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. 

1 comment:

  1. Sui Bro... looks like your going to enjoy riding even more now..