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If you followed my previous entries (and I’m quite happy to have a few followers here!), I often mentioned a touring + photography project that I’ll start in the next few months around Taiwan.

The photography part of the project is 80% complete, as the only thing that I’m currently missing is a Ultra Wide Angle lens. I’m waiting for the Tokina 11-16 Dx (first version) to arrive in store, then I’ll test it alongside the Sigma 8-16 and a few other UWA lenses to pick up my landscape lense of choice. I do like the 18-55mm kit lens from my d7100 and I think it’s highly underrated, but at 18mm full wide (27mm effective on crop sensor) it’s definitely not a landscape lens.

The touring part of my project today reached its completion stage. I spent a lot of time considering Merida as the brand of my future touring rig, but I eventually decided to grab a Fuji. The reason is fairly simply: a Merida bike with 105 components and alloy frame was  more expensive than a Fuji with Tiagra components and full carbon frame, fork and stem. WHAT. Of course that’s not the official price, it was a special offer that I got during a test drive event for the new 2014 bike range. Tiagra is a great starting point, because no matter what I may need to replace or upgrade in the future I can stick to any of the Shimano or Sram 10 speed systems, since they’re pretty much interchangeable. I’m not a huge fan of the wheels because they’re a bit on the heavy side, so before starting to climb some challenging mountains I plan to replace the wheels with a lighter set of Fulcrum or Campagnolo wheels, and I’ll move the stock wheels on my flat bar.

What really pushed me towards the Fuji was the light carbon frame. I know carbon is not usually considered a touring material, but I’ll not be doing full loaded touring. A big saddle bag, a light backpack and maybe a handlebar bag are all I’ll ever carry with me, so a light and comfortable frame makes much more sense. The Gran Fondo series from Fuji is marked as an endurance bike, its geometry and steam combine to give the rider a more relaxed position compared to racing bikes, and that’s spot on for my purpose.

If you live in America, Australia or Europe, I’m sorry to inform you that the price for a Fuji bike in Taiwan is roughly half of the official price that you’re going to pay. Having the bikes assembled few kilometers from here has its own advantages.

Over the next few days I need to focus on testing the bike and ride it hard. After that I’ll be moving in a small town between mountains and sea, so for the next few days I highly doubt I’ll manage to upload new photos. But starting from early December I’ll have many more chances to use my camera.