Friday, September 23, 2011

Surely the Surly?

Come Monday I will be riding northwards into Malaysia. Our destination is the Unesco Heritage City of Malacca, some 230km away. I've been there many times and in 2002, I rode back from Malacca to Singapore. This will be my first time riding up and I look forward to doing this with my trusty buddy CW and a new friend, KC.

Like many of you with too many bicycles, choosing which one to ride can be a real headache. I was initially thinking of using my brand new Bike Friday Pocket Sport as its a really fast bike with drop bars. Or for supreme comfort, the Expedition with its multi-position touring handlebar cannot be beaten. Then, there is my much neglected Surly Long Haul Trucker, arguably the best bang for your buck touring bicycle on this planet. My Surly is kitted with the commuter style, laid back, hang loose, M-swept riser Mary On One bar.

I took the Surly out of the box after a 3 year hiatus and was surprised at how well it kept. It was so easy to assemble it together - fixing on handlebar, seat post, pedals and front wheel. A bit of cleaning up and some air in the tires, it was good to go.

Being on a long wheel base touring bike is a different experience altogether from my usual foldies. Its a bit porky off the line but once at cruising speed, it seems to have a momentum on its own. Managed a very respectable 44km/h as well with a bit of a downslope.

The ride is also very plush and the LHT can be ridden for hours on end. It also tracks very steadily which is important on long fast declines. Here is how it performed in Sumatra a few years back. Yes, I was young and maybe a bit foolish then... and still am!

With XT/LX components, the gear system is butter smooth and a joy to use. I met up with CW for lunch and proceeded for ice cream and coffee. When it was cooler, I went for a nice long ride, and ended with a refreshing swim at the club.

I'm still undecided on which bike to use, but I'm leaning towards the LHT. I just hope that the coach we are taking back to Singapore will be able to fit 3 full size bikes in its belly. Surely the Surly cannot be wrong?

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