Sunday, 1 September 2013

Raleigh Chiltern Resto: Barry the Bike Sits Up & Loses A Bit of Weight.

Changing Barry's handlebar and stem assembly and replacing it with an assembly fitted with alloy bars and a longer stem shouldn't present to much of a problem.

Hold that thought.

The old handlebar assembly looked like this:

The the interesting thing about this 'before' picture is the fact I remembered to take it.

So, what needs to happen here?
  • 1) Remove the handgrips and replace with better grips.
  • 2) Remove brake levers, gear selector, basket, bell, and hooter.
  • 3) Remove handlebar assembly, fit replacement.
  • 4) Refit hooter, bell, basket, gear selector, brake levers, and fit handgrips.
  • 5) Test ride.

Of course No. 1 should read: 1) Have a lovely cup of tea.

So, I made a lovely cup of tea and,
Cut the old grips off with a Stanley Knife, cast them into the bin where they belong, disconnect brake cables trying to avoid loosening them from their respective calipers, loosen brake cables from their respective calipers as I've got them adjusted so tightly there's no slack in the cable, remove basket by cutting retaining zip-ties and unhooking it from the bar, send several minutes wrestling the basket from the bar, search for the hooter's bulb that was pulled off by the basket as it was removed causing the bulb to bounce off into the flower bed, remove brake levers, gear selector, bell, and the trumpet bit of the hooter.

Drink rest of, now cold, tea.
Make delicious new cup of tea.

Back to work.
Remove handlebar assembly and snap comparison photograph:

The replacement stem is around 5 inches longer than the old one.
This should do the trick.
The weight difference is significant, the new assembly being much lighter even though there appears to be more of it.
The weight loss is due to the replacement's being aluminum alloy.
Even though the new stem is heavier than the old one the difference between the alloy and steel handlebars is enough to make a significant weight saving.

Drink rest of, now lukewarm, tea.
Make delicious new cup of tea.

Back to wo..
Take natural break.

Back to work.
Fit new handlebar assembly, fit, but do not tighten all control and ancillary fittings, visit shed, uncover Apollo bike, attempt to remove grips, spend several minutes wrestling grips from Apollo bike with swearing.

Drink rest of, now cold, tea.
Decide to finish job before next cup of tea.
Make delicious new cup of tea.

Assemble right-hand side of handlebars and fit grip, attempt to assemble left-hand side of handlebars after fitting left-hand grip, discover fastening bolt in left-hand brake lever has stripped, remove both grips with swearing, remove brake levers, visit shed and remove slick two-finger brake levers from Apollo bike.

Spill rest of, still moderately warm, tea when tripping on watering hose.
Sweep up broken cup.
Check Tumblr blog while drinking delicious new cup of tea.

Back to work.
Fit brake levers, discover brake cables need replacing very soon and are just a little to short short side due to the longer stem, spend several minutes tweeking & tinkering components into correct position.

Forget about cup of tea and leave it standing on wall top outside the flat.
Refit front basket with swearing and secure with zip-ties.

Take short spin down the street as preliminary to test ride, tweak and tinker some more.
Decide job is done:

All this has improved Barry no end.
It's a much more comfortable ride now.
My position on the bike is more upright so I no longer 'slouch' and find it easier to check the traffic behind me.

Although I didn't intend making fundamental changes to Barry it seems I've achieved just that without interfering with Barry's essential style:

On testing I find Barry has turned into a rollin' machine and I spend many happy minutes drifting and swooping through the deserted Sunday evening streets onaplate mission in the heart of Bognor Regis.

When considering your own comfort on a bicycle I recommend concentrating on all the places your body comes into contact with the machine.
1) Handlebar grips, spend money, get good quality.
2) Saddles (saddles are gender specific, make sure you've got the right type). Although I have a huge sprung leather saddle on Barry a quality plastic saddle is more practical for general purposes and won't need maintaining with Neet's Foot Oil to keep it supple or need a cover to keep it dry.
3) A wide platform pedal is the best choice for this type of utilitarian machine unless your really insane enough to want to fit clips and straps to it.

I now have to retrieve a cup of, now cold and full of dead bugs, cup of tea from the top ot the wall outside the flat.