Jim’s Tech Talk
By Jim Langley
For this Tech Talk, I’m letting my friend, Bruce L Ross take a pull. He wrote me recently with some fun bike bling ideas, which seemed very appropriate for this festive time of year.
Bruce lives just a short ride from me here in Santa Cruz, California. If you’ve been reading RBR for awhile you may recall that he penned a nice 2-part technical article for us about upgrading his Colnago C59 Italia to front disc braking. It’s here if you missed it: Converting Your Bike to a Hybrid Disc/Rim Brake Setup, Part 1
Before Ross takes the lead, I want to thank Mark “Killa” Barrilleaux, Tom in MN, Gary Turney, Michael Leven, and Stephen Turk for sharing some great additional tips for our finicky front derailleur adjustments story last week. Be sure to check out their helpful tips if you’re getting up to speed on tuning front derailleurs.
Now, with a flick of my elbow, Bruce puts his nose into the wind…
“I thought I would pass along a bit of bike bling for those looking to customize their road bikes, Jim. At my age (67) I’ve adopted the philosophy that looking cool is better than being cool. It’s like I’m back in middle school.”
I know Bruce is just joking, but I think it’s worth pointing out that besides looking cool, customizing your bike also makes it unique to you. Anybody can buy a certain model of road bike but unless you add some bling, all of those model bikes are almost exactly the same.
Also, maybe you’ve had the experience of visiting the porta-potty wall at a bike event, laying your bike down and then coming out to find two or three bikes the same as yours laying next to yours, making it possible to grab the wrong one. Don’t scoff – it has happened to me!
Another benefit of customizing your baby is to help identify it should it get stolen and recovered. The small details can prove that it’s your bike, not just another Specialized Tarmac, etc. My fraternity brother, Peter Leyden, recovered his stolen Peugeot in Long Island this way. He had written his name on the bottom of his saddle and the police accepted that as proof that he – not the thief – owned the bike.
Back to Bruce: “The first custom piece was something I purchased for my Colnago’s hybrid braking system. It’s a 160mm Carbon-Ti rotor you can see here. I think you’ll agree that it nicely complements the carbon rim and fork.
I got the one on my bike from one of their US sellers (forgot the name) and had Harry at Spokesman Bicycles install it. It works great so far and is, in my opinion, far better looking than Shimano’s road rotors. I believe Colnago used these on their “C64 Gold” bikes which were in limited production and currently sold-out.
Custom End Plugs
I also ran into a site on the Internet of a fellow in Britain that produces custom handlebar plugs. Besides the ones he has listed he has artwork that can produce logos for any bike manufacturer so I got several that fit the Italian road bikes I have – Pegoretti, Colnago and Fondriest.
One of my favorite upgrades is having saddles recovered. Here are photos of three I’ve had redone by either Mick Peel of Busyman Bicycles or Carson Leh at Leh Cycling.
-Burgundy red recovered Fizik Aliente – currently on my Ibis Mojo SL
-Shagreen recovered Fizik Arione – currently on my Fondriest TF1
-White Kangaroo perforated with silver underlay recovered Fizik Arione – currently on my Seven 622slx”
Thanks for the very cool customization ideas and resources, Bruce. That Shagreen Fizik Arione is stunning!
Custom Headset Caps
Want to keep going? There are all kinds of options when it comes to headset cap bling. Several different sites specialize in custom and pre-made designs. They come in a multitude of colors to match your bike. Here are some examples that come from three different sites that make them.
Readers, please keep the ideas coming by sharing your favorite bike blings in Comments.
Ride total: 9,115
Veloink makes very nice vinyl decals you can use to put your name on your bike. A wide range of options is avaialble.
Jim Langley says
That’s a great tip, Jeff. Thanks!
Marchant Wentworth says
I put my name and contact info on a 3 x 5 card and stick it in the right hand drop part of the handlebar. Thieves never check and it has helped me ID a bike with the cops and get the bike back.
Jim Langley says
That’s a clever trick, Marchant. Thanks for sharing and good job getting your bike back!
I use paracord instead of handle bar tape.