Thursday, August 9, 2012

Rock&Rolla Singapore National Day Ride 2012

9th of August is Singapore National Day. The mountain bike group Rock&Rolla decided to do a mass ride at Bukit Timah bike trail to commemorate Singapore 47th years of nation building. The turn out was awesome, more than 20 riders (some riders were not in the group photo). Hakim was the first to arrive. Although he was fasting, he did one loop at BF before proceed to ZHP to wait for the group. Desmond was the next early bird. In fact, he did two rounds at BT before proceed to ZHP to meet the group. At about 9.00am, Calvin gathered the group together for this amazing group photo shot!

As it is a National Day ride, the dressing theme is red. Calvin and myself were wearing Singapore color jersey with Singapore flag logo. In addition, both our bikes also carried Singapore flag at the rear. It was a proud moment and all the riders spirits were high!

Keet (left)  is one of the Rock&Roller's riders who challenges the wisdom of convention and has proven them wrong. Although he smoke and drink, his stamina is one of the best among the group. He climbed higher and ride further than most riders. The fact that he is a triathlete speaks volume.
Hakim and Halil were fasting during the National Day ride. In fact, Hakim completed one loop at BF before joining us for the ride. Despite no water and food, Hakim still lead the group with his 29er! Halil climbed his DH bike like a XC. Both men have my utmost respect!

It is always fun to have Desmond and Ian in the riding group. Both of them are super fit and skillful. Desmond did two rounds of BT before meeting us at ZHP for National Day ride! Although I have yet to ride with Ian, I have benefited by his advise on tuning the fork and shock.

With a strong background in BMX, I was not surprised to see Richard bombed down the slope skillfully and made a perfect switch to exit.

This perfect shot was captured by Calvin during the National Day ride. Hongjian demonstrated the right technique to make a turn at high speed. Hongjian is one of the most skillful riders in the R&R group. Other top riders include Chie Hui, Alex and Chee Mum. Don't be fooled by their DH bikes, they can climb any terrains in BT trails and put many XC and all-mountain bikers to shame.

As the group was too large, we decided to split into 3 groups. One went to T15, another went to BF and third went to BT. As Rick was recovering from arm injury (bone broke into few pieces) from previous fall, Ian decided to join him for T15 ride. It was unfortunate that Rick fell again while attempting to drift down a gravel slope. This time round, he suffered spiral fracture on tibia and fibula broken just below knee cap. The accident did dampen some of our spirit, but we all know this is part of the deal in the sport we love. We wish Rick a speedy recovery.

We did a 1.3km Nationa Day road march to push Rick's bike out of the forest. Despite without food and water, Hakim spearhead the first march by pushing Ricks bike. Calvin took over from Hakim after quite a distance then followed by our savior Keet who actually ran with the two bikes! The road march had boosted our spirit...

The day ended with the good old fashion food and chat at Kim San Leng coffeeshop. Special thanks to Calvin for organizing this annual riding event. Appreciate the group for allowing me to use their photo on this blog. It was fun and motivating to ride with this group, and I hope Rock&Rolla National Day ride would become a huge annual event for years to come...

Happy National Day!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

How to Service KS i950R Adjustable Seatpost

Hate and love about this KS i950R seatpost. Hate because it failed numerous times just before the climb or drop. Love because it made trail riding a breeze when it works. The first problem I encountered was the design flaw, where the opening to the lever that actuate the post is located directly on the trajectory path of the flying mud (from the rear wheel). Mud accumulated overtime around the actuator, jamming the lever when you most needed. The flaw was rectified when the hole was covered with a used tube and secured by a cable tie. Click here if you want to know how I did it.

After a year of abuse, the KS i950R seatpost became retarded and refuse to rise. Time for servicing! Servicing the KS i950R seatpost is easy, as long as you have a 11mm socket wrench and a needle nose plier.

Step 1
Removed the blue nut with a 11mm socket wrench by turning anti-clockwise.

Step 2
Remove the red cap with a needle nose plier by turning anti-clockwise. Be careful that a small amount of oil inside the red cap may flow out.

For my case, the inner shaft was dirty and dry, meaning the seatpost was long overdue for servicing.

Step 3
Remove the red collar and pull the inner mast assembly out from from the main mast.

Step 4
Place all the components and assembly in an orderly manner as shown on the left photo. This will ensure none of the item misplace. Clean all the components thoroughly with a piece of clean cloth, and lube all the threads.

Special care must be taken to remove the 3 guide bushings from the shaft. Clean, lube and put it back onto the grooves.

Most of the stain and dirt will be accumulated on the roller bearing. Thoroughly clean the roller bearing and generously grease it to ensure flawless operation during the ride.

Step 5
Clean and lube the inner shaft thoroughly. Re-installed the 3 guide bushing and carefully insert the inner shaft into the outer shaft. Ensure the guide bushings are aligned with the grooves of the roller bearing before the inner shaft is inserted.

 Step 6
Pour about 20ml of oil into the lower end of the main shaft.

Step 7
Grease the thread of the red cap and blue nut before re-installed them onto the shaft.

Step 8
Re-installed the KS i950R seatpost on the bike, and they are ready to go!

Test ride outside my house, the movement of the seatpost was butterly smooth!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Five Ten Minnaar SPD MTB Shoes 2012

Was in Hong Kong last week for a study trip and ended up buying a Five Ten Minnaar SPD MTB shoes at the Alphine store at Mong Kok. Could not resist the sale, 30% off the already good listed price. The recommended retail price was S$219, and CRC was selling at S$154 after discount. I bought it in Hong Kong for about S$100 after rate conversion!
My first impression of Minnaar Five Ten, it is heavier than my Danny Macaskill Five Ten. The sole of Minnaar is solidly rigid, compared to the more flexible version of my Danny. The construction is very refined and detailed, which gives me a perception of utmost quality money get buy. The fit is perfect, as if it was customized for my feet. One important factor to consider is the stitched sole compared to the glue version. Never buy the glue version of Five Ten shoe as it will peel off overtime, especially in Singapore tropical climate.
I am used to clipless pedal on road and XC bikes. Not too sure about clipless platform on my Nomad. Did a test ride on BT on the flat without the clipless, surprisingly the grip was as good as my Danny, if not better! The rigidity of the sole has it pros and cons: pedaling efficiency has improved significantly but ability to 'hook' up the bike (without clipless) while hopping is not as good as Danny Macaskill. Bombing down rocky terrain was a breeze even without the clipless, the shoe stick like glue on the flat!
Next on the list will be crank brothers clipless or Shimano SPD. My experience with Shimano SPD on trail ride was quite disappointing, due to the tendency of unlock on rocky terrain. Will give crank brother clipless a shot...