Here’s the placeholder to describe what’s between the cyclist and land (no, we’re not flying yet).

The thing itself is Specialized Sequoia 2017 model. It was not too hard choice between equals as I had some thought in my head what the bike should be fit for:

  • urban areas mainly covered in tarmac
  • gravel roads
  • quiet lanes with mixed features – low speeds, large potholes, (mostly) slow moving traffic
  • touring

So instead of buying two bikes – one for the road and another one for off-road (stump-jumper is too much for me) – I decided to go for what Erik Nohlin describes as go-anywhere, do-anything bike. His choice was Sequoia Expert. But then he was the one behind it.

So far the bike has seen very little gravel/off-road and has been mainly used on the road. A bit heavy at 12kg, and I might re-evaluate my options to sell it and swap for something more suitable for fast climbing and road use. Or have two…

The machine

I contemplated Expert for a very brief moment and then decided that extra £1000 could be spent much better elsewhere. Like getting bikes for my wife and son. So my choice is Sequoia Elite. I also thought of SRAM 42 tooth chainring as not having enough for me flying down the hill. I may have missed the simplicity element there… or maybe not. I’m not out of my gears yet on 48/32. Climbing up 28% gradient on 32/36 is an interesting experience though.

Much of the two bikes are same and come in Cro-Mo frame and carbon fork.

The rubber

The 42mm Sawtooth tyres have excellent grip on road and didn’t initially seem to slow down the speed where it was expected. After two club rides, however it became clear that for best results (read: to keep up with others) I should get skinnier tyres. The current choice is Gatorskin 32mm that seem much more agreeable on tarmac.

The cockpit 

Hover bars have been sneered in recent past though I seem to quite like them. some complain there’s not enough space for the stuff. Well, stuff that – get an extension to hang your lights, horn, etc. from. Ebay is your friend. The height is right and they seem comfortable enough for short rides. We’ll have to see what the future holds.

The pedals and shoes

I decided to add touring pedals and chose Shimano T-780 that Evans was selling at £50 (OEM model, better value). This was an excellent choice as I don’t have my SPD shoes yet! RT82 from Shimano are most probably choice, tried also RT4/5 and may still change my mind. The thing is, these shoes are extremely uncomfortable when off the bike.

Update on sheoes – I did choose RT82’s and they are fine for riding and walking. However they are heavy. Next up are RC7 again from Shimano that have these improvements over RT82:

  • lightweight shes with very stiff carbon soles
  • better ventilation
  • BOA closure system
  • seemingly wider toe box

Now I’ll be wading like a duck when off the bike. Quack!

And now a word about the new pedals (18/06/17). I’ve been using 105 SPD SL’s for a month and wouldn’t go back to SPD. Or at least for road riding. CX and off-road are different. 105 pedals have much better grip on the shoe, and many suggest that the truly noticeable difference with Ultegra is minus 10 grams. That isn’t going to save me.

Let there be light!

Lights are from Knog. The front light may need replacing as it currently hangs on wires rather than handlebars. Rear light is good as gold and lasts well over six hours of ride. And then there’s backup torch Nitecore MH20 which at 1000 lumens is good for many uses including riding in the dark. Just to note that the handlebar mount is rubbish.


Helmet is Razor Nirvana. CRC had some old stock they marked down and I grabbed one. So far it’d been very good providing excellent ventilation.

Protection for my eyes… I have worn Oakley shades for almost a decade now and can’t approve them enough. Cycling shields at £160 though seem excessive. Especially as they are $160 in the US! To provide good protection in different conditions I decided to buy British army stock Revision Sawfly. These are selling on eBay as new for around £30. Out this morning in rain and without mudguards the clear lens were excellent.

Update on shades (18/06/17)

The Revision shades are still going strong but they do have one flaw – the won’t stick to your face without the strap going round your head. The FOV is good though and protection next to none – when flying down Saleve I had a few bugs bumping off them, and my face, with no unwanted effects to eyesight.


BIB’s are from British brand dhb and shorts from Endura. Jerseys are from Altura and have served me extremely well. Gloves for cooler weather are from Assos (can’t preach enough how good they are!) and warmer weather ones are Halfords standard. HOY Vulpine series arm and leg warmers were picked up from eBay and these haven’t disappointed me yest – they are warm and somewhat rain repellent. Gilet and colder weather rain/wind jacket are Santini stock from Westerham Cyclery. I haven’t found good (deal on) socks, so sticking to my toe socks from Injini running range. And I’m not complaining – they work as expected and keep toes apart during long rides.