Thorn Club Tour or Galaxy Ultra?

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by Achilles, 18 Jan 2008.

  1. Achilles

    Achilles New Member

    Very new to this game I have narrowed it down to these 2 for my first touring bike as an upgrade from my Marin Larkspur to use for camping touring (about 15kg carried) and, hopefully some 100km/ 100 mile charity events. I am going round in circles making my mind up! I have also considered the Hewitt but it is a long way!

    I can get both for give or take the same price – about £900. I have considered the Super thus saving £150 but it is Brown, nothing wrong with it but not for me! and I want SPD pedals ( standard on the Ultra), I think it is worth it for the XT upgrades and fancy trying a Brooks saddle

    Issues now are:

    The frame – 853 Or 725. Will I realistically notice any difference? Which is ‘better’
    - Thorn have more sizes available and at 5’ 10” I seem to fall between 2 galaxy sizes?

    Chainset – Sugino 48/38/28 v Shimano 48/36/26 ( 23.6” v 21.9” – I am not fit!)

    Crank Length - I can choose 170 or 175 on the Thorn

    Handlebar Width – choice of 3 on the Club tour

    Wheels –XT hubs v Handbuilt on Deore Hubs

    XT – the Galaxy has more Shimano XT stuff on it

    Thorn do not have bikes for a test ride – they tell me they no not allow this on their derailleur bikes - but do have a 14 day money back guarantee – it’s a 2:30 hour round trip and it means taking 2 days off work – I want to talk face to face to specify and then have a setting up session. Any future adjustment is by post!

    My LBS can get me the Galaxy but I cannot return it (well I can but it will cost a 10% re-stock from Dawes – he will order it in specially.) I have ridden one v briefly and was impressed – but everything seems great when its new for the first 5 mins. He will change stem & seatpost as part of the deal if required. Has the attraction that any problems he is 5 mins from where I work and he provides an excellent service.

    Any thoughts on this, yet another, ‘what bike’ thread’?
  2. I'm a very satisfied ultragalaxy owner but I've never tried a thorn. Done several tours on mine and it's been superb. But I DID change the gearing. I'm now running a 105 road block and mech (12/27 ish) with an mtb chainset (22/32/44). It works really well and I can get up every hill easily. I travel very light but then I've only got little legs! I would definitely chose another 853 frame as it really is superbly comfortable.

    Having said that if there is one thing that should influence your final decision it's fit, not build components. If you don't quite fit the galaxy then it's the thorn. You're on your bike for hours touring, and when you're hauling luggage a bad fit will take its toll on your knees, neck, shoulders and back in no time!
  3. Stick on a Giant

    Stick on a Giant New Member

    Achilles, have you thought about the Specialized Tricross triple - £700 although you'd need to spend about £50 on a rack and 'guards, and also get pedals. If you could get one of those, and let me know what you think...:ohmy: Probably available locally as well.
  4. User482

    User482 Guest

    I have a Thorn Audax and I am delighted with it - light, and comfortable over long distances. I believe that Thorn will do a full custom build for a little extra cost, which is where I think they score over Dawes.
  5. simoncc

    simoncc New Member

    I am very satified with my Ultra Galaxy, but I too changed the gearing. The 105 road chainset is too high for a tourer in my opinion.
  6. jay clock

    jay clock Massive member

    Hampshire UK
    Simon, I have just changed from my Saracen Skyline 531 bike (much the same as a Galaxy) which has tons of upgrades inc XT hubs and rock solid wheels. It also has lowered gearing. I have bought a koga Miyata World Traveller as it is more suited for gravel etc ( I am off to NZ). The Saracen is just over 3 yrs old and in excellent nick. See here for some not very good pics

    The Saracen will be for sale when I get round to it and should save you a few hundred pounds. Plus you can come and try it out at length.

    You may well want a new bike, but email me if you are in anyway interested. I am in Winchester
  7. vernon

    vernon Harder than Ronnie Pickering

    Meanwood, Leeds
    Bike fit and ride quality are very subjective and when asking for a recommendation between various models you need to be mindful that you'll not have that many respondents who:
    • Have ridden/owned both of the models in the list
    • Use this forum
    • Able to second guess what best suits you
    • Experienced both crank lengths
    Having said that I can give some general advice. I am very porky and use an 18" bottom gear. No hill has defeated me in the past couple of years. I have done LEJOG, JOGLE and Channel to the Med on a standard 531 Galaxy plus around forty 100km and 200km Audaxes over the past three years and have had a very comfortable time.

    I have Brooks saddles fitted to four of my bikes and find them very comfortable.

    I have come across several accounts of cyclists having inadvertantly fitting a 170mm crank on one side and a 175mm crank on the other and not noticing the imbalance. Some folk claim there's a noticable difference. I haven't notice any difference between my 170mm cranked bike and my 175mm cranked bikes but there again, they do have different gear ratios making a direct comparison difficult.

    I have never altered handle bar widths - I might have been lucky with every bike that I've purchased and bought ones with suitably wide bars.

    There might not be such a wide variety of frames sizes at Thorn as you might think. Do ascertain whether fit is achieved through a wide variety of spacer hieghts and limited frame sizes or vice versa.

    My unsupported (by direct experience of both models) opinion is that either of the bikes will do the job and it comes down to personal choice when selection one of them.
  8. Cathryn

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    I have a Thorn (xtc) and as regular posters will know, am totally in love with it. I would opt for Thorn over Dawes due to the way they can tailor bikes to fit you, and I personally believe they build better bikes...but Vernon's advice is spot on. Trust him...I'm just a novice with a broken leg ;)
  9. rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

    Like most of us we've only tried one of them or neither but that doesn't stop us having an opinion!

    I've got an Ultra Galaxy and I love it. My only slight regret is that I didn't find the bloke who's built my wife's custom tourer for just a few pounds more as I would have gone down that road. Hers is a beauty and personal.
  10. OP

    Achilles New Member

    Thanks for the advice so far! I think I was expecting a service approaching what I assume Hewitt's to be from Thorn. The fact I could not try a bike first, and they seemed happy to supply over the 'phone suprised me. If you only have a hybrid, as I do to compare it to , it is very difficult to send current settings to them.

    Opening on a Saturday would be a distinct advantage! ( but I get the impression whilst not actively discouraging visitors, they do little to encourage them - perhaps its just me!)

    I suspect I would be happy with either. Anyone got a decent picture of an Ultra? I have not seen one to see what the colour is like and the Dawes pictures dont help much.
  11. rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

  12. OP

    Achilles New Member

    Thanks Rich - like it - is that the current colour?
  13. rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

    I got it about a year ago but I don't think they changed it. You could probably find last years model anyway. I liked the metallic grey which is why I decided against the super galaxy which was a brownish colour. A bit sad but call me a tart!
  14. vernon

    vernon Harder than Ronnie Pickering

    Meanwood, Leeds
    Closing on a Saturday is a recent 'innovation' by SJS cycles. Your perceptions about visitors are not unique to you if seen more than a few comments of that nature.

    I suspect that most of their sales are generated by their adverts in most of the cycling comics and from their online e-commerce site. I know a few very happy Thorn customers but they all have Rohloff hubbed bikes. One of them had a fitting at Bridgewater but he had the luxury of being retired and having plenty of time on his hands.

    You might consider buying your bike from Spacycles at Give them a ring and have a chat with them. They are highly rated amongst the cycle touring community.
  15. gwhite

    gwhite Über Member

    Auchtermuchty Fife
    The advantage of going with Thorn is that for each size of frame they provide three lengths of top tube. This is great for those of us who don't have normal proportions. Custom fit would be worthwhile in my opinion and worth the effort. Good quality too.
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