Sunday, November 23, 2014

Boardman AiR 9.8 TT - The Beginning

After a good 7 years of using the Orbea Ordu, I've made a very difficult decision, and a costly one, to replace her for something that may potentially provide me for better more efficient cycling.

The chance to own a full-fledged world winner TT bike was just too hard to ignore. More so when the bike is just super sexy with the curves that are hard to beat. Dare you say this bike is not sexy enough? This bike is so rare that owning one is a collector's dream by itself.
As they say, all good things has to come to an end; and it has been pretty much delayed. There is nothing wrong with the bike. She rides beautifully, climbs wonderfully, speed fantastically. Underwent a few upgrades along the way from the groupset (though it's a combination from anything 105 to Durace, from year 2006 to 2012). 

The main reason for this change is the size. I've been riding a bike that is a size or three too big for me.
Photo from Swim Bike Run Singapore during Ironman 2014 Malaysia at Langkawi.
Look at the photo above and you will see how much I am tip-toeing on the down stroke. It is something that I've made my body gotten accustomed that my cycling bio-mechanic works with the Ordu. My biggest issue is that the seat is at the minimal height and can't go any lower. Compare this with photo with this guidance setting of a Optimal Bike Fit from
Click for full specs
I am at the extreme of "seat too high". After savings for that many years and after turning down a few offer for a better fitted bike (at $$$), I was linked up with Hee Hong Cycle by a friend and was told that I could potentially own a Boardman AiR 9.8 TT frame at a good price. To put on record, Bike Elementz, the distributor for Boardman in Malaysia, has also offered me the same, but a full bike instead. 

I am all about a a good bargain. Hee Hong's owner, Mr. Koh (or Ah Siang as he is known) were gracious enough to let me have a chance to be part of the Boardman family at an offer I can't resist (and by that meant the discount quantum is confidential).  

After speaking to Ah Siang and evaluating the parts I have on my Orbea Ordu, It is possible for me to transfer almost everything over to the Boardman.
I know what some of you are thinking - new swanky tech frame, and using old parts? 
The whole cockpit aka the HED Delta wing will be transferred over to the Boardman AiR 9.8 TT. This alone saved me close to RM2K. The rear derailleur (Durace 2006), the front derailleur (105 2009), chain (Durace 2014) will be transferred over together with the pedal (105 2012). The Frame comes with integrated brakes, so that is money saved as well.
A composite of my old Ultegra 2006 crank and the newer 105 2012 crank
The crank is the only thing not coming over. Shimano bottom bracket or BB (Ultegra 2014) can't come over as the Shimano system is 24mm instead of the 30mm required by Boardman frame. Oversized BB offer stiffer ride and better power transfer. The only one available for this are the SRAM and FSA cranks. 

Lucky for me, Ah Siang has his older FSA Force Crank (53-39 combo, circa 2012) that he will provide FOC to me. This takes away the need for the BB24 to BB30 adapter. Best thing about this? It is a 170mm crank arm, which meant better fitting for me instead of the 172.5mm I am currently using. If you wondered what is the differences, the main point is the ergonomic, secondly I will be able or have to spin at slightly higher cadence. This may allow for more efficient pedalling over a longer distance instead of having to rely only on raw torque.

I was tempted to upgrade to SRAM Red with Q-Ring...but that would set me back another RM2K...which I decided to use what I have until nearer to race day (IMMY2015).

Last equation to the parts is the wheel set. The Zipp 1080 and 808 I acquired from another friend will complete the bike. With the 12-28 (Tiagra 2014) gearing, this TT setup will be good on the flat and ride like a boss up hill.
Having shared all the above, ever wondered how the AiR 9.8 looked like? To start with, the frameset (frame and fork) weight in at 1.25kg. How is that to start the ball rolling?
As it turned out, I will need a XS size with 500mm BB to seat post length. This will then allow for the seating to be near perfect (as there are nothing perfect in this world I must say). 
The 9.8's Road Bike frames
I visited H2C again on Saturday, there was one 9.8 TT setup for another friend that will ride the XS size. I went on top of it and felt, for the very first time, how a correctly sized frame feels...
I can't wait for it to be ready. 

I promise to write more and show more photos once the AiR 9.8 TT is ready. 

As for the Ordu, she is a keeper. I may consider to turn her into a Fixie (a very expensive one!) and use it for my training on the trainer. However, never know if she will be up for sale one day. 

Note : The above has been made possible thanks to Hee Hong Cycle or H2C. They are the authorised distributor of Boardman bikes in Malaysia. The frameset of AiR 9.8 TT retails at RM9500.00. To view the complete bike or other Boardman bikes, head over to H2C by clicking here

Opinion in this write up is my own and not influenced by H2C or Boardman. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Garmin 920XT Available Soon In Malaysia

The ever reliable Garmin 910XT will soon see a new upgraded version in the much anticipated 920XT. Many of you would know how well the 910XT works for me in my races since owning it the past 2 years. I've written extensively on the 910XT in this blog and the link is available here:

Garmin Forerunner 910xt [Full Review][Quick Release Strap][GPS Signal][Shakedown]

Since the last write up on the 910XT, i've stopped using the QR strap (it broke before my IM 2014) and I had it repaired under extended warranty for rubber housing leakage (at power button). Expected for the wear and tear as I've clocked in no less than 5000km using the 910XT for both training and races. 
The New 920XT
Pic : Garmin Website
With splash of color and an overhauled casing. One look you will realised the fully rubberised casing is now with individual press button ala Fenix and Fenix 2. The next obvious change is color display on the 920XT. It is now thinner compared to 910xt by a good 3mm. Clear reduction in overall size and weight as well - which may appeal to those with smaller wrist. With a tighter package, the display obviously shrunk as well. I rather like the huge face of the 910XT as it allows me to view all 4-metric at one glance. 

Not Just Physical
As the unit is not in Malaysia yet, and there is no clear indication if I will obtain one for testing or will be able to afford one (hey, selling my 910XT seems to be an option???), I ran through the Garmin website and check the features out. 

In the heart of the watch is the GPS function which include GLONASS of the capability to utilise the Russian satellites together with the US (GPS) satellites for a more accurate location and speed of locking. In short, the 920XT has access to 24 GPS satellites and 24 GLONASS satellites! The 

Here is my summary to help you along and decide if the 920XT is worth the upgrade from the 910XT.
Swim Features
No changes to what is already in 910XT.
Bike and Run Features
No changes to what is already in 910XT

On one look, it doesn't seems that there is a major overhaul where the basic swim, bike and run functions resides. That is a good thing as Garmin is not fixing anything that is already working superbly well.

Pic : Garmin Website
As you look at level of features deeper, the addition to the running features are the incorporation of the Garmin 620 I reviewed here that includes VO2max predictor, race predictor, accelerometer for treadmill use etc. In short, the whole "running dynamic" features.

Going one step up, the 920XT even include what the Vivofit could do like steps counting, sleep quality, daily goal settings. 

Then Garmin throw in the battery capability of Fenix/Fenix2 to have the UltraTrac and upped the battery performance of the 920XT to 40hours (Ultratrac) or up to 24hours in "training mode" (which often meant in race mode as well) and 4-months if used just as a watch on a single charge. 

And lastly, to make this "wearable", full watch functions including dual-time, alarm and calendar is included. 

For a full comparison of the 910XT and 920XT, click on the link here and get all nerdy with the features like I just did in this blog entry.

Worth it?
The functionality for multi-sports, with the capability of 620 and Vivofit, throw in the battery life of Fenix2, I can already see many 620 and 910XT being sold as second hand unit when the unit launch in Malaysia. Price wise is unknown at this point, but if the indication on Garmin website is to be consistent after tax, expect the Garmin 920XT to be about RM200 more than the top range (now) Fenix2 or 910XT.

Yes, I am excited.
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