Saturday, February 4, 2017

Almost new

I think many people riding bikes thinks about a new or different bike to ride. Sometimes one desires a completely different style of ride (road bike or mountain) or just an upgrade on what you currently have. People post up about the N+1 theory of bike ownership and many posts and memes are pretty funny about that. I currently have three bikes that I own and find I ride all three and like them. A road bike, a touring bike, and a do-all adventure bike. I use the do-all bike for most of my daily commuting with the touring bike filling in for that duty when I am up for a change. That bike has disc brakes (my only one) and I found that when I got the bike I really liked them. So, when riding my road bike for fun this last summer I was thinking how I would like to have disc brakes on a road bike. This of course leads me to the computer doing research and shopping for disc brake road bikes. I love doing that!!! Looking at bikes and all the good stuff out there is just a great internet time waster!! That said, cooler heads prevailed and I wrote down on a legal pad what I really like and wanted in a road bike ride. I am a bit different than most road bike riders on how I want my ride to be set up. A bit more of an upright riding position, wider tires that I can run at a lower pressure, 32 tire at 80 psi. That's all OK because the beauty of cycling is everyone can have their own individual ride for themselves.
After looking at my list, at my current bike and at what is offered out there for disc brake road bikes I felt I had most of what I wanted in a perfect fitting bike that I had already tweaked for me in my current bike. After a few more changes I would have my ideal ride except for no disc brakes.

Let's see how it all turns out!!

Winter in Estes Park is a good time to work on bikes. Riding weather is very hit and miss and I can turn on the heater I have in the garage to make it very workable in there on all but the super single digit temperature days.

Here is where I start.
I've never really liked the brake lever shifters (brifters) combo. They have always made me nervous after reading about guys having cables break off inside the mechanism after some wear and their advice was to replace cables every year so you would not face that issue out on the road. I had never kept up with that kind of preventative maintenance and now I worried with every clunky shift. I am going to convert to my favorite, bar-end shifters set up with manual, not indexed shifting. I've had it on my LHT since I got it and I have had it on bikes back to the bike I rode in high school and college years.
New Shimano bar-end shifters
Of course, since the brifters were going away I needed some simple new brake levers that were just.......brake levers. I found these very nice looking black Tectro levers.
To go with the new changes I wanted a different bar set up. With my old bars I found I never rode on the lower part of the bar. Just not comfortable and I find I was always on the top bar or on the hoods. Let's go with something a bit different with the Salsa cowchipper bar with the splayed out lower bars for a more usable hand position.
I will use all new cables and sleeves to give it a fresh new shifting function. I go with classy red cable sleeves to match the red bike and set off from my tradition black double wrap bar tape.
It is a quick job to get the old stripped off.
The new bar went on and the first thing I tackled were installing the brake levers and running cables to the brakes. There I had to take a pause because my brake pads had some pretty good wear on them and looked like it was a trip to the LBS for new pads. I did take the opportunity to switch them to the longer mountain bike pads for a little more stopping power.

  I cabled up the new shifters without any trouble at all. I already like the way those bar-ends go on and function.
After getting everything all adjusted with the shifting and braking it was time to finish up with new bar wrap. I like the feel of cloth wrap but also the soft feel of padded wrap. I use a single wrap of cloth on the lower part of the bar and then on the top part of bar a wrap of the padded tape and then go over it with a wrap of cloth. It gives it a bit of a clunky look, but that is OK by me and my hands!!
Accessories like ride computer and handle bar bag finish my job and I am ready to ride!!
I get the chance to head out for a ride down the mountain starting in Lyons and I am not two minutes down the road and I realize that I forgot to attach my handlebar rear view mirror. I sure am used to riding with it that I find myself glancing down to where it should be. I'll get it on for the next ride. The ride was great, bars are a good fit for me, everything shifting smoothly and braking efficiently. I miss having the disc brakes but I am very happy about the $120 I spent on new parts instead of the $1500 on a new bike that I would have had to spend more on to get it just how I want it.

Action shot riding down the road

Thanks for reading along!!
Everybody enjoy your rides as spring makes a comeback here!!
Jim

4 comments:

  1. Great Post Jim you are a using alot of my favorite parts! Durace bar ends in friction mode, tektro brake levers, Wide handle bars, Jagwire cable and housing (love the red) and nice thick bar tape wrap. You Le Tour is now truly Elite, you may just inspire me to get going on the Schwinn Passage - I have all the parts.

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    1. Thanks Ryan, It was a good decision to modify and upgrade the bike I already had. I've had it out on two rides now, one about 25 miles and the other about 12. I like the ride and I think I have the fit pretty dialed in for some good long road rides in the future as it turns to spring and then summer.

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  2. Nice looking bike. And a good idea to adapt what you have instead of spending a significant amount of money to get something similar. And it's a great feeling to have fixed a bike up yourself, to make it just the way you want it.

    I spent some time in the fall rehab-ing an old 2002 Giant Sonoma frame that my wife found on the curb. With a good cleaning first, then new seat, new tires, a different set of wheels, rehab-ed handle bars & shifters, new chain, and new brake pads I have a nice bike that is ready for rail trail riding, and also comfortable enough for my wife to ride on the occasions that I get her out to join me.

    The curb find Trek however, was rusted completely solid. Couldn't get the seat post out, or even get the kickstand off. It went to the recycler...

    Steve Z

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Steve. You are right, fun to ride a bike that you worked in the shop to get it right for your own use. Hey!! If you are 50-50 on curb finds you are 100% ahead of the game!!

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