Sunday, April 17, 2016

Katie's bike - old old skool bar wrap and bike height

Back in the day (early 1970s) we wrapped handlebars with cotton bar tape and used electrical tape to wrap the ends of the bar tape. That would be old skool. Unfortunately, cotton tape quickly faded and wore out. But there is an older way that is coming back and that is to wrap the ends of the tape with twine and then to shellac them. That is old old skool. Using multiple coats of shellac gives a nice protective finish. When the shellac starts to wear you just add another couple of coats of shellac. Here I am putting on the first coat of clear shellac. I put on 4 coats today and probably another 4 coats tomorrow.

I use Newbaum's bar tape. Made in the USA. They have a wide range of colors. Most who wrap the ends use twine. I use the same waxed polyester cord that we use to wrap gordy's camera straps. We have 14 colors on had for me to choose. We get the waxed cord from Maine Thread Company. They have a lot more colors to choose from. We use the .040" dia cord

The frame is larger than someone Katie's size would usually ride. She managed by tipping the bike a little. My plan was to go to a smaller wheel size to lower the frame. Katie's bike originally had 27" wheels. I went with the smaller diameter 650B wheel size to lower the frame height. Then, of course, I put fat tires on that raised it back up again. The tires are light and fast as well as comfortable to ride so they are worth it but I've been wondering just how much did the height change. I finally remembered Zoe's old Motobecane Mirage from the 1970s that she used to ride. It had 27" wheels. I got it out and measured the dia of Zoe's wheel and Katies. It turns out the 650b wheels, even with the big tires lowered the frame 1/2".

Here is Zoe's Motebecane. I am hoping to build this frame up with new components like I did with Katie's bike. Zoe will try riding Katie's bike to see how it goes. We seem to have become less flexible as we age. The Motobecane frame is smaller. It's a nice riding frame. Not worth a lot of money but rides better than a lot of new bikes and Zoe loves the bike. It would be good to get it back on the road again. It is a worthy candidate to refurbish.

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