Tag Archives: Mountain Bike

Specialized Rumor Expert

I finally clocked up a couple of hundred KMs on the Specialized Rumor Expert in local trails and I thought it’s about time I shared my experience with my first 29er.

Standing at 1.58m I was always apprehensive at the thought of riding a 29er, I have the conception that either the frame will not fit my petite/Asian size or that I lacked the power to maneuver a truck-like bicycle in the singletrack.

Alan Soh, Specialized Bicycles

Alan Soh, Specialized Bicycles

So Alan from Specialized Asia Pacific approached me and to be honest, I find it hard to reject his enthusiasm when he goes on raving about the Specialized Rumor Expert. He bought my conviction to try the bike over a cup of coffee even though I was struggling with the thought of ftting myself on the bike still.

When I first met up with the Rumor I was amused with the size of the frame – the reach, the standover were good and suddenly, it didn’t look like I would have any problem riding a 29er. I could not wait for the first ride and dragged Wilson and YK with me to go around Butterfly Trail and BT.

There were two most instantaneous observations I made of the bike. First, it didn’t turn like a truck – in fact it was as nimble as any 26er I have ridden. Contrary to popular belief, the bike corners pretty well and tight switchbacks weren’t a big issue.

Second, the bike descends buttery-smooth on quite rough trail features. It was extremely stable and gave additional confidence to let go of the brakes. I often took a B line descent which is also longer at a Y-junction in BT. Wilson, on the other hand, usually goes for a shorter A line – he always ends up seconds ahead of me at the exit. being on the Rumor the other day, I came to the exit just a second ahead of him – I guess that is the best testimony on how much the Rumor encourages one to go faster on descent. i guess this is the reason why so many people hop onto the 29er bus wagon and never look back.

Rumor comes in manageable frame size and gives you the additional confidence in the trails.

Rumor comes in manageable frame size and gives you the additional confidence in the trails.

I also did a recent ride at Ubin’s Ketam trail. The start of Ketam is pretty challenging as the trail consists of many short but steep ascents where I usually struggled through. The Rumor did an amazing job through these steep climbs; I literally roll over everything and saved me much energy from steering the handlebar to clear the climb.

Personally I would not encourage beginners to get a full-suspension 29er, as learning with a smaller wheel encourages the rider to pick up control better. However, this bike is the go-to tool for riders who are looking past their hardtails or small wheels, and are seeking something to spice up the rides. The Specialized Rumor Expert will give you an entire different experience and confidence. While it is still rare for most short women to chance upon a well-fitting 29er, the Rumor has one of the best reach I have ever seen, giving the rider good control and mobility on the bike, yet delivering that characteristic 29er stability in rough terrain.

A bumper at the downtube protects the frame from the handlebar.

Another plus of the Rumor is that it comes with a dropper post! It’s a step closer to doing more technical stuff without the saddle getting in the way of your bum! I do not see the need of the dropper post in Singapore terrain but am really looking forward to the Rumor’s first overseas ride, bombing down some sweet descents.

Dropper post’s remote is integrated with the Specialized Women’s Enduro lock on grips. The dropper post comes in three positions.

For riders whose Rumor is their first full-susser, another awesome feature is that the rear suspension OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAcomes with the Auto-sag function. Personally I like to not mess with bike settings too much because I prefer spending more time on those fun rides. So the Auto-sag saves the problem trying to recall what pressure you need to set your rear suspension in. This function allows you to just sit on the bike and get the correct air pressure set within seconds.

I do not believe in a perfect bike, and so it is with the Rumor is that it comes with formula brakes.I am an adventure racer and last thing I want is dodgy parts asking for unnecessary attention.The brakes didn’t work as consistently as I would have liked. I thought it would be a good idea to change the brakes to something more familiar if one desires fuss-free riding.

I suspect the Formula brake issues comes mainly from the rotor.

I suspect the Formula brake issue comes mainly from the rotor.

I really enjoy all the rides with the Rumor and am happy to loan the bike to anybody who is keen to give it a try too!

I never stop racing but I raced like shit, really.

a career change with in-camp training has kept me away from the AR team for too long! the in-camp training has taken a toll in my ‘out-camp’ training. i came to the conclusion that i cant excel in both. what i’m used to is long cardio endurance stuff and in-camp training was none of that. my heat tolerance is at its highest level i can ever imagine and i believe i do move faster in short intervals now. good thing is i never lose any cycling power but i lose the capability to cycle for long – i no longer can go on at the intensity i’m used to for even an hour. well i did not specifically timed myself but the physical exertion i feel is really different from the past.

i nv stop racing but i raced like shit, really.

the first race i did was a team enduro at Singapore MTB Carnival 2013 held in Asrama. it was one month into the in-camp training and i was still feeling alright just lacking the time to train for it. thankfully, BK and i got a sponsor from Sports+Travel Magazine to participate in this race. we came in behind Ken and Laura team who are like the MTB guru around in Singapore. we were minutes away from each other, but given their age (=/) they deserve the win in every way.

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the following month, i did Ace Adventure Challenge with Ting and Kee Leng. we did came in with good results but its been a long while since i have to be dragged by teammates, and never once were females. i was completely smashed on the bike and Ting had to take my hydration pack. in-camp training has started its effect on me!

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and then its Safra Avventura in Jan 2014 which Luke and Kee Leng came in ahead of Chris and I! i must admit i did feel like a stronger runner given the few killer trainings with Chris plus that i’m wearing boots everyday but doesnt mean we were fast. but this new strongness did make me really happy because i believe i can handle those climbs in AR better than last year.

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and i bumped around with a few jamboress here and there whenever possible. i can’t go overseas and the only plan for 2014 is not doing any of the local AR due to work schedule and also that school races are not exactly in line with my objective in AR – will be cool to see young people to go for it and getting those awesome prizes they always have!

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Sports+Travel Magazine has been really kind and will be sponsoring Wilson to Nepal for a staged MTB race with only 30 participants, how fortunate!! and because of that i will be taking over Wilson’s xterra putrajaya slot and I HAVE TO START SWIMMING SERIOUSLY. the last time i did that was in primary school whn i religiously went for swim class every weekend! its really the kind of race i do not enjoy – short+fast+individual=painful! it will be my first triathlon and also an off-road one, guess thats the main draw for me!

still contemplating about a possible 24hr-48hr AR this year, or maybe a rogaine if it has to be. otherwise i might have to try the asean mtb cup (xc) which are held at really awesome locations but i really dread training for such high intensity stuff. my holiday at nz is the way i like to train instead – a mountain marathon with epic mtb stages day aft day! will be finalizing the nz video by next week, and hopefully a AR i can confirm and be racing soon!

Not my Day or Not my Race?

This comes as illogical but I do believe (now) that some races are not meant for you. For me, it happens to be a really simple night Jamboree held in Ulu Tiram. I attempted it last year and ended up with a broken tooth. However, it was also my second night ride and 4 months into mountain biking so it was likely my incompetency that costs my front tooth.

To briefly recap what happened last year…
I was told at the last checkpoint that I am just behind the first lady rider. Gungho me got switched on and pedal damned hard. I really did manage to catch up with her and overtook her with an arrogant face. Arrogance doesn’t work this way – my helmet lights battery went low and the light dimmed down just when I was approaching a loose rocks section. The front wheel hit a big rock and steered towards the left and the gunghoness disappeared, I probably pressed the brake and wahlaa.. I landed on those rocks. She took the chance to overtake me while Wilson was looking for my tooth (yes, I know right -.-) and I looking left and right, not too sure how to react then. Teck wee then gathered us the two lost souls to stop my bleeding instead. Eventually I decided that we have to finish the race afterall. The two of them were worried sick and checking and re-checking whether I am sure of doing that. I guess we all realized that is the best decision – ride back to finish where there will be proper first aid. Nothing serious just a broken tooth and a second placing in that night jamboree.

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When I know the night jamboree is on this year again, I was determined to win it. I always aim to do my best for all the races and winning has been a bonus. I am happy to embrace second, third or no placing because of all the problems in each races. This jamboree has no excuse for the sake of my tooth – I want to win it badly, even knowing that jamboree won’t have much competition in women’s category.

We set off from Singapore at 1630, knowing well there will be a massive jam due to school holidays, little did we know it will take a whole three hours! With the atlas that got us lost in KL once, we made a wrong turn again and wasted even more time getting to the race start. Upon reaching Ulu Tiram we were unable to find the race start. We then saw a marshal on motorbike and asked him ‘mountain bike race’? He directed us to a small road as he nods his head with big smile. As we drove in, the road became a trail with massive potholes everywhere, that is when I say ‘wow this looks more like the race route for the bike’ (which turns up to be true later!!). After all the hoohah blah blah, we started the race probably 15minutes later without proper dinner.

It was disappointing that Wilson was not able to aim for the podium and so he accompanied me throughout the race. It comes as a blessing for me somehow, else I will be riding most sections by myself in the dark. redeyeWe were overtaking riders but there are sparse through the course so I was unable to tell how I was doing in the race. I kept telling myself I just have to keep riding and probably I will see the leading lady again. I didn’t and was told at the finish I am second. I was disappointed but results aside, I didn’t have broken tooth this year. Not too sure getting conjunctivitis is good news in any ways but I did end up with red eyes for the last couple of days!!!!! Must be the mud or dirtwater that flew into my eyes during the race. To wrap up the epicness, Hairul, Sam and Bk all have some technical malfunctions that ended their rides earlier too.

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I will return next year, to see whether it is ‘third time lucky’ or ‘bad things come in threes’.