Thorn Audax Mk3 – update

Regular readers will know how I have been impressed from the outset with this new bike.  Happily it continues to delight me, so now a few hundred miles later, here’s an update.

The main thing is, of course, the frame.  As the wheelbase is about 2 inches shorter than my old Dawes Galaxy, the handling is a bit more sprightly and although I am very used to it now, it continues to please.  The frame has a nice mixture of being nice and stiff when I’m pedalling hard (pulling up a hill when I ought to be in a lower gear) and yet beautifully comfortable.  When I look straight down the forks, I can see them fluttering slightly in going over a rough road surface, just like the Dawes.  It’s nice having handlebars a little wider than what I’m used to – they’re just right and fairly comfy with some cork type handlebar tape with a strip of gel backing.  The bog standard Shimano brake levers are just right, as are the gear levers, now I’m used to their position at the end of the handlebars.  The brakes are, well made, stylish, smooth, perfetly balanced and more than adequate but not outstanding in their stopping power.

The Brooks B17 saddle is a real delight and seems to have broken in a lot faster than my other did 27 years ago.  I’ve played around with the position a couple of times, fine-tuning the ergonomics is crucial.  I’ve given it a few doses of Proofhide and have needed to tension the leather using the complimentary spanner.

I need to perfect the bike though.  There’s an irritating rattle, which I thought was the front mudguard and brake rubbing against each other.  ON close examination, it’s actually the mudguard rubbing against the fork.  This is a potential rust problem, so I need to get that sorted this coming week.  The mudguard is, I believe, just a little too wide.  I should say, in defence of Thorn Cycles, this bike was built up in my local bike shop and some details like the exact mudguards were, shall we say, a little more flexible.

The smoothness of shift of shifting gears is fantastic.  The rear cluster is fairly close ratio but even so, it is very quiet and quick with each of the components working well with each other.  What does sunrise me is the ability to get these slick gear changes even when under pedal pressure.  Having a Sram 9 speed cluster seemed a luxury but it all works well with the Shimano Deore mechs and Shimano bar end shifters.  The ratios are good and useful.

Overall this is a well sorted bike.  It fits the purpose of being a fast, practical bike that is versatile enough for commuting, light touring, day rides etc.  I am looking forward to enjoying some longer day rides to really put it (and me!) through its paces.

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