If you’re like me, you really like bikes. From my experience you’re either one or the other. You either love bikes, the latest tech, trends, finishing touches etc.
On the flip side, you just see your bike as a tool, you use it to race and train. If it’s lucky it might get a wash every now and then.
Being a bit of a bike nerd there’s a few little touches that anyone can make to their bike to take it the next level. Like I said, most people wouldn’t even notice these things but there’s a minority of us that lay awake at night thinking of cool little touches we could make to our prized possession.
Bar tape is one of those things you would think is fairly standard or maybe you could get fancy by cutting the end of the tape at an angle.
Wiggins started a new trend towards the end of his career of wrapping the bar tape all the way to the stem. To be honest I question why this isn’t the norm. It looks gangster and it’s practical!
Another cool bar tape trick is when you are wrapping the tape to start at the stem and work your way to end of the bar. This means you no longer require electrical tape at the top of the bar. This hack does come at a cost though; you tend to wear the tape out quicker as the direction of the wrap means the tape can fray.
Gear and brake cables, again another part of the bike you would think are bog standard. Not for us bike nerds!
One for the weight weenies is to cut your cables as close as possible to the derailleurs. Just make sure that the cable is well bedded in before you cut it short. This makes the bike look incredibly tidy and probably saves 0.05g.
A similar rule applies to the outer cables. Have these cut as short as possible just so they are long enough to allow the handlebars to turn sufficiently.
Cables rubbing against your frame and wearing away the paint is everyone’s nightmare but frame stickers aren’t the coolest things in the world. Rubber cables covers will save you covering frames paint job in cheap stickers.
For those privileged enough to have Di2; Shrink wrap is the key to neat cables!
When it comes to ascetics, stems should be slammed and steerer tubes should be cut flush with the stem, no questions asked. It may not be comfortable but fashion comes first. In terms of the steerer tube being cut flush, that is a safety precaution also. The steerer tube plug is located at the top of the steerer, therefore if your stem is located below this it is liable to crush the hollow steerer tube.
Also the longer and more negative the degree of the stem the better!
Probably best I mention some of the basics. Assuming everyone knows them isn’t the best idea.
- Accessories e.g frame pumps, frame bags etc. leave them for the triathletes!
- Safety covers behind the cassette; find the closest bin and put it in there!
- Tan wall tyres are the best addition that can be made to any bike
- No coloured tyres
- Keep your bike clean
- The colour of your bar tape and saddle must be the same
- Choose the smallest frames that will fit you; long seat post and stem are essential for ascetics.
If you have all of the above boxes ticked and you wish to take a picture of your tricked out machine, make sure to have the drivetrain facing the camera and in the big ring.
I know some of you know may believe I am completely mental and am showing clear signs of OCD. Don’t worry it’s just a passion of mine that I hope one or two of you share with me. Hopefully I’m not the only one that takes better care of their bike than their own body!