akmal's bike park

akmal's bike park

Monday 31 January 2011

Friday 28 January 2011

RTW 28.01.2011 - RTW Machine

Partly due to conditioning for GA MTB Ride, I have been using Hollowpoint for RTW. Since the last 8 RTWs. This morning I decided to slow it down a bit, and opted to ride my RTW Machine which has been gathering dust (for real!).
It was at a normal pace; I took the L-Route after scaling the hill at Taman Bukit Rinting. How nice the feeling of slicks rolling on tarmac. Been quite a long time.
Well, nothing much interesting today, except that I had a breakfast stop at the nasi lemak stall along the way at Taman Rinting. Been ages too, since the last time I had one.
Because of yesterday, my weeklong streak didn't materialise. That doesn't stop me from riding this morning, no. In fact, while driving the car yesterday, my thoughts are on my RTW route; thinking how nice it would be rather than stuck in a slow traffic while waiting to turn right to enter the yard (and then walk for 10 minutes to get to the office door).
Tomorrow will be a rest from RTW, and then the GA MTB Ride on Sun. If you're going, say 'Hi' to me when you bump into me. Well, figuratively speaking, of course. Don't bump me, ride along with me. Better yet, ride fast in front of me, I can draft behind you.
Have a good weekend, y'all.
See ya at Adela insyaAllah.

RTW 27.01.2011 - RELAXED

Yep, relaxed for today's RTW, as in not riding at all. Umar woke up at 6.30 and stayed wide awake. That means I have to send him to the babysitter, and the end of my weeklong venture.
One thing: I feel a bit sleepy at work, especially in the morning and at about 3.30 in the afternoon. Must be directly related to my not doing RTW this morning.
Have a great day!

RTW 26.01.2011 - relaxed

It's the third RTW of the week, and maybe I could do the weeklong. Mon and Tue was a bit intense, so I decided to make this morning's ride a casual one. Still, the route's the same as yesterday and Mon.
Indeed, it was. The average speed is only 18.4 km/h compared to 21+ km/h on both previous days. It was at least 5 minutes longer, door-to-door time. Not a big difference, eh? But I tell ya, it's a heck of a big difference to get that 5 minutes. Had to spin all the way and pedal hard at certain sections especially long flats. Philosophically, it is very hard to replace lost time. That's the lesson from the road.
Have a good ride, y'all.
Thanks for stopping over.

Tuesday 25 January 2011

RTW 25.01.2011 - a li'l bit of drafting

alternative parking space, nicked Rizal's usual spot
I went out early today, at 9 minutes to 7:00. That's quite an improvement. This time of the year, 7:00 am is still not quite bright. I donned an LED reflective jacket, lit up my ankle clip LED and rear blinker too.
Same as yesterday, ventured out and went up Bukit Dahlia. A bit slower this morning overall, due to my stopping at traffic lights. Well, fast was not in the agenda anyway.
While pedaling towards Jalan Pekeliling, an expatriate cyclist overtook me and went ahead of me with his Japanese recon bike. Not a problem for me to overtake him, but it could prove to be dangerous for the short section that we were riding on before parting away is quite narrow for me to overtake him. Instead, I just drafted behind him along the way.
I don't know if he was feeling a bit annoyed with me following him closely, but I sensed that he tried to pull away while glancing back once or twice. Of course, it was to no avail. Hehe... It was nice to be pedaling leisurely without much energy sapped, but that also contributes to my stretched cycling time this morning. 39 minutes door to door. It didn't matter though, fast was not in the agenda.
When I arrived at the office, the pantry door was locked. Yikes! So I had to park at Rizal's spot - at a corridor leading towards the toilet. Fortunately he's not doing RTW this morning, so no guilty feeling.
Too lazy to put the stats for today.
Have a good day.
Ride safe.
Thanks for coming over.

Monday 24 January 2011

RTW 24.01.2011

saw these guys riding on a row with reflective striking yellow vests (and orange t-shirt too).
I went out just a couple minutes past 7:00 this morning. I planted in my mind, to go through the most arduous route since I have the time.
And I did.
I used the normal route, through Masai, Taman Bukit Dahlia, and instead of going up straight towards the traffic light at Masjid Jamek / Taman Mawar, I went up through Taman Dahlia. Interestingly, the names are misleading. Taman Dahlia is actually on Bukit Dahlia, while Taman Bukit Dahlia is at the bottom of it, on flatland. The reason for going up at Taman Dahlia is because that route is almost without motor vehicles. The second reason is to challenge myself in accepting a hilly route on the fly. Well, I did psyched up earlier on that, so I was kind of prepared for it.
No hurry, though. It was more of a 'can you make it' kind of thing. Hence, my stats shows so. Interestingly, I made it below 40 minutes door-to-door. Nice.
GA MTB Ride is on Sunday and I hope to make it a quick one. At least, not an exhausting one, insyaAllah. For that, my RTWs shall be my training for that. I still have 4 more RTWs (rest on Sat) for this week. Will I be doing the weeklong this week? Perhaps. Hope that Umar won't wake up early in the morning this week throughout.
Stats this morning:
Out from home
Arrive office
Ride time
36' 23"
Ave. speed
Max speed
Good doggies
normal route + Tmn Dahlia,
 hollowpoint, knobbie, pakrak
Have a good day, y'all.
Thanks for your time.

must be the most comfortable seat

...or saddle, if you wish to keep the term correct.
In the company's yard, there are hundreds of bikes. With welding machine and all sorts of other tools plus materials available to them, combine those with necessity and creativity, et voila!

Saturday 22 January 2011

Research - Toxic Cities Mock 'Healthy' Cycle Riding

The real solution is to find a route that cuts through kampung roads, or roads with fewest engine powered vehicles. Or, we can cycle on the road when it is relatively clear of vehicles - much earlier than the rush hour in the morning, and a bit later in the evening. The benefit is two-in-one: lesser chance for an accident to happen, and lesser smog. Added bonus if there are no playful dogs on your route.
Keep finding the best solution, and keep on rolling. Be safe, all the time.
Thanks for coming over.
Have a good weekend!

Friday 21 January 2011

RTW 21.01.2011 - reflection of last year's RTW

Part of my resolution for this year in terms of cycling is to have at least 2 RTWs per week. Also to repeat at least once, the weeklong I did last year. That happened in January last year, but not this year for sure. Perhaps during school holidays. Looking back at 2010, I did 89 RTWs (regardless whether I went home by car in the evening, leaving the bike at the office). That's about 1.7 days per week in average. Of course, the whole thing would be disrupted if I have to go for a weeklong outstation.
Up to the third week now, I have been okay so far alhamdulillah. In fact, the first week I had 3 RTWs to start off the new year. Hopefully, insyaAllah, I could do it consistently come rain and shine.
I often regard my RTWs as a way to replace other sports that I would otherwise engage in, namely futsal and badminton. To think about it, it have been years since I last played any badminton. I played two futsal matches last year, participating in the office's tourney. It is not really a fair substitute, cycling to badminton or futsal, but in terms of getting sweaty in general, it's good enough for me.
With RTW, I spend about the same time in getting ready for a futsal game, but the only difference is that I do it while going to work. So that's saving some time for a specific sporting session altogether. Okay, I don't get to socialize while RTW, so that's the downside of it.
For the record, I hit the 6000 km mark on 7th Jan at the end of a Night Ride. Just nice, in the beginning of the year. Last year I did at least 2750.5 km of cycling (RTW, offroad, night rides, around the housing area, etc.). I don't have a target to be met for this year, but will be monitoring the distance pedaled as always. Anyway, my cycling activity will be very much cut down to make way to other resolutions. So, RTW is my avenue for getting my dose of endorphin.
Stats today:
Out from home


Arrive office




Ride time

26' 12"



Ave. speed


Max speed




Good doggies



tesco + L-Route

 hollowpoint, knobbies
How was your ride last year?
Thanks for coming over.

Thursday 20 January 2011

Epicon Travel Adjust

have Epicon, can change travel (short or long)
A friend bought an Epicon for his hardtail and emailed me asking whether is it normal his fork being a bit stiff. Typical me, I answered him with some links and diagrams. For that, I had to google around and with that I stumbled upon other things as well.
Here is one of them, which is quite interesting: How to Adjust Epicon / Axon Fork Travel. The page is complete with diagram and step-by-step instructions, plus tips to boot, too. Interestingly, Aaron mentioned that Epicon's travel can be adjusted from 80 up to 140mm (at 20mm intervals). That's something I didn't know before this.
120mm on my current Epicon is a bit high for my hardtail XC setting; I feel a bit giddy. Getting it down to 100mm would be ideal, I suppose. There are a few things that I need to have before attempting to get my fork travel down to 100mm, though. Torque wrench, grease, pin driver and bench vise - I dont' have them. Perhaps a few hours doing it at an LBS would be the thing to do.
Oh, how I love my Epicon much more now.
Have a good day, and ride safe (short travel or long).
Thanks for coming over.
image taken from Aaron's How To page

Wednesday 19 January 2011


do not use this crankset - it has no chainrings
BB = bottom bracket
The BB30 is an open-source (to use software terminology) standard where you essentially press bearings directly into an oversized BB shell. It eliminates the need for external (or internal) BB cups Unlike integrated headsets, the BB30 actually has performance upsides: You get a substantially lighter and stiffer BB. You reduce Q factor. In theory prices should be reasonable since road bikes and mountain bikes will share the same BB design (no more 68 vs 70 vs 73).
So there you go. Mind you, BB30 is not only for road bikes, but mountain bikes as well.
BB30 originates from Cannondale, back in 2000. However, they are not putting it out with license to be purchased in order to use the standard. That's the 'open source' bit.
Threadless BB
I've always thought that mtb frame design would eventually move to the spectrum where there are no threads to be tapped on it at all. It had done away the thread on the headtube with the threadless headset system. With BB30 it would be doing the same to the bottom bracket shell. As CC had mentioned, it has performance upsides, along with the reduced Q Factor.
The thing about threaded BB shell is that it needs to be correctly tapped so that it would not result in misalignment of the BB cups, be it external bearing or square tapered spindle. Of course, the BB threads are of opposite turns on the left (non-drive) and right (drive) side. There's also the case of different thread pitches - Italian, English, etc.
However, luckily so far I've never encountered a badly threaded BB shell that rendered the whole frame useless. That's including fake Taiwanese frames, mind you. Anyway, there's still a concern that it could go wrong coming out from the factory, and the buyer would usually find out about this only during installation of a BB.
BB30 as a standard, requires precision machining, too (click link for technical drawing, but you have to accept, and read, the terms and conditions of the agreement first). For installation and removal of the BB30 bearings, (new) special tool is required. I'm not worried about the machining of the shell, as frame manufacturers had shown (even for fake ones) that they are capable of getting it right with the threaded BB shell.
What makes me sometimes feeling a bit opposed to innovations and improvements is that almost all the time they would require a new set of tools. That's the case with this one. Park Tool's BBT-30.3 is an example of the special tool required for the system.
Installation and Removal
Here's the installation and removal of BB30 bearing system, from Park Tool.
From the look of it, I'm not in favour of the system in this regard. I actually hate to install and remove headsets, and this is about the same. I have not encountered any big problem with threaded BB (seized thread, especially), so my inclination is more towards threaded system.
Part of this is due to the absence of headset press in my collection of bike tools. I have to have that, along with the BB30 tool if I were to do the installation and removal at home. Else, those would warrant a trip to the LBS (if they do have the tool) and my temporary problem is solved.
Q Factor
Basically, its the lateral distance between the outers of crank arms on a bike.
Refer here (Wikipedia), here (Grant Petersen) and here (Sheldon Brown) for explanation of Q Factor; and do get back here to continue reading.
So, as Q Factor is established as an important dimension for some merits it brings, BB30 brings them home quite nicely.
Will I go for it?
Well, to tell the truth, I have to try it first in order to know what I like. Getting the Q Factor low seems great in theory, but I need to have a go at it. I didn't notice any much difference when using external bearing BB, migrating from the square tapered BB, though. However, I'm sure there'll be noticeable difference, going from big Q Factor with external BB to considerably lower Q Factor with BB30 (or Pressfit 30 from Truvativ).
As pointed out, I'll face the problem of installation and removal of the system. While this can be remedied with a visit to the LBS (with the tool available), I prefer to do it at home by myself. Need to have ($) the necessary tools for that.
Examples of adopters (so far):
SRAM - BB30 and Pressfit 30 (but that's another different thing)
FSA (website), their presentation (.pdf) and a piece from Bike Radar (has longer list of BB30 adopters too).
The other advantage
One advantage with a frame with BB30 shell is that you can use many types of crankset with that frame. With the correct adaptor, you can even use Italian threaded roadbike crankset on your mtb frame. Well, that's pointed out as an example, practicality not evaluated.
Thank you for coming by (and reading up to here, links too!).
Have a good day.
cutout photo taken from here.

Thursday 6 January 2011

The Atherton Project 2010

Sekarang ni aku start melayan The Atherton Project (season 2) kat website Red Bull. Punya la cerita tahun lepas, kan... Tapi takpe, yang penting isinya.
Kualiti video tersangatlah tingginya, dan yang terbaeknya, aku boleh tengok masa lunch break kat ofis.
Cuma satu je, tak berapa mudah nak tengok video tu sebagai siri - sebab tak ada senarai. Jadi kena taip 'The Atherton Project Episode X' kat search box (X = nombor siri).
Untuk memudahkan korang, ini Episod yang pertama. Lepas tu untuk sambung episod yang seterusnya, cari sendiri ye.

Tuesday 4 January 2011

L-Route Kota Puteri - photos 04.01.2011

Here's the link for some shots of my Kota Puteri L-Route from this morning's RTW.
Unfortunately, it ended at the Sierra Perdana exit, for there's something wrong with my camera's lens.
Thanks for coming by.
If you're nearby my area, we can ride together towards Pasir Gudang.
How 'bout dat?

Monday 3 January 2011

A Chance Meeting II

What are the odds, of meeting an mtb rider while browsing at an outdoor furniture yard in Masai? Throw in these remotely usual circumstances too: the rider's a girl, and she works at a bike shop while living in London.
Well, I happened to meet Zilla last Saturday while looking for a hardwood shelf for my telephone at her (temporary) workplace. While at times it seems cute when Umar is playing with the home phone as the receiver is longer than his head, I think it's better for the phone to be left undisturbed.
I've been to Oriental Allure a couple of times before, and there's where I bought my beautiful Rengas dinner table. However, I've never met her, and that's the first time I saw this girl manning the yard (not discriminating, but there's no such word as 'ladying').
Upon paying for the shelf, I saw a laptop with Specialized sticker on its front. Of course, I'm obliged to ask, "sapa kayuh basikal?". "Saya," came the reply.
Apparently, she owns a 2006 Stumpjumper FSR with Fox Talas, Mavic 717 rims laced to Hope hubs, XT crankset and FD, with SRAM X9 shifters and RD which she stores in her cabin at her workplace. Okay, I admit to have ogled at her bike a bit too much.
She's elated to know that there are singletracks nearby, in Seri Alam/Plentong. I asked her to join PG Gerek's usual Sunday ride, but she can't for she has to work because of a stocktake involving staff coming over from Kluang. Too bad.
I had to leave the shelf, for its bracket has to be drilled for me to mount it on the wall. I left my name and number for OAD to contact me when my shelf is ready. Went home to tend for Umar after that, and something tells me that she'd call me in regards of mountain biking.
True enough, she called and asked whether we organize night rides. I told her of PG Gerek's new year eve ride from Pasir Gudang to Danga Bay via Stulang, and our usual Friday night rides.
I related my new year acquaintance while riding offroad yesterday to the guys. They are keen to meet and ride with her, although I suspect something else when they asked "cun tak?" the moment I told them I met this girl with a Stumpy at Kota Putri. For me personally, of course, it would be great if she could share her experiences in London's LBS (and Evans Cycle, at some point).
Hopefully Zilla could join us this Friday for a repeat of PG Gerek's night ride from PG to DB. And, our usual Sunday offroad rides too. January would end before you know it, sis. Or perhaps you'll postpone getting back to London for a few months after sampling Plentong singletracks?
But yeah, returning to my wondering earlier, just what are the odds, eh? Truly a chance meeting.
Thanks for stopping by.
Enjoy your rides, wherever you are.

RTW 03.01.2011 - Year's first

Following a tip from PG Gerek guys who rode the new highway to Stulang on new year's eve, I decided to venture the L-Route from my house, via Kota Puteri Industrial Area and pedaled along the new, flat highway.
2.95 km out from the house, I turned into the highway. Virtually no cars or motorcyles, except for a couple of 4x4 parked there, possibly joggers whom I met running along the highway. The ride was fine and uneventful. I would say that the straight stretch is a bit of a low climbing gradient. It should be, for I managed to get only around 28 km/h average on it, compared to the usual 32 km/h on flats. Will check on this on the way back this evening insyaAllah.
However, at about 9 km point, my ride came to an abrupt halt. There is still a gap not yet connected by a bridge, over a river. Haha... my bad. Anyway, where there's a will, there's a path. No, I didn't swim or rafted across the river right there. Instead, I took a detour leftwards although I'm not familiar with the area. Eventually, I came to the side of U-Five, a famous place for indoor sports (badminton, futsal) in Pasir Gudang and Masai area. From there, I reconnected to my usual L-Route crossing the river at the jetty near Kg. Pasir Gudang Baru.
I had thought earlier that I would register an average speed higher than 25 km/h, door-to-door time of lesser than 28 minutes (although distance might be a bit longer, at about 11.5 km) and blog (brag?) about it. Obviously that didn't happen and this was the story instead.
With the hiccup, I managed to get to the office door only after 35 minutes pedaling out from my house. Not too bad, considering that I didn't have to backtrack quite far and was able to get to U-Five on first try out.
That's my first RTW for 2011, sprinkled with a dash of adventure (stupidity?). From the look of it, perhaps the highway can be used for RTW even when it's opened for vehicles. It's quite broad for a 2 lane highway, unlike the Pasir Gudang Highway. We'll see about that. For now, I'm waiting for that gap to be connected.
Stats today:
Out from home


Arrive office




Ride time

33' 53"



Ave. speed


Max speed




Good doggies



L-route kota puteri,

 Yukon, slicks, pakrak
Happy New Year, y'all.
Have a splendid year ahead.
Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday 1 January 2011

Giant Yukon - the upgraded RTW Machine

Essentially, the Schwinn Mesa needs to be replaced. Its headtube has cracks, visible hairlines. I got a good deal for a secondhand (read: cheap, with scratches and cable rubs) Giant frame from Kennt's shop in Johor Jaya. A complete frameset with FSA headset, seatpost and seatclamp.

It's a Giant (original frame!) Yukon Disc 17" frame. Although it is a 'disc' frame, it sports the Vee-brakes bosses bracket. The colour is orange (or persimmon, or satsuma or tangerine or pumpkin pie or 'red-yellow fusion') and white (or milk).

Other parts are salvaged from the Mesa, except for a few upgrades, i.e. handlebar and stem, grips and fork.

orange milk in full RTW mode
The frame has what I want in a frame for my RTW Machine, and a bit of a bonus too - something that Giant has thoughtfully put in. There are two water bottle bracket eyelets. The necessary eyelets for pannier rack mounting are on the wishbone sides of the seatstays and near the rear dropouts. Also, to my surprise, there are options for putting either cable brakes (mech or Vees) or disc brakes. What I mean is that the bracket for cables and hose can cater for both at the same time. Instead of three (two for shifters, one for rear brake), there are four - two for shifters, one for cable brake and one for brake hose (hydraulic brake) or full length mech cable housing. How thoughtful.

options for cable/hose
The other thing that suits my specs perfectly is that the cable routing sits below the top tube, for all the cables. That means, the FD is pulled from the top, and cable is free from dirt. Also, the top tube is clean looking. I can also mount a top tube bag if I want to.

The only fret for me is the seatpost size. It is 30.9mm. Fortunately, the seatpost and clamp are offered together so I don't have to fork out extra $ for them. Albeit, the Giant seatpost is a bit weighty (ahem! Thomson).

XCR and DeFender M1
The rigid fork measures 16" from the hub to crown race, whereas my Epicon on the Hollowpoint is 19". The headtubes are almost the same, hence when using the rigid fork, my posture is a bit lowered. Not quite comfortable for me, and more so I foresee if for touring. Hence, I went for a cheap alternative with options thrown in (together with some added weight of course). An added bonus is that the fork is white (or milk), which blends nicely with the frame.

SR Suntour has this knack of giving what I need, affordably. Got the 80mm XCR with lockout (not remotely) and Vee posts for about RM200. The hub to crown race length is 18", so it is not too lowered, and quite upright for me to ride.

cockpit full to the brim
Cockpit changes
I bought the set of Giant handlebar and stem solely to match with the frame and seatpost (hey, and the saddle too). It's 620mm wide and 20mm rise. The stem is 75mm. They are oversize 31.8mm diameter set. It seems that the bar is not as wide as I would like it to be, and the set is a bit weighty. Also, with the levers, shifters and brackets for lights, meter and bell mounted, there's little space left on the bar. Perhaps I'll transfer the Truvativ XRs for the familiar feel and space, but that would be later.

The other upgrade that I made is the grips. I opted for the Specialized BG Ergo lock grips. Angah brought them in from Singapore, for none of the LBS has them, except for the Spesh boutique in KL. The price is the same. The grips has wings and it feels like having varying density - soft on the wing edge and firmer on the body, this is due to the design geometry itself.

What I like about them is the quality, and the feel. My hands are relaxed with these on, together with BG gloves that I wear now. Coupled with the more upright position due to the higher fork, I am more relaxed now. Well, perhaps with a wider handlebar, it would be better. Hehe... still have some tiny room for upgrades, eh.

I have to mention that Spesh packaged the grips very nicely. It comes with the end caps and a 3mm hex key. It is somewhat hidden at the back of the hard plastic board. I don't install the end caps because the bar ends are quite thick thus leaving small diameter for me push in the caps.

Wheelset and tires
I had to go with the (suspected fake) Mavic 719 rims and Formula hub rear wheelset because the unnamed, lightweight wheelset (with Novatec sealed bearings hub) from Mesa is not centered when I mounted on the rear. The issue is with the rear brake, slanted too much it looks awful. Too lazy to change the tires, I left the RiBMo rear tire on the unused wheelset, and go with Conti Sport Contact ready with the 719. Anyway, I feel that the RiBMo does not give enough contact, it feels slipping on spreads of tiny rocks on the road.

So there it is, my new clean looking RTW Machine.
Upgrades? B-17 still is in the list. Later lah...

more photos in here.