Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Betsy Gets a Tuneup

Days to STP: 158
As I said in a previous post, I bought a new set of drop down handlebars for Betsy.  A nice set of bars that were actually meant for a Cyclocross.  They have great length and a bit of a shallower curve on the drop downs that I liked.  I realized quickly, though, that when I put these on, I was going to have to replace all of my brake and shift cables as well as their housings.

New bars mounted

Old bars, removed.

What began as a nice way to add a bit of customization to my otherwise stock T700, became a minor tune up affair.  I also had a set of Shimano 105 brake levers laying around the garage that I wanted to replace the stock levers with, and I figured if I was replacing all the cabling anyway, I might as well switch these out.  Although I didn't take photos of the entire experience, there are a few things that I learned.
  • Don't skimp on tools.  Seriously, don't.  I bought this cable puller a year or so ago because it was a bit cheaper than the Park Tools equivalent.   Somehow, they ended up making this thing only suitable for lefties (at least that is how it handles for me) and trying to tension a cable and get a box wrench in to turn a nut is nightmarish.  When/If I ever break this thing, i am going to buy one with a lower overall profile and the ability to be used both right and left handed
    • As a sub of this, invest in some long handle hex wrenches.  I spent $15 on a hardened steel set of metric and US wrenches and the added leverage really helped when adjusting the tension on the brakes.
  • Measure twice, and then measure again, cut once.  I knew full well that I was moving from 39cm bars to 44cm and that the flare where my bar end shifters were would add some additional length.  However, when it came to running cables for my back brakes, I just seemed to have issues and had to go out and buy more cable housing just to stretch the additional 3"'s that I needed.
  • Make sure that your brake levers are placed where they will be comfortable.  I checked, double and triple checked to make sure they were where I naturally wanted them to be.  Doing this kind of thing is pointless unless you are comfortable at the end.
  • Create a clean and organized work place.  Just make sure you know where all your tools are.  I suddenly get why shops have that little bucket on the top of their racks.  Just make sure everything is where it needs to be so you aren't searching everywhere when you need to switch from a 9mm to a 10mm wrench in a hurry.
  • The ground is not a good place to store parts.  Yes, you may think you'll see it, but you won't.  Even if it is a back part on a white floor.
  • Before venturing back to the bike shop, make sure they are open.  The folks at Bad Monkey are awesome, but they do have to close on occasion.
I also discovered wrapping handlebars is not nearly as daunting as I would have suspected.  After I had run all the cables and adjusted the brakes (Betsy is currently running center pull cantilever brakes that really have to be tweaked in order to get good contact), my son and I decided to wrap the bars.  I wanted something that was going to last for a spell and the folks at Bad Monkey recommended the Lizard Skin tape.  It was a little on the pricey side, but I figured if I was only going to have to do this every so often, it wasn't as big of a deal.

While you can't see it very well, there is a thin strip of adhesive here.

After my son and I figured out how to get the adhesive off the back of one of the rolls of bar tape, it was a simple process of wrapping the bars and trying to be mindful of the shifters etc...

As I was doing it, as well, I knew that I was going to want to maintain some naked bar space for my lights and a bike computer later, so I tried to stop things at a point where I had some clearance.

And finally, after about 15 minutes, we were done.  I left myself enough room overall for things I would want on my bars.

I also took a few minutes at the end to adjust my rear derailleur which was not shifting quite the way I would have preferred.  This is done with a couple of screws on the back of the derailleur itself and after a little help from my son, it was done in short order.

No comments:

Post a Comment