Thorn Sherpa

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
mullinsm
Posts: 114
Joined: 9 Sep 2011, 2:00pm

Thorn Sherpa

Postby mullinsm » 6 Mar 2018, 12:28pm

If anyone's thinking of buying a 26" wheel tourer, then they could do much worse that a Thorn Sherpa.

Having toured New Zealand twice on a 700c bike, I wanted something more at home on gravel roads and, having done quite a bit of research, I opted for a Thorn Sherpa frame with Ryde rims and Deore hubs supplied by SJS. They also fitted the headset for me. I then built the bike using Shimano 105 5703 shifters mated with an XT rear mech and an Ultegra cross bike front mech (FD CX-70), Spa 2XD chainset with 48/36/24 and an 11-34 cassette. The tyres I chose are Schwalbe Marathon 50mm and I topped it off with a Brooks B17T.

I was worried about the brakes as I've tried canti brakes on touring bikes before and been less than impressed on steep, long descents when the rear brake does nothing but make a rubbing noise and the front brake fades as the rims heat up. (I once spent what seemed like an age, but was probably only 5 minutes, convinced that I was going to die when descending the Otira gorge and never want to repeat it.) I have discs on another tourer and found those no better either. I had good results with Tektro mini Vs but the size of tyre meant they were a non-starter. Thorn recommend the Avid Ultimate Shorty brakes and at £65 a pair I thought they must be something special so I took a chance. When I first tried them on the flat, I thought I'd been conned as they really didn't seem anything special. However on a 16% hill near Palmerston I found out why they cost so much. I've never used anything that instilled so much confidence when riding an 85lb bike over a virtual cliff.

Having completed 820 miles in two weeks on South Island, with 150miles on gravel I can honestly say the bike is superb. It's as tough as old boots and really instils confidence in its strength when on rough terrain. It's also very stable when laden and very comfortable indeed. I did a couple of very long, tough days on it and was always ready to climb back on the next morning. Since returning to the UK I've been using the bike for my commute and am equally impressed with its suitability as a commuter. The wide tyres are great on muddy, gravelly roads and the bike is super stable over pot holes and broken tarmac.

In short, I'd ride this bike anywhere. It may not be quick (it isn't) but if I could only have one bike, this would be it.

https://scontent-lhr3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/ ... e=5B00E749

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Tiberius
Posts: 485
Joined: 31 Dec 2014, 8:45am
Location: North East England

Re: Thorn Sherpa

Postby Tiberius » 6 Mar 2018, 1:21pm

A nice purposeful looking bike there....Nice.

I would want mudguards...did you ever miss them ??

Brucey
Posts: 35577
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Thorn Sherpa

Postby Brucey » 6 Mar 2018, 1:34pm

slightly confused because your fist pic shows mini-Vs fitted I think.

Image

With the shortys I presume that you had them set to mid-arm mode (as per the RHS of the photo below)

Image

If so yes, they would (with the right levers and cables) give good power.

Sherpa is a good solid bike. If you are on a budget you can build something that is comparable, starting with the right MTB frameset, but it won't ever be quite the same thing.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

mercalia
Posts: 11328
Joined: 22 Sep 2013, 10:03pm
Location: london South

Re: Thorn Sherpa

Postby mercalia » 6 Mar 2018, 1:43pm

what is Thorns thinking in haveing long steerers/tubes above the top tube? seems to be the norm? or is it just buyers buying a small frame then not able to cut down the steerer? Is there any advantage to a small frame and along steerer? In my case I have to get an extension tube with my Dawes 1-Down as they cut it all short

Littgull
Posts: 98
Joined: 21 Jun 2009, 9:36am

Re: Thorn Sherpa

Postby Littgull » 6 Mar 2018, 1:49pm

Sounds a great bike and stunning tour. I love Thorn bikes. I have two, a Mercury and a second hand Raven Catalyst (both with Rohloff hub gears). They are fantastic to ride.

mullinsm
Posts: 114
Joined: 9 Sep 2011, 2:00pm

Re: Thorn Sherpa

Postby mullinsm » 6 Mar 2018, 2:11pm

Brucey wrote:slightly confused because your fist pic shows mini-Vs fitted I think.

Image

With the shortys I presume that you had them set to mid-arm mode (as per the RHS of the photo below)

Image

If so yes, they would (with the right levers and cables) give good power.

Sherpa is a good solid bike. If you are on a budget you can build something that is comparable, starting with the right MTB frameset, but it won't ever be quite the same thing.

cheers


Good spot! Yes, I did try the mini Vs but the clearance above the tyres was just too tight, so I took the plunge and went for the Avids. I set them for maximum power as the mud clearance issue wasn't an issue for me. They're very, very good indeed.

mullinsm
Posts: 114
Joined: 9 Sep 2011, 2:00pm

Re: Thorn Sherpa

Postby mullinsm » 6 Mar 2018, 2:14pm

Tiberius wrote:A nice purposeful looking bike there....Nice.

I would want mudguards...did you ever miss them ??


I have fitted mudguards for commuting but I removed them for the trip to NZ as they are apt to get damaged on the plane and with a tent on the rack, you don't get any spray from the rear wheel anyway. You do get wet feet, but in NZ that's pretty much guaranteed as when it rains, it really rains!

mullinsm
Posts: 114
Joined: 9 Sep 2011, 2:00pm

Re: Thorn Sherpa

Postby mullinsm » 6 Mar 2018, 2:21pm

mercalia wrote:what is Thorns thinking in haveing long steerers/tubes above the top tube? seems to be the norm? or is it just buyers buying a small frame then not able to cut down the steerer? Is there any advantage to a small frame and along steerer? In my case I have to get an extension tube with my Dawes 1-Down as they cut it all short


The first pic was taken before I'd settled on a bar height I was comfortable with. I eventually settled on 2 10mm spacers and cut some more off the steerer. It may look odd having such a long head tube, but remember the wheels are 26", not 700 and the geometry gives a lower stand over height which is helpful when touring as you have to stop often to navigate (or just breath sometimes!). Despite the appearance though, the geometry really works as the bike is a joy to ride.

I also swapped the stem and the seatpost from the original build and went for a 35 degree Thomson Elite stem and Velo Orange layback seatpost as I didn't trust the carbon one on rough stuff.

reohn2
Posts: 35882
Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: Thorn Sherpa

Postby reohn2 » 6 Mar 2018, 2:49pm

What size is the bike in the photos?
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I cycle therefore I am.

mullinsm
Posts: 114
Joined: 9 Sep 2011, 2:00pm

Re: Thorn Sherpa

Postby mullinsm » 6 Mar 2018, 3:08pm

reohn2 wrote:What size is the bike in the photos?


It's a 565s. I'm 5'11" and it's a perfect fit with a 10cm stem.

reohn2
Posts: 35882
Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: Thorn Sherpa

Postby reohn2 » 6 Mar 2018, 5:58pm

mullinsm wrote:
reohn2 wrote:What size is the bike in the photos?


It's a 565s. I'm 5'11" and it's a perfect fit with a 10cm stem.

Yep thought it was about that,nice bike :D
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I cycle therefore I am.

Thornyone
Posts: 363
Joined: 7 Dec 2017, 11:15am

Re: Thorn Sherpa

Postby Thornyone » 7 Mar 2018, 6:16pm

I bought my Sherpa second hand in 2012 from SJS (looked brand new, only 300 miles on the computer). I’ve done some 34,000 miles on it and still love it. Have replaced drivetrain and wheels but the frame still looks pristine. I am not very tall and the fit is ideal for me, small frame but with room for three bottle cages. I love the feeling of stability even when laden. I sometimes think I'd like a slightly nippier bike, but I think the state of my local roads probably means I’m best sticking with my trusty steed.