Sunday, 22 November 2015

The silent upgrade

Usually for anyone that wants an upgrade on the bike, they will try to make it as loud so that anyone could see it but not for me this time. Especially for this component, it has been tout as the louder it is the better it is. So I guess you should know have guess what is it.

Yes the hubs. Particularly the rear hub, and that is what I am upgrading this time. Just the rear hub. But it has only been less than 6 months that I changed my wheels. Firstly, let me clarify, there is nothing wrong with the current Swiss Side Hadron 625 wheels/hubs. The decision to upgrade was purely for fun and I just want something special. The Swiss Side fairing makes a unique whistling sound when it gets up to speed and I think it is worth showing off to others rather than drowning the sound with the freehub ratcheting clicks. So I decided to get a Onyx Racing Products rear hub.

Whats with this hub? First of all, let me admit that by looking at the measurements of the hub, it not gonna be the best wheel in terms of lateral stiffness. But since I am on a tri bike, I suppose those aren't gonna affect me much as I am not going to be cornering like in a crit or am I going to be mashing on the pedals up a mountain. Secondly, since I am not going to be climbing like a mountain goat, the weight isn't gonna be affecting me (as usual). The weight of just the rear hub is equivalent to the weight of some high end hubs in a pair(front and rear). So why am I still choosing it?

The Onyx hub uses a different type of freehub instead of the usual pawls or ratchet. It uses sprag clutch. You can youtube how a sprag clutch works and you will see the difference. Some hubs uses roller clutch which looks similar but are very different. Roller clutch introduce alot of drag as compared to sprag clutch also roller clutch tends to have lower torque rating and tend to slip under power and might lock up during coasting. Sprag clutch doesn't have the above mentioned.

How about sprag clutch vs ratchet/pawl system? Sprag clutch has instant engagement which is extremely good for attacking and coupled with its silent free wheeling, you could probably sneak attack a person before he realised it but I doubt my bike could do that as the Swiss Side rims are too loud. The hub being silence also means that during descending, it has basically no drag other than bearings friction, so it will be faster than any other hubs out there. So basically its like having 2 front wheel.

Durability wise, they have been used for BMX for years so I guess it should be pretty durable. A chat with Onyx shows that they do not require maintenance and if you really want to maintain it, it can be done without needing special tools. Also I have choosen the dual sprag version which has even more durablity considering it has double the torque rating.

Did I mention that it comes with tons lot of colours and you can even customize it to your liking. But I am choosing anodize black just to match my front wheel too.

But so far all these are just theories, I got to wait till it arrives and then have it built up and test it myself. Lets hope it works as it is.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Fat bike again... same same but different

Once upon a time, I owned a fat bike, sold it.. and now, traded it again for my road bike(Lynskey Cooper aka Black Bird). Reasons for trading is for some personal reason. It was amazing that the Black Bird did not suffer a fate as me but only a crooked rail saddle, no scratches at all other than this. I have then trade the Black Bird to my friend whom I sold my old fat bike to for a fat bike! But not exactly the same thing, probably 80% of the bike is different including frame and rear wheel.

Initially my thoughts is to weight weenie it, seeing its potential of chasing the roadies with it. My opinion is as long as the pace is constant, the fat bike could follow but once the pace becomes irregular, its hard to accelerate and chase due to the weight. Managed to draft the roadies at 36km/h+ for the regular seletar loop. But after watching a video featuring Aaron Kwok advertising AIA insurance, its a bike touring video about a father and daughter, I have decided to convert it to fun bike to ride it with my daughter! I have also sold away my DIABLO(Bomb Track Arise).

So the results is as below...

First version without trailer
Here comes the trailer. Sonia snacking in it

Grandpa and the grand daughters

Monday, 11 May 2015

Confession of a cyclist

I feel happier whenever I am riding my black bird (Lynskey Cooper). It's not just because a titanium ride quality is better but also because it's a "slower" bike and whenever I can match the speed and even overtake the super bikes in my group I feel even more happier. It also gave me an excuse to ride slower than those super bike. I could easily blame it on the bike. 

With my X-15 it's hard to blame the bike and I could only blame myself for not being fast and strong enough. It's all out built for speed yet I am unable to gap the group. Sometimes I just feel angry with myself for not having enough training and being weak. The only blame I had now is to blame that my X-15 hasn't gone through bike fitting with me yet. So I have book an appointment to make that thing I could blame disappear so that I could focus on improving myself. 

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Swiss Side Hadron 625 First Look

Finally I received the wheels. 
The package is nicely done and looks different. Not the squarish box I have always received but in a box shaped like an arrow. Never mind these small details, what matters is the inside. I am proud to say this is one of the best package for wheels I have received. Other than the usual quick release and rim tape, it comes with extra 2 spokes for each wheel and also a removable core extender! This is awesome as even those high end brand comes with only a screw on extender which is as good as useless. It also comes with matching bottle. It looks even nicer and symmetrical than my newly bought Elite Cervelo printed bottle. The only downside is the bottle is a a smaller size hence lesser liquid but not a big issue as I have a Torhans aero z as my main reservoir. Have decided to go with a round bottle on the down tube due to during race it will be easier to replace rather than a proprietary aero bottle.

Now to the main stuff, the wheels! 
The wheels are well packed and they are very true and smooth rolling out of the box. The quality is well built too. Can't really nitpick for the price I paid. The fairings are stiffer than the ones on the Hed Jet though this also means it will be heavier. The wheels are laced with Sapim  CX Ray spokes which are the standard for high end wheels. The braking surface are well machined too. The decals on it is very nicely done too. They aren't the one big piece type but are cut nicely to follow the intricate design. The wheels are also the stealth version which fits better on a wider range of bike colour scheme. Now to the hubs, they uses straight pull hubs which looks nicer in my opinion. Cnc aluminium but that's about it. No fancy design which doesn't matter anyway.  The free hub and end caps are anodize red which is a nice touch. They are easy to work on too, pretty standard with most hubs out there. The sound on the free hubs are loud! It's quite personal whether you will or will not like it. To me I don't mind the loud clicking sound as it will be covered by the howling sound generated from the fairings. The howling sound increases it pitch with speed making it sound like a fighter jet which is pretty cool and it's the first time I experienced this sound even though I have used Hed Jet and cosmic carbone sl before. It's simply music to the ear and remind me to pedal even faster. 
Mounting tyres on it is very similar to the Hed Jet. New tyre might break out a sweat and require the use of a lever unless you have powerful thumb. As usual I used continental attack and force to maximise aero drag and crr for this set of wheels. 

Overall, it's a well built and well thought product. The only downside is probably a higher weight which isn't of concern to me. At a price of more than 2 times cheaper than a zipp 404 fc, you won't  find anything better. Aero data wise it is slightly better than the zipp 404 fc and just 3watts slower than the zipp 808 fc which is of higher profile. Weight wise unless u are all out for climbing, it won't make much of a difference compare to the zipp 404 fc too. So I think this is a better buy than the zipp 404 fc as it even has aluminium brake surface for reliable braking. Now the only thing left is to go out and ride them for real world performance. I will update again when i have done enough mileage to deem fit for the next review. 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Types of cyclist

There are a few type of cyclist among my riding list and I am not even talking about Tri/Road/MTB differentiation. I am talking about the type of belief they have.

Firstly, the weight weenie. These are the kind of cyclist that count grams. I think they are very common all around the world. They spend $ to make their bicycle as light as possible. However, in Singapore where they aren't any real prolong climbs that they can utilise their bikes. Funny thing is, these type of cyclist usually are the ones that can't climb fast when climbing. Coincidentally, these are also the type that like to zhng their bike nice nice and colour coordinate everything on the bikes. Their motto is probably, can't ride fast.. look fast. One finger carry bike and take photo in the most relax looking way. These cyclist are usually spotted in the middle of the group and sprints whenever there is chance but seldom pulling.

Secondly, the aero-weenie. I definitely belong to this group. This group of people are the ones that likes to ride fast. Usually, their bikes belongs to the aero type, be it TT or aero road bike. Usually seen at the front of the group rides pulling and riding fast to separate the weaker drafters as they won't help in making the speed higher but instead slow down the peleton. These guys have a totally opposite taste as compared to the weight weenie. Weight usually isn't an issue to the aero-weenie. But anything that can make them aero-er and save watts, they will do it. For myself, I wear a one piece cycling suit from Castelli. I wear aero helmet. I try to streamline anything I can on my TT bike and put accessories that helps smoothen airflow even though they add weight. These are some of the stuffs that will make a weight-weenie jump if spotted on their bike. These guys motto are aero is everything!

Thirdly, the comfort-weenie. These cyclist are usually spotted with heavier bikes and anything that can increase comfort. They have heavy bikes and usually ride at the back of the group taking their time to reach the destination. Some giveaway items that tells u they are comfort-weenie are big fat saddle with cushion or even springs, double wrapped bar tapes, fat road tyres(28mm and above), music on their bikes. They can be spotted from far as they have a rather upright position and usually also wears loose fitting comfortable jersey. They can be very adventurous, and seen riding on off beaten tracks and some are even miles crunchers. They clock lots of mileage(usually slow) and food and relax is their motto.

Lastly, the hardcore cyclist. These cyclist are respectable as they ride anything and can ride very fast. They do not rely on technology and sometimes can be been on low end bikes or even very old bikes though some ride on high end modern bikes too. They usually have very strong will power and endurance. The parts on their bikes can be mixture too as they just replace anything that breaks and doesn't care about the looks of their bikes. Their motto is as long as it still rolls.


While waiting for my Swiss Stop Hadron 625.. I have been doing lots of research and even spending $8 to buy 2 online magazine from TOUR-Int just to read the testing for them. Through my calculative mind, I have get down to 2 things to compare.

The Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 9.0 LTD and Canyon Aeroroad CF SLX 7.0 as being tested in the TOUR magazine. Why this 2? The reason why I decided to choose this 2 models is due to it being the most similar. Its the exact frame and fork just with different components.

The 9.0 LTD comes with DA DI2, H11 CF aero cockpit and 404s and TOUR tested them to complete a 100km route with 2km elevation gain in a timing of 4:15:29.

The 7.0 comes with ulterga 11, H16 alu cockpit and Mavic cosmic carbone SLE and complete the same route in 4:16:40. With an upgrade to Swiss Side Hadron, it completed the route in 4:16:27. I reckon the change of wheels will drop around 71g from 7.2kg to 7.13kg. This also includes the change of original mavic tyres to gp4000s II. But I wont go into that as Mavic reckon their tyres together with their wheels are faster than with other tyres.

As a comparison of the aero bikes doing the mountainous route, a climbing bike at 6.8kg with round tubes and 40mm climbing wheels will need a time of 4:17:54. Hence aero still triumph weight unless it is a pure climb.

In another TOUR test, the Swiss Side Hadron 625 tested the same as Zipp 404 FC in terms of aerodynamic. But the difference of weight between them is 185g.

Between the 9.0 LTD vs 7.0, comparing the weight of the di2 and ultegra. The difference is 253g. I suspect the between H11 and H16 cockpit. The carbon are heavier. Which offset the rest of the weight. This can be confirmed by comparing 7.0 DI2 with 8.0 DI2, they have the same component except the wheels and handlebar. Comparing 8.0 wheels, they are reynolds strike slg which is lighter than the SLE on 7.0 But overall weight, it is more than 100g difference with the 8.0. Which is why lead to my conclusion that the CF bar is around 100g heavier than the alu. But the CF bar is way aero-er.

So with the above findings, I conclude that between the 9.0 LTD timing of 4:15:29 vs the Swiss Side Hadron 625 7.0 timing of 4:16:27 which is a different of 1min 2seconds. This 1min 2seconds is an advantage that the 9.0 LTD owned that comes from being around 300g lighter and cleaner and aero-er cockpit(DI2 cables run internally). Aero-ness of weight doesnt count as both the SS and 404s are of the same.

Take note that the simulated route is a mountainous one, so the time difference might be more due to the 300g difference and also the aero-er frontal of the 9.0 LTD which I think saves more time than the weight difference. If the route simulated is a flatter route, the time difference will be even smaller as weight advantage won't weigh so much anymore.

Extra bonus: The HED Jet 6 plus is faster than the Zipp 404 FC on a Cervelo S5.

Monday, 20 April 2015

More goodies

The upgrading bug never seems to cease. This time round I have gotten myself a new shoe again even though my current one is still in very good condition and my older one is still also in a good condition. Don't ask me why am I upgrading again. I have no idea too. Perhaps it's because the R171 looks better. Indeed when I receive the shoe, it look so even better in person. When I put it on, it wraps around the feet snugly like a pair of well fitted compression socks. Shimano never fails to amaze me with their shoe technology. I have owned 3 generation of their shoe and with each new generation, it just seems better. The R171 is more aerodynamic, no loose flap around and its comfortable without socks too. Now wait till my new wheels arrive before I wear them for rides and give a ride review.

Something new coming up is a Mio Link heart rate monitor. So why did I get it? Because my wiggle order lacks $$ to hit free delivery. So instead of paying $24usd for shipping, I paid $95 for something that might be useful to me. I have never trained with HRM and the last time I owned one is years ago with the Edge 705. One thing for sure is I hated wearing a heart rate strap. The Mio Link doesn't require wearing one, it simply uses optical light on the wrist to monitor heart rate. Using led, it also shows you your zone. With this, I will probably get motivated to kick start my training regime again. Which means lots of zone 2 riding and enduring other rider passing me. Let's hope the mind is strong.