At one point in time, I was really into cycling. When I lived in the city, I used my bike for everything, going so far as to commute to my first real job year-round, through heatwave and snowstorm. I started out in college with an entry-level Trek 800 mountain bike, which was heavy and inexpensive. Over time I bought a second set of rims for it and mounted city tires for my daily commute. But it was a mountain bike and no amount of upgrades would change its geometry or weight, and I was interested in something lighter and faster to dart through traffic.

In 1995, I bought a well-used Trek 360 out of the Pennysaver from a kid who was upgrading his ride. I might have paid $150 for it, but I honestly don’t remember. He’d done some small upgrades to it in terms of the gearset and the rims, swapping out the stock Sugino units for a Shimano 105 crank and derailleur, and a new front rim/hubset. I was happy to re-wrap the handlebars after adjusting them to my height and reach, and I put new tires on it, adjusted the brakes, and replaced the saddle. Other than that I left it pretty much alone, and it served me well for miles of urban exploration and work commutes until I moved out of the city for good.

Since then, it’s mostly sat in the garage or basement; it’s hard to find someplace around here that’s suited to road riding that also fits into my schedule. I’ve thought about bringing it to work and locking it in the cycle room there so that I’d have something to ride during a lunch break.

One thing I recently decided to do was rebuild the handlebars to a more modern setup after stumbling on a set of bullhorn handlebars on deep discount. It came with old-school drop bars that feel old-school, and given the riding position I favor with my mountain bike, I like the feel of bullhorns better.

This involves removing the grip tape I installed in 1995, pulling the brake levers off, and swapping pretty much everything, so I ordered a set of bar-end brake levers to complement the bars. The brake levers get re-oriented at the very ends of the bars—they use the hole at the end of the bars as their mount point. This is a 40-year-old bike, and the old-school gear shifts are mounted on the drop tube, so I don’t need to worry about shift levers anywhere (and theoretically could change the whole thing out to a fixie if I wanted to). I’d like to ride this bike a little more, and for a total of about $40 this is a very inexpensive upgrade.

In the interest of cleaning things up, I’d also like to get some clean alloy lugs for the bottle cage mounts (there’s only one present), some black tubing for the cables, and black grip tape to match the new bars.

Eventually I’d love to put some newer rims and tires on it, but for that cost (the gearset is 30 years old) I’d do better to just buy a used modern bike. Fixing this old girl up will be fun, and that’s really what I’m interested in anyway.

Date posted: February 7, 2020 | Filed under general | Leave a Comment »

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