An Ecuadorian Astrophysicist (linked of the Atacama Observatory https://www.almaobservatory.org/en/home/ & Leeds Uni.) used to be a loyal customer of ours. During his stay in the UK, we looked after his beloved steed – a high-quality tourer (some very nice & expensive bits). Let’s call him “EA”.
About 3 years ago, this lovely, young gentleman’s stay with us was blighted!
Overnight, some b@$t@&d(s) had stolen his stem & handlebars (& expensive Shimano XT 9×3 shifter/brakes).
The following morning:
The poor soul was heart-broken – ‘in shock’.
We admit to being, a quite a-bit-more-than miffed.
All it took was a 5mm allen key and set of dull pliers. See the butchery on the cable:
What to do?
NOTE: today is an intensely-emotional one for EA – therefore, we will not allow him to make any big £££-based decisions today! However, he leaves knowing that RCE will assess the whole bike, before we talk again.
Then, RCE’s algorithm:
- Identify options to avert the same thing happening again.
- Identify customer’s present options & needs (e.g. straight/dropped/butterfly/etc. handlebars, stem length & angle, grips/bar-tape, cabling, shifters and brakes, budget).
- Identify customer’s potential future needs/alterations.
- Identify compatible components required.
- Provide an estimated price for the whole works.
- As authorised, proceed: provide componentry, fit, set, test, set, … until satisfied.
- Guarantee works, return to customer
- Adjust as required.
EA wanted drop-bars – with an option to change to butterfly-bars at a later stage. Fine, not a problem. Longer-that-optimal brake & gear cables were agreed on to allow for a cheaper changes.
The first choice of ‘anatomical’ drop bars proved be the only ‘try’ required. It took 2 attempts to find the correctly lengthed & angled stem. Another ‘option’ wasn’t really an option – being a Shimano 9×3 geared-bike, the agreed choice was for a set of Shimano’s Sora triples shifters. ‘Intermediate Brakes’ were also incorporated into the design. Finally, additional in-line brake adjusters allowed for the maximum brakepad-wear take-up – a missing original-design feature.
Before the bar-tape could be fitted, EA had be summoned to specify the exact positioning of the shifters (angle, height & reach, intermediate brakes positioning and handlebar angle:
Nearly there, but still …
What to do?
What to do about future theft? Well, there a couple of issues here:
- Removal of the fork’s/stem’s top-cap allows for the removal of the whole handlebar assembly.
- Removal of the stem’s front clamp bolts allows for the removal of the handlebars.
To address item 1. EA selected a lovely Pinhead Headset Lock (https://pinheadlocks.com/store/en/frame-and-headset-locks/15-headset-lock.html#/key-without_key):
The second issue was that of the standard allen-socketed bolts for the handlebar clamp:
Stainless-steel, high-tension, extra-security, Pin Torx bolts were agreed upon for this application. The customer was also handed the required tool for his own use.
Now, it’s finished:
Total cost (at the time): £400-ish (ouch!). But:
- much cheaper than a replacement bike of the same quality & wear, and
- customised exactly to the owner’s needs!
The bike was last seen commuting across the Atacama Desert, Chile – with a big grin on EA’s face.
A bit o’ fun:
Fancy a bit of Australian rock music? Unlike AC/DC (saw them in 1979, with Bon Scott), we missed out on the following band the first time round. Shame on us! Hope you enjoy:(RADIO BIRDMAN – “Aloha Steve And Danno” official music video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmH0OeDLGEE)
Be safe out there.