akmal's bike park

akmal's bike park

Friday 27 August 2010

Cool Solo

I went to the LBS in Johor Jaya a couple of days ago for an (ehm ehm) 'upgrade' to the RTW Machine. Okay, Johor Jaya is not really that 'local' to Seri Alam. The shop owner, a young Kennt Ho brings in quite a good array of quality products. Among others: Trek (bikes and helmets), Gary Fisher, Kali, Topeak, Camelbak, Saris. I admire his tool board, too - a spread of Park Tools. My kind of stuff.
I saw this small plastic thing with straps perched atop a cabinet in the small shop - it's a Saris Solo. I've seen its siblings Bones 2-Bike and 3-Bike on the rears of a few Singaporean cars and in KL too, but that's the first time I've seen the Solo. And held it in my hands.
Designed for a single bike mounted on the car rear (max 35 lbs or 15.9 kg) , it appears 'questionable' due to being lightweight (close to 1 kg), largely because of its material. To quote from Saris' website: "100% recyclable, non-rusting materials". Basically it's plastic, some rubber material for the car/rack interface and nylon straps. It is small in size, too. Well, I don't have its exact size and footprint, but it's handy compared to my Cap Ayam steel rear rack.
I'm a bit skeptical on it's ability to hold the bike. Well, lightweight and sturdiness may not come together, unless the design is really optimised and engineered well. Plus, it's a rear mount rack, and that doesn't aid in gaining the confidence, for me at least. Also, it has only top and bottom secure straps. No straps for lateral security, and that worries me a bit especially for when the car is taking a corner. However, it is backed by a limited lifetime warranty. It warrants to the original consumer to be free from defects in materials and workmanship. Well, at least it offers some warranty compared to a Cap Ayam one.
Kennt told me that it is suitable for a short trip with car speed of around 80 to 90 km/h. Well, looks like it fits my criteria. Small size and lightweight. No moving parts - easily stowed in my small storeroom and quick mount on the car too. Looks simple, elegant and cool. Has lifetime warranty. Has no moving parts, except for the straps need to be tightened.
I use my Cap Ayam rack on the rear of a Proton Saga BLM, only occasionally because I usually would pedal to the RV point for weekend offroad rides. Most of the time it sits idle in the storeroom, or on a short loan to a friend. This might be suitable for me, on short trips around JB but definitely not on PLUS highway.
The price? RM200 at Kennt's shop. It is more expensive than the Cap Ayam ones (circa RM150), being able to carry only 1 instead of 2 or 3. It's an inexpensive solution compared to a Thule roof rack system which would cost me 10 times more. Anyway, that's not a really fair comparison with Thule for it's a different system altogether. What I'm saying is that it would work for me, but perhaps with a tweak with the lateral secure strap hacked from the Cap Ayam rack.
Will I get it? Hmm... not sure yet. The reviews on it are not so strong.
Anybody else has experience with it?
More reviews here:
images taken from Saris and REI websites

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Weight and Reaction

In physics,
weight (F) = mass (m) x gravitational acceleration (a)
expressed in unit kgm/s²
(F) is in Newton
(m) is in kg, this is what we usually we refer to as layman's 'weight'
(a) is 9.81 m/s², a constant
As my physics teacher cautioned, do not attempt to bring this terminology to the wet market when you're buying fish, meat, etc.
For ease of discussion, I'll use the terms
'weight' when I actually mean to say 'mass', and
'force' when I actually mean to say 'weight'.
I often heard the notion that you don't have to spend your $ on lightweight parts for your bike, but instead just lose your body weight, or pack your hydration bag light. Basically, to make lower the rider's weight and/or anything clinging on the rider.
In physics, this would only mean that the total weight that reacts on the ground (bike + rider + paraphernalia) is lighter than it would.
However, in the case of rider cranking the bike, that's a different scenario. The force needed to be exerted to the pedal is still high, due to the bike's weight.
So, if you empty your hydration bag, or lose your body weight, the reaction force is only reduced to the saddle (most of it), pedals and handlebars - the points where the rider + paraphernalia are supported. You still have a heavy bike to crank uphill, to push uphill during those steep (and/or long) climbs, or to carry on your shoulders (should you need to) during hike-a-bike.
While it might be nice to pack light, and a good thing if you're losing weight, those do not have anything to do with reducing your effort on a heavy bike, especially while riding uphill.
However, do not be discouraged to lose weight by riding a bicycle. You'll enjoy better health, toned body (especially sexier butt) and probably would gain more muscle mass. Or is it muscle weight? Whatever.

Tuesday 24 August 2010

I Wanna Ride!

Today's the 14th day of Ramadhan and my rides are limited to 3 RTWs so far. Oh, and the short ride with Umar a few days ago.
I gave a miss the offroad night ride last Saturday in Plentong due to time constraint and (ehm) overfilling of the gut after a breaking of fast get-together at Naza's colleague's place. So far, I've never joined any on-road NRs, unlike the previous years.
It'll be a few more weeks before I could hit the trails. Perhaps the first ride in Syawal would be on Sunday 19th Sept. That's 10th Syawal. Or... it could be as early as 7th Syawal which falls on Thu 16th Sept - Malaysia Day! Amacam, Panjang? On on?
Meanwhile, I'm browsing my old ride photos collection, and enjoy the ride back home this evening.
Images | Breaking Rule Number One
There is an unwritten rule that mountain biking photos have to have a rider in the shot. Peruse the pages of any Mountain Bike Action and you'll find we stick by that rule. Except for today. Today is break-the-rider-rule day, because while there are no riders in these photos, try to look at them without getting the uncontrollable urge to throw on your hydration pack and hit the trail.
page and text from Mountain Bike Action December 2009, p.14

Sunday 22 August 2010

Umar Rides

I finally installed the baby carrier yesterday, and Umar had his first taste of free wind, riding with me in front of the house. Just a few short laps.
Hehe... I'm the one with the big grin, actually.

Well, after this the whole family could ride together around the housing area and the lake in front of Teratak Seri Alam.

photos by Marsya

Saturday 14 August 2010

RTW Machine - photos

Photos taken during assembly of my RTW Machine.
You can viem them here.
Have a good weekend, y'all!
Ramadhan Kareem.

Thursday 12 August 2010

RTW 12.08.2010 - RTW Machine First Ride

I went out as quickly as I can this morning, but not in a hurry. This is only the second time I'm going out at 6.45 am (frist one was in January). It's fasting month, and I didn't want to exert much energy this morning. Indeed, I was slow on the road. It took me 42 minutes door-to-door. That's waay much slower than my knobby ride on Monday.
Alhamdulillah the ride was breezy, and I enjoyed the spectacle of the early morning cloud with reddish sunray gleaming through.
How does my RTW Machine ride feels? Well, can't tell much. There were numerous times along the way when I felt the urge to rip the tarmac, just to see how fast I can go with it. Albeit, they were left being ignored due to the riding mode I set for this morning (and perhaps for the whole Ramadhan).
I guess it'll be quite fast, with the lightweight setup comprising of weight reducing parts i.e. rigid fork, v-brakes and wheelsets. The Panaracer RiBMo slick tires and 28/36/48T FSA crankset is sure to make it a fast bike - only if I have the power, that is :)
I'm getting quite acquainted with the feel of riding a rigid bike. The blending-in was done through my riding the EPX Hollowpoint equipped with lockable fork. However, small bumps were still being taken care of with the Revelation. For this rigid aluminium alloy, my arms are shaken but still it's not bad at all. It's not like I've never ridden rigid bikes, but it's been quite some time already.
I arrived at the office door at 7.27 am. Considered quite early than usual. I like it. Hopefully will be able to gauge this ride with a 'normal' one. After Hari Raya Aidilfitri, perhaps. Will let y'all know insyaAllah.
Have a blessed Ramadhan.
Thanks for dropping by.
Stats today:
Out from home


Arrive office




Ride time


Distance 20.2  km
Ave. speed 12.55  km/h
Max speed 35.5  km/h
Odometer 4926.5  km
Good doggies 1  


 ultra relaxed, EARLY!

My Lean RTW Machine

*cue drumroll...
Introducing my RTW Machine. Just lean; not mean, and certainly no gleam, save for the rigid fork.
Yeap, I'm going rigid. This is built with RTW, and possibly touring in mind. However, I'm still hunting for suitable (read: cheap) frame for the purpose. For the time being, it's a thrift build. The intent is also to make it a reasonably light and fast machine. By that, 'reasonable' is strictly not burning a hole in my pocket. Hence, I've collected parts for a few months - mostly secondhands in good condition, and also parts lying idle in my storeroom. The final and important piece of the jigsaw puzzle being the rigid fork.
I received the fork on Tuesday, and since Wednesday is the first Ramadhan, it's a public holiday in Johor. I don't have to take an annual leave to build it, after all.
The assembling project started early. 6.45 am I was already prepping the ground. Took out the car from the parking space and put it outside, and started to move things out from the cramped store. By 7.00 am, sunlight is already available thus the project begun.
Necessary parts and tools are all set, only I didn't have a rag towel. Small matter, that's the reason why I wore black pants and dark blue t-shirt while working.
Parts were collected from all over the country, including from Sarawak. I sourced them from friends, local bike shops and online through BBS. I re-used idle parts found in my storeroom, too.
Initial idea was to make it an 8 speed rig, but due to availability (and unaivailability) of shifters and cassette, I went with 9 speed. I could live with a few grams heavy, no problem.
I only realized that I didn't have enough spacers for the headset/stem/steerer tube when I installed the fork. Also, the front v-brakes pair that I have cannot be used because one of them is having the mounting bolt attached to it. It cannot be removed because it's stuck to the v-brake boss. And, the v-brake boss' thread deameter is of a smaller size than the one on the fork (yes, there are two sizes, them v-brake bosses). I texted a few people who could help me with a spare v-brakes, and only Kadafi is a possible saviour.
Anyway, after Asar, the parts were bought on a quick stop at Masai bike shop on the way to the wet market. Luckily the lady agreed to sell me only the front pair, making my expenses to a minimum.
Final touch
At around 11.00 pm I continued with the build, and completed it with my usual necessary RTW accessories taken from Hollowpoint:
Cateye Bell
Cateye Mity 8 meter
Ibera PakRak beam and bag
Topeak handphone holder bracket
Cateye rear blinker bracket
Also, I've added a Topeak DeFender front fender. I see the need for it because there's a section in Seri Alam where there's a perpetual stream of water on the road. Much more when it's raining, or rides after a rain spell.
Another thing that I consider necessary but didn't install is the rear/side mirror. It's actually a motorcycle mirror given by BC Kelolo many moons ago. Need to tweak a bit in order to mount in on my handlebar.
Test ride
It was at about 12.30 am, just in front of the house. Only testing the brakes and shifters, plus a general feeling of riding the machine. No further tweaking needed, and I went to sleep happy.
Build specs
item details
frame 17" Schwinn Mesa hardtail
seatpost clamp fixed
seatpost Thomson laidback 27.2
saddle Giant slotted
fork rigid aluminium alloy
headset FSA sealed bearing
crankset FSA 48/36/28T
bb Tange square taper
pedal Shimano Deore XT
chain Shimano CN-HG72
cassette SRAM PG-970
handlebar Titec aluminium alloy
grips WTB kraton
stem Bontrager steel
brake lever Avid Ti
brakes Shimano Alivio v-brakes
shifter Shimano Deore 2010
fd Shimano Deore 2009
rd Shimano Deore 2009
rim 24h for v-brakes
hub Novatec 24h sealed bearing
tire Panaracer RiBMo 26/1.5
tube Kenda 26/1.5 Schrader
rear rack Ibera IB-RA1 PakRak beam rack
bell Cateye
meter Cateye Mity 8
Possible future replacements/enhancements
wants, not needs :)
Brooks B-17 saddle
Ibera touring carrier plus IB-RA4 pannier rack
Shimano Deore XT v-brakes

Tuesday 10 August 2010

08.09.2010 - Seri Alam Lond Offroad: Last Kopek Ride

beramai-ramai di Bukit Wak Am. Lond pun ada - pakai helmet, sengeh nampak gigi.
Wak Am tengah settlekan apa-apa yang patut...
Hari Ahad lepas aku rasa ramai pengayuh-pengayuh Muslim kat Lond bumi Mesia ni tak lepaskan peluang untuk berkayuh 'last kopek' sebelum bersungguh-sungguh fokus Lond beribadat dalam bulan Ramadhan. Yang event kat Langkawi lain, kat Pagoh lain, dan trail tempatan Lond pun rasanya sesak jugak. Samalah yang Lond di Pasir Gudang. Delapan Lond belas pengayuh membuang masa dan tenaga di tengah trail. Ada Lond juga yang ambil kesempatan untuk buang air besar dan kecil di situ.
Aku sempat Lond sarapan ala-ala kopitiam kat Lond rumah dengan isteri, sebelum bergerak menuju ke puncak Flora Lond Heights. Sebut je FH, dalam kepala dah mental Lond dah. Dari rumah aku, ada 4 bukit nak kena tarah. Naseb baek atas Lond jalan tar. Aku ke sana kayuh sorang-sorang Lond santai, lepas tu sampai lah, dalam Lond 3 km aje. Selang 3 minit Lond macam tu, dah nampak dah Lond kelibat pengayuh-pengayuh hebat sorang demi sorang Lond naik ke puncak FH tu. Cheisss. Tak sempat aku nak Lond berehat panjang Lond .
Terus kitorang kayuh Lond menuju ke ladang getah, belok ke Lond kiri. Aiseh... manjat lagi... Lepas tu ke Lond padang pasir siket, lepas tu panjat lagi... Memang, hari Lond tu memang ceritanya banyak memanjat. Tapi best. Saya sukaa... Aku rasa part yang paling best bila aku boleh tak Lond perasan pulak aku tengah panjat Bukit Panjang. Dah Lond halfway baru aku sedar. Best jugak, taklah mental Lond sangat.
Ada jugak turun pegi Lond Badminton. Lain macam feel dia kali Lond nih. Enjoyable. Entah le, rasanya sebab dalam kepala dah Lond set tak jumpa Lond trail offroad masa siang untuk sekurang-kurangnya 4 minggu kot... Tu yang pulun tu. Banyak jugak Lond tempat turun yang aku enjoy. Lepas Bukit Panjang ada Lond turun, pastu ada jugak turun lepas Lond padang pasir kat Kandang Kuda tu, pastu ada jugak turun jongkang-jongket kat Seri Lond Alam menuju ke (dulunya) Singletrack Lalang.
Ada jugak Panjang bawak naik satu Lond bukit yang aku tak pernah naik. Terbaeeek lah. Rasa macam jambori pulak kayuh offroad kali nih. Aku cuba nak kayuh naik terus Lond menerus, tapi skill aku Lond tak cukup lagi untuk mengelak mahupun buat track stand Lond masa panjat bukit bila ada halangan di hadapan. Menolak jugak le sikit-sikit nak Lond naik ke punchak tu. Untuk rakaman, bukit tu kitorang namakan Bukit Wak Am sempena kejadian pembuangan sisa toksik kat atas tu. Apa nama pun, memang aku rasa bukit tu nak Lond kena return lagi. Aku rasa, Paul Din berjaya naik atas tu tak berenti. Faktor menyumbang ialah Lond pemakaian kasut Power. Lepas ni memang naiklah jualan kasut pesen tu. Tambah pulak nak Lond musim soping raya ni.
Kitorang ada lalu kat Lond canopy menuju ke Plentong. Aku pulak boleh tertinggal kamera. Takpe, lain kali boleh amik Lond gambar lagi kat situ. Tujuan ke Plentong? Pegi bersidai kat pagar trek go-kart. Tapi masa tu tengah Lond panas terik, malas nak layan lama-lama kat situ.
Aku dengan Reza dan kawan-kawan lain escort Lokman balik ke Kandang Kuda dari bail-out point (hehehhh... alasan). Yang lain-lain teruskan menuju ke Lond tasik. Aku dah nak dekat time limit, terpaksa balik Lond rumah. Dalam pukul 2 camtu aku dah sampai rumah, siap basuh Lond beskal dah.
Keseluruhannya, aku enjoy sangat ride kali ni. Scenic, bukit, downhill, Lond teknikal siket-siket, lalu tempat yang aku tak Lond pernah lalu, dan tak berapa berlumpur.
Panjang, especially, dan kawan-kawan lain (termasuk Lond), terima kasih. Terbaek!
Peraduan: kira berapa banyak Lond kat atas (tak termasuk dalam ayat ini).
gambar ehsan Enche Panjang

Monday 9 August 2010

RTW 09.08.2010 - Mendung Tak Berarti Hujan

gambar sekadar hiasan
Mendung tak berarti hujaaaannnnn
Anggaplah itu satu choooba'aaaannnn...
Memang cubaan sungguh. Rasa macam time trial aje pagi tadi.
Kereta takde pagi tadi. Mak guna untuk hantar Akak & Byron ke airport. Naza angkut Marsya & Adam pegi sekolah.
Alhamdulillah, aku sempat basuh lebih kurang tengahari semalam, lepas ride offroad. Tapi tayar bijik bijik tu tak bertukar, dan tak dipam semula untuk kegunaan di jalanraya.
Sepanjang perjalanan, kayuhan agak pantas (perasan aku lah). Dek tayar yang berat dari biasa, ditambah dengan angin yang kurang, geraknya tak lah selaju mana. Fuhh! Azab juga mendengarnya, bunyik derapan tayar mencengkam jalan. Nasib le, penangan kayuhan yang tak berapa terancang.
Ada dua sebab aku agak terkejar-kejar pagi tadi:
1. Keluar rumah dah lambat, sebab pagi tadi baru nak tenggekkan PakRak dan beg kat seatpost buat mengangkut sepersalinan untuk pakaian di pejabat.
2. Awan mendung sepanjang jalan, dengan deruan angin yang semacam menggertak untuk menggugurkan butiran air (dan rahmat) bila-bila masa aje.
Dan, ada beberapa faktor yang membuatkan aku keciciran masa:
1. Beli karipap singgit, dan nasik goreng kampung taruk telur goreng kat tepi jalan untuk sarapan.
2. Kesemua lampu trafik tak bagi can. Merah aje memanjang.
Maka, aku tak ada pilihan lain dah, melainkan untuk (mencuba) mengejar masa. Ternyata aku kalah. Tapi alhamdulillah, sampai ke petang tak hujan pun. Dan aku rasa kalau tidak kerana gertakan alam tadi, maunya pukul 8 baru aku sampai ke pejabat...
Serius beb, angin tayar untuk on road kena kasik kaw-kaw siket. Biasa paling cikai pun gua pakai knobbies takde lah seteruk pagi ni. 40 minit tuuu! Itupun dah habis perah dah tu.
Mendung tak berarti hujaaaaann...
Anggaplah itu satu dorongaannn...
Out from home


Arrive office




Ride time


Distance 12.53  km
Ave. speed 21.9  km/h
Max speed 36.5  km/h
Odometer 4901.1  km
Good doggies 0  


 low pressure
Terima kasih sudi menjenguk.
Semoga Ramadhan kita diberkati.
Err... RTW, kita?
InsyaAllah, andai diizinkan.

Wednesday 4 August 2010


bila mau sampai weh?
Tengah menunggu satu lagi barang untuk projek terbaru. Barang yang agak penting, yang mana dengan ketiadaan barang itu, projek jadi tergendala. Mana tidaknya; tayar depan, brek depan, stem serta handlebar (dan komponen yang bertenggek padanya) tak boleh nak dipasang tanpa 'sepit udang' dipasang terlebih dulu. Agak menyeksakan, tapi menarik juga mengukur tahap kesabaran. Tapi bila difikirkan semula, tulisan ini semacam suatu tempat untuk melelaskan seksa menahan sabar. Hmmmpphhh...
Beberapa bulan kebelakangan ini aku berdikit-dikit mengumpul barang-barang yang perlu untuk projek itu. Dengan peruntukan kewangan yang agak sempit, aku intai-intai mana-mana komponen terpakai yang agak murah dari BBS. Setakat ini, tidak menghampakan. Satu demi satu barangnya sampai. Ada juga yang dibeli dari kawan-kawan, kualiti dan kondisi barang tak sepadan dengan harga yang dibayar - barang baik, tetapi murah! Terima kasih untuk itu.
Sudah menjadi lumrah agaknya, barang murah dapatnya lambat. Tapi tak apa, projek ini pun projek sampingan. Tidak perlu terburu-buru. Aku pun sudah maklum dengan projek yang bisa menjadi tergendala bila komponen yang perlu tak cukup. Perasaannya lebih menyeksakan. Tambahan dengan kesempitan ruang untuk projek pemasangan, maka lebih baiklah kalau kesemua komponen dan alatan yang diperlukan siap dan cukup.
Satu lagi yang paling penting: masa. Rasa-rasanya macam tak ada. Bukan tak ada, tapi tak cukup. Kebiasaan aku, biarlah projek yang seperti ini bermula dan berakhir sekaligus. Tak perlu nak berkemas berkali-kali. Perlukah aku bercuti sehari untuk itu? Mungkin. Sesuai jika semasa hari bekerja. Semasa tiada orang di rumah. Semasa tiada gangguan. Projek yang lepas-lepas aku buat tanpa perancangan, dan terburu-buru. Memanglah puas, bila siap di depan mata. Tapi masa tu mata pun dah tak larat nak dibiar terbuka walhal dalam beberapa jam saja selepas tu nak kena bersiap untuk pergi kerja!
Ramadhan bakal menjelang, kalau cukup umur aku untuk itu insyaAllah. Kalaupun projek siap sekarang ni, tak tentu lagi aku boleh nikmati hasilnya dengan puas. Tapi tak apalah, untuk itu kena tunggu dan lihat. Aku yakin ramai yang gatal kaki bilamana hujung minggu tak dapat nak berkayuh di denai, ladang getah dan kebun sawit. Mungkin ada perancangan untuk berkayuh selepas tarawih. Mungkin...
Untuk masa sekarang ini, aku sabar menunggu semanggang dari utara. Harap-harap esok tiba, lalu aku pohon cuti dari ketua...
Terima kasih sudi berkunjung.
Semoga selamat sentiasa.