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.

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Review: Mavic Cosmic Elite S

These wheels came along with my Cervelo bike and it is an entry level of Mavic aero wheels. It is the most affordable range for rider who wants deep profile wheels yet does not have deep pocket. It is priced at USD 600 for full aluminum wheels.

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Specification

Height      : 30mm

Weight     : 1770g (815g/955g; Front/Rear)

Spokes     : 20 on each wheel and steel spokes

Since the height is only 30mm, so it is just a medium profile wheels which are neither good for flat nor bad for climb. So, it is an all rounded wheels. This suits my ride in Penang very well.

The spokes are bladed to have more aerodynamic but probably insignificant for riders who are just enjoying cycling or in training. You probably wouldn’t be using these wheels during the race day.

Weight is 1770g which are not light wheels but that doesn’t make any different on flat. This is also good for heavy rider.

These wheels have all the technology like FTS-L, QRM, SUP and UB control from its more expensive siblings.

The ride

I am neither heavy rider nor light as I weight about 75kg and I have these wheels for 2 months now. It has not been giving me any problem so far as it is still stay true.

As said, these are pretty heavy wheels but on the flat road I feel no different from my previous wheels. It was sprinting pretty well once you have the momentum going on. Ahh… from stop-start, I do feel a bit of lacking power to get it moving. Also, by going up 3 degree gradient hill it is slightly slower than my previous wheels. I am not sure if 1-2km/h slower has any significant value for you if it is during training. Actually, during training heavier wheels are good for your legs as during the race day you will fly with the lighter wheels.

Does it really flex? I would say it is pretty stiff as I was observing it again yesterday during my ride and I can see it slightly closing to my brake pads during a steep climb and out of my saddle. So, it is not that bad at all.

The wheels come with Yksion Comp tires and it is highly recommended changing it out. I had flat tires in 2 consecutive weeks. I got frustrated and changed it to Continental.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a pair of good and reasonable price training wheels for your bike, then these are the wheels that you want to get. Or you can add a little bit more for American Classic 420 Aero 3 wheels.

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Review: 2014 Cervelo S3

Finally, the wait is over… I am blogging this beauty machine from Cervelo. It is Cervelo S3 and it is an aero road bike.

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I got my bike just a day before Christmas. So, it was the best Christmas present I ever got for myself and am really happy about it. The design and the color of the Cervelo S3 is definitely a head turner. People will stare and some will stop and ask about the bike. This is a 2nd Cervelo bike I owned. The 1st was Cervelo Team Soloist which I have blogged about earlier. This time round, I got the carbon frame and my 1st carbon bike after having or had the other 3 bikes.

Nowadays companies are trying to maximize their profit by making a full range of bikes or either they are cash rich. Cervelo is one of the few that are still concentrating on road, tri and time trial bike. To maximize the profit, the bike is Made in China.

Bike Specification

Frame:       Cervelo S3 Carbon

Fork:           Cervelo FK42

Groupset:   Shimano Ultegra 6800 11spd (except crank)

Crankset:    Rotor 3DF BBright 52/36

Bottom bracket: Rotor PF-30

Cassette:    11speed, 11-25

Seatpost:    Cervelo Carbon, Aero

Handlebar:  3T Ergonova Pro

Stem:          3T ARX Pro

Saddle:       fi’zi:k Antares

Wheels:      Mavic Cosmic Elite S

Tires:          Mavic Yksion Comp

Weight:      7.3kg (51cm) without pedal

Bike Components

This bike is a total redesigned for 2014 model. They maintained the aero frame for the front and incorporated the R-series for the rear. As can be seen in the pic below, the seat stay is copied from the R-series which provides a better comfort and ride quality.

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The bottom bracket has been redesign based on BBright technology which they developed and make it as open standard.  They make the non-drive side 11mm larger than the other side and this oversize effect making the frame stiffer and lighter.

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The bike comes with almost a full Ultegra groupset except for the crankset and BB. So, taking off the crankset, the groupset weights about 1.5kg. The total weight of this bike with pedals and 1 bottle cage is 7.52kg only. The weight mainly contributed by the heavier wheels which is 1770g for a pair without tires and tube.

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This set of wheels is slightly heavier than my previous American Classic 420 Aero 3 by 250g. Is it that significant? I don’t believe so on the flat but I felt there is a flex when I was going uphill and out from my saddle.

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This bike is able to take 25mm tires but when I put in the Continental GP 4000s II, there isn’t much clearance between the tire and seat tube. I wrote to Cervelo and asked if 25mm tires can be put and the answer was can but not Continental tires. 😦 Judge for yourself if you think 3-4mm is sufficient (the seat tube is curve inside).

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But it has a lot of rooms for 25mm at the front (the pics below are with 23mm tire).

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The Cervelo S2 and S3 are having the same frame except for the fork and the components used. The S3 fork is slightly thicker and larger which translate to a stiffer fork for better climbing. The components for S3 are better and lighter also.

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Cervelo has been using or partnering with 3T for many years. The dropbar and stem used are 3T Ergonova Pro and ARX-Pro. Both are aluminium and weighs about 265g for the dropbar and 140g for the stem respectively.

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All the cables are internal routed which are nicely hidden as in my previous Soloist. I read in the forum that some folks can even hide their Di2 battery pack.

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The Ride

The bike geometry of this bike and my Team Soloist has changed even with the same size I got. The more significant changes are the chain stays length. It has increased from 399mm to 406mm but that didn’t slow me down a bit. I will explain a little bit more later. The longer chain stays does provide a better ride quality for me. The Stack and Headtube length has increased 8mm respectively. So, it is more upright sitting (if you still have spacer). I feel these changes are providing a more comfort ride especially we are not getting any younger, so a more comfortable bike to ride now. If you are coming from an old S2/S3, you may want to do a bike fit 1st before getting the bike since they have different geometry now.

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Ok, why I said the longer chain stays didn’t slow me down a bit. For those of you who follow my Strava; you can notice there is a stretch of straight and flat road in Penang and it is about 900m long. It is called the Teluk Bahang Sprint. On my old bike I can only do ~37-39 km/h for about 400-500m of that stretch only. With the new S3, I was surprised that I did a 45-47km/h and spin for ~800m long before I am all out. Also, I have reached a top speed of 51km/h. Yet, better still was a recovery ride for me after I got a motorbike accident.

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Headwind? Not a problem with this bike. Seriously, when I rode at Teluk Bahang Sprint with strong headwinds, I can still sprint. The only thing held me back was my legs. Wish I can ask them to shut up. 🙂

As mentioned, the bike is very comfortable that I was still fresh after I rode for 130km and able to go for a swim with my daughter on a same day. With my Team Soloist, I won’t be able to do that even with 120km ride as my hands were numbed, legs were tired and body sored. So far this is the best bike I rode comparing with Cervelo Team Soloist and Boardman’s Team Carbon.

Coming from compact crankset to 52-36 chainrings, I find them slightly more effort is needed but not the end of the world. I have yet to try the steepest hill in Penang but it was manageable with the 2 smaller hills here.

The only thing that this bike is lacking of is climbing. It is not the best climbing bike I rode. I have tried the BH Ultralight and it is really able to climb like a mountain goat. The 2nd best I will go for is Boardman’s Team. The S3 does need to take a bit of extra efforts even with the lighter frame than Boardman. That could be probably due to the chainrings as well.

Cons

Ahh… the most heard complain is the bottom bracket. Somehow, it was noticeable in every S series bikes and you can read it a lot in the forum. The “tuck tuck” sounds can be very annoying especially you are riding alone and in the woods. The sound can be heard only when you are exerting force onto the crank especially when going uphill. During the flat road it remains very quiet. I wasn’t that upset because I already expected this before I bought the bike. Some were recommending putting Loctite or changing to ceramic bearing to solve it. So, it is not unsolvable but I just ignore it for now.

The wheels come with the Yksion Comp tires. I would strongly recommend that you change out the tires to any brand but this. I had 2 punctures within a week time and both times were caused by a small sharp rock that protruded inside the tire. I would understand if this is an old tire but I just had 370km on it only. I finally gave up on this tire and changed to Continental GP4000 SII 23mm.

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Conclusion

This is definitely a very fast bike and if you have pair strong legs, this baby will fly. The bike is stiff enough for sprinting yet it is comfortable like you are riding a HT MTB on a road with wide tires. It can be a good bike for triathletes as you need the energy for the run after you have biked.

Lastly, if you like getting the attention, then this bike is definitely for you. Enjoy…

Travel: Bike Browsing and Riding in Kuala Lumpur (KL)

Last weekend was a long weekend with 4 days off. It was Hari Raya Aidilfitri holiday. So, 5 of us from Penang drove down to KL to ride in Bukit Kiara. For me it was bike browsing, riding and taking pictures for my blogging.

The 1st day in KL was just bike browsing. KL is the place where you want to do your bike shopping. You can pretty much find all the brands here from low end bike to a top end brand like Pinarello, Cipollini, Cervelo, Santa Cruz, Niner and many more. My 1st stop was Pedal Spot which mainly carries Merida, Cipollini and others. Next stop was KSH which carries the big brands like Santa Cruz, Niner, Kuota and they just happened to carry a few of the Cervelo bikes too which I was hoping for more. My last and longest stop was Bike Houz. It is the sole distributor for Cervelo bikes in Malaysia. I tell you that I can spend hours and hours over there drooling and admiring the bikes. My favorite is the S3 aero bike which reminds me of my S1 that I sold off.

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Day 2… was a riding day for me. In the morning we had a ride in Bukit Kiara. I just couldn’t get enough from it at all. It was pretty much off road all the way except some minimal tar road riding. This time we covered more trails than my last visit. I just want to ride as much as I can before the trails are gone for development. 😦 Part of the Office Trail is already made way for car park which is a sad state. The additional routes we took this round were the Eden, Boulder Down, Wasteland and Flintstones. The excitement of going down Flintstones can pump up your heartbeat to double. The trail was basically covers with rocks. Sorry no pics this time as I was concentrating hard not to fall. With this additional routes, gave us another 6km more than my last ride. Here is a short video clip my friend helped us to record. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqlR-B7gAXc&feature=youtu.be

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In the evening I went for leisure ride at Putrajaya again but this time I cycle around the lake. The total distance is about 18km with +/- some distance that we rode around the government buildings. But this ride gave me a different view of the city. By riding around the lake, I managed to see the magnificent bridges and another big mosque (Masjid Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin) which I didn’t know of its existence. Also, there are some very nice houses by the lake. This place was really worth the riding or jog in the evening. I will definitely come back again for more pics.

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Day 3 was my last day in KL and I was supposed to ride with my friends in Bukit Kiara again but I was just too tired. I had 4 hours of sleep only for the past 2 days and one of the days we got lost just because of Waze (supposed to help us but it didn’t).

I think I got hooked by the trails in Bkt Kiara. I am just not sure when I can go back there and ride again. Wish it is soon…

Parting my Cervelo

Well, it was a sad moment to part away my Cervelo S1 bike. I got the bike last October with just the frame only and slowly built up the bike to a race condition. Though the bike may have given me sore muscle, backache and stiff neck but it has made me stronger each day. I started to build up mileage, getting faster and faster each time and ultimately gave me a great satisfaction. I can even catch up my fellow friends on carbon bike. Thank goodness of it’s aero frame, medium profile rims and light weight bike (7.7kg). Sadly, I have to give up the bike due to some personal reasons. I do hope that 1 day, 1 fine day I am able to get back on a new carbon Cervelo bike.

With this bike I was able to break another record since I started cycling. The most mileage I have ever ridden in a month – 500km.

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Finally, I have to give up the bike yesterday to a new owner (btw, the Maserati car does not belong to him. It just happened to park there). Hope that he will enjoy the bike as I do.

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Review: Cervelo Soloist Team – S1

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Well, I never come to think that I will own a road bike. I have been riding my MTB for >1 year and still loving it until my boss tempt me with his Cervelo S1. It was a deal too good to pass.

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Cervelo is a company up in Canada and they are very famous with the race bike, tri and time trial (TT) bike. What I have is the very last aluminum bike rolls out for Cervelo S series. They are no longer building this bike in aluminum frame. Err… why aluminum? Well, I don’t want to spend tons of money for my 2nd bike yet it can deliver the power that I wanted.

It took me quite a while before taking up the offer. I have read a lot of the review and mostly all are very positive. Every single one commented that this is a very fast bike and light (some claimed 6.7kg). Of course, it has downside too.

The bike came in unassembled and I have to put it up all by my own. I am gladded that I did as I appreciate the bike more and I know the build of the bike better. All the parts passed down to me were new which never been used (all nicely packed in the boxes) except for the frame which he claimed it was used for 5 times only. And, I believe in him because he has like >15 road bikes either just the frame only or assembled.

These are the bike spec:-

Cervelo Team Soloist (S1) aluminum frame

Cervelo Carbon Aero Seatpost

SRAM Rival Groupset

SRAM Red Chain

American Classic 420 Aero3 (medium profile – 34mm)

Continental GP4000s tires

Time Xpresso4 Pedal

Tioga Saddle

FSA Drop Bar and Stem

Trigon RC28S Full Carbon Fork

I would say this is a very light bike. I managed to get the weight down to 7.72kg for an aluminum bike with pedals and bottle cages! This is an almost all aluminum bike except for the fork and seatpost. I believe I can shed off another couple more hundreds grams but that would means more money to throw in.

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The beauty of this bike is it can perform as race bike or TT bike by rotating its seatpost head. The angle of the seat tube immediately changes from 73 degree to 76 degree for the TT bike setup.

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The S1 has internal cables routing for both the derailleurs and the rear brake. Normally for an aluminum frame, you don’t see them.

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The Ride

Ok, I have to admit the 1st ride was terrible but not because of the bike. It was the setting I had it all wrong. Coming from MTB rider, I needed time to accustom to it (you can read my blog about Riding a Road Bike). After made all the necessary adjustment, I began to love the bike more and more. I have been going longer distance from 60km to 80km to 110km.

The bike frame is built with Aero down tube and short chainstay (to be exact it is 399cm for a 51cm bike). On a flat road, this bike can take me on an average speed of ~39km/h and I can say that I am not a strong rider. The aero frame and 34mm profile rim did definitely help a lot during the sprinting. There were a few times I got up from my saddle and started to sprint the speed just took off just like I had a jetpack.

Comfort? I would say this is very personal feel. In a forum, there were some people complained that it was too hard on an rough surface but I find it acceptable especially with the Trigon full carbon fork.

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The only weakness I see in this bike is going uphill. I have tested with carbon bikes, this bike lacks of power when going uphill. Again, that could be due to the 34mm med profile rim that I have and I may not be the strongest rider out there.

Lastly, the thing that annoys me is the internal cabling sound when I go thru an uneven road or turning a corner. It makes a lot of rattling noises. I probably need to redo internal cabling and put more donuts. That should solve my problem.

Bike Components

Well, SRAM groupset is very famous for 1 thing. Light weight! The Rival groupset is at least few hundreds gram lighter than it’s widely known competitor.

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It has a compact crank and the rear cog is 12-25. In this setting, it will gets you going real fast on a flat road.

The SRAM shifting is using Double Tap meaning up and down shift is using the same stick. By lightly tap, it is up shift for the rear cog and to down shift slightly pressed harder and inwards. It allows rapid shifting too by pressing all the way in.

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I have not ridden a bike with Shimano 105 long enough to make any comparison comments. But, I would say the gear shifting is not as smooth as Shimano Ultegra but that again is not a fair comparison.

Getting in and out from the Time Xpresso4 pedal is so easy that you can’t imagine. Before using Time, I used Look pedal and I always have to look before clip on but not on Time. Also, slight twist it disengaged easily.

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Conclusion

If I have to buy another road bike, it will definitely be aero frame. It is fast, light and agile. And, if $ is not a problem, I will get back a Cervelo bike. I really like their design, geometry and responsiveness.

Update

I just got myself a Cervelo S3 recently. Read on by clicking to this link – Cervelo S3.