Review: Wishbone BBright PF30/BB386 Bottom Bracket

As expected, my Cervelo bottom bracket (BB) didn’t last very long. I had the bike for a little bit more than 2 years and the original BB fell apart. It all started with tuk tuk tuk sound and when the mechanic took apart, the ball bearing just dropped everywhere.

So, I got the Wishbone BBright PF30/BB386 Bottom Bracket and this model is specifically for Rotor 3D+ crank. I bought this in Apr, 2016 for MYR415.

This BB is a bit different from any other BB that I had used before as it comes in 1 piece. According to the guy who installed it, it supposed to have a better power transfer than the 2 separate pieces. The theory behind it is, when you drive with your right foot it will not flex the frame and no impact to the left crank and vice versa. In another words, it has better power transfer than individual BB. Best of all, this is a ceramic BB.

Ride

I have put on almost 4,000km (shy of 35km) since I last installed. Honestly? I fine it no significant different between the old and new. It is not super smooth nor super stiff. May be it will have significant different if the frame is aluminum or a softer carbon.

Verdict

If your frame is aluminum or softer carbon, then I will recommend this as it may have better power transfer. Otherwise, I don’t see any point of spending MYR 400+ for this.

Update: Another important point I left out is that it is pretty much zero maintenance. I had it for more than a year now and it is pretty much work like new still.

Review: Trek Emonda SL6 Roadbike

Today, I am reviewing the Trek…

EMONDA SL6…

 

BIKE SPECIFICATIONS

Frame:                  Ultralight 500 Series OCLV Carbon, DuoTrap S compatible

Fork:                      Emonda full carbon

Groupset:            Full Shimano Ultegra 6800

Crank:                   50/34 (compact)

Bottom Bracket: BB90

Cassette:             11-32, 11 speed

Seatpost:             Bontrager Ride Tuned carbon seatmast cap

Handlebar:         Bontrager Elite VR-C, 31.8mm

Stem:                   Bontrager Pro, 31.8mm, 7 degree, w/computer & light mounts

Saddle:                 Bontrager Montrose Comp

Wheels:               Bontrager Race Tubeless Ready

Tires:                    Bontrager R3 Hard-Case Lite, aramid bead, 700x25c

Weight:               7.4kg (with 2 bottle cages), 52cm size (excluding pedal); Trek website posted 56cm – 7.43 kg

About EMONDA

Every company has their own way of defining their carbon strength and technology. For Trek it is called OCLV or Optimum Compaction Low Void and it is patented. It is actually breaks down into 2 areas – Optimum Compaction and Low Void. In short, it is Trek processes of how they cut, mold, heat and compress the carbon. All Trek OCLV carbon frame is given a limited lifetime warranty. Emonda models comes with OCLV 300, 500 and 700. The SL6 is OCLV 500.

Emonda is not new anymore and it has been out since 2014. But, it was a newly added model into their lineup. The bike design is definitely meant for a purpose – climbing (and I would said endurance too). From the picture below, you can see the massive downtube that helps in climbing.

The tested bike was equipped with a full Shimano Ultegra groupset. There aren’t many bike companies would give out a complete groupset. Many times there are doing a mix match components to gain maximum profit. There is a slightly cheaper version that comes with Shimano 105 groupset. I am a bit of reserve of that… so, go for Ultegra and you won’t regret it.

 

Another thing worth to note here is the seat tube. It defied the conventional way of designing. Part of the seat post “extended” out from the frame. The purpose? To reduce the weight of the seat tube as it can designing it thinner.

All cables are all internal routed and nicely hidden. Whoever cleans the bike will definitely appreciate it.

Since cables are hidden away, can you do without cable tie also? With the DuoTrap S Compatible, you can now. So, no more messy cable tie for your speed and cadence sensor. The sensor is now nicely tuck into the frame.

A complete bike without pedals but with 2 bottle cages and stock wheels weights 7.4kg. It may not be an ideal weight as a climbing bike. Probably it was due to the heavy wheels. Published spec for the wheels are 1720g. Changing to carbon wheels probably can shed off 300-400g but that increases the price of the bike. If you are weight wheenie, get the Emonda SLR 10 that weighs 4.88kg only!!! And, it is a large frame with 56cm! Moreover, it is on sale now.

This is the weight of the bike without the wheels (of course, tires and tubes too).

This bike comes with 2 colors – Matte Dnister Black or Matte California Sky Blue. What I had tested was the Sky Blue. Ain’t she pretty with the high profile wheels?

THE RIDE

I believe everyone question now is can this bike climb as what it claimed. Personally, I find it average on climbing. It may be due to 2 reasons. 1) I picked the wrong time of the day to cycle as it was superhot (37C) to cycle and probably not my best performance. 2) It could be due to heavy wheels. Why? As the temperature cools down, I managed to gain speed and earned a Personal Record (PR) on one of the segment. It is a 3.6km path with small rolling hills. Secondly, each time when I was off the saddle and pedal, it did sprint. So, that tells me the bike is very stiff during the climb.

A bike is good if it can perform uphill, downhill and flat. Basically we wanted it all-rounded.  What about downhill and flat then? I definitely love the handling when coming down the hill and through each cornering. It has a superb handling and again, I have another PR. The steady frame and the 25mm tires helps a lot. On a flat road, I can feel that I need to put on a bit more effort but still manageable.

This bike is definitely set for endurance and comfort. The headtube length is 140mm for the tested bike vs 128mm for my Cervelo S3 and a chainstay length of 410mm. Also, the stack is 547mm. All these couple with 25mm tires, it was really a pleasure for me to ride that day. It was so comfortable that I can’t feel much of the road vibration even with a long stretch of road constructions during my ride. That earned the endurance title from me.

The wheels aren’t so bad as it didn’t flex so much when I was standing and pedal. Though it is heavy but a much better wheels than the 2 Mavic wheels I had tried on.

Beside the wheels, the only other thing I dislike about this bike is the handlebar. It is too wide for me. I find it not suitable for Asian size but this can easily settle by changing it.

Make sure you do fitting before deciding which size fits you well. Every single brand will have their own way of sizing. Trek personnel is happy to explain and get you fitted.

The price tag for this bike is RM12,499 before discount. The SL6 Pro comes with Vision Metron 40 carbon wheels. The 40 is indicating the 40mm depth and it weighs 1,490g without the quick release. The price tag of this bike? RM15,499. Is RM3k worth the upgrade? Hmm…. Probably, because you can’t get RM3k for carbon wheels. How it perform? You may have to test it out on your own as tested bike comes with standard wheels only.

Verdict

If you are looking for comfort and long ride that doesn’t taxing you. Also, most of your rides are rolling or climbing hills such as Cameron Highlands, Fraser Hill, Bukit Hantu or Peres. Then, this bike is definitely for you. Otherwise, you may want to consider Madone.

Trek Shop

There is a Trek concept store in Penang. It is called Treknology and you can actually borrow and test ride the bike. The criteria’s are simple. 1) You are genuine buyer that wanted to test out the bike before buying. 2) You are out in the group ride with them and you do not have a bike. They can lend you 1. You just need to bring your own pedal and spare tube during the ride.

There are 6 models that you can borrow and try it out. All you need is to fill up this form. And… Get a friend who knows Trek personnel very well to borrow the bike. Well, these are expensive bikes and they need to make sure you do take care of the bike and return in 1 piece. Oh… this program is also available in KL if you reside there.

Enjoy your ride… (I know I did :))

Travel: Penang Street Arts

This is my 2nd blog after I have stopped for many months. I would like thank all of you who are still following. Hope to get back onto my 2 feet and get some posting rolling.

If you a fan of street arts and have been following the arts around the country, then you will need to come to Penang for these 2 magnificent pieces. They are located in Balik Pulau with the GPS coordinate 5.351705, 100.235621 or you can refer to the map below with the red dot. It is pretty easy to find as it is painted the whole piece of the wall.

Since you are here, get a bowl of asam laksa and a fresh nutmeg juice. The famous laksa is just beside the street arts and a big car park. Or, may be some durians since this is the season for durians.

These are my blogs about other street arts.

KL Street Arts
Penang Street Arts
Penang Street Arts 2

Review: SRAM X5 (PG-1030) Cassette for MTB

I just replaced my faithful SRAM X5 cassette as it was worn out after I have put in >6800km on it. I would say it was very long lasting as I had it for 3.5 years and all the abused I had put in. I hardly take care of the chain or cassette as I hardly wash them. I normally got very tired after a ride, so I would just rinsed my bike with water and store it. I would wash them probably once every 2 months (or more :o) but I did lube them occasionally and normally excessively too. But, I always make sure the chain needs to be changed once it is worn out except for once I missed out. That’s when I firstly got my bike. From then onwards, I occasionally check the length using a chain checker. I am sure the cassette will last longer if I take care of the whole drivetrain a little more.

X5 is not the lightest cassette as it weighs 395g but it is strong. I have used it to climb many hills and Penang Hill is one of the list. It is finally gave up on me as it started to jump gears and I had the intention to bring this bike for touring. So, I have no choice but to replace it with another brand new SRAM X7 (PG-1050). X7 is <100g lighter than X5 and it weights 299g. I picked X7 over X5 as the pricing (MYR25) is not much different and it is 100g lighter.

Since I had my chain and cassette replaced, it was no point for me to keep the old chainrings. So, I had them replaced too. I had used the 38T chainring as long as my cassette and the 24T was the 2nd sets. I believe the 24T still usable for another few hundreds kilometers.

Well, my X7 review will probably take some time as it is harder for me to accumulate the mileage now especially I have 2 bikes.

Will I use SRAM again if I have to replace them? The answer is DEFINITELY. It is basically low maintenance and long lasting. Keep up the great work SRAM guys!!!

Event: Melaka International Century Ride 2016 – Update

Another blow from the Melaka Century Ride organizer. 1st, the event was cancelled then they told us to collect the jersey during the collection day. Within days time, they changed their mind again and said it will deliver to us if we provide them the mailing address. Again within weeks time, they told us to pay additional RM10 to deliver it to us. This is clearly telling me they are out there to rob us clean. I will vow not to take part in any event under Azmar AB Hamid or Myskillmedia. See the message below from XIRCOLO.

STATEMENT FROM XIRCOLO

Greetings to all riders,

We, XIRCOLO as the event supplier is concerned about what has happened due to the cancellation of the MICR event. Together with the participants, XIRCOLO similarly has incurred a lot of losses in terms of money, manpower, time and other preparations for this event.

After further discussion with MICR Management, few events organisers, cycling experts, event suppliers and some riders, include from Singapore together with XIRCOLO Management, we have agreed to give away the jerseys and medals to the participants with the postage and processing fees.

Please be informed that jerseys and medals distribution is not the work of XIRCOLO the supplier, but base on our sporting spirit, we reluctantly will do so.

Please provide :
1) Name of participant and MICR registration no :
2) Delivery address to :
3) Postage of Rm15/per participant to :
Nurhidayat Ahmad Jalil
Maybank account no : 151605096149
4) Bank payment receipt as proof for the above STRICTLY via
WHATSAPP to hp no : +60137042554
5) a) Only Singapore participants , please contact via WHATSAPP
to hp no : +601126739290 (Eddie)
b) Processing fees S$10/per participant

XIRCOLO will not entertain any queries or claims concerning jerseys and medals pertaining to MICR event after 7 days from the date of this announcement. Parcels processing period will probably take about 14 – 30 days.

Thank you,
XIRCOLO Management
11th November 2016

 

Event: Melaka International Century Ride 2016

The Melaka Century Ride or MCR was organized by Myskillmedia Sdn Bhd and this year was their 3rd year organizing this event. The 1st 2 events were quite successful and routes were quite challenging. This was my 1st time to register for a century ride. I was quite hesitated to enroll as I was quite lazy to train or busy with my schedule but I did enroll due to their reputed event.

The event was supposed to hold on Oct 30th which was just few days ago. But unfortunately, the event was cancelled 5 days prior to the start date. Moreover, there was no refunds given to the participants. This caused an uproar among all the cyclists. There were few police reports being logged to the organizer and I am sure there is nothing the police can do about it. There were fine prints in the enrollment form clearly stated no refunds shall be given back to participants if event is cancelled. The reason they gave was the event cost was not sufficient to cover all expenses. With about 3000 people registered and each person paid RM130 that was RM390,000. Well, with RM390,000 and sponsors still not able to cover the cost? How much profits do they want?

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Though the event was cancelled but they will still ship the jersey and medal to us. What is the point of having the jersey and medal when we did not even ride the route?

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The Myskillmedia is also the organizer for Selangor Plus Century Ride which is on November 27. A lot of my friends were registered for this but fortunately the event money collected by CyclingEvents has yet to distribute back to the organizer. CyclingEvents was deeply regretted with their actions and they are willing to refund to those who had registered for Selangor Plus Century Ride. They will bare all the financial and handling charges also.

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I am sure this event organizer was to gain people trust for first 2 events and by 3rd one, they will just take the money and make a quick buck out of it. This posted me a question on whether I should join any event in future. For sure I won’t be joining anything that is related to Myskillmedia or Azmar Hamid.

Event: CFAL 2016 8th Edition

This was the 8th year they organized this ride and this time the start and end point were different too. This year they held at Youth Park. There are always bound to have good and bad of each event. It is how they pick up and improve or maintain it. The route was longer compared with last year. Based on my Strava tracking, it was increased from 77km to 85km this year.

cfal-2016

Youth Park is a great location and I will say quite sufficient parking spaces for cars. The only setback was the narrow road getting into and out of Youth Park was crazy. Imagine you have thousands of cyclists squeezed in a single car lane before joined to the main road. Also, during the end of the event there were cyclists rode against the traffic on a small 1 way street. This posted danger to other road users too.

As mentioned, they had changed the route for this year. It was not only longer and they were no longer passing through Esplanade as the usual route but passed by Georgetown area. I wasn’t sure if they want to promote the Penang Heritage site but I quite sure they missed out taking Penang traffic into account. You have buses, motorbikes and cars came from all directions. This could be scary scene.

They have improved the water stations area also. This year both the water stations were on the left side, so no one needs to cross the road. As normal, people still complained as they did not provide enough water stations. The 1st water station was at ~35km and 2nd water stations was at 60km. The last station was at end zone where they served food and drinks. I am sure it is hard to please everyone.

Safety wise, this year they did a very good job as they make sure every junctions or traffic lights they have traffic police or RELA (People’s Volunteer Corps) to take care of the traffic. Even we were very slow and near to the cutoff time, they were still there to stop any traffic. I remembered last year we have to take care of our own safety when we reached late.

Overall, I think they have improved a lot this year even with more participants. Kudos! I am not sure will there be another CFAL next year because last year they said were the last and this year they said the same. So, cross your fingers and hope that there will be another CFAL if you do plan to join them. Good luck…

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Travel: Kuching, Sarawak

If you only have a day in Kuching and what can you do? For most Asian, we will find food. Head to Carpenter Street at the old town, you can have a bowl of Kueh Chap. It is basically a mixture of pork intestine, meat and deep fried tofu in an herbal soup. While you are at it, order the famous pork satay too. It sure is delicious. Not many places in West Malaysia can find pork satay and the way of cooking is different also. This place is not difficult to find as the food court is right front of a Chinese temple at Carpenter Street.

IMG_4779 IMG_4780 IMG_4784 IMG_4790 Map

Ok, now you are full. How about a river cruise? There are a few types of river cruise that you can opt for. From a budget sampan to a beautiful boat with meals offered. Of course, we were the adventurous people and we took a small sampan that ferry people across the Sarawak River. It only costs us MYR50 for the whole sampan and a total of 5 persons. It took us about an hour for the whole journey but don’t expect any introductory narrator. Anyway, our purposed was to kill time before our flight. Head to one of the wharf below and you can see many of these sampans.

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The cruise itself… It was all quiet except for the motor on the boat and our laughter.

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Alternatively, you can also opt for this type of river cruise.

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More time to kill? Well, take stroll around the city center or have a cup of drink at Starbuck in the Plaza Merdeka.

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Before ending the day, head to Topspot Food Court for a delicious fresh seafood. We ordered Giant River Prawns (Udang Galah), fried squid, a medium size fish cooked in curry and the famous Paku-Pakis Midin vegetable. And all that, only MYR40 per person. They open at 5pm every day.

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Trail: Gombak to Bentong

To get to Bentong from Gombak, one have to go thru Genting Sempah. This was an old trunk road to Bentong before the 2 lanes Karak Highway was built. The highest elevation here is 654m but actual climb is only 535m from HOA (Hospital Orang Asli). It is spread out to 14.4km distance, so it wasn’t so bad at all.

Gombak - GS

This is not entirely a new route for me and I have blogged about Gombak to Genting Sempah before. This is actually a very nice route as both side of the road is covered with rainforest trees. It is not hot and the road is nicely paved. It is also not a hard climb as the average gradient is about 2-3 degree only. A perfect 1-2 hours ride on your busy weekend. There are 1-2 areas that you might want to get the momentum going to push up the sloop or off saddle pedaling. Other than that, it is an easy ride.

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What’s new for this ride was Genting Sempah to Bentong. This was like interstate riding as we were riding from Selangor to Pahang state and back. Bentong is located in Pahang and it is a border town. From Genting Sempah to Bentong town is another 33km but it is all downhill and flat road. Going back Genting Sempah was not so bad as the average climb was only 1.5 degree gradient and climb for 20km. Though it was hot when we rode back but there were trees cover here and there. Therefore, it was not as bad as Titi ride. The only setback here was the road condition. There were holes and cracks here and there. So, you will have to constantly watch out for the uneven grounds and holes. This can be tiring too as it has too much vibration. The last 500-800m was the hardest to climb. It has around 5-8 degree gradient. If your largest cog is at least 28T then you will be able to pull thru. Or, just stand and pedal.

Bentong - GS

Turning right here is to Janda Baik route but there is no turning require going towards Bentong. Well, at least not until you reach Bentong town.

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You will cruise downhill and along the river. It reminds me of driving in Colorado except that the water in Colorado is clean and clear.

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Also, you will be passing by a waterfall and a hot spring.

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The iconic sign of Bentong. I saw this post in every cyclists Facebook.

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Coming back may be hot but there are trees cover here and there.

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This is the start of the last tortures climb. It may seem easy from here but there are 1-2 stretches that may require hard pedaling.

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While you are at Bentong town, don’t forget to get a refreshing Ice Kacang from Kow Po café just next to Hong Leong Bank. A can of 100 Plus and a small bowl of Ice Kacang with ice cream cost me $6.

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Enjoy your ride.

Is Competition Good or Bad?

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Lately, I have 2 groups of cyclist friends keep talking about fighting each other timing or during rides they would like to test power. Sometimes even a stranger ride along the road will do that also. It can be quite annoying especially if I am not up for any competition. Some were definitely born to be competitors but definitely not me. I ride for health and fun. Of course we all need to be fit enough to ride along with our gang. If not, they will wait for you for too long and eventually they will not include you in the next ride.

I even have friends keep pushing me to join competition and all they care is standing at podium. I know my standard and riding once or twice a week won’t help me to get up on a podium. So, there is no point to compete. But, if they rephrase the wording to join a jamboree is to gain experience, enjoying the crowd or let the adrenaline fill in your blood when everyone is racing, then I may consider. To get on a podium is definitely not my cup of tea.

I feel that a bit of competition is good, so you will know where your standards are. Also, this will give you a gauge to join or not to join a certain group ride. What’s your say?