Woke up comfortably as I took a day off from work, so there was no urgency to wake me up. I decided that today might be the only day that I could easily and comfortably go to Miri to look for and buy my road bike. Considering it is a week day, the lines to cross the border was short and smooth. going there and back. It is important to note and share that the border closes about 5 minutes before the break time, and opens up 30mins later.
Buying the bike
I have been able to obtain a budget for my bike and I have been considering what bike to purchase. One of the reviews I found was a review from bikeradar in the video below.
I remember seeing 2 bikes in this review in this last one year, when I was just window shopping. The Specialized Allez E5 Sport in november last year, and the Giant Defy 3 when the Giant Bicycle shop opened up early this year. Unfortunately when I checked this time around they weren’t in stock.
Based on my research, the criteria for my selection were:
- Under BND1300, as that’s the money I have. Coincidentally, that’s roughtly the exchange rate from USD1000, or MYR3900
- My size. In general is 54cm or M. I have been using an S size or a 49cm.
- 9 Speed Sora Shifter, 10 Speed Tiagra if possible. I have been using a 7 speed tourney for the last 4 years, any increase in gear shifting is an improvement.
- Cassette Gears of 11t-32t. Some models come with a compact crank 50t-36t, so a 11t-28t is acceptable. But based on my langkawi ride last year, I prefer to have the low gearing option for easy climbs.
So of we went in search of the right bicycle. In Brunei, it is either a bit more expensive, or (and here is the main reason) they don’t have in my size in stock. So they would need to order it. So went to Miri.
Unfortunately, the Specialized Allez E5 Sport wasn’t available, the closest to it was the E5 Elite, it had a Tiagra 10 speed, but a 11-28T, meaning the climb wouldn’t be as easy as I would like. But at a Price of MYR4300. more than my budget, but it was under consideration.
Next was looking into the Giant Defy. Unfortunately it wasn’t in stock, but the storekeeper said they can have it ordered and arrived in 10 days, with a MYR500 Deposit, for a total of MYR3800 (I think, as I forgot to note it down), He did recommend a Giant Contender SL that was in stock. It also had Tiagra instead of Sora, for the price of MYR 4200 (again at this point, I forgot to write down notes). I was consdiering that if I couldn’t get the right bike today, I wouldn’t mind ordering mine from here. I just need to dropby miri again in 2 weeks time.
Finally, went to the same shop where we bought my wife’s roadbike. I remember they had the s40, that have the Sora 9 speed with 11t-32t cassette. But I also remembered checking it out and found poor reviews, mostly on the weak breaks. But upgrading from a Urata road bike, anything else would be an improvement. When we went to the shop, we did find the s40, and it was in my size. So I was tempted for MYR3800. But the sales guy recommended to go for s30. A similar version, but it has Tiagra with the same cassette. and offer price of MYR4000. With that small price difference, I wouldn’t mind changing my decision to the s30. The salesperson tried to upgrade me to a cheap carbon roadbike for MYR6000, I was tempted, but, as I only budgeted for MYR4000, I was just gonna get the s30. In a review I read the casssette was a 12t-30t, but this one had my desired 11t-32t. So I settled.
We bought Pizza Hut and and some chicken wings from Miri in order to eat on the way back home. We also bought some famous amos cookies, but we were only able to eat the pizza, not the cookies. I guess we will leave it for the next day.
The Bike Test
That night I had a swim class, and I planned to cycle after that. Either I joined a Sahur Ride planned by a group that evening, or I could test it out at the stadium. When I left home I realized that my phone line hasn’t been changed back to my Brunei line from my Malaysian line. I decided it was to dangerous to ride solo to try to catchup to the sahur ride heading towards jerudong, so I settled to ride around the stadium, in that case if my bicycle broke down, I could easily just walk back to the car.
I rode kinda randomly around the stadium, and went to the Audit area to test out the climbs and descents. Among the things I noticed were:
- It was definitely taller, finally I am riding my properly sized bike.
- My hands were more comfortable on the handle bars. Previously I oftened moved my hands around from the flats to the hoods to the drops so my hands were comfortable. But the hoods were comfortable enough that I kept my hands there throughout. of course it was just a 40 minute ride, I look forward to test it on longer rides.
- The gearing feels more or less the same… for the gearing that I previously used. I was wondering if it would feel different, but it didn’t, I guess the mechanics of the gear ratios doesn’t change much if at all. But when I used the the extra gears, the difference was felt. Again as a reminder, I used to ride a 13t-28t, Now I am riding 11t-32t. So the difference between the lowest and highest gears were noticeable. The lowest gear was easier than what I was used to, and the heaviest gear was faster than I usually go.
- The gear shifts are a lot smoother. Previously there was a significant lag between wanting to change gear to actually changing gear. To be precise, my Urata Gear Shifter was on then flats. So if my hands weren’t already on the flats, I had to move my hand from the hoods to the flats in order to change gear. Having the lever shifters didn’t require me to move my hand from the hoods. That in itself saved me a single second for every time I wanted to change my gears. In addition, the shifting of the cranks and the cassette was smoother and faster as well, making the shifting significanly faster. No wonder I kept on getting dropped on the climbs and descents.
- In general, I feel the intensity of the ride was not much different, but I think that is more of a function of power out put or effort from the rider (myself) rather than the bike. How that translates to the speed of the bike is a function of the bike. The comfort on the other hand is greatly improved, on my hands, my neck and my back. My groin area got numb at the end, But I guess that is a matter of a bike fit. Overall it was a fast and comfortable ride.
The Mile Run
After biking for half an hour, I decided the test was enough, and I would actually like to have a bit of a run. so I ran a mile route around the swimming pool area. Other than the groin numbness that dissipated after a few minutes, I felt I could run well enough. Despite not having a lot of Brick runs in recent months, The run was okay, and I could push myself a bit.
At the end of the run, again I cooled down with a few stretches for my back muscles.
Going home, I went through the long route to see if can spot the sahur ride group. unfortunately that road had a traffic jam caused by a police road block. I spotted the sahur ride group at 11:30pm, just passing by empire hotel. So I guessed they arrived at Jerudong Food Court at about 10:30pm, and left there just after 11pm.
Arrived home, but couldn’t go to sleep until 1am in the morning. Woke up earlyish the next morning to go to work.