Review: How Hard or Easy To Change Bar Tape

I believe this question is lingering in some of our mind. How hard or easy to change a bar tape of our roadie. Before I begin, I wasn’t confident to do this at all. Thinking, what if the bar tape comes off during my ride or I wrapped it wrongly. Luckily we are leaving in the internet age. 1st thing I did is to watch YouTube on how to do it. I did struggle a bit on the 1st wrap. I had to run back and forth from my PC and bike to make sure I got it right. It was pretty easy when wrapping the drop bar but it gets harder when during the turn at the shifter. Once you get it, is pretty easy. The other side takes much shorter time.

So, is it easy? No, as it took me 2 hours to wrap 2 sides but I am happy and satisfied I did this on my own. It may not be nice but it is practical. Try to get a single color and no wording on a tape as it helps a lot. I got the Fizik Tape Performance 3mm Thick. Yesterday was my 1st tried and I love the feeling. It has good grip, soft and comfortable.

Good luck and have fun!

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Review: Supacaz Grip for MTB

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This is the 3rd grip that I have used for my MTB. The 1st was the Specialized SIP Locking Grips that comes with my bike which I have used it for more than 2 years. Then I got another grip from online store in China which it lasted for 1-2 months only. Then, my friend introduced me to Supacaz grip which I felt in love with it until now. Supacaz was founded by a group of cyclists in California. I would said they have a very good engineering.

The rubber compound is soft and sticky to hold with or without your gloves. My hands can be all sweaty and yet I can still get a good grip on my handlebar. Previously when I used the Specialized grip, my hands tend to numb especially long ride and slipped off when it was wet. With Supazaz I hardly have that problem anymore. I have a full control of my bike all the time.

They have very striking colors because most of them are neon colors. Of course, they have black too if you prefer the conventional way. I had the neon green not because I like it but they are clearing stocks. For MYR4x, I can get a pair of comfortable grips. The retail price in US is USD25.

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Do apologize for the dirty grips but that shows I have used long enough to blog this. 😛 (hahaha)

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I will definitely use this again next time. Also, I will try their roadbike bar tape too. There are 2 shops that carry this brand in Penang and they are Pro Cyclist (PC) 04-827 7811 & BMC 04-656 5001. I got mine from PC.

Review: BONT Roadbike Shoe (Update)

Sigh… the strap broke again and this time is the other side of the shoe. It really doesn’t last very long and I hardly wear them. The replacement kit is not cheap. A pair cost MYR80 and that was a year to 2 ago. The listed price in online store now is USD25 excluding shipping and handling. With that kind of price, it gives me a reason to look for a new pair of shoe. So far I haven’t found a pair that suits my super wide feet. I tried Northwave before but they are no longer carry in KSH, Penang anymore. So, I have no idea where to get them now.

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BONT shoe is stiff and it should be very comfortable for those with narrow feet. Definitely it is not the shoe for me. That will be my last pair of BONT shoe unless I am a sponsored rider. Then, it is another different story. 🙂

Review: Bike Service at Faizal Dreamwerkz

Hmm… let me get a break from blogging my Taiwan trip. Let’s talk about bicycle. About a month ago I had my bike sent for fork service as I have not done anything to it for 3 years. As far as I know there is only 1 guy in Penang who does all the fork service regardless of what brand that you may have. His name is Faizal and used to work for Specialized shop in Penang. He was the local mechanic for Team Mtn Qhubeka when they were here to race in Tour de Langkawi.

There were 3 things I wanted him to do and they were fork service, adjust my RD as it was bent due to crash and suspected headset problem. I have tighten the headset nut and yet still have movement. I left my bike with him before Christmas and it was not done not until Jan 13. The delays were due he caught a dengue fever, he was traveling to KL and wrongly service my bike. All the things I wanted him to do was not done instead he cleaned my bike and changed my BB as the bearings were worn out. So, I had to wait for another couple of days to get my fork serviced. Luckily I sent my fork for service as one of the rubber seal was damaged and the air leaked to the bottom shaft of my fork. No wonder my fork was quite hard when I went off road. He rebuilt my fork with all the parts from Racing Bros and it has 1 month warranty for any oil leaking.

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Parts replaced.

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My total damaged were RM400.

  • Fork rebuilt – RM280
  • BB – RM90
  • Gear setting – RM30
  • Service – Free? Probably he acknowledge that it was his problem or probably added partially to the gear setting?

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His overall service was very satisfied and I am a very happy customer. If you have only 1 bike to ride or there is a race coming, my only advice to you is to make an appointment with him and make sure he has the time to do it for you.

He can be contacted at 019-571 2866, Faizal.

Review: Garmin Fenix 3 Watch

Finally I got myself a GPS sport watch that comes with heart rate monitor (HRM). I got this watch from Lazada.com.my during a promotion. The watch is priced at RM1945 but there is a cash back reward from Lazada with RM200 with any purchase that is more than RM1000. The watch comes with 2 years warranty given by local manufacturer but one have to be careful as some sellers do not have any warranty provided. Those sellers would normally price their products RM200-300 cheaper than others. The delivery was very fast as it took 3 days only.

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There were a few reasons why I wanted this watch for long time already. One of the main reason was I wanted to monitor my heart rate (HR) especially I nearly fainted when I overdone it one time at Penang Hill. The other reason was I don’t want to drain or get my hand phone wet when I bring it out to ride during a gloomy day. Previously I used my phone as my tracking device as I installed the Strava apps into my phone. Lastly as a watch function which all my other watches has given up on me.

But, now I am using the HRM for a different purpose. I use it for training and trying to hit 90-95% of heart rate zone for at least once a week riding. Since then, my past few ridings I have been keep hitting 90-95% zone all the time. Also, I use it to monitor my average HR for maintaining my stamina.

I don’t feel the watch is bulky or heavy but its present is definitely there. I don’t feel the uncomfortable for day to day wear too.

Pairing the watch with your iPhone can be tricky. The manual doesn’t teach you that you have to install the Garmin Connect from App Store and you cannot find the device in your iPhone Bluetooth page. This is not the problem if you are using Samsung phone but not all Android phone too. Some Android phones also faced the same thing as iPhone. So, remember to install the app before using.

The battery life can last long too. It can last me ~2 weeks if I am not on any activities except for Steps count. Or it can last me more than a week if I ride twice a week with about 6 hours on the road and HRM and GPS on. With that I still have about 30+% left.

So far I am still using all the basic functions like Bike, Running, HRM, Altimeter, Temperature, Recovery time and watch function. So, I can’t comment much but if you would like to learn more about this watch you can read it from dcrainmaker.  He has done a very comprehensive write up not only to this watch but all other sport watches.

What I find it fascinating is the watch functions has a interchangeable watch face. I can customize it to look like analog watch or digital watch. I am sure Suunto Ambit 4 will probably follow suits. The pic on the right is with the back light on. The thing that lacks of is to change the date of your watch. You will need to sync with GPS to update the date or set your watch to automatically set date and time.

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I haven’t got the chance to try out more about this watch but I like this watch very much.

Review: Shimano CE-S40RS Sunglasses

I am wearing prescription glasses so getting a sunglasses is quite a troublesome for me until I find this pair from Shimano. I have friends got other brands that prescription glasses stick to the sunglasses and some of them complaint about the dizziness as it is curved according to the sunglasses. Shimano sunglasses are different from others as the prescription glasses is a clip-on. The clip-on actually do support a number of Shimano models. So, when you are bored with the sunglasses, you can change it anytime without changing your prescription glasses.

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Opening up from the box, it comes with a hard and soft casing and 2 pieces of glasses – clear and dark. So far I only use the dark glasses. It works fine in early morning and even better under the hot sun. Of course, the glasses are not as good as those polarized lens but it just works for me. Also, I find it very stylist and it fits my features. Lastly, it is cheap as I got it from CyclingExpress for <Rm200 and the Shimano prescription frame for <RM60.

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Yes, I would recommend to anyone who is in tight budget or doesn’t want to spend that much for a sunglasses.

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Review: Rear Bicycle Light

Recently I just bought a rear light for my road bike and it is 100 lumens brightness. It is something very similar to Moon brand but this is China made Comet brand. I got it from Aliexpress for <USD9 and it sure is worth it. The only problem getting it from Aliexpress is the delivery is slow if you are utilizing the free postage.

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There is no way you can differentiate the Moon and Comet brand. Both look the same and functionality is same too except for the pricing and the mounting bracket. Moon comes with additional saddle mounting which Comet does not have.

As mentioned, the brightness for this light is 100 lumens and I can tell you it is very bright at night and it can light up a dark room too. The light is running on rechargeable battery and they do provide a USB cable for charging. It has 2 settings and each setting has 3 different brightness or different speed for the flashing.

The brightness can adjust to 25%, 50% or 100% but I don’t use this function. I mainly use the flashing lights for battery saving and don’t want to irritate the drivers eyes which can cause more problem to me. In flashing mode, it has 3 settings also – slow, medium and fast flashing. My preference is medium flashing.

Since it is so cheap, you must be thinking surely there is a flaw. Well, it does. The mounting bracket they provided cannot fit onto my aero seat tube. The cable they provided is not long enough. Also, when I tried to put it on my seat stay it was too lose. I had to put another piece of rubber to fit onto my seat stay. Other than this, I am very happy about it.

Yes, I would recommend this light to anyone who is using conventional seat tube or you don’t mind to improvise the fitting.

Review: Bike Accessories Shop

Lately there is booming of bike shops in Penang. I guessed there are more and more people starting to cycle here. This is quite true comparing 3 years ago when I started cycling as there aren’t many cyclists on the road. Nowadays, you can see them everywhere and anytime. Also, motorists are more aware of their present.

So, which shop to go since there are so many of them? I am sure each of you in Penang has your own favorite shops to go. Me? I shop for best deal or parts availability. Of course, service is important too. Lately, I have been to 3 shops to either get my bike serviced or purchased parts. Let me do a review for each of these shops.

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Lately I got few things from their shop such as tires, skewer, 180mm disc rotor, disc brake adaptor and power gel. The shop is run by 2 partners, Mr. Lim and Mr. Tan. Mr. Lim is the technical guy who mainly does all the bike services.

I am very careful when comes to spending and I notice this shop their prices are quite reasonable. Like some of the stuff I bought is ~3-6% cheaper than majority of the shops in Penang.

Not only am I happy about the pricing but the service I got. They helped me to install the disc rotor on my bike and fortunately they did. The rotor somehow was bent partially and it kept rubbing the pads when installed with my Magura’s brake. It took them hours to troubleshoot it and finally told me they have to order another piece to replace this one. And, this time they ordered the color that I wanted. Unfortunately, the rubbing still happens even with the new rotor. I guessed I am not in luck with Brakco rotor. 😦

They do carry quite a number of branded stuffs like Maxxis, 3T, Cateye, Shimano and Selle Italla. The other 1/2 of the items you can see here are online purchase from China.

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I would definitely come back to this shop for more purchase.

Address: No 609K, Jalan Balik Pulau 11500 Air Itam, Penang

Phone: 012-586 7307 or 016-556 6847

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Bikerz Depot

This is another shop opens not long ago and they are the distributor for Wheeler and Author bikes in Penang. These are the European brands but the brands are not moving well here.

I am not going to say anything about the bike here as I am going to write about the accessories they carry. They carry lots of Brakco disc rotor and many other accessories. They are not the cheapest but I will say quite reasonable comparing with many other places. They have torque wrench, bike working stand, bicycle rack and many more. You ought to come here and see for yourself.

I bought a Maxxis Crossmark from them and a bottle of mineral oil for my brake. Their pricing is about 10% more than most shops. I am just happened to be around that area and I need it urgently.

Good selection of products but bit pricy. The owner is very helpful and able to converse in English very well.

Address: Jalan Trengganu, 10460 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Phone: 04-283 3407

H&H

This is another place I have blogged about them weeks ago and you can find the link here.

These are shops that pops out past few months or past year except for H&H. If you happen to find a better shop or pricing, do let me know and I can start to explore.

Review: MTB Hydraulic Brake Service

It has been awhile my MTB had a brake issue. Somehow the brake fluid was leaking thru somewhere and left me with no brakes. Not many people in Penang know how to service or have the tools to service the Magura brakes. Most of them know how to service Shimano, Tektro and Sram Avid only.

As far as I know, there are only 2 shops in Penang Island that know how to do this job. They are Specialized and H&H Cycle. The reason being so is because Specialized and Cannondale higher end bikes use Magura brakes. I tried to service the brake on my own but I could not find anyone who sells the bleeding kit. So, I have no choice but to send to H&H Cyle for service. Why H&H? Well, my last service in another shop almost got me killed. The chief mechanic wasn’t the person who performed the bleeding but another person. My brake pads were oiled and the brake wasn’t filled up properly. The brakes were softening after a few rides which didn’t serve me any good.

So, this time I gave it a tried to H&H Cycle to service the brake. I find the owner very pleasant and helpful and I got my brake serviced within a few hours. It was cleaned, filled and feel right when I applied the brakes. Well, the 1st few braking was making noises as he sprayed some cleaning device on the pads. Once the pads were bedded the noises were gone. I felt more confident when I did a downhill at Mt Erskine on the same afternoon.

How much does it cost? RM40. This is pretty much standard cost here unless you do it on your own. Let me use it for a while and I will update here again. Stay tune…

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H&H Cycles

1-1-26, Tingkat Mahsuri,

Bayan Lepas, Penang

Tel: 019-448-5839

Review: Specialized Sierra Women Helmet

This is a 2nd helmet that I got for my daughter. The 1st was not much of a protection. The reason I must have this for her was because she has started to ride on a road and no longer riding around my apartment. Also, as she changes her bike to a bigger size so does the speed. We have looked around for children helmet in Penang and none that suits her head or not enough protections. Most of the children helmets selling in Penang are toy helmets that come from China. This is not something that worried parents would want.

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Until we came to Specialized shop and saw this helmet. This is actually a women specific helmet for a few reasons. It is 1 size system based on women’s head sizing. Layman’s term is 1 size fits all. This is quite true as I put on the helmet for my daughter, it stay fits. It doesn’t move from side to side or front to back.

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Second selling point to this helmet is Ponytail-ready HairPort SX fix system. This is also important to her as she keeps long hair and her ponytail can easily get thru between the mirco-adjustable dial and helmet.

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The Tri-Fix design comes in very handy for me and her. Her 1st helmet I have to make the adjustment on the straps from now and then, just to keep it fit. Now, it is trouble free for both of us.

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The 2 fingers Headset Dial can easily adjusted by her. Basically, she can put on the helmet all by herself without me helping at all. But, it is always recommended to check on them occasionally especially the younger ones.

As mentioned in my previous blog that Malaysia weather is superhot and humid. Good ventilation is very important. This helmet has 24 vents to cool down the head which I find it quite effective after a long ride. I noticed my daughter’s head is not soaking wet comparing with her 1st helmet.

Is ~280g heavy? Well, I don’t hear my daughter complaining about her neck after an hour ride or more. I guess, this is very subjective manner too.

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Again, the safety features are same as my Specialized helmet. It covers all these:- CPSC, SNELL B90A, CE and AS/NZS.

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I really can’t find fault with this helmet besides all the good only.