The OCBC Cycle (Singapore) is this weekend. My preparation for the event started in late July and I rode my last round of training session this evening with another 28km ride. I felt good overall.
The only issue now is which bike should I ride this Sunday... my Brompton (aka Brommie) has been a joy to ride and despite posting my personal bests this week, I know I can go even faster on my Trek road bike which can be 30% faster than Brommie... I've already signed up for OCBC Cycle (KL) in November and I will definitely ride Brommie as it's easier to transport in a car. Hmm... I may just go on Brommie this Sunday as I don't really want to ride so hard for my first sportive even though I can now ride 180watts/hr... will decide soon.
In the meantime, I've been upgrading Brommie to suit my riding style. Below is a list of upgrades that I've made in no particular order of when I purchased the items:
Upgrade #1 (Brompton Firm Suspension) - Mini Review
I tested the new suspension using the same route and effort. Found the ride to be better especially when I went into Time Trial position (on a Brompton??? yes you can!). Still some bouncing if I ride hard e.g. cadence >80 rpm at 5th gear. Alternative, you could get the 3rd party Jenny Suspension for $85 for even firmer ride... anyway, I'm ok with what I got.
B+ score for the purchase.
Upgrade #2 - Ergon GP1 Handlebar Grips - Mini Review
So I got the Ergon Grips GP1 from Mighty Velo for S$65 (don't buy there as you can get it for S$51 at BRU-Yishun...In fact, don't buy non-Brompton stuff at Mighty Velo... overpriced!!!). Installation was a challenge as the M-type handlebars is not long enough to fit the grips... so I had to use my mini-saw to cut the excess. I made the mistake of over-cutting by 0.5cm but it's no big deal. Can still adjust the brakes to close up the gap (which you can see in the photo). You won't need to cut for S-type handlebars. To remove the original sponge grips, just use a penknife and slice it down.
The Ergon grips worked wonders. The wider area at the palm is fantastic. In fact, I can now lower my back and rest my forearms on the grips/handlebars just like in a Time Trial position. It really helps reduce wind drag and I can go about 15% faster with the same effort. This would be quite hard to do on the sponge grips as the Brompton has a twitchy handling due to the 16 inch wheels.
Overall, an A+ purchase. (just don't buy from Might Velo if you can help it...)
Upgrade #3 - Brooks B17 Saddle (Select) - Mini Review
Installing the saddle was a bit tricky at first due to the hard leather flap blocking access to the nut and bolt. Just gently pull the leather and use a short-sided allen key to tighten it. Don't worry, the leather is really tough.
A B-grade purchase for now...
Brompton Mini-O Bag & Beto Waterbottle Cage
I realised that waiting isn't my strong trait so I bit the bullet(wallet) and got the bag earlier today. It's really a good-size bag for short or day-long rides. It allows me to simply stash my essentials without the need to carry a bag or waist pouch which would have been rather uncomfortable. Quality-wise is good, being waterproof and reflective but I was a bit wary after the shop assistant told me to be careful when opening the top. He advised me that I opened it by pulling the two nylon tabs instead of peeling the copper buttons which could come off entirely... pfft... so much for durability...
Overall, a B+ purchase for the bag and A for the water-bottle cage Afternote: should tape up the stem to protect the paint from being scratched by the screw)
Brommie came with a 50T chainring which is ok for gentle hills and flats. However, it was simply not sufficient at the lowest gear when I was riding up Benjamin Sheares Bridge. So I got a 44T (-12%) from Mighty Velo for S$85 (again pricey) and did an easy installation to replace the 50T. Thus far, the low gearing is marginally better and I will use the 5th gear more often at speeds of 28km/hr at 80 rpm cadence. Can go >30km/hr at ger 6th but I'm not that fit yet... Previously on a 50T, I only used gears 1 to 4. A 39T chainring would have been cool but I might end up being too slow on flats. *Shrugs*