Monday, April 02, 2018

Life-Work Balance In Action


At work and outside of work, I am always passionate at what I do. When a person talks of Work-Life balance, I see it as Life-Work balance. As cliche as it may sound as you flip the two noun; the meaning is significant. One places WORK as the higher importance, where else the other (my view) put LIFE as the bigger perspective. I have been approaching my WORK with a lot of personal LIFE influence!

I see my work as an extension of my passion in the sports that I do. Developing people to the point I can make myself redundant, providing guidance including sharing of my own personal mistakes and challenges I face along the way. You be surprised how empowering your direct reports, providing them a safe place to make mistakes, and assuring them you will be there to work alongside with them, can create a cohesive and engaged team. "Creating and developing leaders", should had been my "job title".

Outside of work, I have been active in recreational and amateur level (age group as we call it) when it comes to running and triathlon. and with a short 22 years of swimming (pool, lake and open water), biking (mountain biking, road biking), running (road and trails) I have self-taught, self-learn, started a blog (been more than 15 years since!), and has never stopped sharing. How many of you here reading this had this moment when you look back and tell yourself "I wish someone had told me this before?". I had on many occasions!

In the past 6 years (coming!), I have been privileged to be part of Team 2ndSkin which consist of people as passionate in sports as myself. 2ndSkin as a brand is a local (Malaysia) sports apparel supplier. You can check them out here. Team 2ndSkin collaborate with big brands such as Garmin and Hammer Nutrition, and we have local brand such as LifelineID and Kraftfit being part of the collaborating brands as well. In the past, the team had the opportunity to test both prototype and final production Skechers Performance shoes. Skechers has ceased to be the sponsors since 2017. Adhoc collaborators such as BodyTech KL that does run analysis, Doof Malaysia which has provided me awesome beanbags (at home), JVC Malaysia that has shared with me their action camera, UFL Malaysia that has provided me with Camelbak products. I thank all of you current and former sponsors! I felt privileged!

On a personal level, I see myself to be more than just brand ambassadors. Along the way, I realised my dream of sharing and helping others to improve their personal mission when it comes to sports. And that to me, circled back to how I treat work professionally everyday - pushing others so they achieve their dream and aspiration. Have a great week ahead!

Friday, February 09, 2018

Bose QuietComfort QC35 Review

The want for better flight experience
Being privileged to be travelling a fair bit in my current job meant I spent quick some time in transit and in planes. Over the past 3 years, I have covered close to 300k km and has made friends with many airport and planes. It has also come to a point where all I look forward to in the plane were decent in-flight entertainment (IFE) and sound cancelling headphone to drown out the signature low hums of the plane and (oh no) babies or toddlers crying. Even in Business class, the Noise Cancelling (NC) headset that comes with all business class, are sub par when it comes to comfort and functionality.
Euro269 for QC25, bought at Schipol Airport under Capi Shop
The Beginning - QC25
At end of 2015, my wife got me a QC25 - the successor of QC15 (which is still in use by Emirates business class), a step better in terms of comfort and NC than the QC15. My IFE was never the same anymore and the comfort I get wearing a headphone up to 17 hours in flight - has never been more enjoyable. The unit was bought in Schipol Airport as my sister-in-law was returning back from Amsterdam.
Triple Black Limited Edition
About 18-months into using QC25, it developed a problem that was identified by Bose International to be effecting the first batch (and mine was in that batch). Basically one side (often the right, where the electronics of the unit sits) will not function and that makes the headphone not usable. I had the toughest time trying to get in touch with Atlas AV Malaysia (as the authorised distributor, sales & services, and service centre) to look into my problem and offer a solution. Bose elsewhere has given a one-to-one replacement. I was entitled for this under the warranty, but was upset how Atlas managed my case. Lucky for me, the place the QC25 was bought, which was Capi Electronic actually honored my defect and offered the refund - all Euro269 plus the cost of me sending the QC25 to them in Netherlands! That my friend, was First Class Customer Experience and Services. 
Bose sucks, why not Sony?
The QC25 was then superseded by the new wireless unit marketed as QC35. Bluetooth enabled for your daily listening while commuting in trains (where low hums and human chatter are completely blocked off). At the same time, as my trust for Bose as a brand in Malaysia (via Atlas) was so low, I was looking for alternative. Sony came out with their newest WH1000XM2, which succeed WH1000X. Sony XM2 came with NC able to match Bose industry standard NC. Users gave thumbs up on the music quality where Bose lacked in the low frequencies/bass. Both were priced very closely, meaning it is also Sony's most expensive Headphone ever. What made me chose QC35 over XM2 was the fact that QC35 was a few notch more comfortable for me. 
SR1499 for QC35
I wore the XM2 at outlets for a duration of one or two songs (and Bohemian Rhapsody always one of them) and felt uncomfortable as the ear-muff was small and presses against my ears - heating them up. Then the metal band over XM2 was too tight, giving me a slight pressure across the side of my head. But wearing the QC25, I could wear them for hours - and QC35 is just QC25 with better technology. Plus, I am not sure how Sony after sales will be, or how easily the replacement ear-piece and headband can be found for cheap (via my online stores). Bose on the other hand, I know Atlas sucks - but I have the assurance that Bose outside of Malaysia were good. Evidence was two shops I went in Dubai in my recent travel and when I related my experience, both offered me a replacement - but of course, my unit already sent to Capi for refund. Even at the Dubai airport, i was offered a one-for-one replacement, no question asked! 
The most disappointing for me was still the fact that Bose Malaysia under Atlas Malaysia has much to learn  when it comes to after sales services. For the record, it took me no less than 12 emails, over 20 days to get a response, that too after I put it up a complain on Bose International Facebook and at Atlas Malaysia Facebook page. It then took two weeks before they offer me a WHITE QC25... no thank you. By then, Capi.com already processing my refund.
Based on the combination of comfort and after sales - Bose won me over again. Then it was the question of QC35, or QC35ii?
Do You Need Google Assistant?
The biggest differences between QC35 and QC35ii was the additional button on the left cup that triggers Google Assistant or Siri. You will need to ask yourself if you will use this for about additional RM100 (USD30) vs QC35. One may argue it also helps you to select the level of NC (off-Low-High). For me, if i want the headphone to be NC, it will be NC all the while unless the battery runs flat. And both QC35 and QC35ii connects on the Bose App, which controls the level of NC from the phone as well.
It's always HIGH for me
I was also told that the QC35ii does not have the (much needed) dual-prong airplane adapter needed in most planes IFE, and the QC35 comes with it as standard.
The built quality of this on QC25 was much better I would say
Bose QC35 - Review, finally
Now that you know how I came to the decision to get the Bose vs Sony, factoring the comfort level of Bose headphones, the industry standard NC, even though the less than good experience with the Malaysia distributor. I paid SR1399 after a SR100 discount at the airport, and with the refund of Euro269 (SR1237), it is a small top up for me. What worked even better was the Duty Free at Dubai airport accept my Emirates points and I managed to exchange SR1000 from 60,000 EK points... allowing me to purchase the QC35 and a Bose Soundlink Mini II with additional RM300 to save...
SR699, almost half the price compared to Malaysia...
So, i literally got the QC35 and the Soundlink Mini II, free. (We all love Free, isn't it?)
Out of the box, the QC35 box was smaller than the QC25, which the airport was still selling at SR1399 (no discount), which was the same price as the QC35. It is a no brainer why QC35 was the choice. Also, Dubai airport has limited QC35ii (at SR 1599 no discount) - but not in demand as Saudi sort of blocks Google (like China, just not as strict), making Google Assistant not possible to be used.
The QC35 came charged at 60% out of the box.
Yums
The box came with a soft case, cable, dual-prong airline adapter and micro-usb cable for charging. The Manual and warranty card came as standard, as expected.
Unboxed!
The QC35 came folded the same way as the QC25 (that i used to have). The biggest differences is the cable of QC35 is thinner. I will have to be extra careful or just get a replacement if the cable snap. That is one point for Bose to consider perhaps in the newer QuietComfort.
Folded
The pairing of the QC35 was via the Bose app. It can be downloaded on both android and iPhone store. It was easy to pair and there wasn't any instances the connection was dropped in my few weeks of using.
Even a cool function to "name" your QC35
The app also allow up to two QC35 to be linked on the same "music" and allow up to two devices (phone/tablets/ipad) to be linked. Pretty "perfect" I would say ;-)
Sound, how about the sound?
I am comparing this against QC25 and it is a big differences. Many that has judged Bose with less than great sound may had been referring to QC25 as benchmark. Even on Bluetooth where purist may say the signal transmitted will be "dirty". Personally, I was impressed with the sound quality coming out from QC35 when I listen to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody and Metallica "Enter Sandman". Unless you are hardcore EDM folks or listen to Electronica a lot, you may end up being more critical as the bass may not be at the level you want - for that, an amp and a 12inch woofer in a boombox strap to your head may provide you the SPL (sound pressure level) you will need. The NC on QC35, made the songs sound like music, not "noise".
Verdict - vs other brands
It is a very expensive decision, mine just made easier as it was considered as a gift, and an upgrade due to the refund and the air-miles exchange. Otherwise, I may just decide to use those provided by the airline - and cringe every time. If you been using a NC headphones, you will appreciate what a NC headphones will do in making your commuting and travelling more bearable. If you really want to get one, put in consideration of comfort first, then the ease to get spare parts - as these leather ear-muff will need replacing within 18months, or based on your usage. Even the headband, which are made from good leather, will need replacing. 
Ain't she pretty?
I compare this Bose with Sony, as it is the closest you will get both price wise and feature wise. I have tested Senheineser BT450, and a few others NC earphones in the market over the past 3-months and the closest competitor was still the Sony MH1000XM2. There are many features, that sometimes, you wonder if it really mattered. Sony has a cool feature where you place your hand over the right cup and the NC will be switched off, and you can have a conversation. However, I do find it rude if someone has their headphones on while I am talking to them, never mind you are now seen cupping your hand over one side as if you do not want to listen - but it may be a conversation starter. Also, I found a flaw where if you were to rest the right side on something that covers the cup, the NC goes off, not ideal when you are sleeping in the plane, and your head tilt in such way to off the NC... No way to override that I was told. 
On spare parts, particularly the ear pads, I been asking around the Sony reseller, none of them can tell me how much the replacement pads will cost - but for Bose, they stock them and the pads for QC25-35ii are the same. Then, if you search for OEM resellers from China, it is easier (and way cheaper) to get Bose replacement and almost impossible to obtain Sony's replacement. 
Lastly, with all things being equal, Customer Service experience in Malaysia will never differ far - and for that, I look at International warranty where Bose may just edge Sony with it. 
My choice was clear - it was after all, really experiencing the flights without NC headphones, and having to search for a replacement worthy to challenge Bose, that made me come back to Bose. 
Unfortunately.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Ironman Malaysia Update : 3 More Days to Hottest Ironman Race!

FREDRIK CRONEBORG AND DIANA RIESLER RETURN TO IRONMAN MALAYSIA TO DEFEND THEIR TITLES

Over 1,800 athletes expected in Langkawi for IRONMAN® Malaysia and IRONMAN® 70.3® Langkawi on November 11, 2017

TAMPA, Fla./KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: (November 6, 2017) – Some of the world’s best triathletes will convene in Langkawi, Malaysia on 11 November 2017 to race at the 5th edition of IRONMAN® Malaysia, as announced today by IRONMAN, a Wanda Sports Holding company.

Fredrik Croneborg – who won his first IRONMAN race in Malaysia last year with a time of 8h39min12sec – is back to Langkawi in 2017 hoping to take the trophy home again. The 36 year-old Swedish triathlete shared his excitement to be back to Langkawi this year “IRONMAN Malaysia is my favorite race. I’ve raced all around the world but Malaysia is where I perform at my best and if feels special because I got my first IRONMAN win here. Langkawi is also one of the nicest destination for holidays and I will keep coming back, even after my racing career. Starting as a defending champion, it's impossible to improve my ranking, but I feel better prepared this year. I hope I can improve my timing from last year and hopefully retain my title.”

In the professional female category, Diana Riesler from Germany will be the most expected contender for the win on Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa finish line after winning the three previous editions of IRONMAN Malaysia in 2014, 2015 and 2016. “IRONMAN Langkawi was my first ever IRONMAN race in 2008 as an amateur and I promised myself to come back to race again here as a professional. I returned in 2014 as a professional athlete and bagged my first IRONMAN win. The tropical climate and the hospitality of local supporters make it really special. I’m excited to race in Langkawi again and fight for another win on November 11.”

“We are delighted to have our two defending champions Fredrik Croneborg and Diana Riesler back to Langkawi this year. They are both exceptional triathletes and an inspiration for all the age-group athletes who will be racing here on 11 November.” said Geoff Meyer, Asia Managing Director for IRONMAN. “The amazing response from the IRONMAN community shows that Langkawi is one of the preferred locations to race and we are looking forward to another great race this year.”

The full list of professional triathletes racing at IRONMAN Malaysia can be downloaded here

This year’s event in Langkawi will host over 1,800 athletes shared between IRONMAN Malaysia and IRONMAN® 70.3® Langkawi. More than 70% of registered athletes are coming from over 50 different countries. The Top 4 countries are Japan, Singapore, Australia and Philippines.

2017 IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi will be an age group race only offering 30 qualifying slots for the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa.

2017 IRONMAN Malaysia will offer a $25,000 USD professional prize purse and 50 age-group qualifying slots for the 2018 IRONMAN® World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, United States of America.

2017 IRONMAN Malaysia and 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi races are part of the 2018 Asia TriClub Qualifier Series.

IRONKIDS race will be held on November 10, for kids aged between 4 and 17, taking part in 3 distances; 500m, 1km and 1.5km dash along Cenang Beach, sharing the IRONMAN finisher’s arch with kids able to experience the same finish line as their heroes at the Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa.

The IRONMAN Sports and Lifestyle Expo will take place from November 8-12 at Mahsuri International Exhibition Centre (MIEC), featuring booths by sports and lifestyle exhibitors as well as the IRONMAN official merchandise.

The 2017 IRONMAN Malaysia Langkawi is supported by Malaysia Major Events (MME), a division of Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), an agency under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia; Kedah State, Langkawi Development Authority (LADA), and Naturally Langkawi.

Athlete inquiries may be directed to malaysia@ironman.com.

For more information on the IRONMAN brand and global event series, visit www.ironman.com.  Media may contact Aw Li-Ann at li-ann@ink.net.my.

###
About Malaysia Major Events
Malaysia Major Events (MME) is a division of Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), an agency under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia (MoTAC). MME was established under the Government’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) to identify, promote, facilitate as well as support viable international events to be staged in Malaysia. With its main objective to enhance Malaysia’s economic growth and profile, MME is also tasked to identify and support major event bids for sports, arts, lifestyles and entertainment events and provide assistance to home-grown and home-hosted events in order to further strengthen Malaysia’s global appeal as the venue of choice for major events in the region. MME also acts as a conduit between the public and private sectors in ensuring seamless processes are achieved through synergistic relationships with diverse event stakeholders in staging successful events in Malaysia.
For more information, please visit www.mymajorevents.com.my and follow MME on Facebook.com/MalaysiaMajorEvents, twitter @MyMajorEvents and Instagram @mymajorevents.

About IRONMAN
A Wanda Sports Holdings company, IRONMAN operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series®, Iron Girl®, IRONKIDS®, International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Series races, road cycling events including the UCI Velothon® Series, mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic®, premier marathons including the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, and other multisport races. IRONMAN’s events, together with all other Wanda Sports Holdings events, provide more than a million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. The iconic IRONMAN® Series of events is the largest participation sports platform in the world. Since the inception of the IRONMAN® brand in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines at the world’s most challenging endurance races. Beginning as a single race, IRONMAN has grown to become a global sensation with more than 200 events across 50 countries. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.

About Wanda Sports Holdings

Wanda Sports Holdings is the world’s leading sports business entity, founded to capture the opportunities in the global sports industry and to contribute to the prosperous international sports landscape – in three key areas: 1) Spectator Sports (media and marketing business), 2) Participation Sports (active lifestyle business), 3) Services (digital, production and service business). Wanda Sports Holding incorporates the international sports marketing company Infront Sports & Media, the iconic endurance brand IRONMAN, and Wanda Sports China. The headquarters are in Guangzhou, China.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Tumi Cameron Commuter Review

The Cameron Commuter
Tumi. A brand specializing in bags and luggage. Often a lifestyle brand and on the high side of pricing. My wife surprised me with a Tumi backpack, and this prompt me to write a review, as I believe this backpack deserves a mention.
Tumi Cameron Commuter.
This is a low profile and sized at 29cm(W)x12cm(D)x43cm(H) which is significantly smaller footprint when compared to the (office) standard issue HP backpack at 36cm (W)x9cm(D)x51cm(H).


Wifey’s intention was to prevent me from lugging everything I can as my everyday carry (EDC) when I go to work or travel (for work). Volume wise, the Cameron is 23liter vs HP a 25liter pack. 
The Cameron Commuter is a very well built bag - you don’t expect anything less at the (high) price you paying for. 
Size comparison visually
Coming almost to the same price point as my Camelbak Kudu 18, the Cameron are certainly more refined and business-like. While my Camelbak made statement due to the bright colour, the Cameron blends in elegantly without shouting “I have a Tumi”. If you seen how one of the Tumi bag model are common among business travellers, you will know what I meant - and why the leather patch with your initial is essential (because many are carrying the same bag model from Tumi!)

The most subtle indication it's a 
Tumi on the Cameron
When I first got the Cameron, I transferred all items from my HP bag and realized this Tumi swallowed up all the items, and still have a lot of space. So, I removed all my items again, unlike the HP when I can’t put anymore stuff into the front pocket compartment as the main compartment already filled up (and pushed against) the outer compartment.
From experience (of having many bags, bagpacks, messenger bags), having many pockets and compartment doesn’t meant they are all usable (maximized) due to stackability - and the Cameron 12cm depth vs HP 9cm deep is a dead giveaway why this Cameron fits more than it looked.

That was when I decided to test, and document what this Cameron can do, hence worth the trouble for this review. Below is my usual travel EDC. These items are essential (some say I overly prepare) and they include headlights and red blinkers inside the yellow Camelbak tool case.

A little about my EDC, the larger black pouch carries the laptop chargers, phone wall charger and phone cables, and the Kensington lock. The small black pouch has my wireless mouse, earphones for conference calls, wiping cloth(I hate fingerprints on screens) and 12feet of paracord. I bring my Bose QC25 for travel to make the plane ride more enjoyable, and I always have a power bank, my pencil case (which is a Camelbak tool bag), a camera (Panasonic FT4), a foldable jacket (Salomon), an additional earphone (JVC no less) and a waterproof bag. Other items such as extra ziplock bag, cable ties are dependent but as important for travel. When I am not travelling, the charger pouch, passport and Bose stays home. It is then replaced with another pouch that carries other “survival” EDC. 
Field test


The shoulder pad were sufficiently padded and able to manage the load full. Due to the smaller footprint, it doesn’t feel particularly big, or uncomfortable. Weight distribution is neutral for typical commute/travel. Unless you plan to have this behind you whole day long, something with better air circulation (to separate the physical bag and your back such as those available on hiking bags) may be a better choice.

The bag zippers were smooth. No indication of brand (as YKK is often synonymous with durable zips). The main main compartment zipper will end in either one of the side pockets, it is a bit troublesome to “dig” it out especially if you have the side pockets filled. I do not leave my zippers in the middle of the bag, as it may actually pry open or opened when you are commuting/travelling in crowded spaces.
Both zipper ends in the side pocket
The inner pockets were functional except the name card holder. It’s too shallow to hold anything except your name card, and if you have a card holder, it won’t fit in there as well. Maybe it’s just meant as a slot to place your contacts card should you misplace or lose your bag, which brings me to the next paragraph.
The pocket closest to this caption is the card holder.
Tumi Tracker - it’s a feature that Tumi included in this bag that may potentially make it possible for you to be reunited with your bag should you lose it because of your own carelessness. It’s not a GPS chip embedded type of function so there are limitations. There is a 20-digit code unique to each bag and if a Good Samaritan finds them, and decided to do you a big favour, call the US number, give the 20-digit number, you may get your bag back. I will hold this hope with humanity.
You only need to register once - and you have the number back to your email. So don’t worry about having to remember the numbers; as it actually make more sense to keep your bag close to you. However, if you do own the luggage bag (to check in), this may be an additional insurance should the airline misplace your luggage .. and the airline tag gets separated... maybe.
The two front zip - Left and Right Pockets
The two-front zipped compartments were impressive. Tumi did some magic and made them both highly usable instead of just aesthetic. One side has a phone sleeve able to fit my OnePlus2 5.5inches. A 16k mAh powerbank, a Buff and a reflective vest all fits in with space to spare.
Powerbank, Phone, Camelbak tool Bag
And still have space for this two items!
The other side slips in my tags, earphone in a casing and a folded dry bag, with space to spare.
And still with space to spare...
Inside the Cameron, there is an inner zipped pocket that runs 3/4 height of the bag - which I have not utilized. It also have a padded slip pocket for tablets, which I am unlikely to utilize except maybe as a separate compartment for passport and boarding passes. There are two more slide pocket deep and wide enough for an external HDD each.
Interior
How it all fitted in
Right pocket with lining for cold drinks that may condensate

Left pocket for other utilities.
There are three daisy-chain loop that you can use to attach anything, including a metal buckle - perhaps a touch to make you feel it’s an exclusive (read: expensive) bag. The other two daisy chain is at each of the strap which is useful to clip blinkers perhaps?
You can hang marketing stuff here if you want
Loops for you to secure other items
One more nice touch to the bag is a hidden compartment behind the bag that is secured with magnetic closure. The size fits a passport and boarding pass very nicely. I supposed this, together with the Bag-sleeve (where you use it to hang/secure the bag to your carry-on luggage completes the "commuter" tag this Cameron lives up to. Nice touch Tumi.
Secret Compartment

able to fit my passport and the leather cover

where the passport is relative to the size of the compartment

the luggage sleeve
Wrapping it up
It’s a very nice bag that is not loud. Something you don’t see often as the market is flooded with the monogram series. My wife choice (I am one of them) were perfect. While she bought this hoping I won’t put all the items above, as I do have the tendencies to put everything I think I need, the Cameron surprised me and her that it holds everything I need and don’t need.
If there is two things I wished it had, a leather patch for my initial (isn’t that why people get a Tumi?) and the material to be Cordura (hardier and self healing) instead of Nylon - because Nylon does not reflect the exclusivity of the brand.
leather detailing on the bag

Size comparison against a 21inch Echolac carry-on luggage

side profile vs 21inches Echolac

Specification (from a few sources online, as Tumi does not have much info surprisingly):
Dimension (approx): 29cm(W)x12cm(D)x43cm(H)
Weight: Approx 750grams empty
Laptop dimensions: up to 15 inches (my office issued laptop is a 14.4inch and fits nicely)
Other Details:
Two zip pockets on front
- Double zip top closure
- Open pockets on sides
- Bag sleeve on back to slide onto luggage handle
- Adjustable padded straps with leather detailings
- Double Nylon grab handle 
- Hidden pocket with magnetic closure
Interior:
- One Zip pocket
- 4 slip pockets
- One pen holder (which is really a pocket, not explicit "pen" loop, which is great!)
- One padded slip pocket (for tablet?)
- One key sling with clip
- Tumi Tracker ID sewn 
Construction:
100% Nylon outer
100% Polyester lining inner


Friday, September 29, 2017

Ironman Malaysia 2017 - SOLD OUT

Stupe Says: #NoComeBackRaceAgain




SOLD OUT!! THE 2017 IRONMAN® MALAYSIA, LANGKAWI HAS SOLD OUT AHEAD OF EVENT CLOSING DATE
IRONMAN® Malaysia will be held in Langkawi on 11 November 2017
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (26 September 2017) – IRONMAN, a Wanda Sports Holding company, announced today that this year’s edition of IRONMAN®Malaysia has sold out well ahead of the closing date of 20 October. The event is to be held on the island of Langkawi on 11 November 2017.

“We are extremely thrilled to receive such great support from the IRONMAN community from all over the world. The sellout is testament to the success of such a fantastic race in a spectacular destination with a rich history. IRONMAN® Malaysia will offer 50 slots to the 2018 IRONMAN® World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Langkawi is the perfect location for those trying to win a spot to the prestigious World Championship” says Geoff Meyer, Managing Director of IRONMAN Asia.

This year’s event in Langkawi will have more than 70% of registered athletes coming from over 50 different countries. The Top 4 countries are Japan, Singapore, Australia and Philippines. The high volume of international athletes will help to boost the tourism income for the island of Langkawi.

IRONMAN attributes the sell out to the consistency in the quality race experience over the last few years. IRONMAN also believes that the support from the local community and local authorities on the island of Langkawi has also helped to continuously improve and elevate the standard of the event from year to year.

The 3.8km Swim, 180km Bike and 42.2km Run will take part on the western part of Langkawi and will showcase the beauty and wonders of a truly tropical island destination. The swim will take place in front of the breathtaking beachfront at Pantai Kok with the bike course filled with scenic paddy fields and rolling hills around the island. The run will be finishing at the sandy beach of Pantai Chenang.

During the week of 11 November, there will also be other fringe events such as the 2017 IRONMAN® 70.3® Langkawi and the 2017 IRONKIDS®, Langkawi. The 2017 IRONMAN® 70.3 Langkawi has also sold out   and offers 30 qualifying slots for the 2018 IRONMAN® 70.3 World Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa

IRONMAN® Malaysia and IRONMAN® 70.3 Langkawi is supported by Malaysia Major Events, a division of Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), an agency under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia and the Langkawi Development Authority (LADA).

Athlete inquiries may be directed to malaysia@ironman.com.

For more information on the IRONMAN brand and global event series, visit www.ironman.com.  Media may contact alice.fry@ironman.com.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Pirelli Angel CiTy Motorbike Tires - Review

I have an underbone motorbike that has been inactive and decided to revive it as another mode of transport for me. The bike is old and sort of gotten it from a neighbour after his beloved dad passed away. It was used to carry the kids to school, college and work by the late owner. Blame me for being sentimental; i see it as a mean to continue the legacy as well. 

I have previously sent (and spent) time to fix the piston seal and changed the clutch spring, fixed the brakes, speedometer cable and fixed a few bent items about a year ago. 
Due to the leaking piston seal, the bike dies off when idling and it is no fun keeping the throttle on. This repair/revivial involved change to the drivetrain which is the front and rear sprocket and the chain. It is best to change it as a set, and this is the highest wear and tear on a motorbike.


Front sprocket old vs new. Both 14 teeth
Rear sprocket - new is 36T, old was 40T. Not immediately noticeable, but the teeth on old sprocket has thinned out and sharper. Smaller new sprocket allows higher speed at same RPM (better final ratio)
While the sprockets were removed and the wheels were off, I asked for the wheel bearings to be checked and replaced as needed. Good move as the front bearing has seen better days.
These make great Fidget Spinner core - which I did
Heck, I even gotten the front fork removed and serviced, with the old seal replaced and new hydraulic oil - thinking back, replacing a new fork will just cost RM40 more (vs RM50 to service it).
All in the name of safety
As the underbone is under utilised and I want to sort of flush the engine oil it, best way is to run a liter of new engine oil for a few hundred kilometers or a tankful or two of fuel and then change the engine oil again. 
Shell Advance AX5, A Premium Mineral oil at 15-40 weightage

The Changing Of Tires
Well, of course, after all the repair done above, it is only logical that I consider to change the tires too. The old tire still looked very useable. 80% thread on the  rear Dunlop TT100 70/90-17 tires, the front though, need replacing having left about 40% thread.
The front Dunlop TT100 70/90-17 tires. Unidirectional. RM75 to replace new.
Upon removal of the front tires, we noticed that it had glue and likely residues from previous puncture sealants still in there! Which sort of explained the vibration at speed due to imbalanced inertia and the damaged front bearings!
The gunks
Underbone motorbike will often receive a change in the look once the tire are changed - and it can be a significant change - from an Uncle Commuting Bike to a Racing Machine (or look like one). I had a few choices but because my other bike was having a Pirelli Demon shod and I know how it ride and felt, I decided to ask if they have Pirelli stored at this humble looking local motorbike shop... and surprised that they did at a price I can't resist! They have the Pirelli Angel CiTy (written as Angel CT) at 80/90-17 44S TL sizing, which fits the underbone, and a good replacement of the original 70/90-17 tires. 
80mm widest, 90% Aspect ratio (72mm height), 17 inch rim, 44 speed rating (180km/h max), S load (not sure how many KG loading) and TL (tubeless)
This Pirelli is made in Malaysia and there is nothing shy about it as we do produce rubber as one of our commodity resources. First visual impression of the thread was impressive. Having a semi-slick rubber was pretty exciting for an underbone - i was right about the look like one fast bike.
Very nice!
    Here is a comparison of the old tire vs the new tire, a complete change to how it look. I am not sure about you, but I was sure excited and happy with the choice!
    Old vs New

    The Angel City is directional tire where there is a specific direction should it be installed at the back or the front. I made the decision to have both the tire rolling in same direction, instead having the front to be the other way around. May be detrimental on speed and control if the bike is being pushed beyond 120km/h - and I do not see myself pushing it past 90km/h on this smaller bike; but will change the direction if the road test proved it to be detrimental to both handling and safety.
    Wow! See what i said about changing the whole outlook of the bike?
    The front tire direction in reverse, after 60km
    The underbone comes with sports allow rim and it is a bit old due to dirt and accumulated road grime that embeded itself into the rim, so it's a bit unsightly
    hmmm...
    Nothing a bit of sticker (reflective at that!) can't fix... and it's yellow, so that's good!
    Now, that's better!

    And nothing some tire polish can't fix to the look!
    Road Test
    As the new tire may be a bit slippery, I was advised not to ride it to aggresively until the tires after a few kilometers (like really?). But he is the mechanic, and he seems competent, and has "race" experience (scars to show on his arms/elbow), i took his advise. Despite the "new slippery" feel, the tire gave me a very high assurance of grip and speed. 
    I believe that the 'fast" feel is because of the serviced bike, and that the mechanic tuned the air-fuel mixture (again, his "race" experience helped), the bike felt lively. I now know the old mechanic did tune the bike to run leaner for fuel savings/consumption purpose vs this mechanic that tuned it to the near perfect ratio. The new chain and sprocket set may had added slightly more speed with lower drive ratio (higher 40:14 vs lower 37:14). If you make the drive ratio to be higher, you gain higher accelerations.I may just write one article to explain this separately...
    Great Dry Handling
    So, back to the Pirelli Angel handling - it's good and the slightly higher ride due to the aspect ratio (of 80/90 at 72mm vs the older 70/90 at 63mm), it did provide a plusher ride and gave the bike a slightly larger diameter, which also meant the speedometer will slightly under report the actual speed, not a lot, just slightly as the circumference of the wheel increased by approximately 5cm per rotation. (180.89cm vs 175.24cm - do you remember your maths? ;-)). After about 60km of riding on the road in KL, on straights and gentle corners, the tire gave me higher handling confidence when compared to the older tire handling, significantly. Riding over small uneven (read: small holes), has no issues except that the suspension did struggle to cope (upgrade next?).
    Great Wet Handling too!
    We live in Malaysia and we have rain that happens suddenly even during dry hot season. In Malaysia, when it rains, it pours - and that was exactly what happened after day 3 of the tire change. The Pirelli lives up to it's name on the wet as well. While this is NOT their top end motorbike tires, the rubber compound provides great grip in the wet over heavy rain and I was riding with a lot of confidence even through corners and roundabout in the wet. I would say this rubber compound provide good grips and assurance both wet and dry!
    Long Term Feedback
    I will likely be using this same tire over the next few years due to the shorter commute I may have to work and back. Will provide more update mid-wear and tear, or within the next 6-months with visual of how it has worn out over time. Meanwhile, this is the official page for Angel CiTy from Pirelli




    • The new Angel™ CiTy is directly derived from the well-known and test winner Angel™ GT. Technology and tread pattern design have been reviewed and adapted to smaller displacement bikes, with a X-Ply construction and dedicated materials
    • The new tyre addresses the needs of sporty bikes up to 250cc, ‘underbones’ and other commuting bike
    • The robust tyre construction ensures high puncture resistance and performance consistency throughout the entire tyre life
    • The benefits of Angel™ CiTy are clearly perceived in any riding condition, especially on uneven road
    • The tread pattern guarantees optimal wear and improves water evacuation
    • Angel CiTy features a new compound mainly based on carbon black with a calibrated percentage of silica; it is able to deliver excellent grip on both dry and wet, tear resistance and mileage
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