29 October 2012

A Whirlwind Of Bike Modifications During A Storm

So...what am I doing to weather Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy?  Bike stuff, of course.

I started with Arielle.  The Dia Compe Silver Shifters are pretty, but they haven't worked out very well.  I've had to replace the nylon washers three times because to keep the levers from slipping (and giving you an unwanted shift), I've had to tighten them really hard.  

I think the action on them is smooth.  As they are patterned after the Sun Tour Micro shifter, I though I could find a pair.  I could...for about $200 on eBay.   So, I went for a Dura Ace downtube shifter, which can be switched from indexing (click-shift) to friction (traditional) mode.

They're not quite as pretty as the Silvers, but they aren't bad, I'd say.  Plus, it's part of the same Dura Ace gruppo as my derailleurs.

I also plan on changing the levers on Helene.  Right now, I have Silver shifters mounted to Velo Orange handlebar pods.  The shifters were originally mounted on the downtube, and I decided to try them on the bars.  Since I ride the bars tilted downward, it's really not much of a reach to the downtube.  Plus, each shifter will need about a foot less of cable and housing than it would need on the handlebar, which will result in a quicker, smoother shift.

I'll probably make the same change to Vera. However, she had a more urgent problem, to which I attended:  Her rear rack was falling apart.  It broke at two of the welds.  Old bike mechanics' wisdom says that if a spoke has broken on your wheel, others will break soon.  I applied that sage advice to my rack, and replaced it.

I got a good buy on a Civia Mission rack.  I tried installing it on Helene, with the idea that I would transfer her Blackburn rack to Vera.  But I didn't like the way the Mission fit on Helene.  The Blackburn fits perfectly, and I didn't want to readjust it for Helene.

As it turned out, the Mission fight nicely on Vera.

Helene's rack mounts are higher on her seat stays than Vera's are on hers.  If I recall correctly, when I ordered Helene's frame, I told the folks at Mercian that I intended to use a Blackburn rack, mainly because I've been using them for about 30 years.  

Anyway, I rather like the way the Mission looks on Vera.  It'll be interesting to see how it holds up under daily use.

So far, it looks like only Tosca and the Trek will be spared this whirlwind of bike modification!


  1. Good luck with that weather.

    Thanks for posting pics of your mods. I recently built out an early 10980's Basso racing frame with a modern drive train. That tweaked my interest in finding a 1970's-1980's frame suitable for town riding (racks, fenders, maybe baskets, etc) that I can build out purely for running errands with.

    Back then I could never afford anything nice so it is fun to be able to get a frame from then now and kit it out.

  2. I think for many of us (myself included), our joy at kitting out bikes comes from the fact that when we were younger, we couldn't afford those bikes we were kitting out!

    But a vintage frame (or a modern frame built along the lines of one) provides a more enjoyable ride for most of us who no longer race (or who never raced!). Plus, they're usually prettier. Having such a frame with a modern drive train is definitely the way to go!

  3. Chris--I'm reluctant to name a bike that I haven't fully decided to keep. For me, naming my bike means it's part of my "family."

  4. Does any one have a Civia Mission rack that they want to sell

  5. Does any one have a Civia Mission rack that they want to sell