Thursday, November 27, 2008

Unbiased review: Wilson (K) Factor Lite (another new toy)

Today (27 Nov. 2008), I went to collect ANOTHER new toy of mine with Donald - The Wilson (K) Factor Lite. Donald and I agreed to purchase it after we tested both, our earlier (K) Factor Blaze at Stadium Juara Bukit Kiara. The Blaze handles the shuttlecock well. It's a perfect all rounder racket, meaning to say, not too light, not heavy, perfect weight distribution, not too powerful and not too weak to propel the shuttlecocks.

Donald wanted to buy the additional racket so that his girlfriend can use it whenever she comes back to Malaysia for a visit. He told me that the (K) Factor Lite is really light and good for her.

Thinking that the promotion is still on, I accompanied Donald for the purchase (Buy 1 free 1). My reason is to have another backup racket just in case if I feel too tired to play with Blaze after an hour of game.

This time, we paid more as (K) Factor Lite costs another RM20 more! Maybe it could be the complexity of the racket's lightweight construction. Once settled, we went back to office to continue our work as usual. When the time reached 1700hrs, we (Donald, Peter and myself) went for a tea break as we needed fuel(for the body) for the 2-hour badminton game (1900 - 2100hrs). We left office @ 1830hrs sharp to the stadium. Too anxious to test the new toy!

The (K) Factor Lite test @ Stadium Juara Bukit Kiara:
Warming up with the lightweight racket is not energy consuming, very light and my hand can respond to shuttlecocks quickly and easily. Knowing that this racket is not a powerful one, I have tested it few times near the net.

After some time, I manage to get the hang out of it. The racket is very nice for frontal assault. My bad, LOL. I love playing at the front section with this racket, but I did not have much chance because my partner mostly covered front today.

Whenever I cover the rear section, I have to spend slightly more energy to swing the racket in order to propel the shuttlecock to the opposite court. It is more advisable to drop the shuttlecock when you are at rear than spending more energy to hit towards the rear section of the opposite court.

I can conclude that Wilson has the know-how expertise to design and manufacture good quality rackets like (K) Factor series. Every single cent spent for both my (K) Factor rackets is really worth it. No joke for the nano-technologically constructed rackets! I really love them! They're so different!

The (K) Factor Lite:

The bag:

- More control!
- Good for net tricks!
- Very swift respond!
- Good for frontal attacks!
- Nice bag (comes together with the racket)
- Feather weight toy @ 78grams [+/- 2g]

- Less powerful for playing @ rear section
- New unit does not come with string
- Silver coloured graphics is too bright and less classy


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Unbiased review: Wilson (K) Factor Blaze

I have been using Wilson X-TECH 2.4 for almost a year by now since I was in Thailand. I bought it through Supersports' buy 1 free 1 promotion @ CentralWorld, Bangkok. It is a very nice racquet due to the fact that it weighs only around 82grams without string and grip.

The Thai guy then recommended me to strung it @ 18lbs of tension. I agree with him since it's a light racquet but the actual fact is this racquet can be strung up to 24lbs. I bought it for the price of 1900.00 baht which was approximately RM190.00 for 2 racquets!

My current Wilson X-TECH 2.4...

I bought it simply because this racquet is mainly for beginner and the price is cheap. I shared (the cost) the other piece with Bayu Indra a colleague of mine from Indonesia @ BKK office.

I am quite active playing badminton now after returning back to Malaysia thanks to the company's sports club for organizing 2 games per week (Monday & Thursday) @ Stadium Juara Bukit Kiara situated less than 3km from office.

Besides the Wilson X-TECH 2.4 racquet, I still have another racquet given by my dad. It's the Yonex carbonex 20 Special. I prefer X-TECH 2.4 over it because the Carbonex is slightly heavier and the frame design is not so aerodynamic. Sorry to Yonex.

Two weeks back, I was discussing about the possibility of getting another racquet for the weekly games. The reason is because I need a racquet which is an all-rounder racquet with higher string tension capabililty. Since the X-TECH 2.4 is my all time favourite and benchmark, I didn't bother to look for other brands. So I stick to Wilson.

Looking at Wilson's range of 2008 ... you can only notice 2 product lines. They are the "nCode" & "(K) Factor" series. I was eyeing on the (K) Factor Blaze due to its functionality as an all-rounder racquet.

Why I choose (K) Factor Blaze? Because it's a racquet with almost perfect balance...

The construction:

The carrying bag:

The deal:
After a badminton game on Monday17th Nov 2008, I came home for dinner and my wife told me that the racquet shop @ Bangsar Village was having "buy 1 free 1" sale. I then contacted Donald (my colleague) to see if he needs to find a replacement racquet for his ten year-old Carlton racquet.

Donald suggested that we should take a look during lunch time on next day (Tuesday). I went with Donald to Stringers @ Bangsar Village. We spotted few models like (K) Factor Blaze, Blade, Tour, Strike, Pro, & Lite. The lower range racquet like xLoop was also displayed on the rack.

The price for (K) Factor Blaze was RM315.00 for 2 units inclusive of carrying bags. We also chose the yonex string for RM 27.00 each and also ProAce grip at the price of RM7.00. I asked the Filipino sales guy called Norway to give more discounts and he told me he will give FOC for 1 string and one grip. The whole package costed @ RM349.00 for 2 ready-to-play racquets! We paid and left the place.

The test @ Bangsar Sports Complex:
I got home from office around seven and I walked straight to Stringers again to see if the racquets are ready for collection. I saw Norway and he told me that both racquets can be collected. He strung both racquets at 25lbs. I checked both and left home for a quick dinner.

It was almost 9 when I reached the Bangsar Sports Complex. I tested few strokes with Blaze and it was amazing! I could do more powerful back-hand than the older X-TECH 2.4! Normally, I can't really return back-hand stroke properly even with Carbonex 20 Special. I could control the ball easily when I manage to hit the ball using the Blaze's sweet spot.

One thing which I do not recommend myself to do is NOT to hit hard whenever I am near the net due to the higher string tension.

- Capable of having string tension of 20-30 lbs!
- Improved my back-hand stroke
- Nice bag (comes together with the racket)
- Nice classy graphics (black and white)

- Slightly heavier than X-TECH 2.4(Blaze is approximately 86g [+/- 2g])
- New unit does not come with string


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mount Kinabalu & Teluk Cempedak Experience!

Yesterday morning was interesting. I was having breakfast session with John Petruse, Donald and Peter Mikulas. Praga did not join us because he was busy with something. The topic about paranormal began when we talked about the newspaper showing an article about few students lost their way in the jungle of Gunung Nuang. I was there few months back,... I guess I must have been lucky then. I told John that those students must have challenged the nature by making fun of forest's creatures or verbally condemning/giving bad remarks about the place or even informing others about strange encounter.

John started telling us the story about his trip few years back at Teluk Cempedak, Kuantan. Teluk Cempedak is a beach area mainly with visitors from Kuantan. He went hiking into the forest area with his wife in order to reach the secluded beach area with huge rocks for relaxing. There were some people when they arrived there. After relaxing sometime, they left the place when no one around there anymore. So they took the same path in the forest. John's wife did warn him about that path whereby according to the locals, never look back when walking along the forest path.

Soon after walking sometime, he heard a chirping sound near him. At first, John didn't bother that sound but he felt strange when the volume of the chiroing sound did not stop and kept on following him. His wife was right behind him when he turned back. She scolded John for looking back. John explained to her that the chirping sound kept on following him. Both of them knew something was not right when only John could hear the strange sound. They moved quickly and got back to their car. While driving back home, John did asked his wife about why he shouldnt turn back. His wife explained that the forest path to secluded beach area is not "clean".

Next, John told us that several years ago, he and his friends organized a Mount Kinabalu climb. It was supposed to be a huge group but just before the trip, one by one of the members pulled out/cancelled last minute until there were only five of them left for Mount Kinabalu.

While hiking back to the base of Mount Kinabalu, John's wife sprained her ankle and both of them have to hike back to the base camp slowly. They guide was some how not that happy when this couple was so slow hiking down. John and his wife could see the guide few hundred meters ahead of them.

All of a sudden, the thick cloud came passing by and covered the couple's view like a white blanket. When it was clear again, the couple couldn't see their guide. John felt strange as it is nearly impossible for their guide to hiked away from them so fast. At that point of time, John heard a chirping noise. The sound was so familiar just like what he heard at Teluk Cempedak. Knewing something was amiss, he quickly informed his wife to hike faster.

John and his wife was running through a certain stretch of the forest and suddenly, his wife stopped and stunned. With the chirping sound still following him, he tapped his wife's shoulder to move on. Both of them hiked so fast even though they were feeling exhausted and hungry and managed to catch up with their guide. Finally, the couple arrived Mount Kinabalu's base and headed to hotel.

On the way to hotel, John asked his wife about why she stopped suddenly at one particular time. She said that she saw an old woman with scarf sitting under a huge tree in a hunched position waiting for her to pass by. John did not see the old lady but according to his wife, the old lady in scarf was near them! John felt so eerie when she explained.

After sometime, John met a friend at office and talked about his Mount Kinabalu experience and not to forget also about the chirping sound and the old woman in scarf. His friend impersonated the chirping sound and John was shocked that his friend could produce the same sound!!! John's friend later told him that the old woman in which John's wife saw was a "Pontianak" or also known as female vampire / bloodsucker!

There are many things that we do not know out there...

So guys, I would like to advise fellow bikers / hikers / campers... please, please, please never make any comment or boast about strange encounter when you are taking part in any outdoor activity. You'll never know about the other world out there...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Unbiased Review: Sun Ringle SOS Welded Disc Rim

Marketing Description
Disc only welded all mountain MTB rim, Tough enough for Downhill, light enough for XC / freeride. Superb 'do it all' rim.

- 28mm wide.
- ERD : 548
- Weight : 520g

My rear rim was bent a little due to the previous Melaka Heritage MTB Jamboree ride. Some of my friends did not even belief that my rim was bent - my goodness! According to them, this rim should be very tough.

Hellooooo, think again, guys! How could you expect the rim to be as hard as a rock?

No doubt it is an All Mountain rim, but when I jammed my rear brake and swerved so hard to the left (during a steep downhill section) and and it hit the rock by the side (the impact was phenomenal), it would definately bend ANY rim, I repeat - ANY rim, due to the weight of my bike and my body.

To my surprise, the rear wheel was only bent a little!!! I am still happy with the wheels as they are still performing in perfect condition after I sent them for truing at the bikeshop (Rodalink) near my place.

Pros: Nice finishing with eyelets for reinforcements purpose
Cons: Ugly S.O.S Logo & only black colour was available at the time of purchase, sigh... :(

After all, this is only my humble opinion.

Below are the reviews from 2 other users from

Good Article on "Rim Joining Methods"
Source: []

There are three methods used to join the ends of rims after rolling. The three methods are pinning, sleeving, and welding.

This method consists of joining the ends of the rim with a steel pin inserted into a cavity on both sides of the rim extrusion. These steel pins are about four millimeters in diameter, two inches in length, with pointed ends. .The extrusion shape for the rim is made with the pin cavities extruded in place, usually just under the tire bead on each side of the rim. The diameter of these holes is closely controlled to properly press fit over the pin. The rim is assembled by injecting a measured amount of epoxy glue in each rim pin hole, then inserting the pin ends in the holes. The rim is then placed in a machine that constricts the diameter of the rim by means of a band around the outside of the rim and a hydraulic cylinder that pulls the ends of the band together. This force causes the rim ends to be forced over the pins, closing the joint.

This method of rim end joining is done in the same way as the pinning process, but uses an extruded aluminum insert matching the inner profile shape of the rim rather than pins. The sleeving method is usually used on rims that are lighter and considered to be of higher quality than pinned rims. The sleeve is typically about three inches in length. After cutting the sleeve blank off the extrusion, it is formed in a die to give it a radius to match the rim. The ends are also tapered to facilitate insertion in the rim voids. The joint is closed with the same constricting machine and glue process as described in the pinning method above.

The welding method is used on all levels of rims from OEM high volume rims to high quality after market rims. The method typically used is called a “flash-butt process”. The process is done in a large welder that grips the ends of the rim in clamps to hold and guide the rim during welding. The rim blank is rolled and cut with extra length circumferentially. The rim is clamped in the welder dies with the ends of the rim protruding about ¼” from the die on each side. The welder then starts the “flash” part of the weld cycle. It passes very high amperage current through the clamp dies while slowly moving one die to bring the ends of the rim together. The current creates an arc between the ends of the rim, burning off the extra metal allowed in the cutting of the rim blank while heating the ends of the rim. After a precisely controlled flash time, the current is turned off and the “butt” part of the weld cycle is initiated. This consists of rapidly forcing the heated ends of the rim together with great force to complete the joint. There is weld flash left around the weld that is removed to smooth the joint and blend it in to the extrusion shape.

The end...

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