Free To Fleek

In Tham Kim Leng’s childhood, cycling was his pastime. It lasted until 2014 when he decided to treat cycling more seriously and technically. Greatly influenced by his father who was then an active and avid cyclist, he was determined to explore more. Later on, his father was not advised to do strenuous sports due to a knee injury but that did not stop Kim Leng from carrying on his passion.

“My father could tell how much fun he had been having with a bike. Then, I got curious and hooked on it. Everyone knows that the fun is contagious!” Courtesy of cycling fascination, it has created a ripple effect in his family. This 22-year-old young boy has played part in 13 races for both mountain bike and road bike throughout the years.

What made this 22-year-old put a Java Siluro full carbon road bike aside and fall in love with a lucky draw prize?


How did a free gift become a fleek piece?

In May 2016, Kim Leng won a lucky draw prize, a Specialized Tarmac at Specialized KK Duathlon 2016. Even so, he did not show a twinge of excitement upon receiving the gift. He ditched it to the side for five months, then made up his mind by taking it out for a spin.

From leisure outing to training session, Kim Leng has been an on-the-go sports enthusiast. In addition to his affection for cycling, he works as a full-time tour guide in TYK Adventure Tours specializing in cycling tours, jungle trekking, mountain hiking and tailor made packages. Frequently, he’s been taking his bike for work.

Not long after, Kim Leng developed a relationship with the Specialized Tarmac and attempted a modification on it.

Black and red have always been Kim Leng’s favourite colours. Having that said, he was enticed by the striking red. Being a regular and competent cyclist for three years, he intended to seek out more which led him to survey a fitting road bike. Things that came into his contemplation were its post-modification, amount consumed and a suitable show according to his requirement.

The complete bike was originally awesome, proven that whenever he jumped on it and each pedalling he stroke, he could feel the force moving forward. The response of the bike was imposing.

Upgrading to Microtech 50mm half carbon wheelset, Rotor 3D road crank and Ridea oval chainring has enhanced the response of the bike. Compared to the pre-modification, it has also saved up his energy during his ride.


Nothing worth having comes easy

Kim Leng, however, encountered obstacles during the project. For instance, he had to budget an amount based on his monthly income, as well as having uncertainty of the bike compatibility.

It was a few days before Tuaran Duathlon 2016 when he finally rode on a modified Tarmac. The only thing he did was to adjust the bike setting before he went for the race. The idea of undergoing an upgrade was not in his mind, except installing a time trail bar to achieve a more aerodynamic position. Despite putting his utmost effort in the duathlon race, he did not run ably but he performed exceptionally fantastic in cycling.

The outcome is a beast, especially when climbing, sprinting or descending a hill. The body frame is very stiff and it responded to every cornering and sprinting I made.” Kim Leng was enthralled by his speed at 35kmh to 45kmh push. He has never imagined being able to accomplish a splendid ride before proceeding to the last round of running.

Kim Leng was thrilled over his ride that he managed to push hard on the Tarmac with 45kmh along the way until he slowly experienced cramps. It was his first time racing with the meticulously reformed Tarmac at Tuaran Duathlon 2016 and he was beyond gratified with his results.

You must be marvelling at how lucky draw prize turned out to be a surprise to Kim Leng in his cycling races. Which has driven him to participate in more cycling events with his new love. He joined Tuaran Century Ride 2016 covering a total distance of 80km. Much to his surprise, he achieved 3rd placing in category Men Open. Kim Leng could not be more grateful for having a refined Tarmac that has helped him through all kinds of competitions. It was also an amazement to him that the bike has been an excellent company to the podiums.

Without Kim Leng’s expectation, a lucky draw prize which he once thought of forsaking for his “even better” Java Siluro full carbon road bike could successfully clutch his glory up at the stages. Races are not satisfactory to appease Kim Leng’s desire for cycling, he signed up for his first ever interstate ride tour back in 2016.

The project bike took him approximately 7 months to complete. An overall amount of RM5,000 was spent, and Kim Leng is planning on his upcoming project that would cost another estimated RM5,000 including an upgrade to Shimano Ultegra 6800 Groupset (11 Speed) but if it does not challenge you, it does not change you. So, why not?


Specialized SL4 FACT 10r Carbon, FACT Construction, Tapered/Shaped Headtube, Compact Race Design, 1-3/8” Lower Bearing, OSBB
Specialized FACT Carbon Full Monocoque,
OS Race for 1-3/8” Bearing, Hollow Carbon Dropouts
1-1/8” Upper and 1-3/8” Lower,
Stainless Steel Cartridge Bearings, 8mm Carbon Cone Spacer,
with 20mm of Carbon Spacers
+-7 | +- 17 UNO 7 Lightweight 7050 Aluminium Stem
PRO LT Compact Ergo Handlebar Alloy
Shorex Level | Bar TAPE Glossy Red
Front & Rear Brake
Shimano 105 5700
Shimano 105 5700
Shift Levers
Shimano 105 5700, 10 Speed
Cassette & Chain
Shimano 105 5700, 10 Speed Chain KMC Chain
Rotor 3D Road Crank / Ridea Oval Chainring
Bottom Bracket
Cema Ceramic Bearing
Wellgo R096B Road Pedal
Microtech 50mm Half Carbon
Front & Rear Tyres
Panaracer Closer Plus Tires – Clincher 700 x 25
Specialized Power Expert Saddle
Totta Superlight Alloy CNC 6061

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The editor of Cycling Malaysia Magazine.
She writes news, interviews, product features, pre and post-event articles.
She enjoys everything about nature and the outdoors.


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