A Failed Experiment

A couple of weeks ago, when I got it into my head to change the handlebars on the Devil for better winter use (read: flat bars that are easier to use with mittens or pogies), I also got it into my head to try to change as few components as possible.

In this case, that meant re-using the 26.0mm Velo Orange stem, the 8psd shifter on a Paul Thumbie, and the Tektro brake levers. In fact, the entire notion grew out of the fact that I was simply too lazy to re-cable the brakes (though ironically, the entire thing took more time and effort because I had to spend nearly an hour getting all of the old Newbaum’s bar tape off both sides of the bar so that I could remove the brake levers without uncoupling them).

As such, I ended up with a real oddity of a bar-lever-shifter setup: road levers on a flat bar without much sweep and a shifter mounted near the stem. A real experiment in parts incompatibility and user experience, you might say.

Rode the Devil, stopped on a bridge.

Rode the Devil, stopped on a bridge.

After riding the Devil this way for more than a week, I can confidently say–as of today–that the experiment has failed.

  • The brake levers are simply too close to the bar. Moving them further around the curve helped a little, but not nearly enough. It’s passable with gloves, but a real hazard with mittens.
  • The shifter is too far from where my hands are on the bars (unlike with drop bars riding on the tops). Consequently, I’ve been riding in faux single-speed mode (pick a gear, don’t shift) for most of the time.
  • And the pogies don’t really fit at all.

It was an interesting experiment, but not one that I care to continue, lest I end up on the deck because my mitten is caught behind the brake lever and unable to squeeze it.

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