Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ugly Hack Of Yesteryear Revisited... And Rescued

I admit it, I have a problem.

I like taking parts that shouldn't go together (like mountain bike shifters and road handlebars) and grafting them together in some sort of evil experiment. As much as I'm ashamed to even remind my reader(s) of this horrific hack, here's some evidence of my twisted proclivities. Thankfully, the malformed creature shown in that post only lived a short while.

My most recent experiment started harmlessly enough -- as they all do. Still hoping to put together things that don't belong together, I trolled the interwebs for a Hubbub adapter: perhaps one of the neatest, simplest little gizmos ever designed for freaks like me. Basically, the Hubbub pairs the expander portion of a bar-end shifter with a section of MTB-diameter handlebar, giving the hacker a section of MTB bar at the end of his/her drops where a twist-shifter can mount. And, good bud of the iBOB list Jeff L. (hooray, Jeff L!) hooked me up with BOTH a Hubbub AND an old set of contraband, UCI-banned Cinelli Spinaci bar extensions as another potential hack-solution. (I shall not reveal more of Jeff's identity lest the Federales show up to arrest him for trafficking in illegal parts.)

So, with the best of intentions, I set out to install drop bars and the Hubbub on my Swift Folder (which uses a twist-shifter). But of course, the cable in my shifter's too short now that the housing needs to loop out to the end of a drop bar -- and while SRAM has fixed many of the ills of cheap, early GripShift (i.e., the things actually shift now), they have NOT made cable replacement any easier. Long, painful, curse-laden story short, I wrecked the spring and a couple detents in the shifter. Ugh.

Thankfully, I also had a SRAM push-button shifter at the ready (their answer to Rapidfire Plus -- I'm stuck with SRAM unless I also want to replace the 1:1 cable-pull rear derailleur too.) Put that on the Hubbub, and while it looked fine and seemed like it would work, I just wasn't entirely satisfied.

And then, the memory of that nasty hack surfaced. Looked at the SRAM shifter and realized that (unlike the not terribly coercible aluminum clamp of a Shimano), this little number was held on by a very flexible stainless steel band wrapped in cosmetic plastic. A little coercion, a longer fixing bolt, and... IT LIVES!

That's right, you saw it here first: the World's Only Drop-Bar Bike With SRAM's Answer to RapidFire Plus (WODBBWSARFP). Boo-yah.

As you can see, I cracked some of the decorative plastic around the clamp. After that awful cable replacement debacle, the human torque wrench was a bit out of calibration. Given another shot, I could have done this without damaging anything -- and had I thought to keep the plastic chunk instead of chucking it, I probably could have glued it back on. The result seems to work quite nicely, though I must admit to feeling a touch of guilt that I won't be using the Hubbub from generous, awesome, and (one can only assume) handsome Jeff L. I can only promise that (along with the contraband Spinaci) it will live in a treasured place in my hacking arsenal and will undoubtedly save a future hack. Did somebody say "Rohloff rear wheel for the tandem"?

Oh, in case you're wondering what's up with this particular project, here's a tantalizing spy shot from the Skunk Works laboratory here at The Cycle:

Thanks to generous, awesome, and... well, I know what he looks like, so let's leave it at that... reader/commenter/bud Scott L. for the front bag custom monogrammed with an "N" for (obviously, right?) Nunemaker.

More details on this little bucket of fun as they become available.

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