Tag Archives: MTB

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!

Never do back to back Races

Weekend was epic.

On Saturday evening my Adventure Trail Challenge (ATC) partner, Chris was sharing how eager he is to race and smash the many teams out there. Simple it sounds but it left me waking up at 2am in the morning and not being able to fall back to sleep again! I thought this only happens the day before an excursion in primary school days – apparently not. I ended up preparing my stuff with eyes half closed and starting the race with blood shot eyes.

team

Was quite happy we were flagged off with one of the Redsxtreme teams which gets me to push a little harder since I am an average runner, wouldn’t be possible without Chris super-power tow on me though! The puzzle checkpoints are there but are kept to its simplest form, minimizing the possible time being wasted. I am very impressed with the organizers’ efforts to cut new routes through the bush for us! And all the signages through the bush are loads of hard works from the organizers! Distances for other disciplines still has room for improvements but I think the ATC team made an awesome progress for the future of local races!

Was suffering a little of stitch towards end of the race (which I don’t remember happening to me), am guessing I didn’t manage my intake of isotonic properly – the weather was so hot that I gobble down the H2O whenever I see them. Worse, we have to squeeze in a sprint finish because the second team was keeping a 50-100m distances away from us for the last few kilometers. Glad that the super power tow works, and we came in a few seconds ahead but after incorporating the checkpoints waiting time (not too sure how this works), we are still 2 seconds away from them! Nevertheless, good efforts from both teams!

podium

Sometimes I think it was probably my age that I do really stupid things – went to sign up for the 3hr solo Chase The Sun (CTS) which happens right after ATC. I managed to finish ATC in time and got to reach Tampines Bike Park to hang around. Didn’t know that an hour sitting down to rest can be so painful – was trying so hard to feel calm but I guess I was too overwhelmed from ATC that I feel restless and fatigue at the same time.

enduro
so my pain didn’t end at the finish of ATC. It was probably 5 min into CTS and I was sure 1 lap is all I can manage. As I overcome more and more of the obstacles I am extremely satisfied with my skills improvement (must be MTBskills effects) from the last race at Tampines Bike Park – this gauge of my skills under fatigue condition was really good practice for AR. I didn’t feel like I can do much better had I been fresh but at least I wasn’t falling all over! I am also not too sure how fast I could go had I been fresh but deep down, I think not much? I never been good at going fast since I was a kid.

The funny thing is I went for the second lap because I kind of forgot that I can stop after the first one. And when you realized you are at the start of a new lap, you could only carry on and finish it. it somehow happens for the third lap too! this weekend is an awesome experience in understanding my body– not to over exert it, but somehow I really enjoyed the way I plan my day.

Hard to end this post without bragging about the champion boyfriend. I was being the usual hard-to-impress me and goes ‘haha I saw you cramp and you haven’t seen me so yet!’, which left him with a grumpy loser kid face. But I know that is the case because he has this mental and physical ability to push himself to his limits, everytime without fail. I don’t understand how he can always idolize me when he is so much more awesome himself.

wilson

Tsalina and Ting’s trio team smashing the 3hr female solo and 6hr open trio respectively all add up to the good results of my AR team, WanGoDo Edge. Thank you all for racing and my family’s support this weekend, it just motivates me more!

Now back to rest and recovery mood, really have to get this flu behind me else it will affect more trainings and races this month.