Thursday, March 21, 2019


Two years ago, I did a review on a pair of Pirelli Angel CiTy that was fixed to my 13 years old underbone motorbike. 2-years on, I have no complains of the rubber's performance in both wet and dry. Every corner and every braking I did on my daily commute is with full confidence that my wheels will stay on the road. As a conclusion to the "long term review" of this tire, it has clocked close to 4000km over the past 2-years. Low mileage considering I only use it for commuting - and still looked new. No compromise on the grip - wet or dry!  Also, my first bike, the Keeway TX200 came with Pirelli Angel Demon as standard. I know how the bike handles with the rubber, and two experiences tells me, Pirelli makes good tires for bikes too!
Made the 110cc bike looked fast
Fast forward 2-years later, I made a decision to purchase a second hand scooter - A Modenas Elegan 250i, which was a direct rebadge from Kymco X-Town 300i. The 250cc variant is only available in Malaysia. I will find time to do a review of this scooter. I had a hard time trying to find real user feedback of this scooter, as most were written by media and sound too good, driving the marketing pitch. Hands up if you agree real user review trumps any other social media influencers or media write up!

Nice modern curves of a scooter

The X-LED light is to show it's the Kymco X-Town
The Scooter has two different sized tires/rim. 
Recommended Pressure is 28psi and 32psi
The front tire is a 120/80-14, and the back is 150/70-13. This meant the front tire is 96mm in height, and the rear is 105mm in height. A larger wheel provides better control over potholes or uneven road, and smaller wheels has lower rolling resistance (or inertia). The new bike came with Kenda K711 (and front is known as K711F) rubber. 
K711 150/70-13 M/C 64S (M/C is Motorcycle) (approximately RM180 in Czech or average USD75 elsewhere)
With rating of 64S - which meant it has a max load of 280kg (each) and speed rating of 180km/h. Technically more than sufficient to manage the scooter weight+rider+passenger+load. Kenda tires are good from my own experience, and they make great mountain bike tires. However, I do not know of their reputation with scooter tires.
Kenda 711 Front has a middle line running through, while the rear is more sports aggressive looking
As I bought the scooter pre-loved, it has 4000km on the dial. I rode it home from Jenjarom, via SKVE and NKVE - a decent 40km. Tested the tire at legal speed (90kmh and 110kmh) with occasional sprint (80-110km/h) to see where the power and torque comes in (22hp at 7000rpm and 21.7Nm at 6500rpm). One thing I noticed was that cornering took a little bit of confidence, and straight line (along SKVE one section with 10km straight) was not as assured/stable. I am sure some of you that rides two-wheeler will be able to relate to what I just shared. The next day, i headed out to get the tire changed. 
Front tire after 4000km - pitting spotted.

Rear tire after 4000km, looked worn on the middle - likely running on too high pressure 
In Come The Pirelli Diablo™ Rosso

While researching on internet for Malaysian scooter community, i came across many discussion on tire of choice for the Modenas Elegan 250i, particularly when the owner/rider were talking about cornering and straight line capability. Comfort and braking distance were part of discussion as well (since the Elegan 250i doesn't have ABS). 
Great workshop for tire change!
Three brand and model came up; Pirelli Diablo Rosso, Pirelli Angel Scooter and Bridgestone Hoop BO2 (lower profile at 70, none at 80). Pricing wise, Bridgestone being the most expensive at more than RM150 compared to Rosso, and close to 200 more than Angel. However, the Rosso sizing makes it a perfect fit (no compromise on speedometer reading as it's exact sizing). 
Front tire rating at 212kg and rear at 280kg. TL = Tubeless. Both tires is about a year old based on manufacturer's date (WWYY)
Based on feedback from a friend that used to ride TX200, and not riding a NMAX 155, scooter wheel balancing is essential to ensure even wear and stability. Since this will be changed, the shop offered free balancing and installation. No complains there as balancing will run up to RM50 (total) for me separately. 
Rosso front tire - make sure you install it the other rotation around for water dispersion!
The tires cost slightly less than RM500 (for both, can't remember exact pricing but I know the rear was more expensive due to wider width). Once everything was done, i got a reminder from the mechanic to "please do not ride too fast today as the tire still has a wax layer on it". Adding to that, it was raining. Talk about testing the wet performance immediately! Why not???
Wet Performance
3-rain rides over the past 600km since I took ownership of the bike. Confidence from KM 2 of the ride was very evident. I still rode carefully along DUKE highway (journey of 25km) with heavy rain pouring down all the way. Was cautious as I never rode a scooter, so my ability to take corner on this Elegan 250i was not as great as the Motard (TX200) and the underbone (Modenas Kriss). Then it rained heavily about 3 days ago, and yesterday (those God-sent rain were a great respite from the 38degC heat!)
Drizzle starting!
The Rosso lives up to the claim, and the other bikers' feedback, of the tire performance in wet. One of my Twitter correspondence mentioned that the Rosso is "superbike grade". He wasn't far as Rosso is placed as "Sport" range
Angel is placed as "urban" vs Rosso as "Sport"
Dry Handling
A tire that has been performing well in the wet will obviously provide as good, if not better performance on the dry road. As the Elegan 250i is bigger than other scooter, it also weigh close to 200kg - it was very stable at all speed, including manouvering in traffic and on highway. Having a responsive tire helps in changing of direction. When I rode the Kenda K711, changes in direction on highway was slower - or there is a lag with steering response. At speed of 110kmh, everything else is slow (speed is relative), I remember having to change direction to avoid a pothole (on a highway!), and that milisecond split was critical. However, on the Rosso, changes of direction was way more responsive - almost that milisecond counts when avoiding potholes. I hope I am making sense here. 
correct installation of the front tire is important. As shown in the photo above, the tread/rotation is reverse vs the rear. Make sure your tire mechanic/technician knows what they are doing and do not let them convince you (to put it per rotation on sidewall)
Due to the construction and feature of Rosso, cornering on the scooter was safe and sure. Infact, it was fun, and the only thing between the lower part of the scooter frame and the road is the size of your balls. Leaning in on the scooter, and with the Rosso on was significantly different when I compared it against the Kenda. On the former, i felt the tire was losing grip as I exit the highway interchange at 80kmh (to a toll plaza), where else the Rosso allows me to take the same corner confidently. Perhaps, it is also the confidence one has that the (newer) tire will do what it does.
The Rosso from back - looked aggressive and changes how the bike look instantly
Tire Pressure
The reccomended pressure is 28front and 32 rear for one rider. The tire shop reccomended to me both to be running at 32psi for the Rosso. After tweaking it for a week, running it at 32-34, and 32-33, the sweet spot for me was 32-33 where the comfort and handling were optimised for my weight (72kg), and with a passenger (max 55kg). Any lesser the scooter has a drag, and any higher, the ride became too harsh and bumpy. Bare in mind that tire will also heat up due to rolling resistance, and it will increase the pressure by up to . 
Tire rotation, and marking on the sidewall
The Rosso was introduced in January 2017, and it replaces the older scooter tires with more improvement (H-rated to S-rated) and compound

The Pirelli Diablo™ Rosso Scooter Tires, per the website:

  1. Motorcycle performance on a scooter tyre
  2. Improved handling, absolute grip and performance in the wet combining all the latest technologies, materials, processes, and know-how achieved by PIRELLI in the racing activities
  3. Dedicated to riders with a sporty riding style, both in the urban environment and/or on winding roads or mountain passes
  4. High Silica Dual-Compound in rear tyre for higher mileage and excellent grip in all conditions
DIABLO ROSSO™ SCOOTER provides the following benefits and technical 
• Sport handling: this tyre provides maximum agility in directional changes, 

great stability in a straight line, and precision when holding a riding ‘line’, 
whilst providing a high level of safety and predictability. This is due to the 
combined characteristics of the profiles and the structures derived from the 
• The best grip: thanks to the materials and the experience gained in other 
areas, the new DIABLO ROSSO™ SCOOTER provides high level performance in 
all conditions and at a wide range of operating temperatures.
• Consistent performance: just having high performance is not enough; you 
need to be able to have that performance for the entire lifespan of the tyre. 
DIABLO ROSSO™ SCOOTER has a dual blend solution on the rear and a high 
percentage of silica content that provides excellent grip in all conditions and 
after significant mileage. The sport profiles and the “flash” tread pattern 
ensure even wear and excellent water displacement.
DIABLO ROSSO™ SCOOTER will be available from January 2017 in ten sizes
six for the front (14, 15 and 16 inches) and four for the rear (13, 14 and 
15 inches). The complete range of sizes is below

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 Training Log and Happy New Year!

My 2018 Training Log. 340 Activities covering 7606.20km, taking up 292H:59M:28S. I burnt 159,737kcal (that's 697.54 Big Mac if you want to compare). I say 2018 training has been pretty alright. Thank you to Garmin Malaysia, 2ndSkin Asia, Lifeline-ID, Hammer Nutrition Malaysia for the support all these years.

Notably, I have not been racing since Feb 2015 and it has been a cat and mouse game when it comes to finding time to race (on weekend) - as those precious weekend/time off was spent with the family.

Do I miss racing? I will be lying if I say i did not. So, what i been doing the past 3-years (coming 4), was to continue to train even when I was travelling (and for the record, I have clocked in close to 420k km over the past 4-years, with 89 business trips, been away cumulatively about 15 months worth of nights).

Here wishing the better 2019 to all of you! Happy New Year and stay healthy

(Watch this space for come back races).

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Garmin Fenix5 Plus Series Officially Launched In Malaysia

The Malaysia Garmin Fenix5 Plus Series
The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus (F5 Plus) series was available about a month ago in the authorized Garmin shops and it wasn't until yesterday August 14, 2018 that it was officially launched in a very impressive event. I was invited by AECO Technologies, the distributor of Garmin Products in Malaysia. The event was held at Deep Blue, Level 51, The Face Suite. The venue itself was a nice one. I can see where Garmin Malaysia is heading with this launch - placing the Garmin F5 Plus series as the premium high end "to have" watch.
The view from 51st floor of The Face Suite was very cool - more so when the window had the Garmin and Fenix5 Plus decal on them. Gives "ownership" to the whole event. 

I will share more photos of the launch at the end of this introductory write up of F5 Plus series. 
Fenix5 Plus Series What?
So what's new? Everything. While the F5 Plus appeared to be an extension of the new (relatively speaking, just launched Q3 of 2017) Fenix5, there were enough new features to warrant this to be called the Fenix6. Never mind that Garmin skipped "4" after Fenix3, this is legitimately a F6 in forms and function. Everything you can think off, except the shape, says this is a new product by Garmin under the Fenix range. For the record, I own Fenix(2011), Fenix3(2015) and Fenix3HR(2016) Proudly know the functions and nuances inside out - until Fenix5, which I do not have the chance to play with yet. Fast forward, it's time for Fenix5 Plus!
Variations - 15 in total, 6 in Malaysia
To start with, there are so many permutation of the series where consumer has choices to choose between F5S Plus, F5 Plus and F5X Plus, with different type of straps, color and metal treatment. Garmin Malaysia has brought in a total of six different combinations. Globally, there are 15 permutation of the F5 Plus series... The complete list of Malaysia's F5 Plus is at the end of this write up.
F5s Plus with Leather Strap not shown here
Strong, Solid, Sexy
I am still using my Fenix3 and my Fenix3HR (at least 3 years old) and it's holding up really well. Now, with refreshed materials used on the F5 Plus, the premium material used are built to endure and designed to perform. 
The 5 Plus and 5X Plus comes with the the Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) Bezel. A very fancy coating that increased the hardness, wear resistance and slickness (smoothness) to the material. Couple this with Sapphire glass - it will now take a diamond (ring) to scratch the F5 and 5X Plus. 
See Under Direct Sunlight
While all three variant of the 5S/5/5X shares the same 1.2inches 240x240 pixel always on, color screen and sunlight visible display, the watch (bezel) size ranges from 42mm for 5s, to 47mm for 5 and a large 51mm for 5X. Unlike other smart watch where they "save battery" by periodically blanking out the display, the F5 Plus series stays ON constantly and has great contrast to allow you to see through direct (reflective on screen) sunlight. No excuse not being able to see your pace under the noon sun!
Juices To Keep You Going
This may limit you wanting to have the function of the 5X Plus on a 5S Plus variant. If you want the Mother of all 5 Plus series, it will be the 51mm-sized 5X Plus. So, what's so different between the three variants? To start with, the Battery Life which correspond with how large the watch are - hence, can fit higher capacity battery.
Music To Entertain

Impressive battery life but severely impacted if you choose to use it for music. Yes, you read it right, the Fenix5 Plus series has music capability much like the FR645Music and the Vivoactive3 Music that was just launched. Equipped with 16GB of space, this will be more than sufficient to store up to 500 mp3 songs - and that would meant a great 25hours of non-repeat music , or no repeat until you charge your F5S Plus 6 times.

The only thing about music while running or cycling is the usage of the Bluetooth compatible headphones or earphones which can be distracting and may be a hazard especially if you are out running or cycling in open road. It can be perfect for gym or in a park. Too bad Garmin do not produce Bluetooth headphones/earphones! 
REM Monitoring For Dreamer
A new feature in the software is the ability to record not just your sleep, but also the REM or Rapid Eye Movement. REM is when your brain is at most active when you are sleeping, but your body remains to be in paralysis. This REM is where your dreams happens. This also ties back to your deep sleep pattern - and how well rested you can be. Perhaps one day I will write about REM and how it effects athletic recovery abilities! Until then, I will continue to monitor my own sleep pattern based on the Fenix3HR I wear to sleep every night. 
Activities or Apps For Serious Activities
The Fenix series is a born and breed multi-sports watch and the F5 Plus series is no exception. Preloaded with no less than 30 activities, with many more possibility to customize it, you only have yourself to blame for not exercising. It has everything, including ability to track Elliptical machines, Rowing, even Jumpmaster if you are into diving. It has sports function and has 40,000 golf course data in it's cache. 40,000... that is a whole load of golf courses... Without a doubt, the F5 Plus will do them all, if not more. It does what it is supposed to do, and it will do it well. 
Mapping In Case You Got Lost
New to the F5 Plus series is the ability to navigate through Point of Interest (POIs), including Topographs and ability to route out-and-back route. Garmin as the forerunner of computerized navigation has brought what they do best into a 1.2in screen, and in color. It doesn't get any better than this.
If Mapping functions doesn't impress you, the F5 Plus series has Trendline ability where popular route around where you are will be mapped for you. Now, Imagine you are at a new place, not sure where to run, and you switch on your F5 Plus and it shows you where local would run... this give "running the world" a new meaning. Many times in my travel, i have to plot my runs on Garmin Connect, and sync them separately. With F5 Plus series, this may be the future... Only caveat is that the Malaysia version comes pre-loaded with Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei maps. I would not have idea if this may allow someone to load other country map into the system. I am sure there is a way and hopefully I will get to try and report back!

Hiking Much?
Another new function in the F5 Plus series is the ability for the watch to break your hike into separate sections of climb. With the ClimbPro function, your routed hike will be broken into parts so you can "strategize" as you hike or race. Ultrarunners and Hikers may find this to be very useful. Instead of having to plot these physically, all they need to do now is to upload the GPX file and all these data will be populated to help you plan your race!
Blood Oxygen Level Now Possible
This is likely the most anticipated function or addition to the Fenix5 Plus series. While it is only available at the highest end version, the functionality of it really depends on how you want to maximize this function. The testing a few of us did during the product launch gives us mixed results.
We then realise the Oximeter reading will only show up as a trend when you couple in changes in altitude. So it does make sense in the way that if you are racing/hiking/up in the mountain, the level of oxygen in the blood (that is what Oximeter does, it measures the oxygen in your blood ;-)) will also change. Blood saturated with oxygen is favourable to athletes, and having these info will help you with your training data. The oximeter works via a red LED at the bottom of the casing, next to the green LED for the wrist HR function.
If you have any experience using the Oximeter function in F5X Plus, leave a comment below!
The F5 Plus series has packed in a new GPS Chipset that includes the ability to detect not two Satellite system, but 3. If you are new to this, GPS of Global Positioning System is owned by the US. GLONASS is owned by the Russians, and now with Galileo which is owned by the European Union, your position under the sky will now be tracked even more accurately and search for Satellite will be faster lock on. For the record, F3HR locks on to GPS and GLONASS in less than 30 seconds if you activate it after a long "sleep", less than 10 seconds if you managed to lock in the first time (30s), and your watch is still "hot" under the satellites. With Galileo, Garmin claims to allow you to lock on in less than 10 seconds, with or without hot start! Now, that I got to experience! Also, it is worth to know that Galileo has accuracy of 1m for commercial use and 1cm for military precision. They are often the preferred "tracking" when critical positioning is required. Question in mind - will Garmin next make a chipset to include Beidou (China) system? If you travel to China and activate your Garmin for a run, expect the accuracy of the tracking to be off by a few hundred meters consistently... talk about shifting the map!
I own a Fenix 5. Do I need a Fenix5 Plus series?
The answer to this question, and if you indeed own a F5, is to leave me a note and offer me a decent price. I may just agree (haggle, take if off you etc) so you can own a F5 Plus. Joke aside, there are the differences between the F5 and the F5 Plus. It's quite significant - and hence, my opening remark about this being qualified to just be known as Fenix6.
How many kidney should I sell to get one?
The F5 Plus series command a premium pricing for the premium features. It is as expensive, maybe more expensive than an entry level Swiss branded watch. But those watches only tells you time - and you need to give them a lot of tender loving care - where else with the DLC and Sapphire coating of the F5 Plus series - jumping out of the plane, whacking through 40,000 golf courses, climbing Everest in sections, or just wear them to the boardroom may just justify the pricing. Here are the six variants and pricing for the Malaysian market.
So, which Garmin will I be getting?

Bonus: Product Launch Photos

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