Name: HAFIS HASSAN (Apis)
Location: KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA
Who Do You Think You Are Anyway?
My name is Mohammad Hafis Bin Hassan, 34 years old and better known as APIS. I come from Gombak, Selangor MALAYSIA. I am married and have 2 beautiful children, a boy, and a girl.
From a young age, I was exposed to Tamiya [Ed. Note: Tamiya is a Japanese manufacturer of model ships, planes, cars, and more]. This was greatly influenced by Saturday morning cartoons. What began with just playing with school friends, 20 years later it took me to Shizuoka, Japan as Malaysia representative for Tamiya Japan Cup [Ed. Note a tournament for mini 4WD racers].
This hobby was my steppingstone in the universe of custom builds. It is here that I learned to innovate and as means to channel and express my talent in modifying something. In 2009 I opened my first auto repair shop, AUTOVETTURA SERVICES (MALAYSIA) SDN.BHD and with the talent and skills I learned I now own four branches. Aside from grease and oil filters, I also enjoy fishing and I have my one sportfishing brand “merchandise” (MNSTRdivison). This is co-owned with a few good friends.
The obsessions of fishing and cycling gave me tranquility of mind and taught me a sense of patience despite my hectic work schedule. Unlike many people, I don’t do 9 to 5. My enthusiasm for outdoor activities seems to give me fresh energy to start a more productive day tomorrow.
How’d You Get Into Bikes?
When I was in Japan, the beauty of the land of the rising sun was not the sole part that inspired me. But the way of life for the people there is just unique.
I am awed by the many who use bicycles not only for recreation but for their daily transportation too, like how Malaysians use cars and motorcycles. It is here where I have my first glimpse of SURLY and was immediately impressed by the sheer design and build. Though the owner was not too friendly to answer all my questions. Upon my return from Japan, I studied SURLY with great interest.
In Malaysia there are many groups and communities dedicated to cycling — this fueled my interest even more, and I realized that Malaysia is full of “outdoor enthusiasts.” Nasi Lemak after cycling is a must [Ed. Note: rice cooked in coconut milk].
For months I researched and studied about cycling and out of a sudden, a friend showed up. He is into cycling as well and introduced me to the PEDALGASM group. Members of this group have been supporting me with information on the ins and outs of cycling.
PEDALGASM is a group that has been established for a long time and one of the group members is a Surly owner who is greatly experienced and not shy to share every detail of his bike with me. Indirectly made me confident about the quality of SURLY, and then began my adventure with this famous bike brand.
Tell Us About Your Surly
I chose the Surly Straggler model for its geometry and quality. I bought it at REED CYCLES (MALAYSIA). The uniqueness of the Straggler’s geometry that combines modern and classic elements makes me very interested in it — this model meets all my tastes and purposes. The bike weight is ideal for me (note: I’m a very picky person in this area).
The process of making my bike took a long time and was tedious due to shipping factors from abroad or within the country, and then the pandemic happened.
Almost three months of waiting time to complete the bike (my dream bike). After completing everything, my bike became my mode of transportation to work or other places. If one day I could travel the world on a bicycle, it will be on my SURLY.
While waiting for the pandemic to end, I spent a lot of time with outdoor activities — especially on the weekends with friends. Among the activities I do are paddling to the city center, paddling and fishing, camping, drinking coffee by the river, and looking for interesting places to take pictures. These activities are not just hobbies — they add to my knowledge empower me to explore even further.
At the time of writing, the country is still in lockdown mode, and due to my anxiety/eagerness to cycle and explore, I have prepared all my camping equipment, spare parts, tools, and complete bag set (pannier bag, frame bag, handlebar bag, and saddlebag. All of these items I got from BLUE LUG, CIRCLE, and bike shops near me.
Frame: 52cm Surly Straggler custom paint
Fork/Headset: Surly Straggler / Chris King EC34
Crankset/Bottom bracket: Ingrid Components 175mm / Chris King
Drivetrain/Cog/Chainring/Chain: Ingrid Components 42t, Sun Race 46t 11s cassette
Derailleurs/Shifters: Sram Apex 11s / Sram Rival
Handlebars/Stem: Whisky 440mm 24F / Paul Component 0 degree, 70mm
Saddle/Seatpost: Brooks C17 / Paul Component
Brakes: Paul Component - Klamper short pull
Front and Rear Wheel/Hub/Tire: Velocity Aileron 32h / Chris King / Ultradynamico Rosé
Accessories: Ruck Rack / Koma Light / Nissen outer cable
Tuned and installed by Afif Zainal (@apips). I got lots of new experiences and I never even thought to go this far.
Favorite Bike Related Memory
The most beautiful memories I’ve had with my bike were an unplanned exploration to a remote rural area far away from the city where I camped for a few nights.
The place we went to this time is different from other places I have been to. This campsite is in a hilly area complete with beautiful large prehistoric trees. The river is clean with cold crystal-clear water and fish paying no mind to our presence — this is new and I have never encountered it before. While camping here with my friends, we shared many stories and jokes.
If You Could Ride Anywhere In The World, Where Would It Be?
It would most definitely be New Zealand. My friends always talk about this beautiful country. If you are a traveler or touring cyclist, New Zealand must be on your list. I want to spend the night on Lake Tekapo, fishing for salmon on the Rakaia River and cycling around Wanaka. Beautiful scenery like a painting. Unique wildlife that exists nowhere, with a majestic forest. Something that I only see on TV.
I also have a dream to go to the United States. I wanted to try Route 66, in addition to visiting the Surly Bikes factory in Minneapolis and seeing the ways Surly bikes are made [Ed. Note: Surly bikes are designed and engineered in Minneapolis, and manufactured in Taiwan]. And it wouldn't be complete if I didn't go to the Grand Canyon. Unparalleled beauty.
My hope is that this COVID-19 pandemic will end soon and I will be able to realize my dream.
Where Can People Follow Along With You?
Lastly, I wish to thank Surly for selecting me to be featured on this website. I hope my story and sharing inspires people around the globe to pick up this hobby. See you soon!
Surly would like to thank Hafis for sharing his story with us! As always, Surly has compensated Hafis for his time and energy. We have also made a financial donation to UNICEF Malaysia in Hafis' name to help support the Malaysian community's battle with COVID-19.