It’s been about 3 months of waiting. That’s 3 months of second guessing, review hunting and component checking. Not that I had any hesitation about the Smuggler, but there are still decisions to be made about bars, stems, drivechain, brakes, rims, tyres and so on. And 3 moths to review every aspect of anything to do with a new steed, sometimes even delving into page 2 of google searches.

As a riding group, we have all reached certain collective conclusions about our bikes. We all adopt certain standards as they become available and accepted. Examples include wider bars, bigger wheels, 1×10 drivechains, dropper seatposts, and tubeless tires to name a few. So if you can tick at least some of those boxes, given a certain price point, and a fairly recent manufacturing date, its unlikely you will end up with -dare I say it – a lemon.

Pleased to report that the Smuggler is certainly no lemon, and the Plastow ride, while not offering any thrills (beyond the outstanding food – thanks again for arranging Mark) that the bike feels completely neutral and comfortable. When I did cash in a pink ticket for a brief blast down Yogurt Pots, it really did feel very good indeed. I won’t try and define in words why, short to say I felt a bit like a passenger on a wild train ride. I got spat out at the bottom of ‘pots, and had to go and have a sit down under the trees to compose myself. It was a solid strava pr, and while I could not match the feat on Barry’s, this was more down to me getting tired (South Africa’s cheap beer and beef took its toll). I was left wanting more, and that, at the end of the day, must be the best litmus test of any bike.

IMG_3888

The smuggler’s new inside shrine home. The only two areas of consideration, those pedals are bottom of the Shimano range, so hope they hold up (not the one’s I asked Tom to get, but he forgot). I am also still thinking about the lack of an extender cog, not sure if I am doing myself any favours on the steep stuff.

*With some exceptions – I’ll not name names.

Advertisements