Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Topeak Accessories!

Bought some new accessories for my bike!

1) Topeak iPhone Dry Bag

This was originally bought for another iPhone, but I found it so good that I went out to get another one for my HTC Desire! Of course, I tried the sizing before buying it for my HTC phone. Some of the advantages over some other iPhone mounts is that it is waterproof, courtesy of a double folded opening and ultrasonic welded seams. Although I wouldn't try dunking it in water, it should keep the rain out with no problem. Also, there is no need to remove the protective casing to fit the phone into the pouch.

The Topeak QuickClick system also makes it very convenient to remove the pouch and bring it with me when needed. If you have more than one bike, you can just buy additional mounts and switch the pouch among the bikes. Note the additional blue strap which I added, that serves as a safety belt for the phone pouch in case it decides to jump off the bike!

More details at the link below! If you want to try the sizing for your phone, look for me during the rides!

Topeak iPhone Dry Bag

2) Topeak CageMount

I got this because it enables me to separate the mount from the bottle cage when not in use. This is to allow folding when the second bottle cage is not required. This mount is also much more secure than the clamp on + quick release type.

From the picture on the website, Topeak CageMount, you can see that the mount splits into two parts, one part is fixed to the bike while the other is fixed to the bottle cage. By removing a bolt from the side, the 2 parts can be separated easily.

The part that stays on the bike when the bottle cage is removed.

I have since modified the bolt to be tool-free, by adding a wing nut so that I can install/remove the bolt by hand.

Just turn the wing nut instead of using an allen wrench to turn the bolt.

Both the phone pouch and bottle cage fits on the handlepost without interfering with each other.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Preparing the bike for King of Da Hill !

This coming weekend, we will be conquering all the hills at the southern and western part of Singapore! Some of the hills include Mount Faber, Bukit Chandu, Kent Ridge Park etc. I have not been to any of these hills before, so it will be an interesting trip for me!

Can't say that I have been training much for this, nor can I say that I am well prepared. But no matter what, I'm just going to have fun! I have heard that it is very difficult to get up some of the hills on a 53T Front/28T Rear combo, with a 20" wheel bike. Not good news for me, because that is the exact same lowest gear ratio that I have!

Some of the KODH participants have a double chainring up front, which makes it much easier to cycle up the hills with the lower gear ratios. However, for those of us who only has a single chainring up front, there is a limit to how low the lowest gear can go, without affecting the top gear too much.

With my Dahon Boardwalk, I have 9 speeds, with a 53T chainring in front and the largest sprocket at the rear being 28T. To get a lower gear ratio, I will need to have a larger rear sprocket or a smaller front chainring.

Contemplated getting a front derailleur adaptor for the Boardwalk, so that I can fix a FD and add the 39T chainring up front, to give me a 2x9 gear system. However it is quite troublesome, since I will have to fix the adaptor, FD, front shifter, cable housing. Also, I can't see myself using the 39T chainring other than for KODH or for touring?

Another solution is to change the cassette to one with a larger sprocket, such as 32T. However, this is also not as straightforward as it seems. Because of the larger sprocket size, my short cage X9 RD will not be able to handle the 32T gear. Short of changing the RD, I also cannot use a different cassette.

Finally, I hit upon another solution, which is to change the current chainring size! From the current 53T chainring, I can change it to a 45T chainring, which lowers all my gear ratios by 15%. Although I lose the top end speed, I gain by having a lower gear ratio to use while climbing the hills. This is a temporary arrangement, all for the KODH challenge!

Brought out my new bike workstand from X-Tools which I bought about 2 weeks ago! Ordered it online at CRC, had it shipped over and it is still cheaper than buying locally, haha. It is of good quality too!

Being able to fold the workstand is very important, as I can put it in one corner and not have it take up space when not in use.

Sturdy large diameter tubing, adjustable height and angle.

Solidly built clamp head, with cleverly designed latching mechanisms and easy adjustments.

Lever with cam profile allows quick clamping and loosening of bike.

Ta-da! All set up and ready for use! It only takes 15 secs to set up the workstand!

Although the workstand has a rubber clamp area, I still prefer to use a separate old seatpost for clamping, instead of my black seatpost. With the workstand, it is now much much easier and comfortable to work on the bike, since the wheels and cranks can spin freely without the kickstand or the ground getting in the way.

Note the different seatpost that I use. Very sturdy and stable workstand!

45T chainring with bash guard. Lowers my gear ratios by 15% compared to the 53T chainring.

An issue which I overlooked was the fact that the chain length would not be correct, since the chainring is now smaller. In fact, at the smallest sprocket at the back, the chain actually becomes loose! Luckily I could still adjust the B-tension screw on the RD to take up the slack on the chain. That was not the original design intention of the B-tension screw, but it works, and it is only temporary so it is fine. Shifting is not as crisp because the guide pulley is now further away from the sprockets, but again it is fine because it is only temporary.

Will be testing out the new system very soon, hope it works well and comes in useful for KODH!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Journey of the Boardwalk: Part 10 (Headset & Fork)

Been upgrading the bike yet again! It is never ending, there is always something to zhng. Some people may say that it is a waste of money, and that there is no point. But to me, cycling is my hobby, and so is modifying my bike. As a hobby, what is important is that you enjoy what you are doing. When I upgrade components, it is not to compete with others or to show off, but just a form of expressing my unique-ness through the bike.

It gives me a great sense of achievement and satisfaction when I ride my bike, because I am riding a bike which I have assembled myself. I also like working on my own bike, to understand how everything works a little better.

In this latest upgrade, I changed the fork of the Boardwalk, from the stock chromoly steel fork to an aluminium fork. The weight of the fork has been greatly reduced, from 800g to 440g. This is a big difference that can really be felt, especially when carrying the bike around. Performance wise I guess there is no difference, but at least I don't have to worry about the fork rusting!

Also changed the headset, which I bought from Taiwan but did not have the chance to change.

At MBS, knocking out the original headset that was press-fitted into the frame.

The gold headset and its parts!

New black aluminium fork!

See how the black fork goes well with the black handlepost.

Note the details! Even got gold brake pad cartridge tightening screw.

At this point, I believe that my Boardwalk is the most zhnged Boardwalk in Singapore, and probably the world?? Only the frame is stock, together with the folding latches and kickstand haha.

I also have a major upgrade planned, but this will take a while as I gather all the required components so that I can change it all at one go. From the picture below, can you guess what I have in mind? By the way I got the stuff below from JensonUsa, ordered on thursday night and arrived today, impressive!