Posts tagged with cycling


January 17, 2014


frame / fork: Specialized Langster Pro 2013 / Columbus Tusk Air
crankset / bottom bracket / pedals : Sugino 75 / Campagnolo Centaur / Crank Bros Candy 3
chainring / cog / chain: Sugino 75 46T / Miche 17T / D.I.D.
handlebars / stem: Easton EC70 SL3 / Thomson Elite X2
saddle / seatpost: Fizik Arione Versus / Specialized FACT
front wheel: Velocity Fusion / Paul Components High Flange 24h / Continental Grand Prix GT
rear wheel: Velocity Deep V / Paul Components High Flange 32h / Continental Grand Prix GT
lacing: 2 leading 2 trailing
front brake: Ultegra BR-6700-G / Cane Creek Crosstop


8bit Commute

June 2, 2011

May was Bike to Work Month. As was April… and March.. and… anyway, here’s a small tribute.

Big thanx to Ozzed for the tune!


DIY Leather Grips

April 2, 2011

I gave up all efforts in finding a pair of leather grips for Ralph. Finding something simple and discreet was impossible. Everywhere I looked I kept coming across weird shapes or weird seams or weird logos. The only kind of grips I managed to find that exactly fit my “specs” of simple, plain and logoless were the “Elkhide Sewn-on City Bike Grips” by Velo Orange. However, I was not convinced that their width would be enough in my case (and as it proved, it wouldn’t).

So I decided to make my own.

I have to credit Velo Orange for their stitching instructions though, which I followed with great success.

You will need:

– a scrap of leather enough to give you two rectangular pieces of about 15x10cm (you will end up using less. I made mine with two 12x8cm pieces. I sourced the scrap in an upholstery store for next to nothing.)
– a roll of cotton tape
– a ruler (a triangle is even better)
– an exacto knife
– a marker
– a vernier caliper
– an awl
– a cutting surface
– strong thread
– two needles

Begin with loosening the shifters and brake levers and sliding them towards the stem.

IMPORTANT: Do not remove your shifters/levers from the handlebars. Most shifters/levers are mountable from the edge of the handlebars. If you remove them and then start making the grips, sooner or later you will slap yourself on the forehead and have to start over from the beginning.

Place your hands on your handlebars and decide how long you want your grips to be. Measure this distance. Alternatively, measure the length of a pair of grips you own or google around to find the length of a pair of grips you like.

Apply a layer of tape to cover this length minus about 2mm. For instance if you wish your grips to be 12cm long, start applying the tape 11.8mm from the edge of the handlebars. On each round pull at a tight angle to create nice overlaps. This layer will add friction between the leather grips and the handlebars (in order to eliminate slippage) and it will offer extra padding. It will also add a very subtle wave to the leather surface which is a nice touch (and nice to touch).

CRITICAL: Now you need to determine the correct width of the grip. Wrap a small piece of leather (it can be as narrow as 1cm and as short as 7cm) around the tape and measure the total width with the vernier caliper. It was 2.6cm in my case. Multiplying this by pi (3.14) gives you the circumference of the handlebars with both layers of tape and leather. In my case 2.6cm x 3.14 = 8.16cm. I decided to go with a bit less (8cm) since leather will stretch a bit when tightened.

Knowing the length and width of your grips, flip the leather scrap and mark it on its back side.

Cut with the exacto knife.

TIP: The leather has a tendency to pull when being cut. So, cut intermittently. Otherwise you might not get a straight line. I also thought to use a rolling pizza cutter, but mine did not work. If yours is sharper than the ikea variety, you may give it a try. First, make sure to test it on a small part you are not going to use.

Draw a parallel line about 5mm from the edge of the long side. Repeat for the other long side. On these lines mark the 5mm point and then mark every 10mm. E.g. for a 12cm long grip, mark the 0.5cm , 1.5cm, 2.5cm, …, 11.5cm points.

Using an awl or another sharp pointy tool (a fork with all tips bent but one, maybe?) punch holes on the marks.

TIP: Slightly widening the wholes from the front side will make stitching easier.

Flip your handlebars upside down (unless you want the stitches to be on top!).

Cut a long piece of thread and pass a needle through each side.

TIP: Make sure you have plenty of thread when you start. Better having excess thread in the end, rather than realizing it is not enough when you are halfway through. I used a 2m long thread for each grip!

I started stitching from the bar end rather than the stem end (which is mentioned in the VO instructions), because it made more sense to me. If I had started from the stem end and eventually the grip needed to move, say by 1mm in or out, I doubt it would have been possible after all the tightening (considering the friction of the tape layer).

Find the middle of the thread and pass each needle from the top through the first hole on each side. Then pass each needle from underneath through the first hole of the opposite side . You have the first stitch in place (a parallel one) and you are ready to go.

TIP: If a side of the leather shifts upwards, correct with your thumbs.

diy leather grips

Repeat the following till you reach the last pair of holes: Pass the first needle from the top to the first available hole on the other side (this is a diagonal move) and then exit from underneath the hole across (this is a perpendicular move). Do the symmetrical move with the second needle. Tighten after both needles have moved by one hole.

Keep working with one needle at a time. X-es will be forming along the way.

diy leather grips

When you reach the end, pass each needle from the top into the last hole on the other side, so that they exit under the leather. Use the two strands to make a knot, cut off the excess thread and tuck the knot under the leather.

diy leather grips

To finish it off, apply some leather proofing (the same you use for your saddle).

That’s it! Flip the handlebars, move the shifters/levers to their original position, tighten, done!


Raleigh Rebuild (Part V)

July 18, 2010

The original parts that were refitted were the stem, handlebars, bottom bracket cups and spindle, upper headset …and the lamp bracket. All the rest were sourced from local, on-line and ebay stores; some found in used, some in new and some in NOS condition.

Several problems had to be resolved along the way mostly due to uncommon sizes and lack of standardization (e.g. 110mm rear hub, 90mm front hub, 26tpi headset, 72mm long bb). Fortunately, the web is an endless resource.

When this project started, I was not exactly sure what the outcome would be.

Meet Ralph.

raleigh rebuild part v
raleigh rebuild part v
raleigh rebuild part v
raleigh rebuild part v
raleigh rebuild part v
raleigh rebuild part v


Raleigh Rebuild (Part IV)

June 1, 2010

British racing green was Jason’s idea. The tone that was finally picked is a Triumph 1965 variation. Thumbs up to the neighborhood garage for providing amazing color swatches and doing a great job.