The gear, the goods and the bulky: review of gear for Sagada Loop 45

I this entry, I describe in detail the gear used for my recent trip to Sagada.

The bike: Grimace the troll


Frame/Fork: Surly Troll

Groupset/Brakes: Shimano SLX 3×10, 11-36t cogs

Wheelset: Velocity Aeroheat, Hope Pro 2 Evo Hubs, Pillar Spokes

Tires: Schwalbe Big Apples 26×2.0 with Panaracer Flataways

Cockpit: Dajia Trekking bars, Ergon GP1 grips, Easton EA 50 85mm 6 degree stem

Saddle: Brooks Cambium C17

Racks: Ibera pakrak (rear), Sunlite front rack, Salsa Down Under Low riders (front)

Others: Giant Fenders

Dubbed as an apocalypse bike which is part of Surly’s touring line, the Surly troll boasts of a 4130 chromoly steel frame and fork making it a beefy, heavy steed. Though speed may not be its best features, it shines in terms of cargo hauling and comfort as the geometry prompts the rider to take an upright position while riding. Given its 26er geometry, the Troll performs well in climbs and descents as it is stable and handles with a relaxed feel (no constant twitching of the handlebar as you make steep climbs sapping your energy in maintaining balance while climbing). The beefy body of the frame helps dampen the harsh vibrations which may be annoying for riders especially with off road or unfine countours of pavement or occasional potholes.  Since I packed heavily for the extended tour (as I always do), the Troll manages to carry my cargo without problems. While the frame provides the backbone of my bike, the SLX groupset provides a stable, maintenance free ride…considering that exposure to harsh elements, I didn’t experience problems in shifting or braking or breakdown with the small parts.

the tunnel marking the end of Dalton pass

As regards the wheelset, the Velocity Aeroheats are able to take a beating from the loads of the bike and the rider as well as the moderate, near harsh roads taken during the trip. No cracks were developed. Much like the previous long distance trips, the Hope Hubs worked satisfactorily-very minimal drag and is responsive to the ever changing pedaling effort done during the trip. The saddle has assured me of a comfortable ride throughout the tour and the cockpit gave me more comfort as the grips and butterfly trekking bar afforded me several hand positions minimizing the numbing of my hands or arms.

the stream along Carangglan, Nueva Ecija

Since the trip was harsh on tires due to broken glass, staple wires and other pieces of trash in the way, the Big Apples had excellent flat protection and the panaracer flataways held well . Upon inspection after the trip, several pieces of broken glass were found but did not penetrate the thick wall of rubber. The big apples were also helpful in cushioning the ride to add extra comfort in tackling the roads. As for performance the tires held well in different types of terrain-grip, responsiveness to steering and traction were satisfactory.


Since I usually carry my loads more in front, the Ortlieb city roller front panniers were helpful in storing my clothes and in keeping with their promise, despite moderate-heavy rain throughout the trip, my clothes remained dry. Condensation was not felt in the interior of the bag

In hauling my sleeping bag and other items for lodging, I used the terrapin drybag by Relevant Designs  ( and it too made my stuff wet free. The valve also assured that my stuff was airtight and free from moisture.

The Lone Peak micro rack top bag  ( kept my tools and other small items intact-not waterproof though.

The PacGear ( half frame bag served me well in the journey…Though it wasn’t 100% waterproof as condensation occurred in the interior of the bag after several days of rain, putting stuff in zip lock bags prevented my gadgets and other items from getting wet. The zipper and stitching held through despite the load. No leg rub was experienced throughout the trip as well.

The Conquer Scout feedbag ( was used for my waterbottle and throughout the trip, it held well…other small items were stored and the straps didnt deteriorate throughout the trip.


Other items:

During the trip I also used the mount anywhere cage mounts ( Attaching them to my rack, my bottles didn’t fall off during the trip and were very much secure despite bumpy sections of the road.

Since I have been doing multi day rides, I have avoided using jerseys as aside from being uncomfortable, they are difficult to dry out when washing. I have recently used the Lagalag trekking long sleeved shirts ( and the slits on the shirt have helped in the ventilation and are easy to dry out when washed.

For protection from the cold, the Uniqlo heattech undershirts when sleeping or in cold weather at Mt. Polis. A much cheaper alternative and decent clothing to stay warm.

Overall, I felt that the gear used in the trip was adequate for the extended tour.


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