When It Rains…

As I mentioned yesterday, I had a score to settle, and so I settled it:

Now I’m turning my attention back to all the matters I’d set aside, including some updates I’d been meaning to make to my Platypus:

In particular, having recently received some Silver2 shifters and ThumbShifter mounts, I’d been waiting for an opportunity to reconfigure the bike’s cockpit:

Well, it was raining pretty steadily this morning, which meant the opportunity had finally arrived.

When I first assembled the Platypus, I used Shimano bar-end shifters, since I happened to have on hand:

While they work just fine, the friction mode is a little vague and lame, especially compared to the Silvers. Also, as much as I like bar-end shifters, my knees do hit these during tight maneuvers, which I’ve been engaging in a little more lately since figuring out that, despite its genteel mixte appearance, the Platypus likes to get a little rowdy. So I was looking forward to changing things around a little bit.

First I removed the old shifter. Here’s what it looks like inside if that means anything to you:

It’s a rare Dura Ace 10-speed shifter with indexing mode, which existed for a fleeting and pointless moment in Shimano history.

Next, I removed the grips. I hesitate to even mention this, since grip installation and removal is one of those subjects about which cyclists get douche-chillingly pedantic, and I’m sure multiple people will tell me that I do it wrong, or that their way is better. Regardless, Thaving already run the shifter housing under the grips, I wedged a few hex keys in there too and poured a small amount of rubbing alcohol in the resulting opening:

They slid off like skin off an oily drumstick.

Soon the bars were bare, and I began the reassembly process:

I find I often use the flat section of the bar just past that first bend after the grip area, so I applied more rubbing alcohol and pushed the grips back up there. Then I put on the ThumbShifter/Silver2 combos and the brake levers:

Assembling the shifter, uh, assembly is easy (see: video), and one nifty feature is that you can angle the cable housing stop pretty much any way you want:

One thing I learned is that, depending on where you put the shifter, it may obstruct access to your brake lever bolt. I was able to get to mine, though clearance was very tight:

I’ve noticed Rivendells sometimes have their brake levers reversed so that the bolt is on top (in fact my wife’s Clem Smith, Jr. arrived like that) and I assume this is why. So if you’re putting together a bike with this stuff and starting from scratch you may want to do that too, though in this particular case I was way too lazy to re-do my brake levers, and anyway it looks like I should be able to get to the bolt just fine.

In addition to being lazy, I’m also cheap, so of course I endeavored to re-use as much cable and housing as possible–even though the Silver2 care package arrived complete with fresh cables and housing. Since I’d moved the shifters up the bar I’d need to trip the housing. For years I’ve used a Dremel to cut my cable housing, but lately I’ve just been doing it the old-fashioned way, though I do take a few moments to file the end afterwards and poke at the hole with an awl or prison shank or whatever that is to make sure things work smoothly:

Note I managed to focus on the wheel and not the tools, because I’m even worse at taking pictures than I am at working on bikes. Anyway, in the end I managed to re-use all the housing and one of the shifter cables. The other shifter cable kept fraying, though with some careful trimming I should be able to use it somewhere else one day. I know there are people who solder cable ends to prevent this from happening, but I’m afraid I just don’t operate on that level.

Once I got everything together and shifting I slid on another pair of grips I had laying around, then I turned my attention to some other changes I’d been meaning to make. As much as I love the fancy MKS vintage-style bear traps I’ve been using, it turns out my aging feet need more support, so I moved these over from the Jones:

I’ve also found that this Spurcycle Compact bell, while sonorous, is pretty ineffectual, in that while I can hear it just fine apparently few other people can:

In fact, not too long ago, I surprised someone on a trail despite having rung my bell several times before passing, which prompted her to say something like, “You need to get a more insistent bell,” which is among the most irritating things a stranger has ever said to me.

So I put on a different bell.

Then I headed out for a brief, rainy test ride:

You can’t draw too many meaningful conclusions from a ride around the block, but all indicators are positive so far:

The Silver2 shifters were an immediate improvement in terms of operation, which I expected, and while I’m sure I’ll end up fiddling with the position, I’m so far quite pleased with the move from bar-end to thumb:

Adding more grip to the bars was also long overdue:

I look forward to putting more time in on it if it ever stops raining.

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