Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Bikes- The Daily Grind

I've done some modifications to my commuter bike, a 1994 Nishiki Sport XRS I call The Daily Grind. Granted, I haven't been commuting on the bike daily lately because I'm realizing I'm a weather wimp, but hey, that just gave me a chance to do some work on the bike.

I like the bike, but I've grown tired of the straight handlebar. Even with extensions, I just don't like the hand positions and riding position.

I thought about what might be better and decided I wanted to try either butterfly trekking bars,

...or drop bars. There was a swap meet in January and I decided to see if I could find the parts to go one way or the other at the meet. I ended up with a great set of Suntour Barcon bar-end shifters, which have been described to me as one of the most perfect product mechanical designs ever. The price was right, so I bought them. I already had a set of drop bars to go with them, as well as the other bits I needed to complete the conversion, so drop bars it was.

The conversion involved a set of ergo drop bars I bought at the same swap meet, but two years previously, some Tektro aero brake levers that came with them, a handlebar stem and an adapter to use the threadless stem with my threaded headset. And, of course, the Barcon shifters. Here is how it turned out. The first picture is an in-progress shot.

For now I have old black handlebar tape; after riding the bike a bit and making sure everything is adjusted, I will put natural cork bar tape on the bars.

With the honey brown Brooks B17 I got for Christmas, and the drop bars with bar-end shifters, the bike is beginning to look kind of like a Surly Long Haul Trucker. I like to think it's even better than an LHT because the bike is built around a frame that is approaching 20 years old of a type that actually served as an inspiration for the LHT. All in all, I'm pleased so far with how the modification turned out.


Anonymous said...

Now I would just add a nice honey-brown handle bar tape to match your saddle.

It is a nice little bike that you have set up!

Doohickie said...

My plan is natural-colored cork bar tape, probably wrapped over the ratty black stuff, terminated at the ends with a twine wrap and maybe even shellacked to give it vintage feel.

Steve A said...

Very nice. For a commuter, you might also consider the cross top brakes that are currently on sale at Velo Orange. They'd work well with the setup you have. Also, any reason you chose to let the shifter cables dangle instead of routing them under the tape?

Big Oak said...

That is a good looking bike! I think you made a good decision with the drop bars over the trekking bars, although I have no experience with the trekking bars.

I see you have a hub generator and light - how do you like that?

Doohickie said...

@Steve: I ended up re-using old cables and worked with what I had. They weren't long enough to run under the tape. I've had people tell me it doesn't look as good but I don't mind the way it looks.

@Big Oak: I love the generator setup. The German-made dyno headlight has a very sharply-defined beam (per German regulations) so it doesn't throw as much light off to the sides as the battery light I was using, but other than that, the dyno light is a lot better.

RANTWICK said...

I like black tape regardless of other colours on the bike... as you might guess, I am also a very snappy dresser.

Nice work, man. I like that bike.

Anonymous said...

But Rantwick, don't you also shave with WD40?? I'm not so sure about this snappy dressing thing you're trying to sell us on!

The Feral Cyclist said...

Very nice work sir. I still can't seem to get used to the looks of threadless stems on old bikes, but that is mitigated by my frugal nature and love of recycling...good on ya, young man!

My latest beater bike creation has been the final verification I need that a B-17 is essential even on a recycled feral beast. Though my mind and intentions are feral, my A$$ is domesticated and seeks comfort over frugality.

Doohickie said...

Quit babbling in my comments and make another post on your blog. You have a good start there, go with it! :p

As for the handlebars, rest assured that except for the quill adapter and the stem all the rest of the pieces are recycled.

Jon said...

I like that bike, too. For years, my main ride was a DiamondBack Avail (700c mountain bike from 1992), with drops and cross tires, and a road triple drivetrain.

Too heavy for racing, but I called it a cyclocross bike, anyway. We were still years away from coining the term "monstercross" to describe such bikes.

Your bike will make a great mixed-terrain rig, if you like that kind of stuff.

Apertome said...

Holy cow, it looks awesome! And yes, very LHT-ish. I love the way you've built it up!

gried said...

Very nice bike. I like the upgrades you've made. I just bought one very similar to yours, and I want to ask a few questions. I'm trying to id my bike. I bought it in Canada and it's a Nishiki Alouette. But I can't find any info on it. I think it might be a Nishiki Sport XRS that was just renamed for the canadian market. I've figured out from the components that it is a '94. Mine has GripShift SRT-300, C-star brakes, Shimano Alivio crank, front deraileur, rear deraileur, and freehub. 21 speed. It's a crmo frame as well. Do those specs match what came on yours originally? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

gried said...

I can't tell from the picture. Does this bike have 26 in wheels or 700c?

Doohickie said...

It has 700C x 35 tires.