Sunday, February 15, 2015

2005 Little Monster Monotine Bike

Size isn't everything. Believe it. And here's proof. This little Monotine bike can reach speeds up to 25 km/h without breaking a sweat. Thanks to its smallish 16" wheels, moving off and maintaining speed is really easy. However, it did not started off this way.  

The original 44T was swopped for a 53T crank and matched to a 6-speed rear cassette. The shifters are Shimano Revoshift twist grip shifters.

The stem was lowered and the handlebar twisted forward for a more 'aerodynamic' riding position.

This is the original look. Notice how subdued and docile it looks, the kind of bike you take to the shop or hawker center. Well, you can still do that on this bike but chances are you will get there faster.

Front disc brakes and suspension. Nothing much to crow about but its enough to take small bumps.

Simple folding mechanism.

Tektro brake levers.

The rear suspension is a bit soft which limits the maximum speed. Going fast means bobbing up and down and reminds me of sea sickness. I'm going to find a replacement for the rear shock that is stiffer.

Shimano 6-speed non-series rear derailleur.

This was the original seat but now replaced by the good ole Ferrari seat which is so much more comfortable,

2011 Louis Garneau MVE (Sold)

I have a confession to make. The first time I saw this bike was about a year ago. My friend who runs the LBS brought in two pieces and told me to give it a try. I laughed and said this is not my kind of bike because its for softies. Nevertheless, I took it for a spin and to reinforce my 'dislike' for the bike, the chain fell off and got jammed in the gears. I had to dirty my hands to put the chain back and swore I will never buy anything like this. Fast forward to the present day and surprise, surprise...there is one in the stable. Surely, there must be some compelling reason(s) for me to buy one. So, here goes my justification. 

This bike is a 2013 Louis Garneau MVE. It is a pedelec bike or what we call, a pedal-assist bike. Powered by a battery, the mechanism is connected to the crank and torque sensors measures the 'effort'. It has three settings to match cyclist condition ie. the more effort you put in, the more the pedal assist depending on the setting. Its not an electric bike per se because nothing happens if you do not push the pedals. There is no throttle to control the speed. As such, you still need to put in some effort to get the bike going. Therefore, softies most likely will not appreciate a bike like this. I hope this justification is good enough. 

Here you can see the motor mounted at the bottom of the bottom bracket and the battery pack. Torque sensors are mounted around the crank to measure (probably) the rotation rate of the crank and based on the setting, the motor will react accordingly to provide the 'boost' required. Honestly, it is quite fun. On a smooth and flat road with setting set on low, you don't really feel the effects but when you switch it over to high, the bike moves at quite an incredible speed (up to 35km/h). The disadvantages of such a system is firstly, battery replacement is expensive and secondly, no modification is allowed unless you want to mess up the system.

The front end has connectors for a L rack. It makes the bike look very city-like but I prefer a clean look.

The controller to turn on the system and choose the 3 settings for the pedal-assist. There is also a battery indicator so you know when you are running out of juice. According to the brochure, the battery can last for 20km on high setting. I keep it mostly on eco mode most of the time except when I hit a slope.

Shimano V brakes takes care of the stopping.

An adjustable stem allows you to choose a comfortable height.

The wheels are 406 20" Alex wheel set shod with 1.5" tires.

 7-speed cassette matched to a Tourney rear derailleur and Shimano Revoshift twist grip shifters.

Shifting is relatively smooth although engaging the 7th gear is quite iffy at times.

A nice comfortable saddle makes long distance riding a real pleasure.

2015 Bike Kal Lang (Sold)

I named this bike, Kal Lang in honor of the last ship I commanded, RSS KALLANG. RSS KALLANG is a mine countermeasure vessel or MCMV for short. As its task was to find and neutralize sea mines, it was specially constructed with a material called FRP (fibreglass reinforced plastic). The reason for using FRP is so that the ship is 'invisible' to sea mines who are normally programmed to detonate upon sensing 'metal' ship passing by. I've always wondered what's it like riding a full carbon fiber bike. I was told it had better shock absorption but most of the time, I only hear about the weight saving feature. As always, I needed to know and so, bike Kal Lang was built. 

Being unfamiliar with carbon fiber parts, I ordered a package which consisted of the frame, seat post, fork and headset. I only had to decide what form the bike is going to take. There were a few options I considered; firstly, a regular road bike with drop bars, secondly, a hybrid with straight handlebar, thumb shifter and thirdly, a time trial type of bike. Since I had the first 2 options already in the stable, I chose the TT styling and considering that this is a lightweight bike, should fit the build nicely.

The Vision TTiMax crank was left over from the Raleigh Ultra Race project. It runs on a BB30 bottom bracket. Not the lightest crank for a TT bike but since its my first TT bike build, I did not want to spend more money buying another one. At least the color scheme matches the frame. One thing about the way I build my bike is the appearance. The bike needs to look coherent as much as possible. 

Elements water bottle cage was 'pilfered' from the Klein Quantum bike to complete the carbon fiber theme. 

I had a good experience with the Campagnolo road brakes on the Raleigh. Besides being effective, they were relatively inexpensive too.

A Scott stem holds the Ritchey bullhorn handlebar. I could have gone with a carbon fiber stem but decided not to due to cost reason. Besides, the length of the stem fits the bike nicely.

The Fulcrum Racing 7 wheel set was also carried over from the Raleigh build. These wheels are not the best but they do the job efficiently.

The FLK XVR saddle was passed from bike to bike because it had a color scheme that was difficult to match. I think it has found its place on the Kal Lang bike.

The Ritchey bullhorn handlebar is 25.4mm, non-oversized. While the trend has been moving towards using OS handlebar, stem, etc, I chose to stick too traditional sizes.

Brake and shifter cables are all internally routed. For those of you uninitiated with installing internal routing cables, here is a piece of advice: avoid them as much as possible if you can. Yes, it makes the bike look much neater but you are going to curse and swear when the time comes to replace those cables. It takes too much time and effort.

Shimano 10-speed bar-end shifters takes care of the rear shifting. It takes some getting used to but once familiar, they are quite easy to use. I realized that on a TT bike, shifting gears is not so frequent because once you hit the sweet gearing, there is nothing else left to do except pedal your heart out.

Shimano 105 rear derailleur takes care of the gearing. Nothing fancy, just effective and efficient.