B’Twin Count 4 cycle computer


Not everyone has the financial capacity to triple digits, nor have the willingness to spend that much on a cycle computer that gives you all the stats you need about your ride. If one needs to get a basic computer that tells you just the time of the day, your ride distance and your current speed, look no further than the B’Twin Count 4 cycle computer, which offers those functions at the price of a good meal at a restaurant in Singapore.

As the name implies, B’Twin Count 4 is a wireless computer that offers 4 functions, Current speed,Distance, Current Time and Odometer. At just under 30 dollars, this is super great value as online cycle computers are just slightly cheaper than this. So how does it perform? I purchased it and used it for a few days to see how it would feel like.

Setting up
Out of the box, the Count 4 was advertised as having no tools required, this is not entirely true, you still need a tool (namely a piler or cutter) to cut the cable ties that secure the speed sensor to the bike. The package below is everything you need to run the computer properly.

Problems arose when I tried to mount the Bike Computer to my stem. The rubber band that was provided couldn’t fit my stem. Fortunately, I could reuse the old garmin rubber band and that worked perfectly. The cable ties felt abit soft but then again, cant complain much especially for a product at this price point.

Setting up the actual computer is easy, just turn on the computer when you first purchased it and it will ask you to set the current time and the diameter of the wheel that the sensor is on and its that simple!

Weight and Usage
The combined package of the sensor and computer weights in at a measly 42 grams,

That is crazy light, given that the Edge 200 weights in at 59 grams, the b’twin count 4 reminds me and looks like the mavic wintech computer.

At the point of this writing, the magnet that came with the bike dropped off while I was riding, so I replaced it with an old Polar magnet that I had. The computer works pretty fine for its price , it feels flimsy compared to the other computers that I had use and the sensor could move around the fork(probably due to the round fork) despite tightening the cable ties all the way.

The computer is relatively idiot proof to operate once you configured it, 2 big buttons are all that is needed to scroll the lower half of the screen while the top half is used for the very big speed display.

4 functions which is where the computer got its name from! While riding the large chunky numbers made it easy to read when glancing in the day. At night, the lack on an backlight on this computer made it hard to read and having one would be good.

Conclusion
The B’twin Count 4 is amazing value especially when it costs less than the tire (note 1 piece) mounted onto my road bike. It works well for its pricepoint given that there is no nearest competitor at street prices. This computer is mainly aimed at those who do not need fancy GPS, HRM and power and just want a computer to tell them their distance, speed and current time. If B’twin could include a backlight for around 5 sgd more that will make this computer an even better buy! I like this product, cheap and functional.

Stats of B’twin count 4

Weight (Actual)
16 grams Sensor
26 grams Comuter

Functions
Time
Current Speed
Trip Distance
Odometer

Disclaimer
The author of this post paid for this product with his own cash and was not approached by B’twin or Decathlon to make this posting. as such the product is not a “test” product. At the time of this post, the product is still in the hands of the author.

 

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Raleigh MV8 Upgrade

On my previous blog post, I reviewed the Raleigh MV8, where I liked its long wheelbase, but didn’t like its stock wheel. It was a good riding frame for 400 sgd or so. I made the faithful decision to upgrade it a couple of months ago. and it was finally completed after a few months.  While I do not have the luxury of time to ride it around, the build was interesting and taught me much about bike re-build.

Completed bike build

Before

After

Build List

Weight of the bike is an estimated 9.3kg using a weighing machine

Bike Build in Details

Frame/Fork
The frame as mentioned previously is internally routed, so I tried to reuse the housings and cables as much as possible so as not to avoid the problem of trying to fish the housing out of the frame. The fork was also cut to the finalized position shearing off 4cm off the fork. As for the brakes, I would say that the assembly procedures for this bike is quite bad. The rear brakes dug into the frame housing so badly that the whole mounting bolt came out with the rear brakes. I was finally able to remove the mounting bolt with the help of the hair dryer. Granted, the bike doesnt even costs 4 digits, but surely a few dabs of grease would be good?

Brakes
I replaced the stock brake pads with a pair of AVID Single digit 7 V brakes. They offer the advantage of increased braking power and  the ability to remove the wheels without fiddling with the cable clamp bolt. While the stock Promax bolt is slightly lighter at 184 grams, 5 grams is an okay penalty to pay for the convenience and power of the brakes

Drivetrain
I took the opportunity to upgrade to a 10 speed drivetrain. As above, its a mix and mash of parts using some old and new parts. The highlight of the drivetrain is the 61t Gebhardt chainring mated to a SRAM S300 courier crankset.

 

On the old 53T crankset, I find myself frequently on the 1st 4 cog of the cassette, I hope that with the larger crankset, I would be able to utilize  a heavier spread of the cassette.

Enter the SRAM S300 courier crankset, which is cheap for an outboard bearings system. It uses the GXP system which is somewhat similar to the Shimano Hollowtech 2/ FSA MEGA EXO system using the NDS to tigthen the crank. However unlike the Shimano/FSA system where it uses 3 bolts to set the preload and to tighten the crank arm, the SRAM system uses a single bolt to preload the bearings and to mount the crank in.

The chainring bolts were weirdly coated in locitite, and the LBS which I went to had problems removing it, destroying a couple of drill bits in the process.

The rest of the drive train are relatively standard old Shimano 105 stuff. Nothing needs to say about the reliability of the shifting system.

Handlebar
I used the Time Egrodrive handlebar, the bar seems a little on the fat side particularly at the top. Not much could be said as I have not been riding it yet.

 

Wheelset
I was in a dilemma, whether to use a superlight wheelset or a aero wheelset. In the end, I opted for the litepro s42 wheelset. At 320 sgd, they are not cheap, the finishing was great and thats where all the good part ends.  At that price range, I would expect the wheels to be perfectly true, while my front wheel was completely true, the rear wheel was slightly out of true, which is kind of disappointing given the fact that road bike factory wheels at lower price range (think Fulcrum racing 7) are have a much higher quality control of the trueness of the wheel. I must add that the aesthetic of the rims appeal to me, the black and red complemented the colors of the build overall. I did not have a chance to weight the wheels as I took delivery of it while at the bike shop.

Conclusion
This bike will be designated as my commute bike, or a bike where I intend not to go all out.  The upgrades I hope will give a new life to the bike and make it a more enjoyable bike to ride overall. The best part for me was perhaps to see the combination of multiple brands to make the bike work.

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First Look: Time Ergodrive Handlebar


Introduction
Carbon bits are expensive, especially one from a renowned company such as TIME where its bicycle frames and accessories are made in France. This is rare in an era where companies would rather outsource its carbon production to Taiwan or china as manufacturing stuff from carbon is fairly labor intensive. People love carbon stuff as its light, strong and it doesn’t corrode (important to me!)

Enter the Time Egrodrive Handlebar, saw it on massive discount and without even thinking I grabbed one. The model that I have is a 2013 model, but Time is still manufacturing these bar as this article is being written. It looks impressive, it does come in a variety of colors such as black, red and white but when I purchased it, the only bars left in my size was white. The packaging is impressive, showcasing its product in a transparent casing.

Whats included in the package

  • Handlebar
  • Removable Housing Cover
  • Installation CD

Handlebar
The bars itself is not relatively light at a claimed weight of 230 grams (in comparison the 42cm Egronova LTD weights in at below 200gram) Mine bar came in at 228 grams with an addition of 18 grams for the housing channels.


However, what I do like about them are the features. The bar features an aluminum clamp bonded into the carbon to increase the rigidity, and the gripping surface is added at both the shifter clamp area and as well as the stem clamping area. The bar also features an unique cable housing channels with an removable housing channel cover (which are the 4 screws and the plastic sleeves). This means that you don’t need to use ugly electrical tape to tape your cables to the handlebar.

Time makes its entire product from carbon inhouse and this includes the carbon fiber weave and as well as the impregnation of resin into its carbon tubes. This makes the Egrodrive bar super stiff, though I have not tried the bars.

The shape of the bar follows the compact design similar to that of the Egronova, an flat, egg-shaped top mated to a shallow drop. I like it compared to an classic shaped handlebars, flat tops means being able to rest your arms on the top and cruise your way around. Shallow drops means you don’t need to have the flexibility of a gymnast to maintain your positions on the drops.

Conclusion
Time will tell whether I would like the bar (I would be mounting this bar on my mini velo but I am still in the midst of planning future upgrades for it) but as for now, I like the bar, 50 grams of weight gained is an OK trade off for the amount of proprietary technology on the bar. The bars are pricey given the pedigree of its manufacturing processes and the country of origin. TIME has cut itself a niche in the market as a premium manufacturer and this bar shows it.

Summary

  • Time Egrodrive 42cm bar in white
  • Made in France
  • Claimed weight 230 grams, real weight 227 grams (raw weights without housing channels)
  • Removable housing channels for cable routing

Disclaimer
The author was not sponsored nor paid by Time to review this product. This product was paid for and purchased by the author (who has no working relations with Time)

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Tighter rules for E-Bicycles

Recently, LTA has decided to introduce tighter rules for E-Bicycles , and I welcome the toughened rules. Besides having a more stringent rules, they also increased the fines for illegal E-bikes. However, in my opinion, this has not solved the root of the problem which is that of E-Bikes inconveniencing pedestrians walking on foot way.

Currently, there are 6 rules which relate to the construction, the speed, the weight and the standards which the E-bikes must adhere to. The crux of the problem, in my opinion doesn’t lie in the construction of the bikes, but rather in enforcing where these bikes should be allowed to travel on.

At 25kph, they are too slow for the roads, and too fast for travelling on pavements. One solution proposed would be to increase the legal speed of e-bikes to 40kph (where it is 10kph higher than the average speed on aertial road according to LTA 2014 report) LTA, however would need to ramp up the enforcement of e-bikes not being allowed on pavements through the usage of officers and cameras.

Excessive modding of the motor should not be curbed by fines, send the offending e-bike at the owner’s cost, to de-modify the bike back to its original state, and at the same time levy a fine.

There are other further legal issues involved such as when there is personal injuries or property damages involved, but that can be tackled at a later date.

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Sims Avenue Park Connector

The Sims Avenue Park Connector is the latest park connector to be added to the growing park connector network in Singapore. It is situated in the east and runs all the way from Paya Lebar MRT to Kembangan MRT where it links up with the Siglap Park Connector. Unlike the older Siglap Park connector, this refined park connector features many amenities and safety features aimed at enhancing park user safety.

NParks has build this Park connector mostly under the EW MRT Tracks, which I think is a rather clever use of maximizing usage of space in land scarce Singapore, It also serve a dual purpose of providing shelter when there is rain.

The other thing that I really like is the usage of curve paths to reduce speed of cyclists. These paths are not for your 45 kph road bike warriors, but rather people choose a more leisurely pace. At grade crossing at road junctions make it rather hassle-free and painless to move around. Though I think safety can be further improved with the addition of mirrors and zebra crossing lights at junctions. With cyclists travelling relatively fast as opposed to pedestrians walking or running, drivers might not be able to stop safely in time as they might not notice the cyclists till they are too late.

Other amenities on offer include seating for resting points and the designers have even managed to squeeze in a playground. There are also multiple static exercise station located along the pathways.

The Park connector is unfinished as the link to the Siglap park connector is still not yet completed. The park connector will probably be connected to the nearby Geylang Park connector but as at the time of writing, there is no groundwork being done yet.

Disclaimer: The author has noticed its construction for quite awhile as he stays nearby,.Upon finding out that the park connector is close to completion, he decided to try it out. This post is not sponsored by Nparks, nor have I been contacted to write an article about it.

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Merging of data overlays with sports action camera video

I went for a quick 30 mins ride on Saturday and decided to record my ride using my old trusty Garmin Edge 200 and a SJ4000. Merging of the 10 mins segments into one video was done using windows live movie maker and the data overlay was done using the garmin virb programme . In total it took around 6 hours or so to transfer the data onto my computer, and to upload it to YouTube(without edits), which isn’t very ideal in the fast paced world of today. The data was slightly out in the video as I started the Edge 200 after one full round.

 

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Raleigh MV8 Review

All along, I had a certain fascination on mini velo, they look really small and are designed to go longer distance as opposed to a BMX. To put it simply, they are in my best description described as non fold-able folding bicycles. My interest in the MV8 waned or increased depending on how much I looked at it. Just recently, I started work in Central Singapore and thought about commuting by bicycle as it was faster, and a great way to get a workout. Working in an industrial area made it crazy to ride my merida to work and my thoughts went back to the MV8. Managed to get it and as of now, I done roughly a day’s worth of commute roughly 30km shuttling back and forth places.

Overview

The MV8 costs roughly the price of the wheelset on my Merida (Fulcurm Racing Quattro) To be honest, I did not expect much from the bike, given the cost of it, but still I am pleased at the package offered by Raleigh. They skimmed on certain parts but to me, the highlight of the bike is that they somehow managed to spec a branded (Shimano Claris) rear derailleur.

The Build
I wanted a dropbar version of the bike due to the variety of holding postions avaliable on the bar. I stripped my old road bike and transferred the cockpit as well as the saddle(which gives me the option to mount the fizik saddle lights. After a few hours of tinkering in the bike shop, the final product came out well, to my expectations.

Frame and Fork
I was surprised to find that the frame came with internal cable routing,a feature that is found instead on most of the road bikes on the market nowadays instead on a S$400 bike. I accdentally pulled out the whole cable and housing while re cabling to the tiagra shifters, putting everything back though was a hassle and best done by a bike shop. The frame and fork offers a variety of mounting points should you decide to upgrade. For brakes it offers, V brake, Disc Brake(edit: was advised that the mounting points are actually for fenders) and Caliper brakes. It offers a variety of mounting points for fenders and racks as well. The bike however has a pretty standard geometry, ( I only measured the top tube which was roughly 52cm) it is relatively long compared to its wheels. It’s wheelbase is super long compared to other bikes that I ridden and it gives a very cushy feel. Huge rear triangle is not very stiff coupled with the seat tube gives it a very comfortable ride.

Brakes
The bike was speced with a promax (no model number could be found) V brakes, To me, the overly shiny calipers looked cheap to me, but they do their job just fine. Fitting them to work with a road shifters posed no issues though I needed to squeeze the brake calipers more to get more braking power

Seatpost and seat clamp
The seatpost are promax branded. They are good value and are surprisingly easy to adjust.It is a one bolt design with the cradle seating on the seatpost and a clamp goes over it. To adjust just shift the cradle up and down and it is done! Simple and easy to adjust.

I swapped the stock seat clamp which was using a lever to a seat clamp that uses a bolt to clamp the seatpost as I do not want it to drop due to lack of grip (which happens often to seat clamp that uses a adjustable lever)

Drive train
The drive train consists of a KMC Z72 chain, Promax square taper crank(with a chain guard), mated to a Shimano Claris rear Derailleur and a epoch hyperwave 11-25 cassette. I swapped the cassette out as I prefer using a name brand cassette and though it looked shiny(and cheap), I would rather use my old PG850.
I like that they spec the rather new Shimano Claris rear derailleur. The shifting isn’t exactly the best with the old shifters but the bike is too new to tell if its cable adjustment or equipment mismatch or just poor tuning.

The ProMax is not exactly the best crank out there, I could feel it flexing when I mashed it really hard. The chainguard is there to prevent the chain from falling off, but if the derailleur is properly tuned, such incidents should not happen. It looks abit flimsy, but then again the bike doesnt costs alot of money!

Wheels and Tires
The bike came with Innova Tires and Quando wheels. The tires are rather comfortable due to its width. The wheels however are is a big let down. Wheels are a let down in my opinion. Wheels are supposed to be relatively true out of the box and smoothness of the bearings is a secondary issue. This wheels, however are not true and the bearings feel rough. The bearings feel is very noticeable, particularly at high speeds (over 30kph) and the wheel was untrue enough that brake rub was very noticeable even when the v brakes are calibrated. The hubs looks shiny, but it doesnt perform as it is supposed to look like.

While the hub reads. “Quando, High Performance Hub” It definitely doesn’t feel high performance to me.

Conclusions
This is my first foray into the world of mini velo but despite the drawbacks, I am still quite happy at the purchase. One shouldn’t purchase the bike thinking that it will perform like a S$1K bike, and it isn’t. The frame offers great upgrading options should you choose not to use their stock parts. If Raleigh is able to offer their frames separately, that will be good (around the 150-250 price point will be good) I am considering future upgrades to improve the flaws. For now, I just have to wait for the magical item that makes the world go round to regenerate.

Reasons to buy the MV8

  • Compared to its even cheaper brother the MV7, the mv8 comes with a freehub which offers a relative cheap upgrade path to 9,10 speeds if one has enough spare parts from other bikes.
  • Frame has variety of mounting points for different types of brakes and additions like rack and fenders.
  • Relatively long frame means that it is stable.
  • Fat wheels means that potholes and drain covers have no problems.
  • V brakes offer relatively strong braking power, good for those who are new.

Reasons to not buy the MV8

  • Wheels are not exactly the best, it might be a Quality control issue
  • Square taper cranks are hard to install and remove
  • Fat wheels are not meant for people who want to go fast

Full Specification as reviewed

Disclaimer
Raleigh, or any other companies mentioned did not pay nor sponsor me for this post. The bike was paid for using the author’s cash. I am not affiliated nor working with any of the companies mentioned. The above experience is the author’s own experience and end user experience may be different.

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