18 October 2009

Trail Maintenance 18 October 2009: Carnival

The Carnival trail (Lower Carnival) is one of most used trails in Bukit Kiara. The abuse comes both from all sorts of riders, cross country guys and downhillers, and also hikers.

Since this yearly Kuala Lumpur Mountain Bike Carnival (KLMBH) is in 6 weeks time, it is timely to do some touch up on the Carnival trail. You can also read my previous post on this matter, click here.

These were the guys who showed up this time; Adilah, Ashley, Beatrice, Derald, Hui Peng, Jason, LeeNya, Megat, Pat, Rizal, Soon, Umar, Visan, Yew Jo. As usual, Pat is the leader.

I also got a new cangkul for this trail maintenance. My old one was ageing and gave way. Read more about cangkul here.

We were divided into several small teams. Me and Megat this time are in one team. We repaired the triple terrace drop entrance by making it wider and stronger, by adding side retainer, rocks and compacted soils. We also did some rock armouring & soil compacting in between the roots that lead towards the finish line.

I also created some waterbars to divert the water away. Others had their parts and we all contributed to make the trail more rideable and more sustainable.

No photos this time. I forgot my camera... shoot me!

However, I will take some photos after this to show the results. Stay tune...

11 October 2009

My 2x9

I posted about 2x9 before, click here for the link.

Since then, I was looking for the right setup. I considered several options, including purchasing the Rotor Agilis 2x9 or SRAM XX, or using the current crankset with various chainrings options.

The Rotor Agilis and SRAM XX are too expensive for me. So I decided to use my existing Truvativ Stylo (104/64 BCD) setup.

I also decided to go for 40/27T setup. However, these rings are hard to get by here in Malaysia. I even thinking of asking my sister-in-law who lives in United Kingdom to get the rings for me (either Middleburn or TA or Raceface), but it can get complicated with all the shipping, taxes, bla, bla...

Prior to that, I also tried my friend's, Jimmy, bike who has a KCNC 42/29T setup. I found that riding in Bukit Kiara, with lots of uphills, pointing up switchback, short & steep ascending sections of trails and never used the 44T, I revised my option to go for 40/27T setup.

I found a ratio of front chainring and rear cassette from the Rotor website, and did some re-calculation & reconsideration based on the terrain in Bukit Kiara and some of the hash routes that I did before. The best setup would be 36/24T. It might be small, but for weekend rider who love to climb the hills, I think it would be suitable for me.. at least on paper.

Here are the tables for the ratios:

I was very lucky that one of the LBS carry a set of Raceface bash/36/24T chainrings. I quickly grabbed it as it was the only one available.

I only put on the 36/24T rings & left the bash guard out, and I had to buy a shorter chainring bolts to accommodate the 36T. Another thing, the 24T is made from steel, which I like, and it should last longer than its aluminium counterpart.

I didn't weigh the rings, but with the new setup the bike now weigh at 26.3 lbs compared to 27 lbs before. However, weight is not my concern here, less front derailleur shifting and less spinning are my targets.

Here are some of the photos:

[My old Truvativ Stylo with a new set of 36/24T Raceface chainrings]

[The close up - Click on it and you can see the 36T and 24T inscription on the rings]

I tested the new setup for 3 rides at Bukit Kiara, 2 rides (6 loops) at the Carnival race trail and 2 rides at the hash trails. These trails, I my opinion, represent the variety of terrains that I ride every weekends. The Bukit Kiara trails and Carnival race trail have lots of uphill climbs, technical switchbacks (descending & ascending) and nearly all singletracks. The hash trails are mostly doubletracks and firey road, representing fast riding experience.

I'm very happy with the ratio of the rings. The 24x34 is slighly tighter than my old 22x34, but the torque feel is different (better feeling and control) and I spinned a lot less when climbing (especially on rooty trails e.g. Lightning Ridge). The 36x11 is high enough to keep the fast pace when riding the firey road or even on flat tarmac. Yeap.. the front shiftings are a lot less now, and I need to get use to it.

Yes... the SRAM XX or the Rotor Agilis may advocate the 40/26T or above ratios; but for my riding, the 36/24T hits my targets spot on. Either on paper or on the trails, the ratio serves me well.

Money wise, the Raceface set cost me RM250 + RM35 (for installation and general servicing). That is RM285, which is about USD81. A set of SRAM XX here in Malaysia is about RM4000 or USD1150, and the Rotor Agilis is about RM1800 or USD515. If you're thinking about return-of-investment (ROI), the route that I went gave a considerably high ROI.

In fact, I have ordered a new set of the Raceface bash/36/24T for my other bike as well.