Noel Teh (above photo), 19, is a national road cyclist and Ian Krempl, 25, is a national downhill cyclist. Apart from the fact that both of them are national-level cyclists, the other common thing is that both also won their races at this year’s OCBC Cycle Singapore on somewhat unique bikes- Tyrell mini-velo bikes from Japan.

To the uninitiated, mini-velo bikes are basically bikes with smaller wheels, usually 20 (406) or 22 (451) inches, very much like the ones that are seen on foldable bikes. However, mini-velo bikes are usually not designed to fold. An exception though is the Tyrell FSX which was used by Ian Krempl at the OCBC Cycle Ultimate Foldies Challenge, being one of only 2 foldable bike models (the other model is the FX) in the company’s entire product range.

We spent some time talking with Noel and Ian about their race experience at OCBC Cycle Singapore this year.

We know that you are usually on your road bike or time trial bike for training or racing, so how did you feel when you first used the Tyrell bike for the 42km Challenge event? How does it compare to the road bike?
Noel: Initially sceptical of the Tyrell CSI bike but it was a lot better than I expected. On the positive side, the Tyrell CSI did not feel very different from the road bikes I am used to. The down side is when riding over rough roads as the ride felt harsher due to the smaller wheels as they probably were stiffer and did not absorb as much shock as 700c road wheels.
Riding the Tyrell required a higher cadence and I think climbing is slightly harder on the Tyrell. As for modifications on the bike, I basically lowered the front end and used a longer stem for more comfort. I found that the CSI can take corners very well and I really appreciate the sharp handling of the bike.
Tell us about your race experience during the 42km Challenge Event.

Noel: I was in the 2nd pen but eventually bridged the gap and caught up with the riders in the 1st pen. I attacked 4 times at the end of the race but kept getting caught by the other riders who were on their road bikes. I managed to get away at the last stretch of the Sheares Bridge and that was a decisive move. I’ll be looking forward to compete next year and going under an hour.
Above: Noel with his race-winning rig, the Tyrell CSI.
How did the Ultimate Foldies Challenge (UFC) go for you?

Above: Ian Krempl with his Tyrell FSX
Ian: The UFC was a something I have never raced before, like Noel. I did not know what to expect. Tyrell sent a team of 4 riders, all of us were put into “Heat 2”. We had to ride for 30mins and the fastest 25 guys from Heat 1 & 2 would qualify for the finals. Unfortuantely, teamate Mosses Tng had a puncture and wasn’t able to complete the heat race leaving Daniel Koh, Mohd Fahmie and myself going through to the finals.
Heading into the finals with eyes set for the podium, we headed to the start line with confidence on our bikes. We knew our bikes were faster in the corners and we had the speed.  Unfortunately for us, 15mins into the finals, Mohd Fahmie got tangled up with another rider taking Daniel down as well. Fahmie wasn’t able to continue while Daniel managed to push to the end to finish 12th.
The crash widened the gap to the main pack, with a leading pack of 4-5 riders quite a distance ahead. The lead pack stayed in formation going on to the final lap. 3 of my competitors tried to break away but did not succeed. I was fourth going into the last corner, I knew the FSX was cornering faster, so I attempted to break away going into the last corner, dropping the other 3 riders. After I pulled away and exited the corner, unfortunately I slipped a gear and my chain dropped.
I managed to solve the mechanical problem quite fast and I could sense the other riders closing up on me so I sprinted during the last 400 metres and managed to cross the finish line first, just moments before runner-up Daryl Chan.

Above: Ian (in t-shirt & berms) in action at the inaugural Ultimate Foldies Challenge at this year’s OCBC Cycle Singapore event
Thank you Noel and Ian for taking time to speak to us!