akmal's bike park

akmal's bike park

Sunday 21 February 2016

Get the Rear Edge - Alternative Cassettes

Below is the lowdown on the alternative cassettes to give you the range for gear ratio on your MTB drivetrain, be it currently by Shimano or SRAM. Assuming that other things remain constant (chain, front chainring ratio, tire size, crank size, etc.), let's look at the possible range that you may employ for your rig.

range: 11-40T
toothcount: 11-13-15-17-19-21-24-28-34-40
material: steel (11 through 28), hard anodized 7075-T6 aluminium (34 & 40)
weight: 322g average
price: USD130

1. low gear 40T without having to resort to 10s cassette modification (One-Up at USD80, Hope, etc.)
2. smooth transition between gear range
3. could achieve lower overall weight

1. highest gear is with 11T

e*thirteen - TRS+
range: 9-42T (10 speed), 9-44T (11 speed)
10 speed: 9-10-12-14-17-20-24-28-35-42
11 speed: 9-10-12-14-17-20-24-28-32-38-44
weight: 300g (10 speed), 320g (11 speed)
price: USD279 (10 speed), USD309 (11 speed)

1. 9T high gear instead of SRAM's 10T
2a. low gear 42T (for 10 speed) without having to resort to 10s cassette modification (One-Up at USD80, Wolftooth at USD79.95, etc.)
2b. low gear 44T (for 11 speed) without having to resort to 11s cassette modification (One-Up at USD80, Wolftooth at USD79.95, etc.)
3. comparatively lighter weight (excluding the XD Driver) compared to Praxisworks' 'equivalent'.

1. requires SRAM's XD Driver
2. price for 10s is more than double of Praxisworks' (however, it is not exactly apple-to-apple comparison as you won't get the advantage of 9T high gear).

Well, it is up to you to decide which one is best for your gearing needs. Bear in mind that it all depends on the gear ratio to be made available for you on your bike. Your riding style and strength are the factors dictating your gear ratio choice.

True, the free-market economy brings about choices for the consumers to get the best to suit their needs, but it is good only for those who know what they need. The above are represented for you to make that informed choice, and I hope that this would somehow help you to get what you need.

You may want to consider the combination of:
1. available gear ratio
2. overall drivetrain weight
3. overall price

Happy hunting!

*respective prices are as at the date of this post
**images taken from Praxisworks and e*thirteen websites

Saturday 20 February 2016

01.02.2016: Ulu Bendul II with Yad and Pak Din

I let go to Yad several bike parts and a pair of used Cross Ride some time ago. He planned to come over my place to remove the cassette from his current wheelset and install it to the new one, and collect a pair of shifter mounts that I had kept for him.

I thought that it would be worthwhile to go for a ride as well, and I threw the idea of going up to Jeram Toi (via Bukit Tangga of course!) and have a simple breakfast picnic. Much like we did when we went to Hutan Lipur Lenggeng last time.

slowly uphill all the way
Well, the plan didn't materialise as Yad thought we were only going to Ulu Bendul like we did before. It is still a ride nonetheless, while being a familiar one and less taxing. So we went, together with Pak Din, being his maiden ride this side of Negeri Sembilan - on a burly bike. We took the Bukit Putus old road and steadily climb up the gentle gradient like we did before.

near the peak at Bukit Putus old road
This time at Ulu Bendul we went a little bit further up than our previous spot. We had our simple breakfast while our feet soaked in the cool water and butts resting on the rocks. Spent about half an hour of cooling our bodies in the river, and off we went back to my place.

...and stop by at a stall for a round of Rojak and Cendol.

Simple pleasures. Alhamdulillah.

As for Jeram Toi and Bukit Tangga, that'll be another trip at another time insyaAllah. Looking forward for that.

More photos in here (facebook album).

Thanks for coming by.
Enjoy your rides.

En route to Ulu Bendul we saw this big relic by the roadside at a shop. We spent quite some time pondering over to satisfy our inquisitive and appreciative minds for mech things. A simple research later I learned that it is a Traction Engine (aka Steam Tractor) built by Richard Garrett & Sons of Leiston, Suffolk, in England.

Richard Garrett & Sons:

Some beautifully restored RG&S machines:

This one is similar to the one that we saw:

Wednesday 17 February 2016

Tips: Reusable Cable Ties

the humble reusable cable tie
Rider number plates in local events are usually secured onto the handlebar using a pair of cable ties. Simply thread one each through the punched holes on the plate and zip them tight. 

It is however a hassle to look for (or bring along) a pair of scissors or other sharp objects to clip them off. Most of the time, I resorted to yanking off the plate and this resulted in two unavoidable things:
1. The cable ties are still there on the handlebar to be dealt with later at home (or not).
2. The number plate is damaged at the holes.

Okay, some may say that the scar at the holes adds to the aesthetics alongside with the mud splats especially for mtb events. I leave that to your preference.

What if there is a better way? And a little bit environmentally friendly too, I might add. May I suggest to employ the service of reusable and releasable cable zip tie. It is comparatively expensive, but it helps a lot.

Look for them in your local hardware store. I got mine at Ace Hardware. Price is about RM1.00 per piece (in average), sold in a pack consisting a number of them. The normal punch hole diameter on the event number plate is around 6 mm. I suggest to use the ones with a width range of 3 to 5 mm. Minimum length shall be 130 mm, this shall give a nice wrap around the handlebar with 3 cm to spare.

The 'normal' cable ties in your event goodie bags can be used as emergency trailside fix instead.

Happy trails!