Niether bike is cheap and I want to be sure, if that's possible. I was completely sold on Paul Hewitt's Cheviot SE based on the rave reviews in the cyling press about his bikes and the service and character of the man himself, his personal touch and attention to detail. He has been very helpful so far with my enquiries. I'm also truth be told a bit conseravtive when it comes to bikes, just over 40 I think of Tourers in the traditional way, with drop handlebars. They're the bikes I've had since being a boy, in the 70's, when I was the proud owner of a Raleigh racer and jealous of my neighbour friend who had a Falcon. ( He also wore cool shoes while I had Clarks). Anyway, my sure decision to start the ball rolling on a Cheviot SE build was knocked off track yesterday by reading some reviews of the Thorn Raven Tour and its Rohloff hub and straight bars. It does look and sound like a lovely machine. I recentlt came back from some touring in the Alps and found myself a few times off the beaten track a bit. I'm wondering how the two bikes would compare in these situations, and is the Cheviot SE REALLY a bike for smooth European roads while the Thorn Raven might be a more reliable workhorse for out of the way places where the terrain might not be pristinely tarmacked or even surfaced at all? I like the idea of being sure of my bike in ANY situation, not just ideal ones, which hardly ever exist when touring anyway. I appreciate any comments from owners and people who know more than I do, to help me make this decision. I usually load up quite heavy, for me that means up to 20 KG distributed on rear and front wheels. My recent Alp venture was on a rented KTM Fun bike (Pedal Power, Vienna), hardly top of the range but I got quite used to riding with straight bars in the end. I'm not a "racing tourer" - I HATE to rush and can't stick to planned miles and routes. I'm a star gazer, always hopping off to take photos and explore what's around. I can make a 3 day trip last a week. etc etc. Cheers, Joe.