“How much difference can a cycling-specific lube make?”
Such was the question that popped into my head when looking for chain lube for Scotty, my trusted 26er rigid MTB—the question that was soon followed by innocent rationale: a lube is a lube, right? After all, motorcycle and sewing machine operate with chain, too; and they do just well with cheap lube. Does it make sense to spend much more for cycling-specific lube?
That was my attitude toward cycling-specific socks for years. Sure, cycling-specific apparels like jersey and padded short improved both on-bike performance and comfort considerably. But a pair of socks? I’ve been using standard cotton socks for years, feeling just fine even on 200+ km rides—until I gave compression socks a try recently. While perhaps not as significant as cycling-specific short and jersey, I must admit, they do make difference—especially on hours of constant, continuous pedalling motion.
“Don’t worry, you can still buy your favorite coffee.”
Such was @Satset.CC’s statement when it announced the Ortap Seat Pack prototype—the statement that came back to me, as I looked at the pricetag when it was officially released. Was there a mistake? Have I been living inside a cave for too long, that I’ve lost track of general price inflation? “No” was the answer to both questions. So came another one: what is it about the seat pack that justifies its higher-than-average pricetag?
Here’s a little known fact: few bike upgrades—if any—comes close to the value of great tires. That ultralight aero wheelset your fellow cyclists have been raving about? Will perhaps improve 2-3% of total performance. That overpriced, oversized ceramic derailleur pulley? Good luck ekeing more than 1% of performance gain out of it. A pair of supple performance rubbers, on the other hand, is a potential game-changing gem; it can easily gain as much as 5% of performance increase compared to stiff, touring model—equal to the performance gain of dropping 7 kg off the bike. Supple tires, especially the wider ones, also improve comfort in a way carbon handlebar and/or seatpost can never match.
Tires, therefore, should occupy the top of bike upgrade/improvement list.
If you can only have one bike, how would you build it?
Against widespread adoption of N+1 principle among cyclists, I have long been a believer of “one bike to rule them all” approach. For me, it made much more sense. On a multi-terrain cycling adventure, changing bikes to suit specific terrain condition isn’t an option; not even changing wheelsets. Combining long stretch of paved road, long climbs, rocky gravel road, steep twisty descents, even singletracks, such adventure demands one bike capable to tackle them all. Granted, such a bike will not excel at any particular task; it will, however, do well on almost any challenge a cycling adventure throw at it.
It started with a surprise: a direct message from the guy behind Racmmer’s official distributor here in Indonesia. Apparently he had just stumbled upon my previous review of the brand’s jersey, and decided to hand me a gift as a sign of appreciation—an offer I’m not dumb enough to turn down. I was given full freedom to choose whichever model I’d like, but he suggested me to give their newest model a try: the top-of-the-range IDR 260K / USD 19 Racmmer Elite jersey, updated with new, claimed-better, cut and fabric. With the possibility of writing another review, following his suggestion and choosing the model was a no-brainer option for me.
Disclosure: while the product reviewed here is provided by Racmmer, the content is based on my honest judgment and opinion.
Can I get a decent cycling helmet for around IDR 300K (USD 20)? That was the question that popped in my head when I set out to buy a replacement—the previous one I had was comfortable, but after 5 years of use, it had crumbled into an ugly blob of black polystyrene on my head. Apparently, the choice was limited to either cheap, garish multipurpose model, or famous brand’s Chinese knock-offs with doubtful quality; apparently, until I stumbled upon Polygon Speed, the road helmet from Indonesia’s most famous cycling company.
Finding a proper cycling jersey in Indonesian market was tough. There were only two basic options available on the market: either you get yourself baggy MTB jersey full of texts, logos, and colors that practically turn you into a rolling dorky banner on two wheels, or you spend a fortune for sleek, stylish jersey from established brands. I was contemplating going on the third route—the full custom-printed jersey—when I stumbled upon Racmmer, a cycling apparel brand which offered the style and elegance of the established brand’s, for fraction of the price.
As someone who rides all road, I preferred the comfort and freedom of tight-fit road short instead of the baggy MTB one, but also wanted pocket for extra space to carry things. Reading through the budding trend of gravel-specific clothing, I realized, I wasn’t alone. Yet even in developed worlds, road short with pockets is still a rarity. It was, therefore, surprising to find that in Indonesian market, one local brand—Singletrek—had been making such road short for a while.
Just recently, my cycling mitts finally crumbled after years of hard use. I was thinking about getting myself a simple Decathlon’s cycling mitts when I stumbled upon Avelio, a budding local cycling glove brand, currently running an aggressive online marketing campaign. I thought to myself, why not give them a go?