I’ve done it – the bike is completely finished, and it has been distance-proven; I took it for more than 40 km of wintery riding over the past two days. All the riding and abused has allowed me to ‘dial in’ all the settings of the bike: the Brooks saddle has been moved foreward, the derailleur cables have stretched/settled and been adjusted, the handlebars have been positioned, the STI levers have been re-positioned, and more than all these other combined, the new brakes have been worn in and re-positioned.
Hells yeah – ‘Standard’
That’s right; new brakes. Those old Shimano low-profile cantis are gone, and are replaced with one of the widest-of-wide profile brakes; some Tektro 720s. They really have cleaned up the problems, so now there is about 1/2 cm of clearance each side of the rims and more than double the braking power. The quality of workmanship is superb – they come with 6mm allen key fixing bolts, a stainless-steel bushing, both sides adjust, and the cable yoke has and indexing screw so that cable pull can be equalized. It’s the attention to detail that makes them hard to beat. That, and the fact that they look (and work) pretty darn good, too. When running drop bars with cantis, I can now recommend them wholeheartedly.
It even comes with V-style brake pads, that have a replaceable insert. The little things really do matter.
The front derailleur problem has also been (mostly) fixed. While, unfortunately, neither my bike frame or the STI levers have places to mount adjustment barrels, I have managed to get the indexing to near-perfection by simply using a cresent wrench, a pair of pliers and some finesse upon the cable adjustment. The other outstanding problem was the difficulty with which my now 16-year-old Shimano Alivio mountain front d. now moves. I was not able to shift without nearly breaking my fingers pushing on the lever! I had read online that problems could occur beacause of a different pull-ration between mountain and road front d’s, but, to my luck, all it really needed was some WD-40 to lube it up gud! Now, it is (relatively) easy to shift with, but still harder than on most road bicycles.
No, this is not the derailleur. But, it does say Alivio…
Update on the Snow Studs: The homemade tyres have held up fantastically, with very little wear on the screws even after >50km of on-road riding. No screws have come lose or rusted, or pushed back into the tyre – BUT- the duct tape liner on the front ripped and let a screw head have its way with the inner tube. Needless to say, I was not happy about having to remove/patch an innertube in a -10C and snowy environment. There are now 3 layers of duct tape in the tyres. Feel free to add more if you decide to make a pair.
I can’t remember what was going on here, but if I had to guess, I was a little miffed. And cold.
But, I made it downtown before the tire popped. Downtown TO. is always has an interesting look in the snow.
The conversion of my tourer from its original MTB-style shifters/brakes and pursuit bars to drops has been underway for a while now. It’s pretty-much been converted; the brakes are still a wee finicky and the derailleurs need to be precision-tuned.
Out with the old….
This was my Christmas gift; a pair of NOS 8-speed RSX brifters, a Nitto B-115 Rando bar and some cross brakes. I’m not complaining – I was expecting any old drop bar, with some bar ends and some generic aero levers, so you can understand my elation!
Of note: without a mount-on point for the barrel adjuster for the F. derailleur, I have had to “eye-ball” it, just simply adjusting the pull by loosing and tightening the cable bolt. It works OK, but I *might* need to find another solution…. However, nothing else major has come up on the drive train; the standard MTB parts seem to work fine with the brifters, even meshing well with the old 7-speed cassette in back. I also got a 13/15 cone wrench (I’m cheap, so I only got one and use a wrench for the locknuts), so I pulled apart both hubs for the first service they have had in 16 years and ~6000 kms. Only sign of damage was moderate pitting on the downward-facing sides of the cones of the front hub. The rear hub is golden.
…and in with the new!
The largest problem I encountered during the upgrade was something I would have never expected – brake clearance. It turns out that the regular “low-profile” cantis on bikes, generally, cannot be used with brake/shifter combos, because of the mechanical advantage. They only have 1.5 mm clearance on each side, and my rims ain’t that perfect! I now have to invest an additional $40 to get a pair of wide-angle cantis, which, according to many cylocross folks, will fix the cable pull problem.