Sunday, June 24, 2012

Build Mountain Bike Trail along Singapore Green Corridor

To be honest, I was thankful to Malaysia for holding on to the KTM railway in Singapore for decades while the rest of land along the railway track were developed in the name of nation building. The KTM railway track that cut through the hearth of Singapore might be viewed as weed in the garden, it actually help to preserve the greenery along the railway track from further development. The treasure was discovered by nature lovers when a deal was struck with Malaysia government to return the land along the railway track to Singapore. The greenery preserved by the railway track stretched from the causeway all the way to Tanjong Pagar, relatively untouched since it was built in 1932.  The trails left behind by KTM railway can be heaven for nature lovers, trekkers and mountain bikers. 

I did a test ride from Rifle Range Road, that connects the Bukit Timah Bike trail to the railway track. The trail was relatively flat and easy to ride, and it will be excellent for XC ride, especially the 29er. In fact, the trail can bring you to Kent Ridge bike park located at the Western central of Singapore. The total distance from Rifle Range Road (Bukit Timah)  to Keppel Road besides Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) is about 16km, so to and fro will be about 32km.
This is one of the underpasses along the trail. The trails below the underpass were covered with stones, which can be fun to ride if you rode a full suspension bike. I cannot speak the same for hardtail.
The trail was so easy that even a 13 years old teen with hardtail could ride. Let's hope the government will preserve the trails as they develop the land left over by the KTM railway. Building concrete pathway or PCN in an artificial setting will not be what most people want. Preserving the nature and leave the trails alone will provide a good balance between development and nature.  
This is the end of the railway trail, where a fence was put up to prevent trespassers from entering the land. The forbidden land should connect you to Tanjong Pagar. In future, I hope they would build a riding path from here to CBD. By doing so, the Singapore Green Corridor trail will provide a "riding super highway" to cyclists who wish to ride their mountain bike to work in CBD. This will be truly  FIRST WORLD LIVING! 
Refer to this link for access points to Singapore Green Corridor:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

661 Comp Shifted 2012 Full Face Helmet

Whenever I rode pass the freeride park at Gangsa, my heart kept telling me to give it a shot. I always wanted to jump like a pro and make those 6 ft drop that we saw on video clips. Safety was the only concern that held me back. I guessed it was time to invest in a good full face helmet and goggle. It serves as an insurance in the event of crash, and no more excuse not to attempt those jump and drop.

The 661 Comp Shifted 2012 version of full face helmet is surprisingly comfortable and light. The angle of view is relatively wide, which instill confidence during the ride. The white and black combo looks really cool, a perfect match with my black Oakley goggle. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

MRP Single Chain ring

To convert from dual chainring to single chainring, some riders may be tempted to use the middle chainring as single chainring. I would not advise you to do that for three main reasons: (1) The middle ring has added thickness around its teeth to allow chain to switchover to another gear. The additional thickness may narrow the clearance and cause the ring to rub against the plate of the chainguide; (2) Due to the additional thickness of the middle ring, the weigh is normally heavier than the dedicated single ring; and (3) The single chain ring was proven stiffer than the middle chain ring.

I was using XT 32T middle ring as single chainring. The black color material around the ring was rubbing against the plate of the chainguide. Not an ideal solution. The maximum thickness of the XT 32 middle chain ring is 7.5mm.

The design of the MRP 32T single chain ring is simple and clean. The thickness is only 3mm.
The weight of the XT 32T middle ring is 55grams. The additional weight may be due to the black carbon compound that was designed to facilitate the chain switchover to other gear.
In comparison, the MRP 32T only weigh 32grams.

The left photo shows the 1x10 setup that used XT 32T middle ring as single ring. Due to added thickness, the ring is rubbing against the plate of the chainguide. Adding BB spacer might not help as the chainline will be compromised and the rubbing will be passed on to the derailleur cage

The left photo shows the 1x10 setup that used MRP 32T single chainring. The design is clean and sleek. Absolutely no rubbing. The chainline is perfectly aligned with the cog, and the ride is so much stiffer.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How to install MRP mini G2 SL Chainguide on Nomad Carbon

The MRP G2 SL Chainguide is a light and tough single ring guide that was designed for ease of installation, especially on Nomad carbon. Converting 2x10 dual chainguide to 1x10 single chainguide  makes hell lots of difference in terms of weight  saving and bike handling. My Nomad carbon was drastically trimmed from 32.14 lbs to 30.84 lbs, a significant 1.3 lbs (0.58 kg). Getting rid of the granny ring might not be a shortcoming. The weight saving for doing without the granny may well equalize the efficiency in climbing.

This is how I installed the MRP G2 SL Chainguide (ISCG05 mount) on my Nomad carbon:

1. Remove the crank
Obviously you need to remove the crank. For ISCG05 mount, you need not remove the BB as the MRP G2 SL plate can be mounted directly onto the frame. Clean it thoroughly before you mount the MRP G2 SL chainguide.

This is how the ISCG05 mount looks like after the crank was removed.

2. Remove the MRP Derailleur cage
You need not break the chain to install the chainguide, this was the beauty of MRP G2 SL chainguide. Just remove the MRP derailleur cage from the plate; open the derailleur; slot the chain into the cage; and close the derailleur.

3. Install the Plate onto the Frame
The MRP G2 SL chainguide was supplied with two different length of bolts and different thickness of spacers. Chose the longest possible bolts that will fit your bike frame for better holding. Put the spacers in between the Nomad frame and MRP plate if needed in order to align the chainline with the coge. At this stage, do not tighten the bolts, and let it hang loose so that the MRP assembly can be adjusted later.

This is how the MRP G2 SL chainguide looks like after it was installed onto the frame. The plate should be able to rotate freely. Both the derailleur cage and the chainguide can be adjusted to accommodate the size of the ring. As I am using the micro version, the adjustable range is 32T to 36T.

4. Install the Crank
Insert the crank into the BB. Sling the chain over the ring and adjust the chainguide to accommodate the chain. Rest the bike on the ground to get the correct clearance between the chainguide and the Nomad rear arm. Adjust the chainguide to the appropriate position (E.g.32T). Rotate the MRP G2 SL chainguide assembly so that the chainguide just about to touch the Nomad rear arm. Tighten the 3 bolts that secure the MRP G2 SL assembly.
Adjust the MRP derailleur cage and ensure that the chain seats nicely along the center of the cage. If there was excessive rubbing of chain on the inside of the derailleur as you rotate the crank, you may need to add or remove the spacers that seat in between the Nomad frame and the MRP G2 SL plate in order to achieve the correct chainline.

5. Mission accomplished
Next, test ride the bike at the carpark or your backyard - DO NOT hit the forest straight away. Play with all the gears, hop as many times as possible, and run over stones and small drops with the intention to shake off the chain from the ring. Hit the forest only when you are satisfied with the test ride.

Monday, June 11, 2012

How to Convert Drivetrain from 2x10 to 1x10 setup

Converting my drivetrain from 2x10 to 1x10 was not as difficult as what I thought. My Nomad setup was XT groupset with dual chainrings (32/24) and MRP LRP chainguide. I was also running XTR long cage rear derailleur. As I began to do more freeride, converting from dual rings to single ring is a natural progression. The motivations are to save weight, improve stiffness, reduce riding noise, and simplify my riding habits. The challenge was the selection of the right chainring for the 1x10 setup, as it would affect my riding ability. For example, preference for freerides and DH as compared to climb. As I was running on 32/24 dual chainrings, it is wiser to select the existing 32 chainring and decide later the correct size that will suit my ride better. I managed to get some suggestion from a bike forum, and converted my drivetrain from 2x10 to 1x10 in less than an hour. Here is how I did it...

1. Remove the crank
Well, the first step to do is to remove the crank. Follow the instruction stated in the manual. The photo on the left shown the MRP LRP chain guide after the crank was removed. The chain guide was very muddy because I just had a muddy ride that morning. Make use of the opportunity to clean and lub the BB.

2. Remove the chain
Next, disconnect the chain so that you can separate it from the front derailleur.

3. Remove the granny ring
As my dual rings made up of 32/24T, the obvious choice is to remove the granny (24T). Use the proper tool to remove the four bolts that secured the granny onto the crank. You have the option to screw the 4 bolts back onto the crank, but I preferred not to in order to save weight. Just remember to clean the 4 holes after trail ride.

4. Remove the front derailleur
To remove the front derailleur, unscrew the allen bolt that secured the shift cable, and the bolt that secured the derailleur onto the frame. Gently pull the shift cable away from the frame and remove the front derailleur.

5. Remove the shifter
Remove the shifter is easy. Just unscrew the bolt with allen key and remove the shifter from the handle bar.

All you need to do is to remove the 3 components: (a) shifter, (b) front derailleur and (c) granny ring.

I shed about 310grams from my Nomad carbon.
6. Assemble the crank 
Assemble the crank and chain back onto the frame. Here it go, the 2x10 drivetrain was converted into 1x10 in less than an hour. Moving forward, if the 1x10 setup suit my ride, I will replace two components: (1) XTR long cage rear derailleur with SAINT short cage rear derailleur, and (2) MRP LRP (dual ring chainguide) with single ring chain guide.