Hacked Clamp on Drop Bar Adapters

Reader Chris is embarking on a two year bike trip from Alaska to Argentina. Think on that for a moment . . . don’t know about you, but I’m jealous. He sent along the following post and will likely contribute more during his journey.

* * * * * * * * * * *

One of the best parts about planning for a two year bike tour is revamping your gear.  Tents, shoes, bags, electronics; you need it all.  I have a reputation for envisioning a very specific piece of gear that I want and painstakingly scouring the bowels of the internet only to find that it exists nowhere but in the depths of my mind.  One of the more recent examples of this is a set of clamp on drop bar adapters.  I have always had drops on my bikes, so when my Surly Troll showed up with mustache bars I felt a bit out of place.  Eventually I came to enjoy the more relaxed feel, but still found myself wanting to get low when firing down a hill or schlepping into the wind. 

Origin8 actually makes a pair of these.  I ordered a set from Amazon with cautious optimism.  I would have to describe them as ill-conceived but well executed.  The quality is top notch, but they missed a detail in the design stage.  It is tough to tell from the shot below, but the radius of the bend is so small that I could not fit my hand into them.  I’m only 5’11”, so I have average sized paws.

ScreenShot095

I really liked the idea of these, but this particular product just wasn’t right for me.  Unable to find another pair, I decided to make my own.  I hit the St. George Bicycle Collective and raided their parts bin.  My plan was to take a pair of clamp on bull horns and marry them with a set of drop bars.

ScreenShot096

Above we see the drops and bullhorns that I settled on.  The bullhorns are exactly the same style despite being different colors.

The next step was to cut them down to size.  This was a pain, and sort of dangerous.   The bull horns were designed to come off at an angle.  This meant that they had to be cut at an angle in order for the drops to come off perpendicular to the mustache bars.  Because of the shape, neither fit into a chop saw.  I decided to try cutting them with an angle grinder….. (Please note that the trailing periods after that last sentence are meant to foreshadow a very bad idea).

I’ve had some close calls with power tools.  But this may have been the closest.  I was in a hurry to get these things cut and as a result did not take all the precautions that I should have.  The result?  The bars got yanked into the grinder with my hand not too far behind.  It would be much harder to type this had I not been wearing thick leather gloves.  Check out the picture below.  The nick on the glove is from where it got pulled into the angle grinder.  That would have been my finger tip.

ScreenShot097

Unphased from nearly losing my pointer finger I decided I needed to find a way to make this work on the chop saw.  This proved to be only slightly less awkward than the angle grinder.  The drops got pulled into the saw and completely destroyed the blade.

ScreenShot098

Third time is a charm right?  I might be a slow learner, but as Churchill said, “Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”    I built a jig to hold the pieces so at least my fingers were out of harm’s way.

ScreenShot099

The final cuts came out alright. 

ScreenShot100

The next step was to find somebody to weld everything together.    At this point it is worth noting a few things about St. George, Utah.  First of all, the locals are a people of unmatchable self-pride.  They’re cowboys and their ancestors were pioneers.  They settled one of the most don’t give a fuck places on earth.  Hot, dry, and dead.  Being isolated in the middle of the desert, they had to be incredibly resourceful.  I appreciate this trait, but sometimes they take it a bit too far; I recently noticed that somebody did a plumbing repair on our house with duct tape…..

I’ve had mixed results with skilled trades here.  And by mixed I mean ranging from abysmal to atrocious.  Seamstress, boot repair, carpentry, knife sharpening, and now welding.  In all cases people have limitless confidence in themselves and are happy to take a stab at repairs, but more often than not this results in me wondering what the hell went wrong and how this person is still in business.  I tried three different weld shops.  One of the reasons I had to do all the cutting was because nobody seemed to know how to use a protractor and I wasn’t confident that they could get them cut at the proper angle to mount the way I wanted.  I tried to explain to one guy how important it was that these things be bomb proof and he cut me off saying, “I just have to be clear, I can weld them, but they will break.” 

Nobody inspired confidence.  Not willing to risk it, I called a friend and explained what I was looking to do.

“There has to be some old buzzard in this town with a missing finger that would be willing to do this for a case of beer,” I said.

Enter a mysterious character named Ron.  I never met Ron.  Apparently he builds hotrods in his garage.  All I know is that I dropped my parts off with a twenty dollar bill and a twelve pack of High life and two days later I picked up a package from an unnamed woman behind a resale shop that contained my makeshift drop bars. 

ScreenShot101

The welds are solid.  Ron made an aluminum plug to fit between each piece for reinforcement.  I took them for a test ride; applying only light pressure at first.  After a few minutes though I could tell that they would hold up.

ScreenShot102

Next step; paint.  It would have been nice to powder coat them, but in reality they’re getting wrapped with bar tape and they’re just going to get scuffed up.  So an old bottle of Krylon would do.

ScreenShot103

They ended up having a few drip marks.  But as I said before, this isn’t really a concern.

ScreenShot104

Originally I had planned on putting a set of road brakes on the drops and putting interrupters on the mustache bars.  This would have made a mess of the cable routing though.  After some playing around, I realized that the best solution was to keep the mountain bike style levers on the mustache bars and mount the interrupters on the drops.  This provided a relatively clean finish and leaves a few inches of cable to spare on the rear brake.

ScreenShot105

Not having to wrap a complete set of bars left me with enough tape to double wrap the drops.  I decided to go with some cheap pleather tape because it will tatter sooner and need to be held together with electrical tape.  This will give the bike a nice poor man’s look and make my wife’s Disc Trucker more attractive to any would be thieves.  I’ve been riding on them for a few weeks now.  People seem to love them or hate them.  Hardcore tourers that realize that there comes a point where you stop worrying about weight seem to get it.  They rich guys driving their carbon fiber race bikes to the ride laps up and down the hill think I’m crazy.  Personally I’m stoked to have these on my rig for the next two years.

ScreenShot106

ScreenShot107

Chris Haag is from Detroit, Michigan, although he currently resides in St. George, Utah.  He manages the site www.theplacesipee.com and will be riding with his wife, Sophie George, from Alaska to Argentina beginning in July of 2018.



Source: Bike Hacks – Hacked Clamp on Drop Bar Adapters

Hacked Clamp on Drop Bar Adapters

Reader Chris is embarking on a two year bike trip from Alaska to Argentina. Think on that for a moment . . . don’t know about you, but I’m jealous. He sent along the following post and will likely contribute more during his journey.

* * * * * * * * * * *

One of the best parts about planning for a two year bike tour is revamping your gear.  Tents, shoes, bags, electronics; you need it all.  I have a reputation for envisioning a very specific piece of gear that I want and painstakingly scouring the bowels of the internet only to find that it exists nowhere but in the depths of my mind.  One of the more recent examples of this is a set of clamp on drop bar adapters.  I have always had drops on my bikes, so when my Surly Troll showed up with mustache bars I felt a bit out of place.  Eventually I came to enjoy the more relaxed feel, but still found myself wanting to get low when firing down a hill or schlepping into the wind. 

Origin8 actually makes a pair of these.  I ordered a set from Amazon with cautious optimism.  I would have to describe them as ill-conceived but well executed.  The quality is top notch, but they missed a detail in the design stage.  It is tough to tell from the shot below, but the radius of the bend is so small that I could not fit my hand into them.  I’m only 5’11”, so I have average sized paws.

ScreenShot095

I really liked the idea of these, but this particular product just wasn’t right for me.  Unable to find another pair, I decided to make my own.  I hit the St. George Bicycle Collective and raided their parts bin.  My plan was to take a pair of clamp on bull horns and marry them with a set of drop bars.

ScreenShot096

Above we see the drops and bullhorns that I settled on.  The bullhorns are exactly the same style despite being different colors.

The next step was to cut them down to size.  This was a pain, and sort of dangerous.   The bull horns were designed to come off at an angle.  This meant that they had to be cut at an angle in order for the drops to come off perpendicular to the mustache bars.  Because of the shape, neither fit into a chop saw.  I decided to try cutting them with an angle grinder….. (Please note that the trailing periods after that last sentence are meant to foreshadow a very bad idea).

I’ve had some close calls with power tools.  But this may have been the closest.  I was in a hurry to get these things cut and as a result did not take all the precautions that I should have.  The result?  The bars got yanked into the grinder with my hand not too far behind.  It would be much harder to type this had I not been wearing thick leather gloves.  Check out the picture below.  The nick on the glove is from where it got pulled into the angle grinder.  That would have been my finger tip.

ScreenShot097

Unphased from nearly losing my pointer finger I decided I needed to find a way to make this work on the chop saw.  This proved to be only slightly less awkward than the angle grinder.  The drops got pulled into the saw and completely destroyed the blade.

ScreenShot098

Third time is a charm right?  I might be a slow learner, but as Churchill said, “Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”    I built a jig to hold the pieces so at least my fingers were out of harm’s way.

ScreenShot099

The final cuts came out alright. 

ScreenShot100

The next step was to find somebody to weld everything together.    At this point it is worth noting a few things about St. George, Utah.  First of all, the locals are a people of unmatchable self-pride.  They’re cowboys and their ancestors were pioneers.  They settled one of the most don’t give a fuck places on earth.  Hot, dry, and dead.  Being isolated in the middle of the desert, they had to be incredibly resourceful.  I appreciate this trait, but sometimes they take it a bit too far; I recently noticed that somebody did a plumbing repair on our house with duct tape…..

I’ve had mixed results with skilled trades here.  And by mixed I mean ranging from abysmal to atrocious.  Seamstress, boot repair, carpentry, knife sharpening, and now welding.  In all cases people have limitless confidence in themselves and are happy to take a stab at repairs, but more often than not this results in me wondering what the hell went wrong and how this person is still in business.  I tried three different weld shops.  One of the reasons I had to do all the cutting was because nobody seemed to know how to use a protractor and I wasn’t confident that they could get them cut at the proper angle to mount the way I wanted.  I tried to explain to one guy how important it was that these things be bomb proof and he cut me off saying, “I just have to be clear, I can weld them, but they will break.” 

Nobody inspired confidence.  Not willing to risk it, I called a friend and explained what I was looking to do.

“There has to be some old buzzard in this town with a missing finger that would be willing to do this for a case of beer,” I said.

Enter a mysterious character named Ron.  I never met Ron.  Apparently he builds hotrods in his garage.  All I know is that I dropped my parts off with a twenty dollar bill and a twelve pack of High life and two days later I picked up a package from an unnamed woman behind a resale shop that contained my makeshift drop bars. 

ScreenShot101

The welds are solid.  Ron made an aluminum plug to fit between each piece for reinforcement.  I took them for a test ride; applying only light pressure at first.  After a few minutes though I could tell that they would hold up.

ScreenShot102

Next step; paint.  It would have been nice to powder coat them, but in reality they’re getting wrapped with bar tape and they’re just going to get scuffed up.  So an old bottle of Krylon would do.

ScreenShot103

They ended up having a few drip marks.  But as I said before, this isn’t really a concern.

ScreenShot104

Originally I had planned on putting a set of road brakes on the drops and putting interrupters on the mustache bars.  This would have made a mess of the cable routing though.  After some playing around, I realized that the best solution was to keep the mountain bike style levers on the mustache bars and mount the interrupters on the drops.  This provided a relatively clean finish and leaves a few inches of cable to spare on the rear brake.

ScreenShot105

Not having to wrap a complete set of bars left me with enough tape to double wrap the drops.  I decided to go with some cheap pleather tape because it will tatter sooner and need to be held together with electrical tape.  This will give the bike a nice poor man’s look and make my wife’s Disc Trucker more attractive to any would be thieves.  I’ve been riding on them for a few weeks now.  People seem to love them or hate them.  Hardcore tourers that realize that there comes a point where you stop worrying about weight seem to get it.  They rich guys driving their carbon fiber race bikes to the ride laps up and down the hill think I’m crazy.  Personally I’m stoked to have these on my rig for the next two years.

ScreenShot106

ScreenShot107

Chris Haag is from Detroit, Michigan, although he currently resides in St. George, Utah.  He manages the site www.theplacesipee.com and will be riding with his wife, Sophie George, from Alaska to Argentina beginning in July of 2018.



Source: Bike Hacks – Hacked Clamp on Drop Bar Adapters

iGS60 Cycle Computer Review – Post #2

When last I posted on the iGS60 computer I was given to review, I asked readers to guess where I ultimately chose to mount the computer. Likely the safest place to mount the computer is on the handlebar stem. 

Comp1

However, I ultimately decided to go for the more risky extra space on the end of the PVC pipe I installed for my lights.

Comp2

Out on the end of the PVC makes the computer easier to see while riding as I do not need to shift my eyes as much as I would if it were mounted on my stem. It’s a bit risky in that if I were to take a tumble or run into something, the computer would likely be subject to an impact of some sort. Also on the subject of viewing, the computer does have nifty backlighting which make the display easy to read at night. During the day you don’t need the backlight feature which can conserve batter power. 

Comp3

The computer does come with multiple mounts which is nice for transfer between bikes, however one would have to purchase extra sensors for each bike. While mounting the computer itself is super easy, just stretching a round rubber fastener around the stem or PVC pipe, mounting the sensor on the hub of the wheel was a bit more of a challenge. More on that in a future entry.

 



Source: Bike Hacks – iGS60 Cycle Computer Review – Post #2

iGS60 Cycle Computer Review – Post #2

When last I posted on the iGS60 computer I was given to review, I asked readers to guess where I ultimately chose to mount the computer. Likely the safest place to mount the computer is on the handlebar stem. 

Comp1

However, I ultimately decided to go for the more risky extra space on the end of the PVC pipe I installed for my lights.

Comp2

Out on the end of the PVC makes the computer easier to see while riding as I do not need to shift my eyes as much as I would if it were mounted on my stem. It’s a bit risky in that if I were to take a tumble or run into something, the computer would likely be subject to an impact of some sort. Also on the subject of viewing, the computer does have nifty backlighting which make the display easy to read at night. During the day you don’t need the backlight feature which can conserve batter power. 

Comp3

The computer does come with multiple mounts which is nice for transfer between bikes, however one would have to purchase extra sensors for each bike. While mounting the computer itself is super easy, just stretching a round rubber fastener around the stem or PVC pipe, mounting the sensor on the hub of the wheel was a bit more of a challenge. More on that in a future entry.

 



Source: Bike Hacks – iGS60 Cycle Computer Review – Post #2

Floating Chainring

I passed this bike the other day and something seemed odd.

20170506_165647

I got closer and yes, this did seem odd at first.

20170506_165643

But my feeble brain then kicked into gear and I realized that this “floating” chainring was a brilliant form of chain tensioner. Simple, a bit elegant in my mind – and yet there is that feeling of unease at having something solely held in place by tension. Reader reaction welcome in comments. 

 

 



Source: Bike Hacks – Floating Chainring

Floating Chainring

I passed this bike the other day and something seemed odd.

20170506_165647

I got closer and yes, this did seem odd at first.

20170506_165643

But my feeble brain then kicked into gear and I realized that this “floating” chainring was a brilliant form of chain tensioner. Simple, a bit elegant in my mind – and yet there is that feeling of unease at having something solely held in place by tension. Reader reaction welcome in comments. 

 

 



Source: Bike Hacks – Floating Chainring

iGS60 Cycle Computer Review – Post #1

I was intrigued when I recently received an email with an interest in a cycle computer review. The computer in question is the iGS60, which the email proclaimed is . . . “similar to the Garmin Edge 520 but at about half the price.” I was partially intrigued because this is my point of reference for a cycle computer –

Vetta

I think I got my Vetta C-15 in . . . perhaps 1997, and it’s still going strong even though it has bounced off the pavement a good many times.  I  will admit, I have not even used it for the past several years – I have been cycle computer free for quite some time. 

Why the Excel picture? Well I used to utilize Excel to track my mileage. However, the last time I had an interest in tracking my mileage was about 10 years ago. I used to engage in quite a bit of recreational cycling, however I am very much a “utility” cyclist now. A deep dive into my riding history, if I kept one, would show that my routes take me to and from home/work, with stops at take out restaurants, grocery stores, and liquor stores mixed in.  

I am not really a “gadget guy” per say. I certainly have gadgets, but I don’t geek out on them and seek to upgrade as soon as new stuff comes out (duh, I have a Vetta C-15). I know the name Garmin, mostly from rental cars, and I hear people talk about Strava and get the gist of what it’s about, but don’t see tracking my movements as beneficial to my life or even remotely interesting to others. The whole fitness band trend has been lost on me mostly because I will confess to being blessed with the metabolism of a humming bird. Weight loss is not my issue, I try hard to gain weight and fail consistently (I know, poor me). 

Anyway, I thought that interacting with a modern cycling gadget might be interesting so I took the plunge, and I have to admit I was immediately intimidated – look what came out of the box that was sent to me!

Boxes

One product came with three boxes and one of those plastic wrap packages that sends multitudes to emergency rooms when people cut themselves trying to open the product. I think my Vetta came in a box you could fit a small mouse in. My first thought was, “How many beers is it going to take me to unpack, study, and install this thing!?” I will go through all of the stuff in a future post, but here is the “feature” product, staged next to the light for size reference.

ScreenShot4415

The first thing that I noticed was that the device breaks one rule I try to live by – I try to buy products with replaceable batteries. This is one of those devices that has the battery locked in and you charge it like you would your phone. You can connect it to your computer or to a wall socket. I plan on running multiple posts on this thing and will have to comment on battery life as I use it. 

I must admit I was also intrigued because one of my first thoughts was where I was going to put the thing. Take a look at my cockpit.

Cockpit

My front basket does not exactly make my cockpit conducive to gadget mounting, thus the lights on the PVC pipe. This post is already running a little long and I will try to build some suspense. Readers, where do you think I ultimately chose to mount this modern marvel of computer engineering? Thoughts welcome in comments.



Source: Bike Hacks – iGS60 Cycle Computer Review – Post #1

iGS60 Cycle Computer Review – Post #1

I was intrigued when I recently received an email with an interest in a cycle computer review. The computer in question is the iGS60, which the email proclaimed is . . . “similar to the Garmin Edge 520 but at about half the price.” I was partially intrigued because this is my point of reference for a cycle computer –

Vetta

I think I got my Vetta C-15 in . . . perhaps 1997, and it’s still going strong even though it has bounced off the pavement a good many times.  I  will admit, I have not even used it for the past several years – I have been cycle computer free for quite some time. 

Why the Excel picture? Well I used to utilize Excel to track my mileage. However, the last time I had an interest in tracking my mileage was about 10 years ago. I used to engage in quite a bit of recreational cycling, however I am very much a “utility” cyclist now. A deep dive into my riding history, if I kept one, would show that my routes take me to and from home/work, with stops at take out restaurants, grocery stores, and liquor stores mixed in.  

I am not really a “gadget guy” per say. I certainly have gadgets, but I don’t geek out on them and seek to upgrade as soon as new stuff comes out (duh, I have a Vetta C-15). I know the name Garmin, mostly from rental cars, and I hear people talk about Strava and get the gist of what it’s about, but don’t see tracking my movements as beneficial to my life or even remotely interesting to others. The whole fitness band trend has been lost on me mostly because I will confess to being blessed with the metabolism of a humming bird. Weight loss is not my issue, I try hard to gain weight and fail consistently (I know, poor me). 

Anyway, I thought that interacting with a modern cycling gadget might be interesting so I took the plunge, and I have to admit I was immediately intimidated – look what came out of the box that was sent to me!

Boxes

One product came with three boxes and one of those plastic wrap packages that sends multitudes to emergency rooms when people cut themselves trying to open the product. I think my Vetta came in a box you could fit a small mouse in. My first thought was, “How many beers is it going to take me to unpack, study, and install this thing!?” I will go through all of the stuff in a future post, but here is the “feature” product, staged next to the light for size reference.

ScreenShot4415

The first thing that I noticed was that the device breaks one rule I try to live by – I try to buy products with replaceable batteries. This is one of those devices that has the battery locked in and you charge it like you would your phone. You can connect it to your computer or to a wall socket. I plan on running multiple posts on this thing and will have to comment on battery life as I use it. 

I must admit I was also intrigued because one of my first thoughts was where I was going to put the thing. Take a look at my cockpit.

Cockpit

My front basket does not exactly make my cockpit conducive to gadget mounting, thus the lights on the PVC pipe. This post is already running a little long and I will try to build some suspense. Readers, where do you think I ultimately chose to mount this modern marvel of computer engineering? Thoughts welcome in comments.



Source: Bike Hacks – iGS60 Cycle Computer Review – Post #1

Mystery Bike Platform

More images from a recent trip to NYC. This definitely took some thought, and I have my own ideas about the intended purpose.

Plank1

If it is what I think it is for, carrying a dog, I would be worried. There is an electrical cord that runs from the seat post to the front of the bike which may well be a leash. 

Plank2

 If it is for a dog, I hope the dog is very well behaved.

 



Source: Bike Hacks – Mystery Bike Platform

Mystery Bike Platform

More images from a recent trip to NYC. This definitely took some thought, and I have my own ideas about the intended purpose.

Plank1

If it is what I think it is for, carrying a dog, I would be worried. There is an electrical cord that runs from the seat post to the front of the bike which may well be a leash. 

Plank2

 If it is for a dog, I hope the dog is very well behaved.

 



Source: Bike Hacks – Mystery Bike Platform

Imitation Game

A motto of BikeHacks.com could well be, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” I certainly do not take credit for coming up with this light mounting hack on my own –

20160825_075521

But when I posted it, reader Craig sent along his own version, which definitely is high on the style factor. 

Flattery1

Craig wrote – I built this bike with a specialized rockhopper I picked up for $5 at a garage sale and mostly spare parts.

Flattery2

Imitation is welcome on BikeHacks.com. If you are proud of something you have done, contact us for posting



Source: Bike Hacks – Imitation Game

Imitation Game

A motto of BikeHacks.com could well be, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” I certainly do not take credit for coming up with this light mounting hack on my own –

20160825_075521

But when I posted it, reader Craig sent along his own version, which definitely is high on the style factor. 

Flattery1

Craig wrote – I built this bike with a specialized rockhopper I picked up for $5 at a garage sale and mostly spare parts.

Flattery2

Imitation is welcome on BikeHacks.com. If you are proud of something you have done, contact us for posting



Source: Bike Hacks – Imitation Game

Aster Backpack Giveaway Haiku Palooza – Winner(s)

Thank you to all of the readers who submitted Haiku for our Aster Backpack Giveaway Haiku Palooza. We had a lot of entries and as noted in the original post, I used random number selection to select the winner. We had 47 entries submitted, and as chance would have it, the random number generator landed on 47. 

ScreenShot4153

The 47th Haiku was submitted by Don – 

ScreenShot4156

The Aster will ship to Don and Don will put the backpack through its paces and post a review here on BikeHacks.com. Going into the contest I only had one winner in my mind, however one entry was so awesome that I am going to think of a bonus prize of some sort. To get in the mood, rock out like it’s 1978 . . . crank it!

I had noted in the announcement entry that being a fan of Van Halen was not a requirement to enter this contest, but Jay submitted this perfect blend of the theme of the contest and the verse from a rockin’ Van Halen song off of their original album. 

ScreenShot4154

I don’t know if Jay is a victim of the science age, but he could be the ruler of these nether Haiku worlds =)



Source: Bike Hacks – Aster Backpack Giveaway Haiku Palooza – Winner(s)

Aster Backpack Giveaway Haiku Palooza – Winner(s)

Thank you to all of the readers who submitted Haiku for our Aster Backpack Giveaway Haiku Palooza. We had a lot of entries and as noted in the original post, I used random number selection to select the winner. We had 47 entries submitted, and as chance would have it, the random number generator landed on 47. 

ScreenShot4153

The 47th Haiku was submitted by Don – 

ScreenShot4156

The Aster will ship to Don and Don will put the backpack through its paces and post a review here on BikeHacks.com. Going into the contest I only had one winner in my mind, however one entry was so awesome that I am going to think of a bonus prize of some sort. To get in the mood, rock out like it’s 1978 . . . crank it!

I had noted in the announcement entry that being a fan of Van Halen was not a requirement to enter this contest, but Jay submitted this perfect blend of the theme of the contest and the verse from a rockin’ Van Halen song off of their original album. 

ScreenShot4154

I don’t know if Jay is a victim of the science age, but he could be the ruler of these nether Haiku worlds =)



Source: Bike Hacks – Aster Backpack Giveaway Haiku Palooza – Winner(s)