28 December 2006


On the afternoon of 14 December 2006, I received the official letter about my double promotion in Tenaga Nasional Berhad. Cool...

20 December 2006

Sri Ayutthaya

The 2006 KLMBH yearly dinner was held on 17 December 2006@Sunday, at a famous Thai restaurant in Bukit Damansara - Sri Ayutthaya.

More write up & photos will come soon.

[Look at top right, photos slideshow.. entertaining]

[One of the main sponsor - BikePro bicycle shop owner, Boon Foo]

[Queing for the buffet]

[Other side of the que - Can you see Pat?]

14 December 2006

Weight weenies – Part 2

Part 2A: Pedal

I have been using clipless for more than a year now. It’s the Crank Brothers Mallet C, which uses the large pedalling platform with combination of eggbeater style clipless.The weight of the pedals (right and left) are 540gms.

My old Crank Brothers Mallet C

The Mallet large platform sometimes made me not clipping, due to my low level of confidence to unclip at the right moments. But, a few reasons generated the idea of using smaller and lighter clipless pedals.

[1] After testing and feeling the Eggbeater on my usual rider-friends bike, I must say that I felt like floating on the bike. The feeling of using Mallet that I felt Iike attached to the pedal only, not the bike.I like the “floating on the bike” feeling.

[2] If you clip longer and the pedalling at the same time, the chances to cycle forward without putting your feet down in larger. Hence, I will get superior advantages in the guys that put their feet down for extra security i.e. more riding and fun time.

On the other side, if I don’t unclip on time I will definitely fall down. I take chances of riding more and the fun of moving forward, and also the fun and laugh of falling down.

[3] The large platform of Mallet sometimes caught my knee when pushing the bike on un-ride-able trails. The end plates were made from stainless steel… hard!! About 6 months ago, it caught my right knee and it took one whole week to recover. 2 weeks ago, it it caught my right knee again, and I still feel the pain now. Now I’m really disturb about it.

[4] It is sometimes very difficult to clip in using Mallet especially when you need to clip in. Frequently on the bash or even during Bukit Kiara trail riding, this can slow me down and will make the riders at the back to brake and slow down. Imagine, if that happen during racing, you will definitely be overtaken.

The changes is not about being weight weenies. But it is time to move on. Clip longer, pedal more and ride more.

After searching in the Internet for some technical data and model availability, Crank Brothers Candy SL was my choice. At 295 gms, it is 245 gms or 45% lighter. It is made from stainless steel rather than cromoly (on Mallet C and Candy C), hence it should have better durability. The small platform on Candy is made from combination of resin and hard plastic. I chose the black coloured platform.

When I went to the LBS, the only carried the light blue colour, and I insisted on the black one (because I saw the black colour in the Crank Brothers’ website, and it suited the black Truvativ Stylo crank better). The LBS then contacted the other branches, and yes.. they have the black colour Candy SL.
[My new Crank Brothers Candy SL]

Part 2B: Handlebar

I also took this upgrade stage to change my flat handlebar to riser bar. I read from various magazine on how riser bar could positively effect the handling especially during technical descending. I also tried some of my rider-friends hardtails which have riser bars. In my humble opinion, I like the feeling.

I ride Bukit Kiara every week, and I personally considered that Bukit Kiara trails’ descends are mostly technical and some are quite steep. The flat handlebar won’t measure in during the descent, but I like the feeling of flat handlebar on climbing especially the Twin Peaks and Boulder climbs.

My old flat handlebar (...still shining)

Hence, I chose the lowest rise available for riser bar in the market. Again, after googling in the Internet, I found a 13 mm (0.47 inch) rise with 12 degrees sweep from Syntace. Made from carbon fibre with titanium reinforce clamp area. The published weight is 171 gms. These are the other carbon fibre riser bars:

Raceface Dues XC: 195 gms, 1 inch rise, 5 degrees sweep
Raceface Next XC: 184 gms, 1 inch rise, 5 degrees sweep
Syntace Versus: 171 gms, 0.47 inch rise, 12 degrees sweep
Answer Protaper: 165 gms, 1 inch rise, 8 degrees sweep
Easton EC70: 155 gms, 1 inch rise, 10 degrees sweep
Easton EC90 CNT: 135 gms, 1 inch rise, 10 degrees sweep

Compare to my existing Raceface Next XC carbon flat bar of 135 gms, that is 36 gms difference. After the 245 gms weight saving from the Crank Brothers Candy SL pedal, adding 36 gms will make the nett weight saving of 209 gms. That is nearly half a pound.

Perfect! Then, I looked at the price... 130 Euro (about RM 520) ! Wow.. that’s expensive.
No go.
The aluminium riser bars are too heavy – mostly they are at 240 gms and above.

At the LBS, when I was admiring the new Candy SL and its presentation box, then I saw the same Syntace riser bar in the cabinet. The LBS price was RM 220 nett. That price is cheaper than the one in the Internet. Bling, bling...

Since I bought the Crank Brothers Candy SL, I might ask for a discount.

LBS: "RM 200"
Me : "Some more lah.. I bough pedal now, last time I build and bought the whole bike here"
LBS: "No.. cannot lah. Cost price already."
Me : "OK lah.. next time"

LBS silent moment...

LBS : "RM 180 lah"

My pause moment...

Me: "OK"

[My new carbon riser bar]

11 December 2006

Weight weenies - Part 1

On Saturday morning ride (9 Dec 2006) at Bukit Kiara, my rider-friend Jimmy had flat tyre twice. One before we reached the Kampung after the Penchala Baru trail, and the other at the road side in between the Hartamas terrace houses just before the school before we enter Plan C trail.

The first flat, he used his tube. I was a good samaritan to offer my tube for the second flat. Then, both of us suddenly reliased that we have no more spare tube. Luckily both of us survived till the end.

On the way home, I stopped at Boon Foo's shop to get some spare. I took out a number of branded tubes to choose from. Then I saw a weighing machine. Blink, blink.....

"Why not weigh them?" I was saying to myself.

These are the results:

Cheng Shin tube : 178 gms
Kenda Standard tube : 156 gms
Continental Light tube : 152 gms
Michelin Light tube : 149 gms
Kenda Superlight tube : 136 gms
Geax Light tube : 122 gms

Kenda Standard Tube: 156 gms

Continental Light Tube: 152 gms

Geax Light Tube: 122 gms

Then, I remember something. I was using Kenda Standard tubes before; then due to price difference, I change to Cheng Shin tube. But lately I'm using Geax tube because it is not so expensive compare to the Kenda and their packaging suit my backpack.

The thing was the difference feeling of wheel when I change from Kenda to Cheng Shin, and from Cheng Shin to Geax. The Geax tube makes my steering feel a lot lighter thus easy to control, and most importantly make my bike feel lighter especially during the Twin Peaks trail climb. This is just feeling...! I didn't weigh the bike at that times.

Lets do the maths, 178 - 122 = 56 gms each tyre. That is 112 gms (or equivalent to a quarter of a pound) for both tyres. 112 gms doesn't seem too much, but at the right place it does deliver. Woww.....

The Geax tube also last for quite a while now. Let's see... 4 bashes at nearly 100km, 1 PCC ride at about 50km, about 400km of Bukit Kiara trails. That's not bad.


04 December 2006

Build by Riders

Sunday morning, 3rd December 2006, this was my first time learning and building mountain bike trail properly. It was at Forest Reserve Institute of Malaysia (FRIM). Previously, I just maintained and improved the existing trails, especially at Bukit Kiara.

There were 6 of us, Pat, Karen, Tony, Rebecca, Nigel & me. At the moments, the trail location is still a secret until the work finished.

Pat & Karen had the necessary tools for trail buildings. I admired the custom-made wheelbarrow. The body was made from aluminium and the handlebar was from titanium. The wheels and tyres were mountain bike standard equipment i.e. they were adopted from the front wheels and tyres and even had quick-releases on them. The tank was industrial-grade fishing composite (plastic not carbon fibre though..) box. It is one very light and tough wheelbarrow. Damn genius.

Crossing the MTB-purpose bridge. Notice the wheelbarrow

Part of the trail: Before.
[This part of the trail is about 10 meters after the bridge. Notice the soil in the wheelbarrow]

We started by searching some rocks for the cribs (retaining walls). The rocks must be big enough to hold the trail. Then, we filled the trail with soil. Moving the soil was the hardest part, manual labour to excavate the exiting soil and another physical extension labour to transport the soil to the right place. We made about 33 trips. Finally, compact the soil.

Of course, do some basic planning first before you started. For example, the flow of the trail, the run of the water and estimation of rocks, logs and soil needed.

I also learned about outsloping and insloping. They are techniques to cut the terrain to build trails, and at the same time provide water path to avoid erosion. To know exactly what they are, come and join this noble voluntary work.

Part of the trail: After

Part of the trail: The turn and the downhill
[Riding tips: Just move your body and don't skid]

I also got biten by the leech. It wasn't pain, just itchy. I was lucky that Karen had this special spray to make the leech let go its glue-biting blood sucking action.

In about 3.5 hours, we built about 25 meters of trail. Tired but utterly satisfied. Some tips:
1. Bring proper working gloves, and optional knee protection pad
2. Mosquito and leech repellent
3. Lots of water and isotonic drinks
4. Food, preferably PowerBar Gel or similar
5. "Cangkul"
6. Rake
7. "Parang"
8. Lots of sense of humour

02 December 2006

Between a fall and a great ride

Saturday, 2 December 2006, the tarmac climbed to the Bukit Kiara cross-road junction felt so much difficult after 6 days of no riding. Then, the Twin Peaks off-road trail... another climbed up.

Twin Peaks [1]

The ground was so soft in certain places that mud stuck on my tyres. The bike felt like it was 35 pounds.
Twin Peaks [2]

At the Tokong (part of Twin Peaks trail), a bunch of familiar MTB riders were cheering me up "Don't stop.. don't stop.. see you at the peak." That motivated me not to stop although my legs and lung sensed that acid lactic was pooling up fast. Finally, at Janie's Addiction junction I stopped, and waited for them. Fimiliar riders.

We all went to Janie's Addiction trail to Kampung and eventually to Devi's Corner, before returning back to Bukit Kiara via Plan C trail, Snake and Ladder trail and Carnival trail.

The second steep downhill at Janie's Addiction was quite slippery and rooty. I cleared all the earlier technical sections, but at the last drop I somehow lost control and fell down towards my left... ouchh!
The Effect of Falling

Before arriving at the Pondok, I cleaned the cut and Jimmy sprayed his sticky plaster. Cold but pain. After all the pain, it made me think to get protective gears especially elbow protection and knee protection.

At the Orang Asli settlement (Kg. Tanah Jawa), we splited up. I took the trail via Penchala Baru trail and they went straight towards Hartamas suburb. I like the Penchala Baru trail.. the first part was along a stream, which was wet but firm ground. There were also some mild sections of rock garden. Then, came the smooth flowing downhill singletrack along the ridge, before you crossed a small bridge just before the kampung at Segambut Dalam.

Penchala Baru Trail [1]

Penchala Baru Trail [2]

Penchala Baru Trail [3]

As promised, I joined the others at Devi's Corner.
Not suprisingly, Pat, Tony and the gang were also at there enjoying their breakfast-ride.

The Breakfast at Devi's Corner

On the return ride back to Bukit Kiara, one of us punctured his rear tyre. We all stopped, and while the pumping air activity was taking place, I took several pictures of their steeds.
The Puncture

Titus Motolite

Specialized Stumpjumper

Turner 5-Spot


Snake and Ladder Trail