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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Shelton, CT
    Posts
    36

    Should I try to change my bar tape & shifters myself? (scared newbie)

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    Hey girls, I'm pretty new to working on my own bikes, and I've just purchased a used Concord Freedom10. There's something I couldn't resist about a bike older than I am that's in such great shape. I did some basic maintenance on her (Changed one bad tire out, cleaned & lubed chain & rings) and will eventually change both tires to matching whitewalls, but there's 2 things I want to do that I'm pretty intimidated about them. I wanted to see if you girls had any advice for me.

    1.) Bella has stem shifters. They work, and are actually in amazing condition, but they drive me crazy. I'm considering bar end shifters, and want to try to do them myself, but I've never even touched shifting systems before, so I'm kind of terrified I'll royally screw her up.

    2.) Bar tape! It seems just so simple, but, remembering arts and crafts as a kid, I remember how my projects were pretty easily the ugliest of them all in almost all those classes. Is it hard, or am I just psyching myself out?

    Thank you girls, I don't think I could have survived some of the disasters without your help, especially tackling those first months of hills when I started commuting!

    And, because I want to share her, here's Bella:

    Happily at the center of a poly V with my bikes
    -"Cookie Monster" 2001 Motiv Mountain converted for commuting. My little monster.
    -"Bella" Concord Freedom10- My little project. Sweat and blood, pretty girl <3

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,713
    Bar tape is theoretically possible to do yourself. I don't have the patience for it, so I'll be getting DBF/the LBS to do it for me when I have to replace it (which will be soon).

    I don't know if it's even possible to put bar-end shifters on this thing, but if you're relatively new to bike maintenance, I wouldn't touch it and would let the shop do it.
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
    http://wholecog.wordpress.com/

    2009 Giant Avail 3 |Specialized Jett 143

    2013 Charge Filter Apex| Specialized Jett 143
    1996(?) Giant Iguana 630|Specialized Riva


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    105

    With a little help

    I'm hoping taping the bars isn't too tough, I have my new frame built up and ready except for the bar tape so while I'm dragging my feet I really feel its doable. You tube has several videos.

    As for the barend shifters, what size is the cassette ? 6 speed? My brother wants to do the same and I saw some compatible friction shifters at orangevelo that would work. Though I agree that it would be easier and less time consuming to have a shop do it. When I did mine I scheduled for someone at the shop to take a look at the job I did to make sure I got it right.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    Heh, maybe it's just me, but I find shifter installation and adjustment WAY easier than wrapping bars. With bar tape there's finesse every single turn of the tape - shifters are just a matter of install, position, adjust. I've never done bar-ends, but I can't see how they'd be much different from other types.

    It seems to me that wrapping handlebars is mainly a matter of practice and patience. Your LBS mechanic who does it a dozen times a day can do it in three minutes and have it look perfect. Me, who might do it once every other year, it always takes at least five re-wraps and even then it's lumpy at the bar end.

    But heck ... your question was should you try. If you're asking the question, that means you want to, and so the answer to should you try is absolutely! It's a really good skill to have, and even if it doesn't look perfect, you'll have the sense of accomplishment, and you'll have that much practice under your belt for the next time you do it.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,738
    Oak is right- taping is all about patience and practice. Go slow, be prepared to unwrap and re-wrap sections, and check out the instructions at http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-...ation-drop-bar.

    But you should definitely try it yourself!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    4,083
    Taping bars isn't hard, even if you're not real craftsy. I'm not either, but I did it on my first try without any trouble. Just pay attention to how you unwind it - snapping photos as you go can be a good idea, especially when you come to the bit around the shifters - and keep in mind that you want to reverse that.

    I would go for doing the shifters yourself, as long as you know that you have shifters that are compatible*. Changing a shifter cable is easy, and adjusting the derailleurs afterwards isn't hard if all the parts involved are in good condition. The worst that can happen is that you route something wrong, it doesn't work, and you take it to your lbs for them to fix. It's really hard to break or ruin something unless you're working with corroded parts or go out to ride with something obviously set up completely wrong.

    And it's soooo much fun to do it yourself! Take your time, ask questions if you get stuck, check out youtube, sheldon brown and Park Tool, and even if you have to give up you'll have learnt a lot about your bike.

    *I don't know stem shifters, but I've switched and adjusted other shifters and it was def. among the easier things I've done.

    eta: http://sheldonbrown.com/gloss_st-z.html#stemshifter
    ok, now I know what stem shifters are, thanks to Sheldon Browns almost-but-not-quite-condescending article... |-)
    Last edited by lph; 03-29-2012 at 05:16 AM.
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

    1995 Kona Cinder Cone commuterFrankenbike/Selle Italia SLR Lady Gel Flow
    2008 white Nakamura Summit Custom mtb/Terry Falcon X
    2000 Schwinn Fastback Comp road bike/Specialized Jett

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Shelton, CT
    Posts
    36
    You girls always make me feel better when I'm all shaky! Thank you all for your encouragement, I think I'm definitely going to try this! I rode her today, only about 12 miles, and despite her age, the shifters are in great condition, but they are SUCH a pain in the ***. Particularly when I'm shifting up and I'm pulled down really low to the frame/bars. I either have to one hand reach under myself or sit up in order to shift, and it's obnoxious. I almost tipped today trying to do it
    Happily at the center of a poly V with my bikes
    -"Cookie Monster" 2001 Motiv Mountain converted for commuting. My little monster.
    -"Bella" Concord Freedom10- My little project. Sweat and blood, pretty girl <3

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    105

    Bars taped

    I taped my bars. I'm sure it is rough looking but it will work for this summer.

 

 

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