Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Test ride: Tern Link P9

Everything is okay...
I called up the K2 Asia guy to arrange for a delivery of the Tern Link P9.
This is a premium-line model from the folding bike manufacturer and has a pricetag of RM2.8k.
That's quite a sum to pay if you are looking for your first bike.
But, wait! The Link P9 is not your average ride.
Its a worthy upgrade for those who had cycled a basic model with the average-quality components.

The LP9 - folded

Its no secret that the Link P9 was derived from the Dahon Speed P8, which is one of the best bikes ever made by the company.
Tern is taking this one step beyond by further improving the design.
Although similar in appearance, both bikes are different in many ways.

New for the enthusiast
The Link P9 comes with a 9-speed drivetrain.
And like its predecessor, you can expect some really good quality stuff that are used to put this bike together.
What I can say is this: the built quality and components on the Link P9 would ensure you loads of fun and if you maintain the bike well, its there to last.

This bike weighs at 11.5kgs. 
Its light enough to be packed and carried onto the LRT, KTM Komuter, Public buses and taxis.
Folding is a breeze as it takes less than 15 seconds (my own pace) to fold.
It as a rider's maximum weight of 110kgs which means that Godzilla-sized guys like me are able to cycle it with ease.
I clocked-in the maximum speed on a flat stretch at 32km/h.
And on the slope, it went as fast as 55km/h downhill.
Braking was responsive and with the new SRAM 9-speed twist-shifter, the transmission between cogwheels was smooth and precise.
I love how the Link P9 handles which is nippy and tight.
Its not twitchy at all compared to some bikes from the same class.

Responsive: The SRAM 9-speed twist shifter
 And now, for the part that sucks..
Well, part from a short handlebar stem where a large guy like me had to lean forward a bit, I couldn't complain about the overall fit, finish and quality of this bike.
Having cycled the Link P9 for 100km, the only slack part is the vulnerability of the drive train to chain-slips. This can be easily remedied with a tune-up at the service dealer.

The Tern Link P9

I see the future in Tern Bicycles as the company continues to progress with their award-winning designs.
As for the Link P9, this is one bike that you can use for your daily exercise, short distance commute and it has the capabilities of being upgraded for touring and bikepacking.
For its firmness, solid lock-up and handling, I would give this bike a two thumbs-up.

Monday, September 24, 2012


A cautionary tale...
I made mention of a dude who barked orders while we were packing our bikes in Klang.
He made it very loud and clear that most of the guys who ignored his orders were 'unethical'.
I got him where I wanted when he posted my story on Facebook.
Now, this story has the highest hit in the series I posted.
Why? People wanted to know what happened.

The Facebook post
 The Empire Strikes Back
Well, obviously, Mr Union Jack was hurt by what I said.
There has to be some truth in this, otherwise he won't go all out to put up the link in every Facebook cycling peer groups.
Personally, I don't give a crap about the posts. 
Mr Union Jack's sympathisers were fast on making comments, then editing it. They were not there to see everything.
Some war monger may even prod the guy to take legal action by suing me for bajillions of ringgit.
Nowadays, when you make a point or remark on people, they tend to threat you with a lawsuit.
In this case, I let the others be the judge.

Doing me a great favour
By blowing this issue out of proportion, Mr Union Jack is actually helping me to filter out other selfish and stuck-up cyclists. I need to thank him and buy him a pint of Guinness for being so up front and inform his fellow cyclists to 'think twice' before joining any of my rides.

World Car Free Day Ride - Part 3

Pulau Ketam revisited
We have to endure a 30-minute ride to Pulau Ketam.
The bikes are placed on a cargo hold on top of the cabin.
Some cyclists were worried about losing their bike.
Since this was a big group, the cabin space was maximized for passengers.
I didn't mind the bike being hauled just as long as it was secured.
The first thing that came in mind when we landed on the island was to look for food.
I had to take care of the Muslim riders and told my buddy Radzi to ask the local cop on where to get Halal food.
The rest of the gang went on with their own business.
One of the cyclists had a problem with his front brake, so, his priority was to attend to his bike first.
After a decent meal, we rode out to one of the island's Chinese temple. 
But I couldn't locate the other guys.
Back in the village square, I told the rest that instead of setting out for a ride, its free and easy. 

Setting up the bikes on the jetty
Rolling out
 Time well-spent
Well, the old-timers were having a lot of fun.
I joined them later for a few beers. 
Mr Wee, their ring-leader was on a ball.
These guys are in their late 50s and the most jovial guys around.
This was also the first time I met Joseph, one of their buddies who blogs - Joe's Blogsite
He's an avid cyclists and man, the old saying that goes: "Never judge a book by its cover" was true to the core.
Prior to the ride, I have never met Joe. His blog is very interesting and if you are a newcomer, you would be inspired.
Despite the muka bengis (stone face), this old timer is one of the nicest guy in the group.
Then, there were Nash, the comedian, Sin, one of the fittest bikers around and Wong, the youngest member of the group.
These guys are in the construction business and pretty well-off. So, its no wonder why high-end folding bike shops and some of their customers are sucking up to them.

Riding the plank
The Kaki Foldies gang: Joe, Fong, Wee, Wong, Nash & Sin
 Time to hit the road.
We spent about a day on the road, rail and boat.
After all the enjoyment, its time to head back to mainland.
Some of the cyclists wanted to ride in Port Klang.
But since it was getting late, I decided to scrap the plan and told them that there will be ample opportunities to do so on another time.
We boarded the KTM Komuter and parted ways.
My ride home was a smooth affair with Andrew Ng and his wife Hui Min.

Unloading at the jetty
The ride home...
It was an interesting ride in a sense that most of the cyclists did not drive.
Only a handful had drove and parked their vehicle in Brickfields.
The main point in this exercise is to show the riders on how to use the Federal Highway's motorcycle lane to access different parts of the Klang Valley, particularly to the West of the city centre.
In this ride, we cycled, took the train and a vessel. The experience is complete.
That said, I might do something different for next year's event..

Sunday, September 23, 2012

World Car Free Day Ride - Part 2

Half way there..
 We cleared Batu Tiga toll's layby in good time.
By this time, the number of cyclists are way over 20 people.
We dropped the halt at a checkpoint near UiTM in Shah Alam and proceeded towards the Keris Munoment near Sungai Rasah.
Just beside the motorcycle lane, I noticed a Perodua Kancil with its front right tire burst.
It was making so much noise, it wasn't funny.
The moron who was on the wheels drove it all the way towards Kg Jawa exit.
I think that by the time he gets to a tire shop, his front rim would have been bent.
Earlier, the Tern Link P9 had a chain-slip.
This was easily fixed and good guys like Mr KK Fong had lend a hand.

Clearing the Sg Rasah toll
Fixing  chain-slip
 We re-grouped at the Keris monument where I gave another briefing.
At this point, the motorcycle lane ends.
The road ahead merges with the Klang town traffic.
Our intended destination was the KTM station on the opposite side of the river.

Chong Kok Kopitiam
An excellent breakfast
Munching by the five-foot way
 Despite a 15-minute delay and a short detour, we arrived in Klang on time.
From Brickfields, we did about two and a-half hours.
Chong Kok coffee shop was packed to the brim. Some of the cyclists had improvised by taking a stool from the main counter and set it up by the sidewalk.
At RM3.50 for a plate of tasty nasi-lemak. I wouldn't complain.

The trouble with wannabes
Most of the bikes in this ride were either Dahons or Tern. There were two Bromptons. One, an Englishman classic is owned by my buddy Swofinty.
The other dude, I don't really know. Although he added me as his 'Facebook Friend', we were merely acquaintances.
Now, I don't like people barking orders and showing their fart face. Let alone being loud and confrontational.
At the end of the late breakfast, I told everyone to bag up their bikes to get ready for the train ride.
With a Brommie, all you need to do is to dump it in a small bag.
While the rest were struggling, the wannabe dude was yelling: "Hey! Take the stools back to the shop la! Why are you so unethical?"
I don't think he needs to shout because we are going to help out anyway. It was a matter of priorities and the crust to the matter was that stacking the stools and putting it back where it belonged can be done last. 
But no. This guy had to shout and call the rest 'unethical'. Even the usage of the word was wrong. It should be 'inconsiderate'.
Then, I made further observation on this guy.
When we arrived at Pulau Ketam (I made it an option to visit the island), this guy vanished with his Brommie.
He didn't bother to offer any help to move the other bikes. Speak of 'unethical' what a waste of time. 
Selfish buggers like these are the ones I would avoid in future outings.
We bagged the bikes and made our way to the KTM Station in Klang.
The stationmaster did not stop us from boarding the train.
Even as we were waiting, the wannabe was ranting about time and schedule. 
Later during lunch in Pulau Ketam, he was kissing ass with a group of old men whom he rides with regularly.

Moving towards the train station
My buddy Roger at the Klang station for the first time
Happy cyclists: The foldies in the Port Klang bound train
 We got ourselves organised for the RM1 train ride to Port Klang.
My initial plan was to tour the place, but after consulting SK Yeong, an old touring kaki, we decided to proceed to Pulau Ketam via the South Port Ferry terminal.
The ticket ride costs RM7 for a single-journey.
Most of the 20" bike including a large 26" Tern were placed on the boat's top hull where there is a cargo holding area.
It takes about 30-minutes to get to Pulau Ketam via the high-speed ferry.
Even in the cabin, the wannabe was complaining about timing and such.
People like that should not take up bikepacking and lucky for me, I just need to put up with him for half a day..

Saturday, September 22, 2012

World Car Free Day Ride - Part 1

An initiative
I toyed with the idea of cycling from Kuala Lumpur to Klang via the Federal Highway's motorcycle lane.
This facility has been around for decades and a section of it is now deteriorating.
Its also the poor man's access to Petaling Jaya and Shah Alam.
In total, the distance is 32km one-way.
That said, for this year's World Car Free Day Ride, I designed a route from Brickfields to Klang Town.
The plan was to meet up at the YMCA, which in turn, is not a bicycle-friendly establishment.
I found out the hard way that the front desk people in this hostel are really shitheads.
Spare that, the heavy rain in the morning didn't help much.
Much of the cyclists who signed up for this ride were unsure.
Nevertheless, the show must go on.
I posted on the Malaysian Foldies Forums as well as its Facebook page on the details and pre-ride briefing time.
Along the route, I staggered five checkpoints.
Another group of cyclists had decided to join in the ride half-way.

Setting up at the Kuala Lumpur YMCA
A group photo at the YMCA
After briefing the cyclists, we rode off towards the motorcycle lane in Brickfields.
The bike lane was blocked with a large wooden stump.
Fortunately, two of the riders Sin and Fong knew of a scenic route that leads to an Indian Temple which I had mentioned to them earlier.
They took lead till we reached the temple.
It didn't take long for us to arrive at this checkpoint.
I reminded the cyclists that in order to access other parts of the cities in and around the Klang Valley, this route remained as an important facility. 

Cycling out of Brickfields
The scenic route

Blocked entry at the bike lane near Brickfields
Murphy's Law and Plan B
Sometimes, things don't always work out the way you plan it.
We had to make a detour to connect with the bike lane and proceed with caution towards Angkasapuri off Jalan Syed Putra.
Another group was waiting at the Seri Setia KTM Komuter station. 
The plan was to link-up there and we clocked-in with a really good timing.
Half-way through, the underpass at Jalan Templer was submerged underwater.
We made a short detour and continued again with the ride.

The group who rode from KL
The flooded underpass
At Seri Setia station, we linked-up with the other cyclists.
That brought the number to well about 20 people.
From there, we continued towards Batu Tiga in Shah Alam where we took a short break for refilling water as well as answering nature calls.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pre-World Car Free Day

Leading up to World Car Free Day...
I must be mad guy on a small bike.
While most people braved the morning traffic to work today, I rode out.
My mission was to cycle to work and try to raise awareness on the World Car Free Day.
I did this last year on my off day.

The MyVi gets left behind today
The plan
I must say that my financial resources was exhausted. 
Its been nothing but a fucked-up month. So many expenses.
With a bike, I save a lot of money.
So, I timed it in such a way, I can get to work in less-than two hours.
Prior to the ride, I sent out a global message to all the workers in the company. None responded. Seems that nobody gives a fuck about cycling.
That said, the only guys who were keen were two of my colleagues.
I made plans to rendezvous with them at Sungai Way. That is roughly about 7km to Menara Star in Section 16, Petaling Jaya. Its a real short ride.
As for me, I will set out from USJ26 and meet the guys at Tukang Basikal Fook Sang. 
At the same time, I received a Tern Link P9 folding bike from K2 Asia. 
This was for an evaluation and review on my column in BaikBike.
I've done it before with the Eclipse S11i, which is to my surprise, remained unsold after I gave it a decent write-up.
And I find it really strange that some cyclists here are so caught up with getting themselves the uppety Brompton and splurge on Ori Bicycles which I think are junk.
Anyways, after rigging up the Link P9 with my Garmin EDGE800 GPS, a pair of Cateye Rapid-1 lights and the surviving Sigma PowerLED pro, we are in business.

At the bike lane off the Federal Highway

Eddie and his Tern Link 24h

Riding towards Section 16

The Terns in action!
Some road action
I made it to Sungai Way in about an hour.
By the time I got to the Bike Shop, one of the Yong brothers was seen setting up his bikestore.
Along came his parents, the elder Yong and his wife, a great lady who can put any yuppie bikestore to shame.
I also learned from Yong that one of his old cycling kakis was prohibited by his new boss to ride with the 'Jalan-jalan cari makan' group. This is really sad.
These are the same arrogant people who I saw in Penang. Add another prick-like bicycle techie from Three-Two Square in Section 19, the picture is complete.
Anyways, Eddie arrived as scheduled. We waited for another guy who didn't show up, so, we decided to roll out.
The ride was really smooth and as we reached Section 13, we stopped by for breakfast.

Eddie, arriving at the office
Work, work, work
I had to put the paper out.
And at the same time, file in a story about the World Car Free Day and our ride experience. 
For this, I was given a slot on page 8 on Starmetro's Central edition.
Its been a while since I had filed-in any deadline stories. This one was a breeze. 
Took me 30minutes tops to close the deal. And with pictures too. 
One shot in particular, I set it on self-timer and placed my Canon Powershot G1X on a table top tripod. 
It captured Eddie and I cycling our Terns. And the results were really pleasing.
After I was done with the story, I sent it into the Editor's queue for the publishing process.
Then, time to close my pages for tomorrow. I did this with much ease as I had targeted 6pm as the latest time to leave the office.

Someone called 'Mongo'
Yeah, I have way with names and for normal people who behave like retards, I call them "Mongo".
So, this Mongo dude made a comment on a picture I posted on Facebook, it was me next to the Tern Link P9 at my work desk. Beside it was Jake, my colleague.
His comment: " Samuel Tan I can see your colleague is hinting you that you stink :p LOL"
After reading this, I gave him a piece of my mind.
I never met this guy before and from his profile, he's some Public Relations dude. 
Man, this guy blows!
Well, after my day was done, I rode back home. 
Took me about one and a-half hours to get back to USJ 26

The stink picture
Despite a light shower, I pushed on to reach home in a decent time.
The thing on my mind was to get some rest and prepare for a ride on Saturday.
This one is gonna be really interesting as its the actual "Car Free Day" ride..

Hitting a home-run
The distance covered...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The trouble with experts..

Believe the hype...
I made a run to Paramount Garden for an early lunch.
Then, a trip to a new bike shop in Section 19, Petaling Jaya.
There was a nice write-up in about this place.
Its owned by a couple who love to cycle and later formed a 'specialist' bike store.
I was really impressed with the article.

Lending a helping hand...
An old timer friend of mine from Kota Baru contacted me about some KHS folding bike.
He stood at 6' 1" which is pretty tall for Asian standards.
When I got into the shop, I noticed the KHS bikes. 
One of the sales guy came up (later, upon reference to the article, this is a tech person who was quoted as : 'enthusiastic' and 'helpful')
So, I asked the guy: "Eh boss, anyway to fit in a longer stem for this handlebar ah?"
He said: "I wouldn't recommend retro-fitting the bike.."
Same goes with a few questions on the handlebar stem.
Then, I asked him about the bike's drivetrain. 
His reaction: "I don't understand.. What 18-speed?"

Then, things turned really ugly...
I studied his body language and facial expression.
The tone of his voice indicated that he wasn't pleased with the inquiry.
His facial expression says it all. 
My last question: "What is the maximum rider's weight?"
His response: "105kgs"
I continued by asking: "What if the person exceeds the weight limit?"
He said: "Your questions are too technical.."

I told him that he sucked and left the scene.

Moral of the story:
You never know who or what will walk through that door.
Obviously, the store's customer service blows!
The guy gave a lot of attitude and gauging from the way he handled things, I don't think this shop will survive.
Having lots of money, loving the cycling scene doesn't mean you can run a successful business.
Its how you treat people. With this experience, I will never set foot at this store. I can only wish the owners best of luck. If they keep up with the attitude, don't blame the customer.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Its just one of those days...
I was doing a long-distance ride with a single Sigma Power LED bike light on my handlebar.
While taking the bumps and knocks, I noticed that the light housing was dangling on my Minoura Space bar.
After riding for 20km, I realized that the mounting clamp was broken.
That's one mount down and one more to go.
Since I purchased my Sigma Power LED Pro lights, its been plagued by problems.
The piece of rubber ring that holds it together breaks eventually.

 The ninkampoops just killed it!
I had the lights in less than a year.
So, to get some bearings on whether a replacement part can be sourced or not, I gave the store which I bought the light from a call.
On the receiving end, the guy who took my inquiry told me that I should leave my number.
He will call me if parts could be obtained.
That was two months ago.
I guess I'll have to email the German manufacturer directly to get the low-down.
Meanwhile, I am just happy with my Ay-Ups!

What the hell was I thinking???

Somebody shoot me!
I made a beeline to Rodalink bicycle store in Desa Seri Hartamas on Monday.
My primary objective, was to score a Burger King Whopper.
The side mission was to check out the bikestore scene. 
These days, I made it a point to visit bicycle shops once every three months.
And right there before me was a Polygon Helios 100.
This is a basic bike, entry-level buy at RM1.6k a pop.
Then, somewhere in the corner of my mind, I gave it some serious thought about riding with the Starmetro cycling team.
I managed to get them four Polygon Helios 500 bikes. Two were put to good use, one was literally a goner and the other, well, we are thinking seriously of taking it back.
Way I see it, sponsored cyclists can yield their ugly faces.
They want the freebies, but won't put any effort to earn it.
In the case of the Starmetro cycling team, we have two useless buggers.
One was in for the glamour, the other, made empty promises and I found out that later, the Helios 500 was given to his kid.
Well, like any 'free' stuff, its prone to abuse.
Just like the laptops that were issued to reporters back in the days when I was on the beat, some of the bosses actually gave them to their children. 

The affordable road bike: Polygon Helios 100
 Some soul-searching
Road bikes are not for me. 
I had a good run for at least 10 years with my Raleigh 400. That was it.
Even at an affordable price of RM1.6k, I think the Helios 100 would gather dust at home.
The idea of cycling with the boys in their training stint is noble. But I think they can do it on their own under the leadership of the team captain.
Much of my work remains in the background and I do hope that somebody will take on a succession plan when I am fed-up of helping to run the team.

A decision
Well, after giving it much thought - my heart and mind is all for a 24" high-performance folding bike I have just the right model and make in mind.
So, sorry Polygon. Better luck next life!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Canon's new full-frame camera

Full-frame for all..
The Canon EOS6D was not a well-kept secret.
It came out soon after Nikon had announced their D600 full-frame D-SLR body.

 Bridging the gap
Full-frame D-SLR bodies are not cheap.
It commands a minimum retail price of RM11k a pop.
The EOS6D has a MSRP of USD$2,000 (RM6.1K) which is almost half the price of the EOS5DmkIII.
With this option available, more enthusiasts are expected to switch from their entry-level APS-C D-SLRs to the new full-frame body.

The EOS6D with the new BG-E13 battery grip
 Features at a glance
The EOS6D is a 20.2 Megapixel camera which is Wi-Fi capable and has a built-in GPS feature for Geo-tagging your shots.
It uses an SD Card for recording captures both on still and video.
The 6D is also complemented with a new battery grip - the BG-E13 and accepts the time-proven LP-E6 battery pack.

Canon Powershot G15

This year's Photokina trade show in Germany is full of excitement.
Canon's announcement of the G12 replacement is an interesting development in their 'enthusiast'-level compact camera.
For years since its introduction, the Powershot G-series has been way ahead in the forefront -- catering to serious amateurs and professionals demanding for a high-end compact camera to complement their tools of the trade.

Canon's contender for the high-end compact camera market
 What to expect..
Canon had designed the G15 with a faster aperture.
This means, at the widest focal length, you get F1.8 which means that low-light captures are possible. 
But what remained unseen is the image quality with the aperture wide-open.
The dial layout on the G15 is much more user-friendly. Everything you need is on the right-hand side of the top panel.

Gone is the swiveling rear screen
 A worthy update
I must say that Canon has done some homework on making the G-series better.
Not to be confused with the much more higher-end G1X, the G15 has everything that you can pack to create some good snapshots.
Well, at least the minimal focal length is now back to 1cm which means that you can use it for some really cool close-up shots!

Tern's new biketool

A recent announcement in Vegas
Tern bicycles has added a new bicycle tool to their line of accessories.
This one is truly a winner because you don't find many bike tools with a 15mm wrench. 

 I think this tool will win a lot of hearts and minds and should be a contender for the Red Dot best design award.
That said, I hope it won't be too expensive when it hits the retail outlets here in Malaysia...