26 January 2009

The Pocket Rocketman

[Azizul, in front, sprinting with Rizal Tisan]

Azizul Hasni Awang, a Malaysian cyclist, has won 2 gold medals at UCI World Cup Track Cycling and now has his own website.. err.. more of a blogsite.

He calls himself The Pocket Rocketman and appropriately the http address is

Additionally, Rizal Tisan also won a gold medal at Beijing UCI World Cup Track Cycling for 1km sprint. Congratulations dude..!!

21 January 2009

New Year, New Chain

According to material science, material fatigue is defined as the structural damage that occurs when a material is subjected to repeated loading.

The causes of material fatigue could be from frequent state of stress, material type, internal defects or environmental factors (high temperature, high humidity, etc).

The solutions to material fatigue can be redesign of parts, replacement of parts or use of other materials.

Real life situation:

Cause of Material Fatigue:
I have used my bicycle chain, Shimano XT, and for slightly less than 2 years it has borne my load. Just before the last Ramadhan, it broke while I was climbing a short uphill section at Snake & Ladder trail at Bukit Kiara. Two weeks ago, two of my friends’ chains also broke. Was it a hint by God?

Solution to Material Fatigue:
So, I bought a new chain to replace the ageing Shimano XT chain. I got the Shimano XTR/CN7701.

[Shimano XTR Chain]

Other Findings:
I’m also using KMC X9 Gold chain on my other bike.

[KMC X9 Gold Chain]

Putting those three chains on weighing scale, the KMC weighed at 265 grams (…also confirmed by www.sicklines.com and http://www.gramslightbikes.com/2007_10_01_archive.html )

The XT was at 285 grams.

The XTR was at 244 grams.

The XTR was also much cheaper than the KMC by RM45.00 (about 10 euros). Therefore, it is acceptable to conclude the XTR chain is quite a value buy.

However, it’s a shame that Shimano does not have “no tool requires” bra-type link for their chains, like the SRAM’s Powerlink or KMC’s Missing Link.

[KMC Missing Link]

No worries. I am using the Missing Link on my KMC X9 Gold and the outgoing Shimano XT chains. So, I believe that the KMC’s Missing Link can also be used on the XTR chain. Here we go…

01 January 2009

Top Three

While waiting for my Nasi Goreng Thai (Thai Fried Rice) at Secret Recipes, I saw a beautiful girl holding a magazine. What intrigued me was the large imprint on the magazine that said “Top 3 Men's Characters You Should Look For In 2009”... huh...!

It triggered me to write about top three of the following:

1. Best mountain bikes.

2. Best mountain bike races.

3. Best equipment.

I will not write down in detail the reasons I chose them, it was just my intelligent guess, hunch and experience. Additionally, it will be written towards cross country (XC), but I will not neglect other mountain biking riding category such as downhill (DH). You might not agree with me.. Hey! This is a free world. Read on…


1. Specialized Epic 2009 – The best XC race and XC trail bike.

2. Titus Motolite Exogrid – Combination of titanium and carbon fibre. If you have extra money to spend, the bike should last for lifetime. So does the warranty.

3. Giant Glory – Downhill frame ready for the World Cup and beautifully matched with Rockshox Boxxer Team.

[Specialized Epic 2009]

[Titus Motolite Exogrid]

[Giant Glory]

However, there are two bikes that surprised me in positive ways when I rode them, the Santa Cruz Nomad and the KHS XC604. The Santa Cruz Nomad is also a beautiful looking bike that can be used all day hucking the 4-feet drop easily. The KHS XC604 is responsive and can be built to race, yet light on your pocket.

[Curvy looking Santa Cruz Nomad]

[KHS XC604 frameset]


1. XC World Cup at Offenburg, Germany – Won by Julien Absalon (mens) and Irina Kalentyeva (womens).

2. DH Mega Avalanche, Alpe d’Huez, France – Descends 2600 meters over 33 kilometers. Arms and legs aching race.

3. XC Olympic 2008, Beijing, China – Exciting race in the Womens category, but pure domination by Julien Absalon in the Mens category. He retained his Olympic title.
Click here to read more.

Special mentions have to be said about our local races, here in Malaysia.

For XC, the Kuala Lumpur Mountain Bike Carnival 2008 at Bukit Kiara was exhilarating to watch, although there were delays in publicising it. For next year, I hope they change the category level and also announce it much more earlier e.g. at least 4 months earlier. I recently posted about the race here.

For downhill, the Kiara Downhill Domination Race Series, again at Bukit Kiara, was lifting but a bit monotonous. Additionally, the trails used for the race series were also not compacted properly hence lack of sustainability. Nevertheless, it attracted many participants, local and overseas, and also brought the downhill mountain biking in Malaysia to another level.

For both races, I hope to see more participants from our local riders and also, for a start, riders from rest of Asia, Australia and New Zealand.


1. Shimano XTR M970 crankset – Tough yet light. Extremely suitable for XC, aggressive trail riding and even downhill.

2. Garmin 705 – Full fledge GPS i.e. topographic and street map capabilities, colour screen, lightweight and also comes with cadence & heart rate sensors.

3. Stan’s Olympic, Arch and Flow rims – For their applications, they are the lightest and tougher than their competitor. If you want to save your rotational weight, start here.

[Shimano XTR M970 Crankset]

[Garmin 705 GPS and Cyclocomputer]

[Olympic - One of Stan's No Tube rims]

I also would like to add two equipment that stand to their hypes. First is the Mountain King tyre from Continental, which grips the trail without adding any extra weight. Second is the Crank Brother’s Candy 4Ti pedal. This 200 grams per pair pedal is light enough for XC racing but definitely tough to handle everyday trail riding.

[Continental's Mountain King tyre]

[Crank Brothers's Candy 4Ti pedal]