Monday 6 October 2014


Not so long ago I purchased some lovely Shimano Dura-Ace brake levers for my planned retro build. I was excited about these levers and wanted to put them straight on my bars and essentially make a start on my build. Even though the frame is old, heavy and a little tatty, I love it. I like the Raleigh badge on the frame and I like the way the Raleigh logo is impressed on the bars.
Without further ado, I set about putting the levers on. They looked great. However, I had made an error - the levers were 'aero' levers and retro bikes are supposed to have 'non aero' levers. Aero levers are those where the brake cable is hidden under the hoods and usually gets taped to the bars. Non aero levers have the brake cable sticking out through a hole in the top of the hoods. I should stop buying items before researching in greater detail. Is complicated this bike building lark but at least valuable lessons are being learnt.
Damn blast! Those aero levers were real nice, I will keep them for a proposed single-speed bike build perhaps?! I soon located another set of Shimano Dura-Ace vintage levers and non aero style too. These new levers cost £20 and looked better than the other one's I had already but they didn't come with brake hoods. I made an impulsive purchase.
Now, locating hoods was a real menace. Nowhere appeared to sell vintage Shimano hoods. Dia-Compe hoods were considered 'universal fitting', so these were swiftly purchased at a cost of £7.99. Am still within budget and the hoods I've ordered are white which I though was a nice touch.

Other items that came through the post included a Shimano 600 Ultegra 6400 crankset (£33) which had arm lengths of 175mm (bonus), Shimano 600 SL-6400 7 speed shifters (£12.57) and a bike work stand that I very much needed (wanted). The bike stand allowed me to remove the previously fitted brake levers with ease. I do hope I can get my head around these building problems.
Not long after I had built up my bike work stand, my hoods arrived in the post. This prompted me to fit my levers and attach the new hoods. The hoods were as tough as boots and after much stretching and pulling they fitted neatly over the levers. Next job was to tape the bars. I had never taped bars before and my first attempt was a trifle pants but it'll do for the time being. Am a little disappointed I am so naff at things.
The picture doesn't look too bad but trust me, the bar plugs looked tacky as the bar tape did not plug in neatly, there was a little gap near the hoods and the blue electrical tape would have looked better if it was white. The bar tape was too thick (in my opinion) and that's why I think this task was so difficult. I also attached the shifters to the down tube, just because I could.
The shifters were funny things - only the right one had a screwdriver slot. No cable's attached to them yet. Look pretty neat don't you think?!
Cayo 2012 (and 2010)
Would be great to get my retro bike built up in time for the Snowdrop Audax next year. This is an event that I have cycled 4 times already but used a different bike on the last 3 occasions. The first and second time I cycled this event (which was my first audax ever) I used my Focus Cayo. Third time around I used my Specialized Roubaix. The fourth and last time I cycled the event, I used Cayo again but this time around she was a converted into a single-speed machine. 
Slinky 2013
Kay-O 2014
In terms of actual cycling this past week, I only managed 2 work-and-back commutes. Was foggy and misty in the morning and soon it'll be dark. When exactly do the clocks go back?!

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