akmal's bike park

akmal's bike park

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Only If It Fits

Buy (or upgrade) only if it fits; both literally and in abstract.
That is, if it fits you perfectly on your body (apparel, especially) and also your riding style and discipline.

When shopping online, sometimes we'd encounter a deal that's too sweet to let it pass. Unless if you're positively sure that the items on sale would fit you nicely, then it is best to let it pass rather than having to re-sell it to your fortunate friend at a discounted price.

Your bike should fit you. So does everything else; especially things that are hugging your body - helmet, glasses, jersey, shorts, bibs, gloves, socks, shoes. Also the three parts on your bike that are in contact with your body - grips, saddle and pedals.

Take some time to study what's the correct bicycle size for you. The big frame may have enough clearance between your legs, but you may suffer from a stretchy riding position due to the long top tube distance.

That helmet on sale may look good in photo and have rave reviews over online forums, but your head might not fit nicely. That was my case, actually. 

Brand conscious (or what's popular)
Giro helmets are respectable in design and in build. However, they just do not fit my head. I've tried so many different models on - Zen, Hex, and a couple others. My temple would hurt big time. Personally, MET suits me best. Perhaps Bell, too.

Fi'zi:k Gobi is a popular saddle; many swear by it, ratings and reviews are on the high side (with few saying it's not good for them). It suits with the high asking price, starting from RM300 (I can get a nice chair with that money, but won't be nice on the seatpost). I'm up with the good reviews, and put the saddle in my wishlist. Finally I got hold of a used item; abused but still intact. However, my butt hurts on the 25km offroad all the way. Some might say that a break-in is required like Brooks saddles, but I had no such problem with WTB Pure V. So...

Those are two examples from my personal experience which illustrate that not everything would suit everyone. You just have to try them out yourself and see if it fits you.

Try 'em out?
Unfortunately, we don't have such a scheme available locally. It's a trial and error thing. Well, reviews might not help you 100% so we're on a losing side (even if it's only partially). The next best solution is to try them out on a friend's bike, or borrow from them. However, I do not recommend you borrow or lend your apparel. Except maybe your helmet, gloves, shoes and glasses.

Bibshorts? No way!

What's your product size?
It's quite perplexing when your size on a certain brand would differ from another. Take, for example the size for a jersey. For brand X, you may have it in L size, but the other brand might suit you with their XL size. Some would say it's due to European or American or Asian sizing. Perhaps it's true, and the way to be sure is to get the chest measurement right - armpit-to-armpit measurement is a good indicator.

Here's an example, and in this case the brand is the same. I find that Shimano shoes are a bit strange in sizing. For my MT41, size 42 fits me nicely. When I tried out for MT087 at the shop, I need to get size 43. So, you have to try it out in the shop to make sure of your fitting.

In all cases, ask the shop if you can try the item out on you. Buy only if it fits.

Do you know that backpacks also do come in sizes depending on your torso length? Check out Osprey.
I tried it out in the shop, and man, with the correct size I didn't feel the bag on my back.

Take care, and ride safely.
Share the road.

photo taken from here

Friday 16 March 2012

11.03.2012 - Offroad FRIM X-PPP Reunion Ride 2012

riders (L-R): Hairul from Kota Damansara, Gjoe from Changlun, Tuan Yusoff from Kuantan and the author from Masai

Gjoe tagged me in Hairul's photo a couple of months ago and long story short, we set the date 11th March to ride together in FRIM, Kepong. It turned out that there are actually a few of mountain bikers from our A-Level/NCUK batch. Most of them in Klang Valley, and a few others scattered elsewhere including myself of course.

Gjoe was excited and he's really enthusiastic about riding in KL his first time ever; also his first riding trip with the family tagging along. Hairul took it further and set an event on facebook to have a reunion/gathering for others who do not ride. Spouses of the riders are from our college as well; so, in order not to leave them behind when travelling during the school holiday... well...

We learnt that Azam could not ride along, so I took charge as the trail guide. I had a few rides before this, and I know some trails including two that should not be missed by any mountain biker riding in FRIM - Dream Trail and Steroid Hill (Bukit Hari).

So we set out from the entrance gate and went up Bujang Trail then continued the course on Balau Trail to get to Dream. Alhamdulillah, the weather that day was very nice. It's the first time I went down Dream so dry with leaves rustling while going up Balau Trail. I led to a wrong turn just before the Dream trailhead which is a considerable climb. Hehe... so much of a trail leader, me. Anyway, we made a retreat and was at the trailhead in no time. As usual, there were sections in Dream that forced me to go on foot, especially the switchbacks. It's quite amazing to watch Tuan clearing them up with ease, though. Envious.

We took a short break (after numerous breaks in Dream itself) when we exited Dream at Rover Trail and continued to conquer Steroid. Initially I planned to go up the tarmac hill towards Pacat Trail trailhead, but scrapped the plan judging from the fitness of the others. Anyway, I'm also unsure if  I could make it with Trance. Quite a job to hike up the bike on the earth stairs. Perhaps next time. So we went off and headed towards Steroid. Gaining momentum from the small descend, I found that I was questioning myself if I could do it this time. It was quite easy last November with BC Kelolo's lightweight Kelolopoint, but this time it's Trance. Believing in myself and Maestro, I pedaled on uphill little by little. To my surprise, I scaled it with ease, but not as easy as with a lighter bike. So did Gjoe, and we waited for Hairul and Tuan at the top, at Tongkat Ali Trail.

The reward of climbing Steroid is two-fold. One is being victorious with the claim for brag rights, the other is the speedy descend back to the loop starting point. We tracked back the trail that we took and went down the trail towards Taman Botani. The ride ended as we approached the parking lot at the school. We rode on the tarmac towards the picnic area to set up for the gathering soon after that.

It was quite unfortunate that a few of the riders were unable to join the ride due to circumstances arising, and lots of people also didn't turn up for the reunion due to personal matters. Anyway, it was a nice mini gathering and an enjoyable ride. At least for me, and I know that Gjoe's trip all the way from Changlun and Tuan's travel (together with unfortunate incident of bent roof rack) was well worth it. Perhaps another ride together, but different place next time. PCP? I'm in, insyaAllah.

Thanks, guys!

Ride safe, and thanks for coming over.

Some photos in here.
GPS Tracking by Tuan Yusoff
Reference by BC Kelolo on Dream Trail

Tuesday 6 March 2012

UGI II - 2013 SLX vs XT

sleek SLX

I received the article (click link above) in my mailbox this week, from Bike198.

Well, it's in line with what I've put up in here before this.
Rejoice, ye Shimano faithful.

For sure, it makes me want to try out the grouppo myself. Any bike shop out there willing to loan me out for a review?

photo taken from the article by Bike198.com