Experimental music, photography, and adventures

The LHT gets some TLC

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

I didn’t ride much last week, as I was sick. However, I did find some time to work on the Trucker a bit. It needed a good, thorough cleaning, and the handlebar tape was wearing out. Last time, I cleaned the bike with Simple Green, and it worked well, but this time I used regular Dawn dish soap. I think the Dawn worked even better.

Nearly every time I work on my bike, I mess something up. This time, I lost some parts when I took the chain off to clean it. I thought I had only lost part of the master link, but it turns out I lost a few other parts as well. I looked for them for quite a while in the yard, but could not find them. Unfortunately, I had to buy a new chain. The old one only had about 1900 miles on it. What a waste! Well, now I know to be more careful next time, and I know what pieces to watch for.

When I went to buy new handlebar tape, I decided to try something different. I liked the Cinelli natural cork tape I had before, but it’s expensive and the shops I checked didn’t have it anyway. I settled on a roll of RavX red cork/gel tape. In the box, it looked like a deepish red. I had a harder time wrapping the bars than usual. I think this tape is thicker and a little softer and it doesn’t stay in place quite as well.

Once I had the tape on the bars, it appeared much brighter shade of red than I thought.

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No worries, I planned to finish the job with some twine and shellac anyway. I had to finish both ends with twine; with barend shifters, you can’t put the tape in the ends of the bars, and it kept unraveling. The twine holds it in place nicely. A few layers of amber shellac helped the color a bit. It’s still not quite the deep red I had in mind, but it’s growing on me.

Even though I had more difficulty than usual, I enjoyed changing the handlebar tape. It’s a relatively simple and inexpensive task, but it significantly changes the look and feel of the bike.

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I’m fairly happy with how the bars turned out. What do you think?

3 Responses to “The LHT gets some TLC”

  1. Shan Says:

    Wow, that’s very striking! I like it; it goes well with the tan saddle.

    Question: Why did you shellac the tape? Is that common to do when replacing it, or is it just to enhance the color?

  2. Apertome Says:

    Thanks. The shellac is primarily for aesthetic purposes. It also keeps the twine from unraveling, and may protect the tape somewhat. With cork tape, the shellac will eventually wear off in places, but it’s easy to add more shellac later if necessary.

  3. Doug Says:

    I think the bars look great. The color looks good with the LHT’s Utility Blue.

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