Tag Archives: Thunder

Eleven thousand miles and still loving the Rohloff #cycling

I thought I’d update my mileage spreadsheet, it’s been a while.
Since I bought Thunder second hand in August 2010 he has covered 11,450 miles.
Bluebell has only managed 370 thus far, give her time 🙂
The Rohloff had covered around 20,000 miles when I got it, so it is now up to 31,800 miles.

So, after eleven thousand miles, I thought I’d Q&A myself on the Rohloff…

Q: Was it worth the money?
A: Yes

Q: Do I need to replace it?
A: No

Q: Do I want to replace it?
A: No, a new rear wheel build would be nice, but I’m not complaining.

Q: Has it cost a lot to maintain?
A: No, a few cables here and there and a simple oil change every so often.

Q: Has it been easy to maintain?
A: Yes compared with deraileurs, changing the gear ring cable was fiddly, but once you’ve done one it’s not difficult and oil changes are easy. Changing the sprocket is easier than a cassette change.

Q: Would you go back to a deraileur setup for commuting?
A: No. The only time I’d consider it is for a cheap bike to leave at a train station or public place.

Your current bike is your favourite bike, however good or bad it may be, enjoy the ride.

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Delighted with Bluebell #cycling

After riding my Thorn Raven Sport Tour (a.k.a. Bluebell) for a few weeks now, I’m still really happy with my upgrade, delighted in fact.
Yes, I could do with a few new parts here and there and the rear wheel needs some TLC, but it’s flying along and it’s comfortable too.
The performance is noticeably better than Thunder (Thorn Raven Tour) as my average speeds are showing.

Code name: Bluebell – the build #cycling

Here is the final photo of Thunder (Thorn Raven Tour), I didn’t even go to the effort of cleaning it:

The plan:
Move all components over to Bluebell (Thorn Raven Sport Tour)
Use new headset spacers because Thunder doesn’t have enough
Use new crank bolts because I can
Replace non allen bolts with allen bolts (e.g. mudguard bolts)
Clean and grease every bolt thread except crank bolts
Clean and grease v-brakes because they are old and need some TLC
Try and retain as much of the original filth on the other components and wheels as possible

Starting midday I could see the clock was against me, I first disconnected the Rohloff bayonet connectors incase there was trouble there, then I pulled the cables through and lined up Bluebell for a photo:

I really dislike the Rohloff transfer, I think it’s the yellow “look at me” colour, so I taped that up, the blue tape doesn’t match as I’d have liked:

So I was ready to begin, I undid the rear brake cable so all the cables going through the braze-ons were out. I was going to start with the rear brake, but I thought I’d quickly move the seat post first. Eert errr… it was stuck solid. I took the hammer and helped it out:

Nice and rusty!
A quick and gentle rub with some sandpaper sorted that out:

I fitted the seat post and then the rear brake. The rear brake was a bit fiddly to take apart, but once I’d done one side the other was easy. Next I removed the chain and cranks, gave the chain a good clean (nothing worse than a gritty chain) and put them to one side. I then incorrectly fitted the headset and handlebars, more on that later. Then the front brake, what a nightmare, the least said about that the better, needless to say it took a lot of fiddling to get it back together and working properly. Since it is now rearwards facing I had to swap brake blocks left to right. I’d run out of time and needed another day to get it finished, so I stopped before it got too late, I took the following day off work rather than driving in and depriving the wife of the car.

The following day I fitted the front mudguard, some adjustment was needed as it was now sitting a lot closer to the tyre, stuck the front wheel on and here we go:

I then realised where I’d gone wrong with the headset, it did seem odd that I had two thin headset spacers left over, I had bought the right amount hadn’t I? Well, I’d missed the bottom washer (seal, erm, whatever you call it) and I had two in the top. So I redid that and it felt better and all the spacers I thought I needed fitted as planned. It wasn’t that much of a mistake, Thunder actually only had one washer anyway.
Going back to the rear again I removed the wheel and set about trying to remove the mudguard, the bolt was so badly corroded it sheared off, doh!

The mudguard woes didn’t end there, the bolt holes didn’t line up:

I attached with a cable tie then taped the frame thinking that would protect rubbing, then I decided to trim the mudguard too:

I changed my mind about this, decided I needed a new hole, so I drilled one and fitted it:

Great, mudguards fitted, but I still wasn’t happy with the front one, it was very close to the headset, so I filed off a fraction of a millimetre just to set my mind at rest. I fitted the rear wheel and most things were done now, just the cranks, chain and a bit of cabling and tweaking I thought. It turns out the bottom brackets I had didn’t fit with my cranks as they weren’t long enough! Thunder had a Shimano BB-UN53 68 BC 1.37 x 24 MM110, Bluebell had the same sized Shimano BB-UN54:

Both these fitted Thunder:


But when fitted on Bluebell there wasn’t enough room for the LHS crank to turn. Fear not, that wretched Nexus bike was about to be useful again:

Muhahahaaa! I did check my cycle spreadsheet to find out what size I bought for it 3 years ago, so I was 99% confident it would fit. Comparing:

The bottom bracket was thankfully long enough! A Shimano BB-UN54 68 BC 1.37 x 24 XL118.



Next I fitted the chain, but it was two links two long, Bluebell having the bigger frame too!

Just goes to show the Thorn Raven Sport Tour has a tighter rear.
The final touch before tweaking and a test ride was the speedo (another thing taken off the Nexus), oh, aero spokes, doh! Fortunately the magnet fits really close to the hub:

I’ve no idea what the settings should be, but I know how far my commute is, so I can tweak those over the coming week or so.
Final (pre tweaks) pictures:


Some tweaks and then a fast 2 mile spring around the local estates to test Bluebell out, tomorrow she’s got to earn her money 🙂

See also Code name: Bluebell – The first ride

New Tim record #cycling

Monday is the day for an attempt on the commute to work speed record, but I generally take it easy so I can last out the week.
This morning I didn’t even try to break any record, it just happened, I averaged 16.96MPH on my commute into work. I arrived at work feeling a bit hot and bothered, glanced down at my cycle computer and realised I must have been hammering it the last 5 miles 🙂
This is the quickest I’ve managed it since I de-electrified my bike, 17MPH is the barrier I’m trying to break as that was a normal fast commute when I used the Heinzmann kit.

I hope to break this on the first ride on codename: bluebell, but it’ll be a while before she’s ready to be abused.

Cycle safely and have fun!

Trying hard not to lose it but at the same time losing some #cycling

I love my bike, yes, it’s not worth a great deal now, but it would cost a bomb (~£2000) to replace with a new one and they aren’t easy to get hold of second hand.
So for the past 12 months I’ve been carrying a Kryptonite New York STD lock on the back of my rack as well as my older Abus lock so I could lock safely both at home and at work (see my other post). I cringe when I think I used to only use the Abus lock, I was lucky it wasn’t stolen. Anyway, these locks aren’t light, so I decided to splash out on a new couple of locks to leave at work so that I won’t need to carry locks back and forth.

The Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini lock (£57.64 from fatbirds.co.uk):

It is mini, not much room to fit it, the post I’m locking too isn’t very big and this is a tight fit as it is. But it is a beast of a (mini) lock.

And the Kryptonite New York STD lock (£48.58 from fatbirds.co.uk – way cheaper than the first one I bought 12 months ago, that cost £75 from Wiggle!)

A total overkill for the front wheel, I kind of regret buying it as the front wheel only cost a fraction more than the lock, but it’ll deter a thief even further I guess.

I also found a good site about bicycle security called lockyourbike.org.

Lock it, keep it, ride it.

Better late than never; summer tyres fitted

Schwalbe Marathon GreenGuard fitted (26″ x 1.5″):

They are considerably lighter than the Marathon Plus tyres and cheaper too.
My bike feels lighter, more responsive and I’ll let you know if I get a huge increase in punctures now I’m not running Marathon Pluses.

Light snow, to ride or not? #cycling #snow #winter

This morning I looked out onto the back garden and couldn’t even see the mess that I call my lawn, or the path to my “bike” shed

So I went out with a view of assessing whether it was suitable for commuting to work, it didn’t look good to start with

A closer look it wasn’t that deep

The garden dwellers weren’t happy either

Anyway, I decided I’d go for it and I wasn’t on my own either

My road was pretty virgin snow as nobody uses it, I failed to take a photo, I was having too much fun.

Busier side roads were more passable

The main roads were clear more or less and I arrived safely and happy I’d braved it and not resorted to using the car

(shame about that one, the lens must have misted up on my phone)

I’m looking forward to the Friday night ride home now, ride safe, have fun.