Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Review: Brita fill&go Active water filter tumbler

It is grateful that my bestie, Samuel Shee managed to get us, Howei ambassadors to collaborate with Brita Malaysia to bring clean water as we are cycling everywhere.

Brita produces water jugs (BPA-free, made of styrene methyl methacrylate copolymer), kettles and tap attachments with integrated disposable filters. The filters can be recycled.
Their primary filtering mechanism consists of activated carbon and ion-exchange resin. The activated carbon is produced from coconut shells. According to Brita, the filters have two effects:
  • The activated carbon removes substances that may impair taste, such as chlorine and chlorine compounds.
  • The ion-exchange resin reduces the carbonate hardness (limescale) as well as copper and lead.
The filters do not purify water, though...

It has been 2 months ever since we got this from Sam Chong, the distributor of Brita in Malaysia and we got rid of our own old normal cycling bottles since then. You got it, we can clean water on the go. As a long distance/endurance cyclist, we often got ourselves refilled through bottled mineral water from petrol station or questionable source of drinking water from local coffee stalls by the road (especially during our Audax BRM). I remember once there was a lady who ran a roadside food stall, told me that we can drink plain water indefinitely without paying because she just got it from the reverse osmosis water machine near the convenient store (imagine how often they replaced their filters...). By the way, I still don't have confident to drink tap water in Malaysia even though the new government is striving to provide this for us. We can tell from taste of water filtered by the micro disc filter, that it is different from the water we usually sourced along our ride and it is refreshing and no chlorine/chemical taste. Below is the image of used filter ready to be replaced and a new one,
used (left), new (right)
How often do we need to change the filter? Given that each full volume of a tumbler is 600 ml and it is suggestible to replace it after 150 liter filtration, it takes 250 times of bottle refill. Of course, you and I don't record it daily, so Sam suggested that we replace it after a month if we use it every day. My experience was that, the filter actually clogged, and I couldn't squeeze water out from the tumbler (refer photo above). I am not advising you to do so, it is just that I had forgotten the count since I started using it.

You may have concern about the water pressure of it once you squeeze it like any other cycling bottle, but let me tell you this, we still get our water splash even though there is a micro disc filter separates us between our water in tumbler and our body (because I don't know where you would squeeze the water). Suction wise, the water pressure is as similar as other normal cycling/sports tumbler, too. This 600ml tumbler is as squeezable as any other cycling bottle and as durable as any others that can withstand accidental drop when we are on our bikes.

There are 4 color options available: deep purple, lime green, scarlet red and blue (as displayed in leading image) and it comes with lid (we don't usually use it when we carry it on our bike because it is challenging to actually drinking it single-handled) and soft string (for you to hook on your bag or any other carriage).

If you are interested to have a demo, kindly let me know or you could visit Brita Malaysia store at Penang Times Square. Til then, keep hydrated!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Malaysia economy so far?

Managed to watch this local production before it was dropped in Penang cineplex yesterday and it was a good one (from Saw Teong Hin, the director and producer of Puteri Gunung Ledang, You Mean the World to Me 海墘新路 etc. and crews). I heard weeping of touched (besides mine) given that number of audience at this point of time is lesser than when it was premiered. I could say 9 May was like second independent day for Malaysia if you know what happened during that day.

OK, snapping back to reality after lights were bright.

Some of us who are financially aware may ask, "How is our economy now since the new government is taking over for almost 5 months?" Well, rather than finding our ex-prime minister's simplistic view on our macro economy by correlating oil price and MYR strength (read it here), amuzing (he did write a detail explanation though...), this is my take on Malaysia general economy situation.

Let's kick start with consumer expectation,

Most of the Malaysians, I assume, could attribute the spike of retail sales and consumer confidence during the period of June to August after the general election because the new government was giving a grace period of abolishing Government and Service Tax and replacing it with Sales and Services Tax (which onset in September 2018). Seeing these columns were climbing back from seemingly bottom during this 5 years, I would say it was reviving from months of low (where election tension was looming). Next, we go on with industrial side.

 Unemployment rate and industrial production remained constant for this 5 years period while manufacturing PMI finally expended from contraction since early of 2018. Our weakening Ringgit versus USD is actually helping us, an export oriented country, if foreign investment is still confident on us over our unstable political situation and the infamous 1MDB case. Rising industrial production? I take it as bottom out. How about our central bank interest rate then?
Falling since 2008 crisis which made sense, given that our economy relies a lot on local consumption (look at how many Proton and Perodua on the roads versus Toyota and Honda). Bank Negara or Malaysia Central Bank raised the rate 2 years after that and today it is maintaining around 3% ~ 3.25%. It would be rising rapidly during 2010 - 2011 but generally, I think previous and recent rise was tightening loan when most people were rushing to buy low in various investments.
In US markets, when yield curves were inverted (meaning short term bond yield rates are higher than longer term yield rate, this is probably due to greed of investors to secure low risk returns), stock market crashed most, if not all the time. While looking at Malaysia's story, it seems the curves were starting to flattening while stock market was consolidating or rally from correction during our last cinematic election,
as of 27 Sep 2018
In a nutshell, would you say this is a recovery from Malaysians' much anticipated situation? I am a bit conservative and I would rather say it is a recession for me. Of course, what happened around macro economy is correlating (if you think there is such correlation) with equity markets around 6 to 12 months or vice versa.

This is my personal opinion as a concerned citizen and I don't trade local market. If you are trading or investing Malaysia market, DO YOUR OWN STUDY and don't ask me what to buy or sell because I have mentioned it above. This simple article was meant to share my view and probably some comment from my reader so that we could exchange thought on finance, economy or anything else.

Til then,
Happy hunting!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Madone SLR Ride by Treknology

Treknology Multisport Sdn. Bhd. organized a (marketing) fellowship ride yesterday in conjunction with launching of Trek Madone SLR 6 Disc and SLR 8 2019 model (Trek's aerodynamic range road bike). Despite that it was a public holidays, event participants were few, probably some were still coming back from vacation or calling back to workplace to fulfill their duties.
Nevertheless, after we were greeted and briefed by the shop attendant, Mr Kamaruzaman about event flow and ride info, 10 cyclists rolled on with planned route, as showed below,

There were 2 routes version:
short one: Treknology - Bayan Lepas - Teluk Kumbar - Bukit Genting - Treknology
long one: Treknology - Bayan Lepas - Teluk Kumbar - Bukit Genting - Balik Pulau - Pulau Betong - Treknology

Most of the riders opted for the long route even though we actually started our ride with cloudy day. All went well as we were rolling nicely under single file, led by Treknology rider to Bukit Genting peak, and the rain started to cool us down. Mr Kama had to prepare for the bike launching so he descended down from where we came from and led 2 riders who chose to finish the ride early before heavy stom overwhelmed us. The remaining 8 riders (including me) pressed on with long route until somewhere in Balik Pulau where we decided to turn back to shop and the storm was dangerous for us to continue (thus the U-turn you see in my Relive clip).

I guess Treknology would wish to showcase the power of disc brake under such challenging weather as we were descending from Bukit Genting for second time. That's is the reason I choose disc brake system for my current bike given that Audax Randonneur does not have the privilege to choose weather to complete his/her BRM.

Everyone made it back to bicycles shop safely and I am gonna said I had a fortunate maiden marketing ride as Mr Kama had prepared very delicious (and spicy) Nasi Lemak and special lime cocktail (not alcohol, of course!) for those who attended the ride or launching ceremony. Thanks, brother and team (pardon me for not taking photo of that meal because we were too hungry for more Nasi Lemak)!

After everyone's tummy were happily filled, it was time to unveiled the new bike!

As Kama was presenting these bikes with all their awesomeness, you can tell that not everyone was paying attention because you know, road bike junkies tend to see and touch the real thing.
Ok, to be fair, there were serious and patient riders who were paying attention...
lightweight 700 Series OCLV Carbon frame with Kammtail Virtual Foil, H1.5 Fit, aerodynamic tube shaping and road-smoothing, Adjustable Top Tube IsoSpeed, KVF full carbon fork, an adjustable aero bar and stem...these are some of the features shared by both of the new bikes besides their group set (Ultegra R8000 vs Dura-Ace R9100) and brake system (disc vs caliper) difference. Full specification of these bikes were ready on official website, so do check them out.

We didn't manage to test ride the bikes because they were the only display bike in the showroom for the time being, however, Kama's colleagues were friendly enough to allow us to ride his last year model (Madone). Few rounds around the showroom and I can tell why it was so good. I could feel the stiffness of an aerodynamic bike but surprisingly I didn't feel that hardness of riding it (if you have ridden an aero bike before, you know what I meant). It is as if I were riding an endurance bike even though my physically I was on an aero bike (side note: I managed to ride a Giant Proper on the same day because there was a friend of mine who was kind enough to allow me to test ride his bike so that I can make a comparison). It was a good weather to try out cornering air turbulence since it was windy and rainy day. I didn't have to worry about it because it was handled perfectly by Trek specialized fork and crown design and let me remind you that I was riding a 2017 version! Can't wait for the opportunity to test ride the latest one! (>∀<)

Kama was mentioning that those who attended this launching would receive special privilege which turned out to be a 10% pre-order special discount (voucher), hurray!
It happened to be my team mate, Kenneth's birthday yesterday so he decided to grab it!
Sorry, this is what he dreamed for the whole night after he kept bugging us about how good the bike was in our chat group.

On the serious note, those who decided to drop his/her order would be able to receive the new bike probably around end of October or early November 2018 in this exact showroom. If you are interested to touch, see or smell the new bike, feel free to drop by Treknology (Penang) as below,

69D-G Persiaran Bayan Indah,
Sungai Nibong 11900
Pulau Pinang

Tuesday to Saturday: 11:00am – 7:30pm
Sundays & Public Holidays: 11:30am – 5:30pm

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Review: Topeak Fuel Tank (Large)

That accessory which I decline to buy until I am addicted to long distance cycling and need more supply on the go. I picked Topeak for its quality and price point and it does not disappoint me (unless bad weather strikes)...

OK, let's start of with its specs:

  • Storage: 0.75 litter
  • Supported top tube diameter: 38 - 52 mm
  • Supported head tube diameter: 34 - 75 mm
  • Bag material: 420 denier / PVC
  • Made in Taiwan

It comes with 3 velcro straps (2 at the bottom to hook on top tube and 1 at the side to hook on head tube) to secure itself firmly on my bicycles. I am not sure was it my pedaling strokes that were moving it side to side or was it me who did not strap it firmly on bicycle frame, it did not stay stationary as it should as I was pedaling, but rest assure, it would not drop from your bike while you are sprinting or descending from hills.

Given the fact that it was built from PVC, it serves as water resistant storage on the go just like any other top tube bag. Drizzl, normal rain coulbe be resisted by the outer layers of the bag but prolonged exposure in heavy downpour just like what we have encountered during last BRM400 at Jerteh, Terenggan may not be proovened (thus it is not waterproof) by the PVC layer as my cue sheets was soaked.

Let's look at the interior part of the bag, shall we?

It had 3 compartments where the main compartment can be widened by moving the small velcro taped divider to maximize the major compartment like this,
As you could notice, the last and mini compartment located side way was good for small items, e.g. keys, mini tools, quick link etc. Last but not least, this bag comes with a hole where you could pull cable out from the bag for charging (come on, we live in a charging-era now...) or some other purpose.
I suspect that my cue sheet was soaked by the water sipped through this hole under heavy rain (where water splashed from everywhere) however I have to use it more frequent to find out since this was my first time in using it in long distance cycling. Another concern for mounting this bag was not, if you are riding a small bicycle frame like I do (XS size 2017 Giant Contend SL 1), whenever I am dismounting from my road bike, I tend to hit the bag with my crotch (well, no hard stuff in the bag). Those who are riding a normal or larger frame should not have this issue since top tubes are longer in this case.

Overall, this is a practical and affordable top tube bag for those who are concerns about quality of China goods and don't wanna spend for US brands, this is something you could consider. It comes with a smaller size (0.5 litter) should you don't want it to hit you everytime you are coming down from your bike and are riding a small frame bicycle. Get it with reasonable price from Hoong Lim Cycle where they are the main dealer for Lerun Malaysia (official distributor of Topeak Malaysia) in Penang!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Review: Cateye Volt 400 headlight

  • Compact and lightweight rechargeable headlight (400 lm)
  • Lithium-ion cartridge battery - super easy and safe to change battery on your own
  • Round beam pattern with OptiCube™ lens technology
  • Can be mounted above or under handlebar
  • USB rechargeable (Micro USB cable included)
  • Low battery indicator
  • Fast charging cradle (optional)
  • 5 light modes *Charging time: 3-6h (3h via the fast charging cradle)
  • Mode memory function
  • FlexTight™ H-34N bracket
Here are the official info for this product. My experience of using this for 1 years plus is superb, let me tell you why.

Cateye is known for its affordability and practicality for its product range. This includes Volt 400 headlight which was the brightest among its headlight range by the time I shopped for this product. In case you are curious, Cateye has Volt 6000 to offer for those who really wants a flood light to keep them illuminated while pedaling at night.

Volt 400 is a sturdy light unit which after several accidental fall from my hands, it is still working fine until today. In fact you can feel it by the moment you have a grab on this unit.

The good/handy feature of this light unit is that its battery can be replaced during your ride if you carry extra 3.6v 2200mAH battery cartridge (can be purchased separately) along. As an endurance long distance cyclist, I need prolonged hours of illumination when darkness falls. With Hyper Contrast mode (400 lumen of bright light and 50 lumen of flashing light) on for 8 hours, its red LED indicator would bright up to tell you that it has reached its 20% juice left (during my first BRM400 brevet). For Audax alike ride, I came across roads where they are completely pitch black when night time falls and there is where I need to switch to High mode (400 lumen) to keep myself aware of the road condition of Malaysia (potholes, cracks...or even wild animals!). I personally think that Hyper Contrast mode is the best mode you can rely on where the constant on light would keep you informed about the road ahead while the blinking light will keep motorized vehicles informed about your presence. The brightness of this mode is roughly like this,

The official product page has a Beam Chart you could refer to indicate how bright each mode is for all Cateye light products. Do check them out! ;-)

Friday, December 8, 2017

My first experience in Giant Flagship Store Penang

Sometimes I heard some outsider said, even if you don't know anything about cycling, Giant is not unfamiliar. I guess the fact is that Giant is the largest bicycle manufacturer in the world and they are responsible for Original Design Manufacturing for other big brands like Colnago, Scott, Specialized etc.

I will leave the rest for you to find out about them, now let's get back to my experience in shopping with Giant Flagship Store Penang.

My first Lapierre Audacio 300 was stolen in April, second bike Eddy Merckx Sallanche 64 was cracked in September...and I get my third one in December!

People like my size is hard to find a suitable size because I am short (161.5cm), Asian....initially, I was considering Canyon Endurace AL 8 disc for its new Ultegra disc brake build, however, after thinking that Giant is providing free fitting service upon purchasing new bike from them and Canyon is shipping directly from German (which means you really have to get your size correctly, otherwise you will be guilty over the wrong purchase). Given that I insist on trying disc brake build for future road bike preference, I finally decided on Giant Contend Sl 1 Disc (2017)
The communication between the boss and I was smooth, filled with various trading craps, too (he happens to be a stock trader, too)...

So, fund accumulated, let's go!

Good thing about fitting in Giant Penang, you get to try Wahoo Kickr and Zwift for free during the process (hmm, indirect marketing? hehe...). Of course, prior to hoping on the bike, I had to be measured on my inseam,

76.5cm, official
It is important to get saddle height correctly when you are pedaling because riding too high or too low may hurt your knee where cycling is suppose to protect it (by building up gluteal muscles group aka thigh). Of course, it takes more than inseam height to get your saddle height correctly, like riding posture,

handle bar angle (not really picking up by photo),

All is taken care by careful fitting by the mechanic here in Giant Flagship Store Penang, just the boos said, we would make sure you get everything correct and comfortable before leaving our store. Of course, we are welcome to come back for any tuning or servicing after the purchase.

Since I had my own cleat pedals, they adjust my cleat position, too!

Lastly, a ceremonial gift from Giant Penang for every customer who buys a bicycle from them!

Feel free to drop by because they provide more than just Giant products, here are some other products they have,

By the way, they are selling Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT GPS Bike Computer Bundle, too!

Photo credit to Kenneth Wong, my lovely team mate who drove me to the store and taking these photos! (Hope you get your next TCR frame soon!)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Unboxing Cateye Auto Sensor Reflector Tail Light TL-AU165

Reflector and back light 2 in 1? Yes, or not surprise from Cateye which has wide range of bicycle lights for consumers. We are having this in our online store now.

Without further a due, let's see what is inside the package!
The light unit, instruction manual and light holder bracket. Simple and clean, isn't it?

Wait, how do you turn on that thing? Well, you probably may wanna check out its features:
  • Automatically turns on and starts flashing when darkness and motion are detected by the motion and light sensors (light turns off automatically when you stop)
  • Stays on function (continues flashing around 1 minute to ensure safety after you have stopped at traffic lights)
  • Reflector compliant with JIS Japanese Industrial Standards (Even if battery runs out, the reflector works to reflect light from vehicles, ensuring safety)
  • Runs for 6 months without replacing battery (when used for 30 minutes a day)
You get a cell (Lithium battery, CR2032) within the light unit. Depending on when the unit was manufactured, the cell may loss its potential since it was inserted in the light despite the unit was turned off. However, a full charge of a CR2032 cell will make sure the unit lasts in run time of approximately 100 hour. Cool!

So, how do you turn on this thing?
Notice that there is a embossed line design on the cover/light/reflector layer and the bottom layer with indication (in this case, it is "OFF"). This unit is designed to turn the upper layer to power it on or off.
The unit is turned on (as indicated with "AUTO"), but hey, why there is no light emitting? Notice that little round sensor at the bottom later, near the locking mechanism? The sensor is detecting lightness of environment so that this light unit will emit light when the environment starts to turn darker. Try blocking the sensor with your finger and you know what I meant.

How bright is this light? I would say it is about the brightness of Cateye Rapid 3 Tail Light (rapid mode). Light holder bracket supports seat post or any tubular part of bicycle with diameter of 24.8 - 32.5 mm. This light unit is weighted 35gram.

Check it out!

Review: Brita fill&go Active water filter tumbler

It is grateful that my bestie, Samuel Shee managed to get us, Howei ambassadors to collaborate with Brita Malaysia to bring clean water as ...