My first review still stands; this is an exceptional touring bike and after all this time I can only find one minor annoyance which is not specific to this model – I’d probably have the same problem with any bike. It is when you are stood over the bike and it is loaded with panniers, you have to keep one hand on the handlebars, else they will swing towards the top tube. This usually results in the bike falling over, as it unbalances the weight of the panniers. I’m not sure what the answer is, except maybe a metal stop either side to prevent the handlebars completely swinging round. I’m pretty sure this could be done without affecting the handling.
It took me the first day when fully loaded to grapple with the balance of it, hardly surprising when carrying 70kg of baggage! However once I got to grips, I loved the handling. It is so stable on ultra slow uphills (where I’ve got it in it’s lowest gear) and I find I can cycle in a straight line uphill without the usual wobbling all over the road at slow speeds. The gearing is perfect and I doubt there will be ANY hill I cannot climb on this bike.
But where it really excels is going downhill. On a lightweight road bike I start to get a bit twitchy and nervous when I’m going well in excess 0f 50 mph, but I’ve topped 60 mph already and it’s like riding on rails, totally inspiring and feels very safe and I suspect this is because of the long wheel base. Of course when traveling with weight at those speeds, you have to be able to slow down quick and even stop and this is where this bike comes into it’s own – the disc brakes are AWESOME, with plenty of ‘feel’ when feathering the brakes and more than enough power to stop you. Of course you have to allow for the weight and so your stopping distances need to be worked out safely.
So my first impressions are that this is an outstanding bike, perfectly fitted to world touring. We’ll see how it fares…