As part of my recent EPIC trip to Thailand with Attaquer and Union 71, thanks to Jordan and Curve Cycling, I was able to take our very special custom painted G!RO Curve Belgie Disc to give it a proper road test. To coincide with my first trip to Asia, I was to be logging my heavy mileage week on a titanium bike for the first time. A week of pretty exciting firsts lie ahead and I was keen to find out more about the fabled material that is titanium.
It was the eve of my flight, the usual last minute bike bag packing was underway. It had just gone 11pm on Friday 23rd November and as usual I hadn’t packed a thing; my flight was at 8am the next morning, my alarm was set for 5am. Cue mad panic to get everything prepared and as much sleep as possible before said alarm…
Bike bag packing is a meticulous and loving craft, and even then you’re sending your beloved bike into the arms of a stranger who may or may not understand the care your steed requires. In this situation titanium gives you peace of mind, not as prone to fragility and becoming a victim to the baggage handling hulk that may be encountered on the magical mystery tour of the airport baggage network. So, despite leaving it late to pack, once it was done, I slept like a baby relaxed that my bike was safe and only excitement for the trip ahead. Two smooth flights and a brief layover later, I’d arrived. The bike was waiting for me at the otherside ready to jump out the bag and rag it around Thailand.
Somewhere in the flight I’d lost around 10 hours and with it, any logical sense of what day it was and how long I’d been awake. It was 7am in Thailand so with a whole day ahead of us the rational decision was to go for a ride. Bikes were swiftly built in the hotel lobby with minimal difficulty and we kitted up. By the time we rolled out the Attaquer crew we were meeting had rolled out; me and Tristan set off in pursuit with very little knowledge, apart from some arrows on a screen, where we were headed. First impressions of Chiang Mai, Thailand were shock and surprise; the roads were perfect, the drivers relaxed and 30 mins from the city were beautiful rural roads and a stunning mountain range. This place would form the perfect combination of great roads and challenging terrain, with a perfect dry season climate to immerse yourself in some serious winter training.
Barely an hour out the bike bag and the Belgie was riding like a dream, the feel of titanium as a bike frame material is something that must be ridden to truly appreciate. The beautiful paint job was glistening in the Thai sun and we were climbing up through the jungle on one of Chiang Mai’s many beautiful ascents into the mountains. Often people cite the weight penalty of titanium as an unnecessary sacrifice to make for ride quality, I myself, having been immersed in the industry for a little while had been brainwashed to believe similar, previously owning some super light carbon race bikes. An hour in, I was already moving away from this mindset, especially riding alongside Tristan who is a metal bike convert himself. Discussion soon turned to all the positives of metal bikes.
The loop we had joined turned out to be a hellish 3 hours in the mid-morning heat with plenty of elevation gain. The one positive of lots of climbing was plenty of descending. It soon became apparent and a theme of the whole trip that this bike can rip descents, the smooth ride inspires confidence through corners and that ‘weight penalty’ really comes into its own with gravity on your side. Reluctantly, over the course of this trip predominantly because of some crazy fast and technical descents, I’ve also become a disc brake convert. Previously, I have been pro-tradition backing the rim brake and definitely could be quoted on group rides saying things like “I will never ride disc brakes” and “how much better can they be?!”, and in this case I am now publicly eating humble pie. I was wrong. The assurance it gives you having that extra control and power braking means you can really let loose and that was just in the beautiful conditions we had in Chiang Mai. In the wet, gridlocked streets of our beloved south east UK these benefits are magnified tenfold.
Chiang Mai as a cycling destination is beautiful, the perfect almost European buttery tarmac and mountain passes play an important role in this. However, cycling is evolving, adventure riding is taking a new prominent role, something championed by our friends at Curve. Yet Chiang Mai also offers an impressive network of gravel roads, farm tracks and remote trails all key ingredients to some awesome adventure riding. Throughout the trip, going against the advice of some, we found ourselves exploring this network of smaller tracks making for some truly memorable riding. We got to see views very few get to experience and meet locals from the smaller remote villagers who were all fascinated by our massive lycra clad rabble, confused and intrigued. The versatility of the Belgie disc and its adventure heritage really shone through, it tackled some challenging trails with no compromise in ride quality, smoothing out the rough terrain as if floating on a magic carpet. It hit gravel bergs hard and fast and the power transfer on these slightly unusual surfaces was unmatchable. In true Belgie fashion, the trails were railed and I took great pleasure in creating a dusty cloud of RAD every time we took to the road less travelled.
Throughout the week the bike continued to run like a dream, the smoothness of the ride coupled with some tasty ceramic finishing kit meant it had this hypnotic serenity at any speed. The ooey custom paint job continued to dazzle in the tropical sun and gives this bike its own personality, a devilishly handsome gentleman that garners all the attention he receives. The minimalism and classic lines of the Curve Belgie are simplicity at its finest; this combination crafted out of the finest titanium create a truly amazing machine that was a complete pleasure to ride for the duration of the trip. One week of awesome riding later, it was safe to say I had given this bike a thorough shakedown. I’d challenged it to some savage gradients (I wrote about this here), some tricky terrains and some good old fashioned town sign smashfests. It took everything I could throw at it completely in its stride. Titanium bikes are no different to any of my other bikes, this was fast, agile, competent through corners and incredibly easy on the eye. The weight hang-up is nonsense and the weeks riding I got out of this bike, meant it has truly earnt this homage.
... And hey, if you've read this far, you probably wouldn't say no to the chance to demo the bike yourself. So get in touch now! Hit us up: firstname.lastname@example.org and book a demo today!