Monday, June 25, 2012

The Great Shifter Upgrade

After I had finished restoring my Peugeot PH-10, there were a few things that I was still a bit unsatisfied with.  One of the main problems was that the outer chain ring was slightly bent; enough so that I get a fair bit of chain rub on the derailleur in otherwise reasonable gear combinations.  Another issue was the ugliness of the old Simplex stem shifters that came on the bike.  Not only was the bulky plastic molding between the shifters an eyesore, but it looked like it had been beat on with a hammer, which made it look notably worse.

I had been considering replacing the stem shifters with a pair of bar-ends, but just couldn't pull the trigger.  I had excuses:  I didn't want to have to re-wrap the bars, I didn't want to replace the nearly-new shift cables, the stem shifters worked perfectly fine so why fix something that isn't broke, etc.  But a couple weeks ago, I decided that it was time to take action.  I picked up a set of vintage Suntour bar-end shifters on eBay for about 40 bones.  They were in decent shape, and I got a pretty good deal on them.  Then I ran down to my LBS for some new shift cables and bar tape.

I removed the stem shifters and cables and unwrapped the bars.  To install the new shifters, they had to be disassembled so that the expander plugs and mounting bodies could be tightened into the ends of the handlebars.  Once the mounting bodies were secured in place, the levers were bolted back into them.  There's nothing to these bar-ends, and they were a snap to install.  Once the shifters were properly installed, I cut new cable housing and ran the cables.  I decided to go ahead and run the cables under the entire length of the bar tape.  I know some people prefer to have the housing exit the bar tape before the bars begin to curve, but I think that looks a little sloppy.  To keep the housing in place, I used electrical tape to secure the housing directly to the bars, and then wrapped the bars with the new tape.  It ended up looking fantastic.

The night that I finished installing the new bar-ends, I ended up riding home from a friend's house.  It took me a few blocks to get used to the action of the shifters - the first time I tried to up-shift I almost veered into a curb.  But it didn't take me long to get comfortable with the mechanics required to shift smoothly while holding a steady line.  I think the switch to bar-ends was a pretty good idea; they work like a charm and they look phenomenal.  Now I've just got to figure out what to do about that bent chain ring.

No comments:

Post a Comment