Words and photos by Afieq Radzuan (@afieqrad)
Hello everyone! I’m Afieq Radzuan from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I work as a field engineer in the energy sector across South East Asia. I started cycling at an early age as most did, of us but stopped throughout my teenage years when I went to boarding school. I briefly commuted by bike during my student days in the UK before riding continuously after my dad’s passing in 2015.
I initially rode around Malaysia before heading on my first bikepacking trip to Laos via Thailand in 2017-18, rode the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal in 2019, and recently came back after scratching from the Atlas Mountain Race in Morocco. All of those were solo, but like always, lifetime friendships were formed with people and fellow cyclists I met along the road.
In 2018, I was preparing for my Nepal trip and felt that my old steel bike from my Laos ride wouldn’t cut it in the rough terrain, so I started looking for an affordable offroad tourer. I had a friend who owned a Soma Wolverine v2.0, and after having some chat about it I thought that Soma was already ahead of its time with lots of options on large tire clearance and sliding chainstays. It’s a very versatile bike that I’ve run as a single speed, internally geared, and with a normal derailleur, swapping between QR and TA, with straight and drop bar configuration. I finally settled on a monstercross setup, inspired by this site’s Gear Index of 650 Gravel Bikes, and my do-it-all Wolverine was born.
I think it is important to highlight that cycling can help in managing mental health. It certainly did for me when coping with the loss of my father, among other things, and I hope others will take advantage of its healing benefits, too.
It is also heartening to see that adventure cycling (or even riding in general) has started to pick up my part of the world, as this region was generally built up on motorized vehicle culture. Initially there wasn’t much local information available (most gear and tech inspiration came from sites like BIKEPACKING.com) but I think we’re slowly progressing and now have several movements that advocate for various cycling related matters, alongside promoting cycling culture to all. There are also similar communities in neighboring countries such as Thailand and Indonesia that are helping to create a more diverse point of reference.
The landscape here is very different from what you’ll find in Western countries, and its a good place to experience different kinds of panoramas. And Kuala Lumpur seems to be a popular spot for traditional bike tourists to start or end their journeys. Hopefully international travel will return to normal after this the COVID-19 situation mellows down…
- Frame Soma Wolverine V3
- Fork Fyxation Sparta QR
- Rims DT Swiss X412 laced with Sapim Race spokes
- Hubs Shutter Precision PD-8 (front) / Shimano XT M8100 (rear)
- Tires Panaracer Gravel King SK, 27.5 x 2.1″
- Handlebars Ritchey Comp Butano (460mm)
- Headset Cane Creek
- Crankset Shimano XT M8100 (170mm) w/ 34T chainring
- Pedals Shimano PD A530
- Cassette Shimano XT M8100 10-51
- Derailleur Shimano XT M8100
- Brakes TRP Spyke (160mm rotors) w/ Tektro RL520 levers
- Shifter(s) Microshift BS-M12-R bar end
- Saddle Selle Italia Flite Titanium or Brooks C15 All Weather
- Seatpost Thomson Elite Offset 27.2mm
- Stem Thomson X4 100mm
- Front bags Hungry Big Lunch 2.0 or Apidura Backcountry 9L
- Frame bags Bike Bag Dude full frame bag or Restrap Large half frame bag
- Rear bags Apidura Backcountry 17l
- Accessory bags Backcountry Plus 0.8l, locally source MFKS.product fuel tank bag, Vagrant.co tool pouch
- Other accessories Blackburn Outpost cages, Sinewave Beacon, Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt
Keep up with Afieq and his Wolverine on Instagram @afieqrad.
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