjunction with gravel bikes, because many gravel bike riders want a wider tyre than is often possible with 700C wheels on a gravel bike, which typically has relatively limited clearances. So at the moment there is a reasonably good selection of high quality tyres in that size, although many seem to be quite expensive and not so many of them might be as suitable for heavily loaded road touring as a tyre like the 650B Schwalbe Almotion.

Whatever bike choices you make, I think what matters most is going into it with your eyes open. You might decide that all things considered one of Thorn's 26" wheel bike models was best for you, in which case you might need to do as Willem Jongman has done and buy a number of spare tyres now and store them in a cool dark place.
Last edited by slowster on 12 Jun 2021, 1:57pm, edited 1 time in total.
beeb
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Re: upgrading bikes from Dawes Karakums to?????

Post by beeb »

the contributions of members has been incredibly helpful

beginning to thing slightly lighter thorn (maybe the nomad is too heavy for what we actually need)with 700c wheels would be best

would that be the Raven, anyone got one?

also any thoughts on Oxford bike works expedition Rohloff bike?
Bonefishblues
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Re: upgrading bikes from Dawes Karakums to?????

Post by Bonefishblues »

I mentioned Stanforth earlier. If lighter than expedition, with custom sizing, then how about:

https://www.stanforthbikes.co.uk/produc ... er-700c-10

Lee Cooper makes the frame (as he does for OBW)
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matt2matt2002
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Re: upgrading bikes from Dawes Karakums to?????

Post by matt2matt2002 »

beeb wrote: 12 Jun 2021, 1:27pm the contributions of members has been incredibly helpful

beginning to thing slightly lighter thorn (maybe the nomad is too heavy for what we actually need)with 700c wheels would be best

would that be the Raven, anyone got one?

also any thoughts on Oxford bike works expedition Rohloff bike?
Raven Tour rider here. Rohloff hub is just what I like.
Not sure about weight difference from the Nomad but I did the Pamir Highway fully loaded for 9 weeks with no issues. Rough roads and lots of weight. I recall wondering what worse raids would have warranted the Nomad.
2017 Ethiopia.5 weeks.
2018 Marrakech 2 weeks.
Lots more in hot countries.
Always on a Thorn Raven/Rohloff hub.
wheelyhappy99
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Re: upgrading bikes from Dawes Karakums to?????

Post by wheelyhappy99 »

Nomad 2 (among other things) rider here. I would now always go for Rohloff, it's just so much more forgiving and relaxing to ride with, especially loaded. On the question of Thorn models, I believe they published comparative weight of Nomad and Raven frames, IIRC there wasn't much in it. I tried both more than once, and went for the Nomad because the handling felt even better, and the demonstrator with lighter Zac19 rims and tyres was very much nippier than one with the heavy Andra rims. As I'm not on planning Andes crossings, that has been more than strong enough for loaded trips using pretty rough off road tracks, and with the very long chain stays I can safely carry everything in two rear panniers, which makes European train trips (remember those?) much more manageable. For what I wanted it's been a good bet, though now with 559 tyres becoming more limited I'd probably look at the 650 Nomad 3. Hope this helps.
slowster
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Re: upgrading bikes from Dawes Karakums to?????

Post by slowster »

OP, do you use both front and rear panniers on your Karakums? If so it might be worth seeing if you could instead get all your kit in two rear panniers/on the top of the rear rack and in a bar bag. As wheelyhappy99 says, when you are transporting your bikes it makes life easier if you have fewer bags. If you are unsure, maybe do a short overnight tour to see if it would work for you with just rear panniers. If you conclude front panniers will be essential or that you must at least have the option of using them, it seems from Thorn's description that might rule out the 700C version of the Nomad.

Given that you have now indicated that these will be dedicated expedition bikes used solely for loaded touring, and you have other bikes for day rides etc., I would not be too bothered about the frame weight or opting for a lighter frame. Any differences in weight between the frames you are considering will be trivial in the context of your all up weight (bike, luggage and rider). If you want to save weight, I would look elsewhere on the bike and in your kit.

Incidentally, Thorn spec the 700C Nomad with the Tubus Airy rack, which weighs only 230g. However, to my recollection it is a fairly minimalist rack, probably better suited to use with smaller panniers (e.g. Ortlieb Sport Rollers). More importantly it has a very small narrow top area. It would not be my choice because I would want a wider/longer top deck to lash stuff onto (tent, dry bag or whatever). I would instead choose either the stainless steel Cosmo (810g) or the new titanium Liviano (500g).
nsew
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Re: upgrading bikes from Dawes Karakums to?????

Post by nsew »

If a 120kg cycle tourer wanting to haul around 50kg of stuff went to a frame builder they’d be built a bike not dissimilar to the 18kg Nomad. As it is the OP and his wife are both 5’ 5”, don’t need to carry more than 25kg between them, will be riding in Western Europe and probably want to have an enjoyable time of it. The frame builder would build lively bikes in the region of 12kg.
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