Mystery 'Thorn' Mobile

Posted on
  • Greetings fellow travellers,

    I've recently acquired the beginnings of another interesting steed and wish to share and document this journey also. The big question being, what do I do with it - what direction should I take this build?!

    In the stable so far is the Trek (off-road), Schwinn (functionale/comfort), a newish All City Big Block build (street/commute), and the GF's steel all-road - so what is it that I really need?

    The obvious thing missing is a dedicated road bike (with gears), but I'm not hugely interested in being the fastest or the lightest. So to me it makes sense to turn this into more of a stripped back tourer with a twist?

    I'm thinking drop bars, 1x with a wide 10spd cassette, either with retro dura ace bar end shifter or a r/h sram road shifter and a jtek converter (+ matchy sram l/h ss lever). Some modern, narrow wide chainring with some sexy cranks (middleburn if I can afford) and some 32-38mm slickish tyres, probably with some hammered fenders...

    Cool thing about this frameset is that it's littered with braze-ons, even has 3 bottle cage mounts - which to me suggests it probably is a Thorn, albeit one that was restored and rebadged by Argos at some point. Anyone got any ideas about how I can find out a bit more about it, would be cool to know the age and tubing materials?

    Thanks y'all!

    4 Attachments

    • thorn1.jpg
    • thorn2.jpg
    • thorn3.jpg
    • thorn4.jpg
  • Good looking frameset!

    Based on your other builds, I'm looking forward to seeing how this develops.

  • Update from the lovely Andy B at SJS:

    It’s always nice to hear that we have fans out there but I’m sorry to
    have to tell you that I’m unable to confirm or deny that it’s a Thorn.

    Back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, we worked closely with
    Argos, getting individual frames made for our growing number of
    customers. This looks like it could have been one of those frames.
    Back then such a frame would have been made from a mix of various
    Reynolds 531 tubes – different gauge tubes would have been chosen for
    each customer. Later we had Argos oversee a batch of Italian made 531
    light touring frames – it may have been one of these – or there again
    it could be a later copy by someone else.

    I don’t recognise the format of the serial numbers but we never kept a
    record in any case. Our opinion at the time was that, if the bike was
    insured and the owner took sensible precautions against it being
    stolen, then if it was stolen we never wanted it to be returned to the
    owner, as who knows what may have happened to it during the time it
    was missing?

    Aside from the hilarious anecdote about serial numbers, my takeaway from this is that it's 100% definitely one of Thorn's Italian built, 531 tubed, lightweight touring frames. Or at least that's what I'll tell myself :)

  • Post a reply
    • Bold
    • Italics
    • Link
    • Image
    • List
    • Quote
    • code
    • Preview

Mystery 'Thorn' Mobile

Posted by Avatar for cryptthing @cryptthing