Having done 1000km+ on the Thorn it seems an appropriate time as any for a longer-term review of the Thorn Audax 3 frame I bought earlier this year. On the whole I'm very impressed, although of course there's a few minor niggles that hold it just short of perfection. (Mind you I should be pretty happy since I built it up myself!) One of my biggest complaints is that I haven't had enough time to do as many miles as I'd like. It hasn't been my best year on the bike, I'll hold back on the excuses.
Positives first. The Thorn rides well, the steering is responsive but not overly so and it isn't greatly affected by the weight of a handlebar bag. I haven't noticed any toeclip overlap. The relatively tight rear triangle means the Thorn accelerates well enough to feel sporty and makes light work of a quick stab up short rollers, but at the same time it's comfortable for long distances and rides fine no-hands. The ample braze-ons on the Thorn meant that fitting racks and mudguards was a breeze. I'm deliriously happy with the Gilles Berthoud front rack with its intergral light mount and matching decaleur to hold my handlebar bag snugly in place and of course my Son hub and matching Edelux are a match made in heaven too. The Tubus Fly rear rack is light and handy for strapping a raincoat to or mounting a couple of light panniers for a longer jaunt.
Minor niggles then: I'd like to be able to fit wider tyres. This is one of those compromises that comes up with touring-style frames. If you want cailper brakes then there's a practical limit to how wide a tyre you can fit. On the Thorn, with mudguards, that limit is about 28mm, although it's happier with 23mm tyres so I'll stick to those for the time being despite preferring wider rubber. The integral pump peg, while handy, is designed for a pump which appears to be no longer made, the magnificent Zefal HPX. I'm still sorting out some minor wheel and tyre issues, but once those are done I reckon we'll be as close to perfection as you can get!
3,952km so far this year.