Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tern Link D16 - "Double Deuce"

Raising the ante..

The Tern Link D16 was introduced this year with double the gear range compared to the 8-speed Link D8.
For 2015, the second-generation Link D16 is further enhanced with better components from Shimano.
It has a double chainring with an 11-30T cogwheel to give enough range for a ride to cover flat and hilly areas.

The bike, folded...
A bike with endless possibilities...

Having a wide gear range and the option to mount luggage racks means you can configure the Link D16 as a touring bike.
Based on its sturdy design and solid handling the Tern Link D16 is capable of long-range excursions including easy transportation for bikepacking activities.

The 2015 colour scheme is awesome!
An impressive package...

The Link D16 comes with a set of Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires. 
This is the best there is for folding bikes as the tires yields lower surface friction and the ultimate in puncture protection.
Complemented with a high-profile double-walled Kinetic comp rims, you are bound to spend endless hours under the Sun with this bike without the fear of constant puncture threats. Add a Biologic trolley rack on this bike, you would have a perfect multi-modal commute bike.

Price and availability

The Tern Link D16 is going for RM2,390 and is retailed at Rodalink Bicycle stores around the Klang Valley. For a closer look, head to My Bicycle Shop at Lot G3, BU4, Bandar Utama and call Johnny Ng at 016 - 632 2599 for a sales appointment.. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tern Link B7 - The Bare Bones Bike

The average everyday use folding bicycle....

Basic bicycle: The Link B7

If you are one of those who are keen to "try out" a folding bike, but has no intention to go anything further than a ride from your home to the food stall or supermarket, the Link B7 would be a decent companion.

Built solid

The B7 is a no-frills bike with entry-level Shimano components to take daily abuse on the road.
Like its cousin, the Link C7, this 7-speed bike is bare to the bones. It's just a notch up from the C7 with a bottle cage holder on it's frame and a slightly better groupset.
A 14-28T cogwheel on its drivetrain allows its rider to cruise on flats as well as moderate inclines in hilly places.
And like most Tern's this bike folds fast. The only difference is the handlebar stem folds inwards.

Pricing and availability

The Tern Link B7 retails at RM1,190 and is available at Rodalink Bicycle Shops in the Klang Valley. Readily displayed bikes are also available at My Bicycle Shop,Lot G3, BU 4, Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. For a price quote: call Johnny Ng at 016-632 2599.

At a first glance: 2015 Tern Verge X10

A chance encounter...

I made a beeline to Johnny Ng's bike shop in BU4, Bandar Utama to leave a packet for a fellow cyclist.
In it, a piece of nut for his rear hub. The poor fella has been searching high and low for a replacement not for his Dahon Speed Pro. This is an old bike which was handed down to him from a mutual acquaintance of my wife.
When I arrived, I was greeted by GC "The Ninja-Godfather" Tan, an old-timer who rides a Tern Eclipse X20.
He was eyeing the new 2015 Tern Verge X10.
With little or no announcement, the bike has arrived with two other models in Malaysia.

Tern's 2015 Verge X10 is as impressive as it looks

So, what's new? 

The second-generation Verge X10 is a vast improvement from its predecessor.
It maintains its unique colour and custom-made SRAM X9 rear derailleur which is color coordinated with the frame.
A noticeable change is the new Tarsus hydroformed fork. This is said to be stiffer and lighter, so, you can expect the bike to perform even on the tightest bend around the corner.
And for next year, Tern had included a mainstay chainguard on the bike. This acts as a cushion to prevent the chain from bouncing and derailing from the main chainring.
What's even more impressive, is the massive 55T chainring made by FSA for Tern and the 11-36T cogwheels. 
This enables the rider to take on any terrain, be it a flat course or a hilly climb.

The X10, folded

Hot item: the Kinetic Pro-X hub

The V-brakes

You can expect the new Kinetic X rim to perform

Stability and solid handling comes from the VRO syntace steering system

The huge 55T chainring, largest on any Tern bikes of its class
Expect cutting edge performance..

There's no doubt that the large chainring and wide array of gears on the cogwheels would really spin the bike fast.
Despite the makeover, the genius is in the details.
On the crank, Tern had included an FSA BB386 bottom bracket. So, there's no issues with moisture on the crankset when you ride in wet weather. its practically sealed to prevent dirt and water from damaging the bottom bracket.
Another major improvement is on the Kinetic Pro wheelset. 
The Kinetic Pro-X hubs are out of this world and to give the wheels a real solid roll, there's the sapim aero spokes that is much stronger than previously used on the first-generation Kinetic Pro wheels.

How much and where to buy? 

The Verge X10 is available in two colours: White/Lime Green and White/Orange. It is priced at RM5,900 and is available at My Bicycle Shop, Lot G3, BU 4, Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Call Johnny Ng at 016-632 2599 for details on the bike.

Ipoh Foldies' Open Day - Part 4

Time out with the course trainers...

After freshening up and a little rest, we rode into town for a quick meal. 
In the town area, I led Johnny and Des to a chicken rice shop and split up in search of Halal food for Mohd Radzi.
The first thing that came in mind was Mee Kari Daud Mat Jasak.
This makan place is located in the middle of town just a row after the chicken rice area.
It wasn't hard to locate and in the evening, there was a slight drizzle.
We arrived first and found a table to have our meal, but a family and their young kids sat there without even bothering to ask if the seats were taken.
Seeing the look of hopelessness and desperation on the man's face, we offered our table to him and took a smaller table next to it... 
After the meal, we rode off to the KBS complex to catch up with the Ipoh Foldies for their night barbecue session.
It was there where I had a real fruitful discussion with Zairil, one of the senior guys who is into long-distance exploration rides.
I told Zairil that The Malaysian Foldie's main criteria now, is to provide support to small groups that are starting up.
We are more keen in providing skills training and sharing of experience rather than organizing social rides.
There are plenty of peer groups of such in the Klang Valley now, so, our focus is more on establishing contacts around the country and promote responsible bike habits and ownership.
After spending some time socialising with the Ipoh folks, I can see that the guys were tired and with that, it was our cue to say good-bye to our hosts as we parted ways...

Zairil (left) an experienced cyclist from Ipoh and his new found friend from KL working on the grill

Azam: Our outstanding host

Saddle up, lock and load!

Back at the hotel, I had a little crisis on hand.
My Ortlieb Flight 27 bag's front panel had delaminated. A large tear can be seen across the panel just below the waterproof zippers.
I tried to mend it with a temporary solution by taping it with some bandage adhesive. That didn't work.
What's majorly disappointing was the fact that if failed during a crucial time. I made a note by bringing along some duct tape and bond adhesives in future trips. But seeing the poor quality of the RM650 bag, I might as well retire it for good. I've had the same problem with my Ortlieb hip pack in Indonesia in which I fixed it with an adhesive bond. The pack is now permanently retired.
My biggest worry about the Flight 27 was having it fall apart on me when I ride. Spewing all my personal belongings on the road won't be a pleasant experience.

This pack is robust, but at the same time: fragile. I was major disappointed..

My bikepacking rig: Ortlieb Flight 27, Bell Muni helmet and Tern Eclipse X20

A quick-spin around Ipoh..

We rolled out from the hotel towards the Medan Selera Stadium nearby where we had breakfast.
Johnny wanted to shop for egg-tarts at Simee village. I told him that I don't know the way and that going all out to find egg-tarts is a waste of time.
As a trade-off, I led him into town to get some salt-baked chicken. This is a specialty dish in Ipoh.
At the medan selera, we had a good fill and rolled out towards the town area.
There, we had fruit rojak and ice-cream soda at Loke Wooi Kee coffee shop. 
Later, the guys bought their supply of baked chicken as we proceeded towards the mural area near old town..

At the town murals

The ride-along

At concubine's lane
Coffee break

All aboard!

It's a wrap...
All the baked chicken packed, we were ready to roll.
This time, a whirlwind tour of the Ipoh Old Town.
Uncle John Cheong, a cycling buddy of mine who resides in Ipoh said the Old Town area is merely a tourist trap.
I led the guys around Old Town and found a place for coffee.
We chilled out there for a while till it was time to head to the train station.
By 11:30am the crowd was building up in the departure area.
It took me less than 10-minutes to pack-up the bike and other gear and by the time we assembled at the gate, the KL Foldies arrived and some of the guys were seen hurrying with packing their bicycles.
The least I can say is this: though new to cycling, the guys took great effort to wear head protection and pack their bicycles. This is commendable and very thoughtful to the welfare of other passengers.
When it was time to leave, a member of the Ipoh Foldies came by to send us off. He had even shot a video of us entering the platform.
On the coach, I plugged into my ipod and listened to some music to kill time.
By the time I knew it, we were entering Rawang. 
Johnny and Mohd Radzi got off at Kepong Sentral while Des and I continued our journey to KL Sentral.
We were joined by two other members of the KL Foldie group and parted ways after setting up the bikes.
By the time I loaded the bikes onto the car, it was already mid-day and I looked forward to getting some rest at home.
On the whole, the Ipoh Foldie Open Day experience was awesome. We made friends and shared experiences and hope to keep up with such events in the future.

Ipoh Foldies Open Day - Part 3

The willingness to learn..

Humility is a trait that sets apart small town people from the big city dweller.
Here in Ipoh, the good folks are eager to learn and honest about their intentions.
We are humbled before a group of young people who showed great enthusiasm to socialize through bicycling and improve with new skills.
I experienced this in Ipoh with the Ipoh Foldies group at the KBS centre in Ipoh Stadium.
There, I met a doctor who works in Seri Iskandar who came up to me and introduced himself.
"Hello Sam, I follow your blog la. Your solo ride to Port Dickson was very interesting."
He went on to comment about some conflict of interest between me and some peer groups.
I explained to him that such was a learning process to me and that I have moved on to other things.
He said the reason he drove all the way from Seri Iskandar to join the event was to attend the workshop.
"If it's merely a social ride, there's plenty. The organizers have thrown in a classroom session for beginners, that ; I am very interested.."
The humble doctor had declined to reveal his profession when I asked him and merely stated that he was a civil servant. 
These are the kind of people who appreciates knowledge from experienced cyclists and are grateful from what they have learned.
At the KBS centre, we were treated to a hearty meal. 
It's nasi campur kampung style and everyone have had a great time filling up. Especially after a ride in the hot Sun, the good folks have worked up a good appetite.

Makan time... 
The awesome meal! 
An attentive lot...

After the meals, the Muslim participants performed their mid-day prayers.
Then, we set up the classroom with a projector to carry out a slide presentation.
My topic: "Folding bike for beginners" was first.
I presented a 30-minute talk on everything folding bikes.
The crowd were nicely settled-in as I began my lecture.
Later, it was Mohd Radzi's turn.
He shared his touring experience in Sumatera.
Mohd Radzi's slide show had captured the crowd's imagination.
Some of them were merely talking about cycling outside Ipoh and paid full attention to the first-time touring foldie's foray into Eastern Sumatera.
Mohd Radzi shared about his experience cycling from Dumai to Pekanbaru.
After the talk, Azam took over the floor to conduct a lucky draw. 
A few cyclists who came for a daytrip had to leave as they have booked a passage home with the 5pm ETS service.
One of the guys was kind enough to send a cyclist to the train station because it started to rain.
Johnny Ng's turn was up with basic bike tuning and maintenance.
He took two bikes and tuned it to show the crowd on the importance of maintaining their bikes for long-term usage.
The attentive crowd were drawn to Johnny's skills on tuning the bikes and also gave it a try to feel the difference.

Azam, addressing the participants
The first speaker
Mohd Radzi, sharing his touring experience with a Dahon Eco 7 folding bike
Johnny explaining to the crowd on the importance of bike maintenance
The practical session
The crowd
A lucky draw prize winner

The Kuala Lumpur Foldies posing for a snapshot before departing for KL
A fruitful session..

After Johnny had concluded his talk, we drew again for the lucky draw session and handed away prizes sponsored by Le Run Industries and Guan Chow bikes of Perak.Johnny Ng also contributed some prizes via My Bicycle Shop.
The last session was conducted by a former national cyclist, but we couldn't stay because of our accommodation issues.
We had to ride over to Fair Park to check-in at the hotel which was fully booked by some state hockey players who came for a tournament at the Stadium Azlan Shah.
Some of the participant had thanked us for sharing our knowledge and said that they had enjoyed the presentation.
With little daylight left, what's left to do, is to head to our hotel room to freshen up and later join the Ipoh Foldies for a barbecue session at night.. 

Ipoh Foldies' Open Day - Part 2

A bicycling tour of the greater Ipoh..

One of the newest attractions in Ipoh is the Keledang Sayong nature park located on the outskirts of town.
To get there, we need to cycle past the Manjoi Malay village and Jelapang. 
Basically, this is the traditional route towards Kuala Kangsar, bypassing Tanjung Rambutan.
The park will be declared open by HRH Sultan of Perak next year after his Royal installation.
So, we are just there to catch a glimpse of the new facility and were told by Azam that there are camping grounds including an aircraft wreckage in the area...
"This used to be a Communist bandit's campsite back in the days of the Emergency.
"Archaeologists found eating utensils and other equipment belonging to the bandits sometime back in the hills surrounding Keledang Sayong," explained Azam.
The cycling experience along Gagasan Manjoi itself, was an experience worthwhile.
I witnessed the greater Ipoh like I never did over the years and was really surprised with the beauty of its countryside.
We rode past Jelapang and re-grouped before heading towards the next checkpoint: Keledang Sayong.
To get there, it was a gradual climb towards the gate of the nature park.
The heat and early departure from KL Sentral took a toll on some of the inexperienced riders from the Folding Bike Instant and KL Foldies group.
Nevertheless, they showed great sportsmanship by pushing their bikes towards the rendezvous point.

Cycling along the Gugusan Manjoi
The climb to Keledang Sayong nature park
The cyclists at Keledang Sayong

Re-grouping before pushing off to the town centre..
A fellowship of foldies..

It's simply amazing to watch how organized the Ipoh Foldies were.
Azam, who led the ride, had coordinated with a few key individuals in the group to marshal the visiting cyclists.
They kept in touch with two-way radios and re-grouped frequently to get the party of 50 cyclists in tow.
No one was left behind as the marshals kept a constant lookout for everybody.
Once we got to Keledang Sayong, the cyclists were given bottled water and bananas.
They've gained some really good experience in organizing rides on Tuesday nights around Ipoh.
I guessed that the KL Foldies were impressed by how things were done and wanted to learn from a more experienced and organized groups.
There were also appointed medics with First Aid Kits to assist cyclists experiencing leg cramps. 
In this case, at least one or more visiting foldies from KL were treated for muscle cramps along the way.
With the Sun directly above our heads, our next destination was Ipoh old town.
We were brought to a site were street mural paintings were displayed.
Azam and his team had carried out recce rides prior to the event and made sure that there's ample time to ride along the 30km route before heading to the Ipoh stadium where the workshops were conducted.

Azam, briefing the cyclists about Keledang Sayong
Cyclists rolling out towards Ipoh town


Jamell of Taiping Foldies Fan taking a video of the ride..
Talking to a stranger in Ipoh about folding bikes

Riding into town..
And when you least expect...

We re-grouped at a petrol station near the Jelapang underpass.
While I was waiting for the rest to roll out, a stranger walked up to me and stuck a conversation.
"You are the dude with the cycling blog right?
"I read about your Tern reviews. I want to get a folding bike, what you think is good for me?," he asked.
What are the chances of meeting some random dude who reads your blog? 
Well, I was surely as surprised as the guy who asked the question.
We talked a bit and he excused himself after filling his car with petrol and drove off.

One for the photo album!
A mural in town
As noon drew closer, we rode to the Ipoh stadium where a bicycle distributor had set up shop to display their ware.
The Sun was directly above our heads as everyone were seen to be pretty worn out from the 30km ride around Ipoh.
To me, it was a splendid introduction to the greater Ipoh.
I guess that everyone has their very own perspective about their hometown and the guys from the Ipoh Foldies had taken great efforts to promote their cycling routes.. Something very commendable.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Ipoh Foldies' Open Day - Part 1

Lending a helping hand..

The Ipoh Foldies are a group of highly-disciplined folding bike enthusiasts. 
There are more than 50 people in the group consisting two smaller sub-groups.
They've merged to co-exist as a larger cycling peer group and is experiencing rapid growth in terms of membership.
I worked with their defactor leader Mohd Azam Azimi on conducting a workshop and ride in order to get the good folks of Ipoh to understand more about folding bikes.

The plan

We have a three-session talk on folding bikes. First-off, folding bike for beginners where I would lead off with a slide show and lecture.
This is followed by an experience-sharing session by my cycling buddy Mohd Radzi Md Nor and the last session is by Master Mechanic Johnny Ng of My Bicycle Shop. His practical session is about bike-tuning.
Azam spear-headed the programme by enlisting some of the Ipoh Foldies members who are staff with the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
We've secured a lecture room at the KBS centre near the Indera Mulia Stadium in Ipoh, which is roughly about a 5km ride from the train station.
To get things going, I booked the train tickets for my team of four, and hotel in Fair Park, with some help from Uncle John Cheong, a cycling buddy of ours.
Unfortunately, due to personal commitments, Uncle John couldn't join us for the ride.

Leaving for Ipoh on the first train

Having a meal on the buffet coach

When the day had finally arrived, I made plans to meet up with Des Yeo, one of our team member at a petrol station opposite Sunway Pyramid.
We then drove down to KL and parked our cars at an open parking bay in Brickfields.
Rather than cycling over, I offered to transport the bikes to KL Sentral.
I packed my Tern Eclipse X20 in a carry-on cover with my other essential gear on an Ortlieb Flight 27 waterproof backpack.
After dropping off Des at the station, I drove back to the carpark and made sure that everything was locked-up before walking over to KL Sentral.
We had to bring some goods for a lucky-draw session at the event, so, there are many things on hand.
When I got to the departure gate, Des told me that there was someone else there with his folding bike.
It turned out to be a member of the Kuala Lumpur Foldies, a new group formed with some help from an Ipoh Foldie member.
We had breakfast at McDonald's and met another member of the KL Foldie group.
Later, when the ETS departure gate was opened, we loaded our bikes onto the coach and waited to receive Johnny and Mohd Radzi at the Kepong Sentral station.

Arriving in Ipoh
A KL cyclist setting up his comrade's bike
There were 16 other cyclist on the ETS heading towards Ipoh.
The group boarded from the KL Railway station. They called themselves Folding Bike Instant.
We met up at the buffet coach where the guys had their meals and indulged in a conversation.
Most are members of the Perodua Alza Club who took up cycling recently.
They rode second-hand bikes imported from Japan and were curious to know more about folding bikes such as Dahon and Tern.

The group in Ipoh
On the coach, I also met Khairul Rijal, a reporter from the NST.
This guy lost his Dahon Speed P8 and bought a Tern Verge P9 to replace it.
We arrived in Ipoh just in time to set up the bikes and re-group with the Ipoh Foldies.
There was already a guy there to help take registration and collect payment for lunch at the KBS centre.
Later, Azam and his team arrived and we went on to the front courtyard of the Ipoh train station to snap a photograph of the three main groups.
From Ipoh train station we rolled out towards Kampun Manjoi and our destination was Keledang Sayong nature park..

Friday, November 7, 2014

Model Kits: A dying hobby..

Facing the generation gap..

I went to a hobby shop located on a basement in Bandar Utama.
It was my lucky day because I met an old-timer who was manning the store.
There, I asked if there are classes for model kit building.
"We hold workshops once a month on weekends, everyone can attend," he said.
Then, I went along, having a conversation with the man.
He told me that in Kuala Lumpur, there are only two hobby kit stores.
One was the Tamiya outlet in Bandar Utama where he is based, the other, a legacy store in Sungai Besi.
Kids nowadays, said the old-timer, are not keen in building hobby kits.
"It's different from our generation, we have move lively hobbies back in the days," he said.

An old-timer at work on his kit

Hobby kit modelling clubs such as this one is becoming scarce
Honing patience..

My late father used to buy hobby kits for me.
Back in the days, I remember building a set of Tamiya British Soldiers (1:35 scale) that he bought for RM3.80.
In the 70s, these kits were quite affordable. At the time, the Japanese Yen was even lower than the Malaysian Ringgit.
As time progresses with inflation, the same kit costs 10 times as much.
My first "serious" kit was an Airfix warplane. 
After school, I spent my time at home building it with a tube of Airfix glue.
That was it. I haven't the skills to paint it.
Later, when I was in Secondary school, the first kit that I built and painted was a Tamiya German Panzar Kampfwagen Ausf F/G.
It was hand-painted and I added camouflage to it. To me, it was a small achievement. Having built something out of box and seeing it take form as a tank.

The British Soldier set

One of the first tanks I built and painted
The reality

Kids aren't interested anymore in hobby kits.
Today, we have the Sony Playstation and X-Box generation.
And at school, kids have tremendous pressure to perform. Right after classes, they head straight for extra classes to prepare for exam.
This was not the case when I was a teenager.
Despite having to fetch my granny from our family shop in Jalan Raja Bot and head home on a taxi to Jalan Genting Kelang, I found time to keep myself occupied.
Even when I became employed, I still have the penchant to purchase a hobby kit.
The last piece I bought, was a Tamiya Early Production Tiger I tank.

I bought a 1:35 scale kit similar to this six years ago
To get the details correct, building a hobby kit can be time consuming.
Straight out of the box, you will be staring at pieces of plastic.
If you put in some effort to paint the parts before assembling it, the components will slowly take shape and form into a miniature military vehicle.
Some people even showcase their skills by taking part in modelling competition. 
They will display a diorama and judged according to their skillset.
Nowadays, such events are unheard of.
It's no surprise that in the years to come, hobby stores will cease to exist...