Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bar Tape and Fenders for Greg Curnoe Bike

As I was getting a bit sick of working on the grey-and-rust-coloured bare frame—this is, after all, a bike inspired primarily by a very colourful painting!—I decided last week to wrap the Curnoe bike's bar tape.

I drive myself a bit crazy with explanations and justifications for every choice on the bike. The handlebar tape is no different, of course. Since the bike in the painting is a time trial bike, only the drops are wrapped, and its Super Record brake levers have no hoods:

Since mine is a road bike, I wanted hoods, and I wanted bar tape everywhere. But I needed to compromise somehow with the painting. The first solution was to use clear hoods on Super Record brake levers—that way you can see the grey-purple brake lever bodies, but also actually put your hands on them. I thought about wrapping clear or grey tape on the tops of the bars, but decided in the end I'd prefer the look of red all the way up. But to preserve a "trace" of the painting, I decided to leave the clamps exposed. (They're especially pretty clamps, by the way—from Victory brake levers. Since the Curnoe bike has a Campagnolo decal in the painting, take this as justification to show off as many Camagnolo logos as possible.)

The bars and stem are Nitto—copies of the Cinellis, much as my bike is a copy of a different original. The clear hoods are Modolos.

Set up with the levers even with the drops. Note the nice clamp decal.

I began the tape-wrapping process by "masking off" the clamp with two lengths of red tape purchased at Hoopdriver. (I've since begun to wonder if it would be possible just to wrap the bar all the way, and then slip the clamp over the tape. Some quick experiments suggest that it is not.)

Then, using the normal methods, I wrapped the rest. I doubt the bike in the painting had shellacqued bar tape, but that's part of my style, so mine got it. (Bike on stem-holding duty: Marinoni.)

It was really, annoyingly difficult to pull this off cleanly. (Indeed, it didn't come out all that cleanly.) Some tape runs end very abruptly in awkward places on the bar. The trick of cutting tape at an angle in order to finish it cleanly—which works with cork, or with tennis racquet grip tape—does not work for cloth tape. Anyway, I used some Gorilla Grip glue to hold the awkwardly terminated ends down securely, and then this ad hoc fixture to hold down anything else that tried to pop up in the shellacquing process.

If you tape a step back, I think this might be the coolest-looking handlebar ever. The red is really luminescent, the clear hoods are incredible, and the poppy-red housing I have matches the tape surprisingly well.

I really like how the exposed clamp looks, and I love how the red housing shows through the clear hoods where it meets the lever.

I also fitted the fenders in the last few days. I've been working on these for a long time, but this is the first time they've been installed on the bike. I was sort of worried that fenders would spoil the "sporty" look of the bike, but I don't think they will—especially when they're painted orange. The fender lines are pretty perfect (they're maybe a bit tighter on the rear than the front, but not much.) I was hoping they would just cover the tread, to give the effect that the orange-painted fender "is" the tread, and that came off pretty well. (Ignore the screwy fender lines on the front: my draw bolts are all loose here; trust me that, with them properly tightened, the lines are good—tighter on the top and looser on the bottom!)

Aren't radial front wheels beautiful?

The good rear fender lines. The fender pulls up a bit right at the back when tightened—I'm not sure why. The inflated tire does go in!

Here is the external evidence of the internal reinforcing plate for the rear fender. On the inside is a used hacksaw blade drilled with four holes. I got this idea from Mike Barry—and the beautiful bolts from Martin at Hoopdriver. (My leather washer is a bit fatter that I thought it was—but the tire-to-fender clearance still seems to be around 1cm.)

I just love forward fender stays.

I followed the fender-installation instructions in the latest Bicycle Quarterly to the letter. The stays are pre-bent so that tightening the bolts does not serve to bend them.

This picture, if I may say so myself, presents a tour de force of stay-bending: the forward fender stay is bent so that it leaves the fork at a perpendicular angle, then meets the fender perpendicular to the tangent, and is then also bent to meet the eye bolts straight; and the front fender stay too is bent to meet its eyelets.

Finally, this is the actual seatpost, at the actual height, with the actual saddle and actual stainless steel clamp bolt. The saddle in the painting is not one my bum would be very happy on, and the seatpost seems like a rather junky straight post with a bolt-on clamp—so I felt utter freedom here. I love Flite saddles, and this one has yellow and red details that will fit in well. The seatpost is marked with a sharpie so that I know where to polish it.

It looks like I've finally tracked down some brake cable housing stops for the top tube, so I should be able to finish all the brazing some time this week. (The demise of Bikelugs.com has been most inconvenient for the building of this bike!) Then just a little bit more filing to do. Close!


Ryan said...

Have you thought about possibly using Campagnolo brake cable clamps instead of the cable housing stops? They could also help add some more Campagnolo logos to the bike.

AH said...

AND they're in the painting! But the practical, framebuilding, bike-riding part of me refuses. Stops just make so much more sense mechanically -- and they don't dig themselves into the paint.

Lee said...

Lovely red tape. Might have to do the same on mine. Great blog!