Monday, 7 January 2013

Tinkering, no Tailoring

...or Soldiering or Spying.

I returned to work last Wednesday and clocked up three commutes on the Brompton followed by a 52 mile road pedal on Sunday morning. All good base fitness stuff and, with over 5,500 miles pedalled last year, I am hoping to build on my fitness and speed throughout the year.

I did have a rest day on Saturday though and my son and I spent some quality time tinkering on our bikes.

Mountain bike disc brakes: The Trek Liquid 10 that we bought used last year was fitted with Hayes brakes and I disliked them even after getting them overhauled in a shop.  The shop mechanic had recommended replacing them with Shimano Deore and he claimed we could get them for about £45 per front and back.  Astonishingly I bought both front and back for a total of £50 (RRP £110) and my son and I fitted them in less than 30 minutes.

Basso brake blocks: The cheap cartridges that I purchased from Grafham Water are blingy but the pads are made of cheese.  I have done three wet weather rides on the bike since fitting them and the pads are nearly completely worn and haven't been confidence inspiring when braking.  I have bought some new pads and they were pretty cheap so it might be a false economy but (you never know) they could turn out to be OEM Shimano and, if so, I'll feel smug and buy some more for my Brompton.

Basso bar tape:  I met the France wholesale representative for Mavic, Lezyne and Lizard Skins at the 2008 l'Etape pre-ride trade fair, where I was shown three respective innovative products: retrofit sealed ceramic bearings into Mavic hubs, Lezyne multi-tools and Lizard Skin DSP bar tape.

I haven't got Mavic wheels but I did relay the information about the ceramic bearings to a friend - who subsequently bought them, fitted them to a wheelset and then descended faster than me on most of the Cols we rode during 2011.

I've got lot of Lezyne products and rate them highly.

I have had mixed experiences with Lizard Skin bar tape.  After returning from l'Etape 2008 I decided to buy and try the very grippy bar tape and when it eventually became available in the UK I bought red for my Wilier and white for my Van Nicholas. Both wore out within 6 months and began peeling near the brake hoods.  I dismissed using it again and moved on to Fizik.  Last year though, I tried out the Lizard Skins DSP Race variety; white on my Wilier and black on my Van Nicholas and I have had no regrets, so I decided to try out the regular variety again on my Basso after I found the Fizik Microtex tape remained wet during my Festive 500 rides.  I reverted to the regular variety Lizard Skin tape because they don't do the colour I chose in Race.  I've put the Bike Tart standards to one side and gone with yellow which doesn't match the seat but it does match the frame and cables. How loud?


  1. You cannot beat yellow for a winter bike ;-)

  2. Rick - you need this
    (and I will be immensely jealous)