Thursday, April 25, 2013

Setting Up the Fox RP23 BoostValve Rear Shock

YouTube is such an awesome resource! I searched for a way to properly set-up the old Fox RP23 Boost Valve rear shock that comes with the Intense Tracer VP and voila! Here it is!

Ah the wonders of the information age!

In a nutshell:
1. Make sure that the blue lever is away from the valve before you pump air into it.
2. The correct sag is 20 to 25% the length of the shaft.
3. The proper to set up for the rebound is for it to be as fast as possible without the shock kicking back or bouncing the rider.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Buzzrack BuzzRunner Hitch: My New Bike Rack

I got a new X-Trail and we named her Alex! With her comes the challenge of finding a good and secure way to transport my bikes. (Notice the "s"? Naks! Plural na!)

The cheapest would be to just fold the rear seats and just toss the bike in. It's secure and there's no additional cost. Of course when the bike is all wet and muddy, then that translates to a wet and muddy interior as well. Not a good thing.

Next option is to go with the roof-mounted bike rack. With some luck, the Thule crossbar and bike racks from the Civic might still fit. But because this is a compact SUV, it's just too high to put a bike on the roof. I also run the risk of getting my bike snagged in tree branches, electric wires, and banderitas.

I thought of getting a trunk-mounted bike rack, but I found it flimsy. Accessing the trunk after it's installed is hard, and from my experience years ago with my first rack, it leaves scratches and marks on the trunk. Nope. Next.

I saw Edmund's Sea Suckers when we biked in La Mesa a few months back. I thought about it. Once properly set-up, it was solid. It's only downside is security. Because it doesn't lock the bike to the vehicle in some way, I feel I cannot leave my car unattended in an SLEX gas station to do a quick weewee break.

This is why I chose to go for the hitch. But I have to tell you, it's so damn expensive. Alex doesn't come with a hitch receiver, so I had to have that installed first before I went shopping for a hitch-mounted bike rack.

As much as possible, I was looking for a hitch that's bolted on. I don't want one that required cutting or welding. This is precisely what the guys from OGP Hitch offered.

I have to be honest. I only found them online through Sulit, so I was hesitant to have my brand new baby handled by someone who doesn't have a brick and mortar operation. Only after reading their customers' reviews and a having a few text exchanges with Grace, the owner, warmed me up to the concept, which eventually convinced me to go for them.

My hitch costs P11,000 including the installation. They required a P2,000-deposit, which can be deposited to their BPI or Security Bank accounts. After that, we agreed on a date for the installation.

Alex's New Rack
Talk about hands-on. That's Phil, Grace's husband, getting down and dirty, installing my hitch receiver.

Alex's New Rack
There's the finished product. Clean. No cutting. No welding. That's a nice installation.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Birthday, Domeng!

Here's a photo of Domeng riding a boat with his bike during his Naujan lake adventure

Today is the birthday of Domeng Magpantay, one of my buddies who join me in my bike tours (If you've seen our Mindoro Bikepackers movie, he's one of the characters there).

It's sad that he suffered a mild stroke two weeks ago a few days after doing a solo Batangas City to Trece Martires ride. As of now he's under observation and cannot bike for about three months. Regular bikers would know how much of a punishment this is.

For this special day I wish him speedy recovery so that he can go back on his feet, continue his bike adventures, and live life to the fullest.

Cheers to you, Mr. Jolina Magpantay. ;)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Parts That I Chose for the Tracer

In continuation of my Intense Tracer posts, I'd like to highlight some of the parts I chose and share with you why I picked them.

My All Mountain Parts
Shimano Deore XT two-chainring Crank
For this bike, I chose a two-chainring set-up versus the traditional three. The reason for this is I noticed that I hardly use the big chainring when I ride the trail. It's usually the middle and small rings that get all the action. I get to use the big one when I do my touring. Since I'm sure this bike won't see that much of that, I went for the two-ring set-up. It's a win-win situation -- I get to maximize my chainrings and I also lose some weight on the bike.

My All Mountain Parts
Shimano Deore XT Shadow Plus Derailleur
A trickle-down technology coming from Shimano's XTR drivetrain, just a simple flick of a switch (see that gray lever in the "on" position?) reduces chain slap and chain drops quite significantly. When activated, I noticed that I needed to put a bit more force when I push the shifters. It's hardly noticeable. Actually, the feel is a more solid shift each time you push the levers.

My All Mountain Parts
Shimano Deore XT 10-speed cogset
Just because it's hard to get a 9-speed drive anymore. I chose an 11-36T spread because I'm running a two-chainring set-up and a 34-tooth big cog isn't enough to haul this huge body I'm sporting.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Compression Calf Sleeve Believer

Compression Sleeve
Presenting my fatty legs. Oh, and the compression sleeves, of course!

Do you guys use compression calf sleeves, too? I was skeptical at first, but now I'm a believer.

To be honest, it does look like cut out from an old cycling tights. Costing more than a thousand pesos a pair, it is pricey, too.

So what made me try it? Actually, the reason doesn't have anything to do with cycling at all. We were going on a long haul flight to Europe last year and I was researching on how to prevent deep vein thrombosis when I stumbled upon compression gear. Curious, I dropped by Planet Sports at the Power Plant and bought a pair of compression calf sleeves.

When I put it on, I felt that it was tighter than the usual knee-high socks, but not too tight that it caused any discomfort. From the literature that came with the product, I read that it's supposed to promote faster blood circulation in the covered area, which in turn would make recovery faster.

Now maybe this is just psychological, but I do feel that. Now, after a long ride or a day of walking in the mall, I put this on overnight, and my calves feel awesome in the morning. It's as if my calves were getting massaged the whole time.

Got any compression stories to share? Post them at the comment section below or you can email me at jovan at bisikleta dot ph (I had to spell it so that it won't get spammed by bots).

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Pursuing the Intense Dream

I was supposed to sell the Intense Tracer VP, but none of the negotiations pulled through. It has been a little more than a year since I put it up for sale. I figured that since no one is getting it, and it's just gathering dust in our condo's second room, I might as well carry on.

Last Saturday, I brought it to Extreme Bike Shop in Panay Avenue to finally have it assembled. I discussed the build with Liezl the night before.

I'm building an all-mountain bike - a category I'm not familiar with. With the realms of cross country, I can pretty much navigate myself with my eyes closed. With this, I would need to go with parts that are primarily strong enough to take the abuse, and then that's the only time that I think about weight. 15QR, 2.35-inch tires, 160-millimeter suspension forks - these are all foreign to me.

Upon my consultation with her, we agreed on this set-up: tapered Fox TALAS 160mm suspension fork, Chris King headset, Shimano Deore XT 2 x 10 groupset with a 36-tooth big cog, ESI grips, Fizik saddle, Crank Brothers Candy pedals, KMC chain, a pair of Kenda Nevegal 2.35-inch tires, and Easton Haven components, including the wheelset.

I brought the frame at around 9:30 in the morning, and by around 3:00 in the afternoon, the bike's all finished.

And so without further ado, I'd like to present to you my Intense Tracer VP.

Jason of Extreme Bike Shop cutting the brake cable to the right size.

My All Mountain baby

Here she is parked in our condo's second room (pardon the mess).

Of course it didn't stop there. I had to break it in. And my friends from Batangas City took me to the boondocks to try out this baby.

At 29 pounds, it's far from lightweight, although a lot of people say that it's not bad for an all-mountain rig. Riding this bike is worlds apart from my good old KHS Alite Team hardtail. Whereas that is an efficient race machine, riding the Tracer is like riding a sofa.

Last Sunday's ride was a loop that took us up Sto. Niño and brought us back to the City via Haligue. Of course the boys had to stop and take a dip in a small stream along the way.

Below are some of the pictures I took:

Yup, that's her -- broken in and all dusty -- just the way I like it.

Here's another shot of my new baby waiting for her owner to recover.

This is the stream where the boys took a dip.

That's me, not yet laspag. Actually from this stream, it was all steep uphill going to Haligue.

These are the boys taking a dip. The water was nice and cool -- perfect to beat the summer heat.

If you want to ride where I rode, I'm sharing my GPS reading:
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