OK. so, frame design for short(ish) people.
1) you don't want to kick the front tyre/mudguard.......(well, you personally might not mind too much either way, but for some folk their toe touching the 'guard is a complete no-no....)
2) you don't want the handlebars to be too far away.
Those of you who are paying attention thus far will have noticed that the 2 considerations above are pulling the designer in opposite directions.
Now, the OP's Thorn has a fork offset of 52mm (or thereabouts) which gives good "touring bike" handling with a head angle of 71 degrees (or thereabouts)
Remember the Trucker we mentioned earlier, 45mm offset, 72 deg head angle?
The dimension that governs toe clearance is "front centre" the distance between the front wheel axle and the bottom bracket axle.
For the same front centre, the Thorn's bars will be closer to the rider by (52-45 = ) 7mm, just because of the fork offset difference......
but there's more......this is an occasion where the laws of physics are on our side........
Thorn's 71 deg head will get the bars closer than Trucker's 72 deg head (for the same front centre) by as much as 10mm for a rider of "average" handlebar height....so a bit less for a short rider........but still, Thorn's bars are something like 15mm closer to the rider than Trucker's, for the same front centre
52 offset and 71 degrees (or thereabouts) is a very common set-up for touring bikes.
However, if you go a step further, a fork offset of around 60mm teams very nicely with a head angle of 71.5 degrees, and might give a small rider 25mm closer bars than the Trucker......for the same front centre.
Several people have mentioned 26" wheels. The difference in bead diameter is (622 - 559 =) 63mm, so the difference in radius is 31.5mm. which sounds like a lot. But there is a snag, those tricky laws of physics are against us this time. If you want to stick with a 71 degree head angle, because the wheel radius is smaller, you need about 42mm offset to get similar trail to 71 degree head and 52mm offset on a 700c wheel. So you gain 31.5mm on the radius, but you lose 10mm on the offset, so a net gain of 21.5mm; this is not so different from what you can get by carefully choosing your dimensions with a 700c wheel. (not everybody likes 26" wheels on a tourer, and if you ride in a group its handy to use the same size tubes as everybody else)
I have never owned one, but I'm going to defend the Trucker........so many people love that bike, it must be getting something right.
lvabd wrote:Isn't the chainstay also very long on the LHT? (compared to the audax bikes at least). I did notice that the geometries were very similar though. Well I am very uncomfy on my LHT. Despite having switched to straights bars (no way I can handle a loaded tourer on tracks with drops), it still does feel so so stretched out.
Long chainstays are usual on tourers, its to do with luggage and how it "rides" over bumps.....much better to have the wheels going over a bump one at a time (like a rocking horse) than the back wheel going up as the front wheel goes down on a short wheelbase "mean machine".
Changing drops to straights is a massive difference. On my longest bike the reach is too long with my favourite drops (Nitto Noodles), I need shorter reach bars. However if I try to fit flats there isn't a stem in the world long enough. I like my bar ends to duplicate the "hoods" position, and the grips to duplicate the "tops" position, so my hands are in the same place and my riding position is the same whether I'm on drops of flats, just the brakes are somewhere else. (Actually all that should be past tense.....arthritis in my hands means its bullbars or staying home for me now. https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=113772&hilit=bullbars
Anyway, to cut to the chase, the difference between drops and flats is so big as to completely dwarf the fact that the Trucker is a "long" bike. If you aren't comfortable on your Trucker with flats, theres something else going on apart from reach.
When my hands were up to braking from the hoods, I rode roughstuff on drop bars, although never with a camping load. If that's very different from your experience, I suspect your riding position doesn't give you decent balance on the bike. The best way I can describe it is riding a track, I feel like I'm floating over the bike......the front and back wheels go over bumps and holes and the bike moves under me like a rocking horse....mountain bikers (on rigid frames) talk of riding "kissing the saddle". If you actually sit on the saddle, a big bump can fire you up in the air.