Sissi Korhonen with Pelago Stavanger

People often ask me which bicycle I ride and if I like it or not. The simple answers are: Pelago Stavanger and “Hell yes!”, but after cycling for 16 months, I thought it’s high time to write a thorough review of the bicycle I have come to feel is my second skin by now. I’m still not a bicycle specialist, but this is what I see when I see my Pelago.

Disclaimer: although I’m sponsored by Pelago, the company has never ever asked me to write this post. Instead, it’s written purely out of my own joy for riding this great bicycle.

My faithful travel companion

Pelago Stavanger is a touring and adventure bicycle, also apt for urban surroundings. It’s a bike that Antti Aittola also used on his tour around the world, and it’s the bike I’ve been riding for 16 months now. With a riding position lower than on e.g. Dutch-style urban bicycles, yet still more upright than on most mountain bikes, it’s perfect for the mixture of terrains and surroundings that a trip like mine includes.

From dirt roads to cities

I don’t ride very much on dirt roads or rough terrains. In fact, I love sticking to highways and other busy roads with cars and people passing by. If I can choose between small villages or being immersed totally by nature, I’ll go for the small villages. Why? Because I love meeting people and that’s something I can’t easily do alone in the middle of the jungle. Moreover, I love cycling in big cities, and this bicycle is surely one of the best touring bicycles out there for doing so. Not only does it ride extremely well on cramped city streets, but due to its sleek design, it blends in perfectly, so unless you want to, you don’t have to look like a bike tourer all the time.

Pelago Stavanger performs extremely well on all terrains I’ve been on, and this view is shared also by Antti Aittola, who has cycled in way harsher surroundings than myself. The only time I’ve had some difficulties was in a national park in Argentina. The bike kept sliding from side to side and stable steering was incredibly difficult. However, as soon as I changed from my somewhat thin tires to the sturdier Schwalbe Marathon+ tires, the problem was gone. I also removed the original aluminum fenders quite early on, in order to not have to worry about the bicycle looking too shiny, mud getting stuck under the fenders and the thicker tires not fitting in.

Pelago Stavanger

Why Pelago Stavanger?

Very honestly, until now this bicycle itself hasn’t failed me even once. However, every bicycle needs maintenance, and what I love about Pelago Stavanger is that although it’s a complex bicycle with all the necessities, it’s easy to fix and maintain. The disk brakes (which I was quite worried about before the trip, as I was afraid I couldn’t fix them anywhere if they broke) have turned out to be the most durable and effective solution especially for the mountains and the Shimano components are top-notch.

The one and only downside

People in Latin America notice very easily that it’s a superb and expensive bicycle. They comment on the disk brakes, the quality components and the sleek frame…and always ask about the bike’s price. So, if you want your bicycle to blend more in with the ones that are sold in South America, Pelago Stavanger isn’t your best bet (I remember Antti Aittola telling me that this wasn’t the case in Russia. There, people love bicycles with zillions of accessories and thought that Antti’s Pelago was a super cheap bike because it looked so rustic!). However, gladly, until now the attention the bicycle has gotten has been mostly curiosity and no one has ever made any attempts to steal it.

Tech specs of Pelago Stavanger (as seen by me)

Brakes: Disk brakes
Saddle: Brooks (I had the original one changed into a women’s model)
Components: Shimano 105 5700
Weight: around 11 kgs

Additional gear on my bicycle

Commuter front rack
Commuter back rack
Bottle holds
Schwalbe Marathon+ tires (thicker than original)
Saddle Brooks Women

Removed from my bicycle

Aluminum fenders

…and for “a bit” more accuracy on all of the above, here the tech specs by Pelago.

Having decided on a bike, here’s what to pack on a long-distance cycling tour!

Written by Sissi Korhonen
Exploring, interpreting and understanding cultures through local languages and people. An advocate for intercultural communication as a basis for diversity acceptance and human equality.