Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Hats Off To You

Further to yesterday's post and Mario Cipollini, a commenter commented thusly:

Doc Sarvis said...

Tried and convicted in the court of public opinion 
We'll all be there soon

March 12, 2019 at 9:58 PM

No we won't.

In other news, this morning I went to adjust my fancy new Shimano Dura Ace front derailleur, partially because it felt like maybe it could use some adjusting, but mostly because I didn't put the bike together and I wanted to understand how the thing worked:

The latest Shimano front derailleurs work a little differently than the ones you're probably used to, in that there are basically more adjustment screws.  Typically what I do when learning how to work on a new component is dive right in and screw it up, but this time I was determined to do my homework, and so I not only read Shimano's service instructions but also watched endearingly soporific tutorials on YouTube. 

By the time I actually confronted the thing I had a good idea of how it worked and was able to adjust it rather easily.  However, true to form I did manage to screw something up anyway.  Now, it's hard to tell from the stock image, but the new Shimano derailleurs wear a plastic hat:

The purpose of the hat is to tuck in the end of your cable since the routing works a little differently than the old ones.  Basically you just pop it off, but of course I managed to break it in short order:

Without the plastic hat there's no way to secure the excess cable short of cutting it off, which I wasn't going to do since that would make any future adjustments a major pain in the ass.  Like any terminal Fred my first impulse was to list the compromised bike for sale immediately, but after taking a few deep breaths and blotting my tears I was able to engineer a solution by tucking it into the braze-on tab:

Not only did the cable remain tucked neatly in place for the duration of my ride, but I also figure I'm enjoying some serious weight savings by omitting the part. Nevertheless, I can't help suspecting this is Shimano's way of nudging everyone towards Di2.  Also, as someone who prefers Shimano, I'm disappointed to see their increased reliance on tiny plastic covers, which began some years back on their shifters when they re-routed their brake cables under the bar tape.  I shouldn't have to look down while I'm riding and see something this ugly.  (I've already got to see the lower half of my body when I look down after all.)

Anyway, flimsy cover notwithstanding, I'm greatly enjoying my new plastic bike, shown here in one of my preferred trash-strewn urination spots:

I still have yet to change a single thing on the bike, nor do I plan to in the near future--partially because it feels great as is, but also because if I do change anything I'm bound to break it in the process.  Also, I'm not even remotely a weight weenie, but it's pretty amazing how light a "mid-level" out-of-the-box bike is these days--though of course I am running the front derailleur without the plastic cap, so there is that.  And yes, I realize I'm probably risking my life in doing so, since the excess cable is liable to dislodge itself on a descent and the whiplash could throw me from the bike.  But don't worry, I'm going to reach out to a custom bike company and commission them to make me a replacement out of titanium.  (I'm budgeting $500 for the job.)

And if you're nonplussed by my preponderance of boring monochromatic bikes, rest assured that when you look at this one up close it sparkles like a disco ball:

("My God, it's full of stars!")

So there you go.


wishiwasmerckx said...


dcee604 said...

Nice bike!

Dirk Montero said...

Question for the Snob:

Are you able to spend any serious amount of time in the actual drops with that setup or is it all hoods, all the time? Being a crunchy West-Coaster, I have my bars up at a visually comic height these days but am enjoying using the actual drops most of the time, and the better braking that ensues from using the end of the lever as Newton intended, rather than braking from the hoods, right next to the pivot, like pushing on a door with a panic bar on the hinge side by mistake.

Most of my friends with drop-bar bikes have told me that they almost never use the actual drops. I look at that bike and think I'd find even the hoods too low. I'm not passing judgement - just wondering how it works for you.


BikeSnobNYC said...

Dick Montero,

Yep, no problem using the drops, I use them regularly. The saddle/bar drop probably looks a little more extreme due to the angle. If I had them much higher it would be no good for races.

--Tan Tenovo

BikeSnobNYC said...

(Angle of the photo that is...)

OVerweight and underpaid said...

The stars and glitter are a nice touch.

I like the contrast of your racing steed with the trash strewn on the ground - kind of ying and yang.

By the way, I use my drops all the time, particularly when descending in order to keep my fat tummy as low as possible. That's a sight makes the trash look good.

huskerdont said...

Similar cheap plastic cap on the hydraulic cover of the Ultegra dick braeks. Went fine with the back brake, but for the front brake, the head stripped immediately so I can't bleed it. I was able to change the pads without needing the loosen the cap, but when it comes time to bleed it, yes, Ima have to sell the bike.* I could not face that fecking snobby mech at Spokes if I had to take it in for that.

*Impulse sentiment only.

janinedm said...

My saddle/bar drop are about the same, and I don't have trouble riding in the drops though I do come up to the hoods to brake. In-saddle experiments have shown I don't have to come up to brake, but at this point its habit. I find that being in the drops forces me to use good cycling form, which makes the longer rides more efficient/less necessitating epsom salts afterward.

Drock said...

1x, fd not for me

Anonymous said...

Dear Snob!

I just read yesterday's post and it occurred to me that there may be one more cause of the clicking noise you are hearing, check the seat post/seat tube interface. A friend of mine had a new (1 year old) bike that clicked constantly much my amusement. I ridiculed him during our rides because my 1980 Fuji America was completely silent. He set about to located the source of the noise and tried everything you did, bottom bracket, hubs, spokes, tightening bolts, but nothing worked. Finally the third bike mechanic suggested putting some oil in the seat tube to see if that would help and it definitely reduced the clicking. It turns out that there was a sleeve in the seat tube that was not properly attached. What finally fixed the noise was the bike coming off the roof rack during an accident.

Best of luck in fixing the problem.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 3:55pm,

I have messed around with the whole seatmast/fairing/sleeve situation though still certainly possible it's the culprit.

--Tan Tenovo

HDEB said...

Not having a Dura Ace front dérailleur is all that has kept me from earning the maillot jaune ; )

wishiwasmerckx said...

Tan, have you ever considered the possibility that the clicking sound may be coming from your knee, and not the bike?

JLRB said...

fake plastic hats

Anonymous said...

I rather enjoyed your jibe about titanium. The titanium crew are, of course, risible characters. Nerdish fetishists. Why can't they get off on human objects of desire like the rest of us?


Except, somewhere deep down inside there's this niggling little feeling that they may be onto something...

Have you ever owned/ridden a titanium bike? If so what's it like, if not, might you consider making a future acquisition a titanium bike so that those of us who vicariously explore cycling's underbelly through your excursions might get a lustful insight into the fable of the lauded titanium?

Meantime, mocking the titanium mob should continue apace.

1904 Cadardi said...


Take the cap off with vise-grips and replace with the metal plug from an XT caliper (assuming it fits) or the hardware store.

robo-qwizz: Select all pictures with bicycles. Tan, you've been training me for this day and I passed so you get half my winnings!

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 5:58pm,

I've ridden a couple of Moots. (Mootses? Mootsi?) They were really nice bikes. As a father with 17 children to feed I won't be buying any titanium bikes anytime soon, though if one were to fall into my lap somehow obviously I wouldn't complain.

--Tan Tenovo

Anonymous said...

I believe tan tenovo already tested the seat post theory by simply riding out of the saddle.
Noting the recent death of a 19 year old while time trialing, I could not find any comment on helments; if he was wearing one then it's time to start suing companies for what must certainly be a defect that leads to either injuries or death; the same could be applied to hockey and football concussions.

JLRB said...

I'm willing to bet my nearly new Lynskey cost less than the new plastic specimen with the stars etc, but I did have to replace a poorly installed cable housing to get rid of a creaking noise.

And Anon @5:58, do you really think all people who have bikes made of titanium are a mob? Is
said mob headed for the Southern border in a shiny pace-line caravan?

BikeSnobNYC said...


I'd advise against making that bet.

--Tan Tenovo

Biketubeguy said...

The mental picture of you, The Bike Snob, smugly cruising Yonkers' byways on that consummate plastic fred-sled gives one pause. Clearly, you need to remain abreast of the latest mainstream tech in order to crucify it, and you've certainly earned the indulgence, having endured those sacrificial hours of auditory torture aboard the spruce goose, but still...we anxiously anticipate your next rig, which can't possibly be less intriguing than the sell-out sparkle wagon.

cyclejerk said...

So glad I'm not a rapist.

BikeSnobNYC said...


What the hell do you think I've been doing for the last 25 years?!? I've spent my entire adulthood Fredding about astride an unbroken string of Specializeds and Cannondales. (Except when they've broken of course.) Why would I stop now?

--Tan Tenovo

huskerdont said...

Kinda thinking about Ti lately, so read the Road Bike Review of an $8,500 Moots. I just can't pay more for a bike than I did for my first four cars combined.

Cadari, I tried getting the cap off with needlenose pliers, but there wasn't enough of a lip to get a grip even with those pointy things. Admittedly I was frustrated and may have given up too easily, so at some point I will try again.

I am not a robot; however, I may be a replicant.

tubasti said...

Ah, the latest generation of Shimano 11-speed mechanical derailleurs. After reading the directions and applying some shortcuts, some original and others gleaned from YouTube, I have managed to set these up without doing any more damage than shredding a cable once or twice. Regardless, it still beats trying to position the adapter pin according to the angle by which the cable rises between the chainstays.

Unknown said...

Hey there buddy,
Y5ZS22000 is the part number for a replacement cable cap and they are $3
Treat yourself

Wesley Bellairs said...

STI is for woozies. Get SunRace 8sp downtube shifters and matching SR ders and never adjust them again after first 100 miles. Take the $900 you save and buy a Colossi lugged Frame from me.