Monday, October 03, 2022

ARC Roadster BelAir Helmet - Unboxing and Review

It's time to replace my 5 years old Givi helmet (primary user is my family) and a quick trip to Sentul motorbike town leads me to a brand locally known as ARC. It is not foreign to many local riders and the price point has always been pocket friendly. My initial plan was to replace it with another Givi (model is M30.3) with double visor but the pricing was about RM300. Which is a bit steep for a helmet that is worn once or twice by the kids and wife. We don't put a price on life (or head), so I was ready to commit to the White Givi M30.3 and that was when I decided to see what else were there on the rack with certification and most importantly, made in 2022 (helmet has lifespan)

Click Here For The Unboxing Video

The sales person at the shop was really helpful and brought a few helmets for our viewing and trying. The ARC Roadster caught Missus' eyes as it was simple and yet striking in design. The other two (Gracshaw and SGV) were put aside as we prefer something with micro-lock and not Double-D rings to secure the helmet chin strap. The ARC Roadster priced at RM250, which is slightly cheaper than Givi M30.3, and to our surprise the manufacturer is having a promotion and has placed the price of RM180 for a limited time. It was a no brainer decision then.
FS-720 in XXL

What it comes with
  • Box
  • Microfiber mixed polyester drawstring helmet bag
  • Helmet
  • Clear visor (installed)
  • Sunvisor (installed)
  • ARC tag
  • Hex-key to tighten/remove the visor
A bag, A helmet, A one-sheet instruction, A hex key and well, a box

I was hoping for a 40 pages manual. I love to read them

First Feel
The finishing is pretty good. Color (White) was even and with Red lining which were made of silicon. Not entirely sure why, as I am sure this will degrade fast especially for people that rides under the weather most of the time. But I put trust that the manufacturer will make it last the useful lifespan of the helmet (which is max 5 years). 
XXL @ 62cm - Fitting is slightly different compared to the same measurement Givi XL @ 62cm

Air-vent on the top via sliding mechanism

A nice touch with "Bel Air" which gives the impression of exclusivity. Silicon textured finishing. There is two smallish airvents at the bottom left and right

Rear View - White with Red-stripes gives really good look

ECE and JPJ sign off

Side view with visor down

The inner liner was good. I would say I was surprised it was textured and removable for washing. The cheek pad was thick, a good indication for both protection and sound (wind) isolation. I do ride with ear plugs if the journey is longer than 30mins.

Pretty good quality liner.
One other reason for choosing this ARC Roadster is because it comes with the sunvisor - this is singlehandedly a must have for me. Riding into sunlight or sunset is tough. Worse if it rains (well, it does rain and still have the sun shinning back at us). While it is missing a Pin-lock insert, you can get a generic liner to manage any fogging if you ride a lot in the rain.

With main visor up and sunvisor down
D-Rings or Ratchet system?
I much prefer micro-ratchet
The traditional system uses the Double-D ring, which requires a bit of work to get it secured. I've used both of them and has been spoilt by the micro-ratchet system which is easy to use and fast to remove. The structure of the system looked solid and doesn't seems like it will disengage not on purpose. Same reason why I invested in a Nolan N91 which is a flip-up and locks securely. You do not want the buckle to fail (or the flip to open) when you fall. Tested and secured system. Like them.
The Visor and locks
Anti-Scratch visor and with UV protection 
The Notch
If there is one thing that can be improved for the more premium feel is that the visor flipping system should have micro-adjustment which meant it will be secured at any position and not flip up or down depending on the wind-pressure. I noticed the ARC system uses a simple "lock-notch" which is automatically engaged when you press the visor down - and to move the visor up/open, you will need to put some pressure on the this lower left part and push up outward and upward... after a few practices, it became easy.
lower diffuser at the bottom of the helmet
Something that I was surprised to see was the diffuser at the bottom of the helmet. Some may think it's some pattern, but I believe these were well thought off to diffuse the air and keep the head stable and not tired in a long ride. The bottom of the visors too, has a notch that resemble an aerodynamic lip that will lend stability. ARC failed to capitalize on these features!

Time to peel the stickers off and lets go for a ride!

Saturday, October 01, 2022

Brooks Launch 9 - First Look

You will be spoilt by colorway choices of Launch 9!

I am a fan of Launch 8. I've outran the current pair by close to 1,200km and the only reason for retirement is that it had sole damages after my last race in PD Triathlon as the rock sharp edges sort of scraped off the sole (which I then used rubber glue to put it back) and then there was the tear that I can't fix. I have reviewed in detailed of this pair here and here. So when I was told that Launch 9 will be in store in October during a product familiarisation and onboarding by Sports Paragon in July, I was really looking forward to it.
tear at bottom between upper and sole

The sole - nothing some glue can't fix
What Remains The Same for Launch 8 and 9
  • Same BioMoGo DNA midsole
  • Same flat laces
  • Remain as light (size dependent) relatively between each other
  • 10mm drop

That is about the same thing remained on both generations. Not a bad thing at all since the DNA midsole works well and has given me a lot of joy running in them. Launch 9 is light. 

Love this colorway

What has changed to Launch 9

  • Increased 2mm stack height aka thicker soles
  • Higher breathable upper material
  • Thinner (non-gusseted) tongue
  • More reflective material
  • More sustainable sole - Brooks call them "Green Sole"
The 2mm increased stack is a surprise. What this meant is those liking more/higher cushioning will find them suitable for much longer run. Not an issue as I've ran 42km in the Launch8 and happy with it. As for higher breathable material, I run without socks, so I will be very interested to see/know/feel if this changes. For me, the focus is on quick drying as I run/train everyday and would need the shoe to be dried before the next day hustle (ok, I need to learn to rotate my gears)
Improved sole material
Launch 9 claims to have 31% more recycled material per pair of shoe just on the upper portion. Which meant they recycled more plastics to produce. This continue with Brooks Running promises to be more sustainable in their production. The Green Sole is made from silica vs petroleum derivatives - which are more carbon-friendly to an extend.

More Colorway

The Launch 9  for Malaysia comes with no less than 5 colorway. From solid black to all color you can think off on a shoe, it will appeal to many runners and fitness folks. The Launch 9 comes with B, D and 2E width. However, color for 2E is limited to just black. Sizing starts from US6.5 all the way to US12. To view and try them, head over to Brooks Running store, or to Sports Paragon retail outlet to see and feel them. If you want to purchase them online, head over to www.brooksrunning.com.my and use the code EEVANOFF25 to get 25% off (with free delivery for qualifying purchases amount). Great way to skip the jam, save some money, and have the present-receiving-everday-like-christmas-or-birthday feel ;-)






Friday, September 30, 2022

Pacific and Colors Socks available at Cyclopath Cycling Store


Pacific and Colors were founded by Lidia Ansio and Aixa Sanuy in 2013 in Barcelona. Our main objective was to provide an opportunity to the most forgotten piece of clothing by all and so important to us: socks! We take them as a canvas to unleash our creativity and capture inspiration from day to day.

Design socks inspired by nature and avant-garde trends. Manufactured in Spain and Portugal under the supervision of textile experts as a guarantee of quality and comfort. The stamping and the rest of the chain production is carried out in Barcelona, in small workshops that control the quality of the product and take care of every detail with great care.

Designed in Barcelona, dressing the whole world.



The refreshing design, color and hue of the Cycling and Running socks from Pacific and Colors are both eye catching and functional. My friends at Cyclopath Cycling Store will be the authorised distrubutor for this socks in Malaysia and the pre-launch sales is happening right now. If you are interested to get them, you can use this code TRIS20PACIFIC and get yourself a 20% discount. The socks will be shipped out October 15, 2022. See them here at Cyclopath Cycling Store

Enjoy some of the photos shared from Cyclopath Instagram - give them a follow here













Monday, September 26, 2022

Purpose Performance Wear - Purpose Modest and Muslimah Series

Purpose and BigBigPlace held a sneak peak event last Saturday to showcase a new range of triathlon, running and cycling wear ahead of the official launch at Ironman Langkawi in November 2022. This event also officiated BigBigPlace as the officialy distributor and partner to Purpose - you now have the chance to see, feel, try and buy them there.

Noor  -Founder
Purpose came into fruitation in 2015 being focused on cycling as a start; Yes. They been around for the past 7 years and has ventured into a full-fledged sports brand (founded) in 2017. I was among the first few that had that privileges' and experience with their debut into world of cycling in 2015. 

From my write up in 2015... this still holds very true
I know of DrNoor from his days in Malaysia and an avid sports person himself. Knowing exactly what an athlete needs, his products focuses on the heat and humidity of Southeast Asia. What started off as cycling focused has turned into running, and triathlon became the biggest success in terms of products.

Current modest range available online and at BBP
Hypermesh fabric tech is used for the triathlon suits, running apparels and cycling jerseys which provide unmatched comfort and performance to our Southeast Asia weather. These products has graced  world record, world championship and other international events and competition. They are race proven and training ready.
Modest and Muslimah Ready
In late 2017, after observing a large number of women crossing the finishing line at Ironman Malaysia in Langkawi, Noor noticed that many had to wear multiple layers for their triathlon in order to cover themselves up due to either religious or cultural requirements. Committed to solving this, the PURPOSE for Muslimah tri suit was developed and made its debut in Ironman Malaysia 2018.

The introduction of the PURPOSE for Muslimah series makes Purpose the first, and perhaps the only brand in the world to make performance products for Muslim women triathletes. Renamed PURPOSE PERFORMANCE for Modest and Muslimah in late 2019, the range expanded to include kits for all types of ladies who prefer modesty in their dressing. While remaining true to their core of high performance for every woman, this makes PURPOSE the only sportswear apparel in the world that makes performance products for the entire spectrum of women.
I know at least two of them in the photos  ;-)
If you are interested to know, see, feel, try, and perhaps own them, head over to Purpose Asia website here, or alternatively visit BigBigPlace physically if you are in Malaysia. Give their social media pages a follow:
Instagram - @teampurpose
Facebook - purposeperformancewear
Youtube - https://purpose.asia/youtube
Blog - https://magazine.purpose.asia

Photo credits: Purpose Asia website, social media and my own

Thursday, September 01, 2022

Asics Magic Speed 2 : Not A Carbon Plated Shoe Yet

 Just In: Specs of Asics Magic Speed 2:

Those of you that has read about my short review of MagicSpeed 2 in my write up may come off feeling a bit disappointed that this variation does not have a carbon plate.

So I was not that accurate. Magic Speed 2 is NOT carbon plate, but it is "carbon infused TPU plate" Which is similar to Metaspeed Edge+. I do not have any experience with these shoes and can't comment. 

The stack height is 27-34 - which makes this shoe a nice 7mm drop. I wasn't far with my 8mm prediction based on feel. The Foam is sandwiched and combination of FFBlast+ on the upper and the  Fytefoam on the lower. Lending both agility and lightness. 

So, Officially, I've NOT tried Carbon Plated as yet. Only "carbon infused TPU plate".


Now, even if this is NOT carbon plated, those TPU plates were indeed impressive. And if this is just a TPU plate, then the technology of having TPU in shoes from the time of Skechers GoMeb using Hyflex material has since evolved. 

Monday, August 29, 2022

Asics Magic Speed 2 : Unboxing and Review

Thanks to Garmin Malaysia and Asics Malaysia, Pacers for the upcoming Garmin Run Asia Series received a pair of Asics Magic Speed 2 running shoe. What makes this a little special is that the shoe will only be launched (in US) on September 1, 2022. What makes it extra special is that by the grace of my current sponsor Brooks Malaysia, I am allowed to receive this without breaking any contract clauses. So, thank you Brooks and Asics (and of course Garmin Malaysia)!

Look Like Me. Likely Me.
Unboxing the Magic Speed 2
This is a tough one as I've never had an Asics. I've wanted to try but the price point has been high 15 years ago (those damn pretty Tri Noosa) and it remain to be high now (carbon plated shoes not withstanding). So when I was presented with a US11 Magic Speed 2 (MS2), I was excited as this was told to me by the other pacers that it is a "carbon plated" shoe. I've been very curious of these technology and seeing how everyone running are either on a pair of Nike carbon plated (and with air pods), Adidas carbon plated, even Brooks carbon plated (which I am still manifesting by the way)... this FOMO is real. 
As Real As It Gets
Initially asked for US12, but they do not have the size. I was afraid of tight toebox as my previous experience trying a pair of Asics (Tri Noosa) forces me to upsize by a full 2 size. Even my retired Adidas Supernova is a US12.5 (partly due to tight toe, and mostly due to a cheap bargain of RM150 for that pair). I know my sizing in Skechers. I know my sizing in Brooks. So, let me start by sharing that the US11 MS2 is "true to size" for my stuck-between-D-and-E-width-foot". This is the same reason why I opted for a US12 for my Hyperion Tempo as it run a bit tight on the front vs the Launch 8.
Not the lightest I have, surprisingly
To start with, the MS2 is light. But not as light as my Hyperion Tempo at 239grams (US12). That gram-grannies aside, it is still light for something that look this bulky. The stack height looked thicker than any shoes I had. Addtional foam (FFBlast+ or FlyteFoam Blast+) FFBlast is Asics foam that is light, agile and provide positive energy with every stride. So the FFBlast+ meant it is lighter, and well, more responsive. Compared to DNAFlash on the Tempo, they felt similar but due to the full length carbon plate, the MS2 felt significantly stiffer - I was not able to "bend" the shoe.
FFBlast+

Wife got a pair too. A MS2 in US8.5 women sizing at 204grams!
My wife got a pair too. Her colorway is Safety Yellow and boy (or girl), it's super bright and it makes my Safety Yellow/Green colorway looked dull. Its officially her lightest ever shoe and it is Carbon plated (obviously). So for this unboxing, you get to feast your eyes on TWO different colored Magic Speed 2.
Almost full length outsole. Heel striker may find this pair eating up fast

The Yellow pair has a green outsole. So cool
The upper material of the Magic Speed 2 is made up of two different material. When I consulted my speedy friend Nor Amin, he mentioned that Magic Speed 2 is actually classified as a daily trainer. Wait - a carbon plated daily trainer? Like it will be affordable carbon plated daily speed/tempo trainer? Now I am sitting up straight as that would meant many would be able to afford it and start experiencing a sub RM800 CF shoe. Do give Amin's IG a follow, and his review of the Magic Speed 2 is more learnt as he has the racing iteration of Metaspeed Sky and Sky+
Very breathable. The yellow colorway showed the inside better
This shoe is designed with minimal padding. It is not padded except at the collar and near the achilles. If you are looking for something cushioned and padded, this is not for your liking. 
Dual material with varying density
The insole is stuck on, and you can't remove it. Do that this into consideration if you require specialised insole for your feet need.
Stuck On Insole
The tongue of the MS2 is also not padded. However it is gusseted and it will not move/run out of place when you wear it. Do check for fit or any potential hotspot if you run sockless, in case some part of the tongue bites into your feet. Also, due to the dual-type material construction, you may want to consider ensuring your toes or feet will not develop blisters if running sockless. I believe many readers here wear socks, so not so much of an issue. 
gusseted. Take note of the collar padding

See why the wife's yellow version so much more attractive
Based on how I felt, and devoid of any technical data even on Asics website (because this shoe only launches on September 1, 2022, remember?), I would say the drop is circa 8mm. It felt right at home for me. If you noticed, the shoe has significant up-turned shape. This shoe helps transition fast and take off from the mid-to-the-toe. It has all the promises to be snappy and peppy. Now add in the CF (ok, I need to calm it down on the fact i have a CF shoe now). 
Rocker Guide  promising to rock you forward

The laces is not stretchable, which is a good thing, as it limits how the shoe may move on the upper part. Stretchy laces is hard to predict when you tie it down, as it can provide some movement and comfort when you are running long - but detrimental if you are pushing the shoe hard in your run. 
The yellow mellow fast fello from the top



In case you do not know it's a Magic Speed


Magic Speed sign more obvious on the Green version


See, Magic Speed magically disappear in yellow

There isn't much more to write about the shoe from unboxing perspective. Enjoy these photos. Consider this a first hand look of this yet to be launched shoe in Malaysia. Captions will lend some explanation.
Pronounced rocker guide

Stable looking heel

FFBlast+ with green sole in sight

45 deg view from top. Dual material upper obvious but not as obvious as my Green

Why men do not have this colorway?
Testing The Shoe
I wore the shoe twice. Once for an easy run the next day at the Garmin Run Club clinic. First feel of the shoe at motion running at 6mins pace. It felt neutral, the feet turnover quicker despite the slower pace, so had to reduce my stride length to maintain the pace of the group. I could not "feel" the carbon plate working at this pace, but I felt the foam to be soft and responsive - reminds me of my Brooks Hyperion Tempo. 
I wore socks because it's a new shoe... I do not want to dirty it with my overly sweatly feet
The data from my Stryd showed everything to be normal. Nothing unusual happening. It felt, normal. I picked up the pace somewhere towards the end, turning from pace 6:00 to near pace 4:50. I then felt the shoe pushing me to go faster, almost like asking me - what takes you so long to know what you want to do? I brushed it aside - it might be the new-shoe feel talking.
Spot the Magic Speed amidst the sea of shoes
However, my wife has other idea. She went for a quick 400m around the KJ car park. Her verdict - not sure i fast or the shoe fast. It got me super curious but I can't just go and run a 5km TT unprepared...right?
Muse In Motion
The next day, in my usual routine of run streak, i laced up and took the Magic Speed for a spin around the neighborhood. I had just completed a workout of 25mins TT three days prior, and the result was as expected around my neighborhood with elevation gain of 40m over 5km. The only "hard" section is a 500m up slope that makes up this elevation gain. I know this route like the back of my hand. 

Wife went for an earlier run and came back telling me this shoe is sick
So when i took the Magic Speed 2 out, I intend to run it as I always does - Easy zone 1/2 pace 5:15 average no frill Zone 1/2 power. Within the first 500m up the road, i realised that I was pacing at 4:30 - no. I did not do this on purpose. KM1, average was 4:30. OK, that's 20s faster. Is this a sign I should just turn this into a TT?
Yes I did.
I was running at a pace I do not usually (able) to hold at this route. sub 4:00 pace. I tell myself maybe this is a fluke. But KM2 brought in 3:59. KM3 at 3:58. KM4 3:56. KM5 3:53. I rewrote my course best timing from 21:50 to 20:18. I average out 20s faster per km. At a lesser effort (2bpm HR) and at higher power (302W), and reestablished a new CP at 301W. This Magic Speed 2 saved almost 9.4% of power in this 5km.
And I wasn't pushing. I was thinking the whole of the last 4km - Is this pace real. Yes I had time to think and that was how lesser effort I was running. RPE8 vs RPE10. Just like that.
I wrote a 15 points summary on this in my Instagram . Give me a follow for more sharing.



Bear in mind that this Magic Speed 2 is not even the top range Carbon Plated shoe. But it is my first. And this is my first ever experience running with anything this high-tech. I've been hoping I will get the Brooks Hyperion Elite 2 or even the upcoming Elite 3. Unfortunately they do not have them in my US11 or US12 size. It would be super sweet to break my 5km PB of 18:50 on my sponsor brand. Until then, I may consider training up for another round of 5km and keeping the Magic Speed 2 for this purpose.
Until that happen, enjoy the Magic Speed 2 - Duo
This unit (and the other unit of my wife) is courtesy of Asic Malaysia and provided as part of being pacer for Garmin Run Asia Series taking place on September 11, 2022. I will be pacing a 3:00hours 21km and my wife will be pacing a 10km 70mins effort. I have had clearance from my sponsor to recieve this with no conflict as it is for the Garmin event. Thank you Asic, Garmin Malaysia and my fellow pacers. 

Asic Magic Speed 2 is scheduled to be launched in September 2022. Unknown date, unknown pricing. However US-based reviewers that got hold of the test shoes has indicated September 1, 2022 and priced at USD150. If indeed this is true, this may be the most sought after daily carbon-plated trainer suitable for tempo, interval and fast run - and for some (like me) likely a racing day shoe - that is until I taste a proper carbon plated racing shoe... manifest it for me!