Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sometimes It's All Just Drillium and Rainbows

Short ride to try out new handlebars, stem, levers...oh hey, a rainbow!

The drillium will find work for idle hands to do, I believe the saying goes. Rainy and unsettled, the morning proved perfect for installing some new parts: stem, bars, brake levers, yellow cotton bar tape to match the yellow bike. The original 1973 Sakai Road Champion bars were too narrow, and the old stem a little too lacking in extension for my comfort. 

The new setup turned out with the bars about 3.5 cm wider, about 1cm closer, and about 2cm higher than the old ones. It's not a huge difference. But the new bars already seem more comfortable than the old ones, which felt cramped, with more positions and more room for my largish hands on the tops. I'll go into more specifics once I get some more miles on the combination, and get it dialed in. This was just the initial try-out ride.

As soon as I saw these TRP drillium* levers existed, my hands itched to hold them

Probably mainly due to the old bars, the levers I had were also getting a bad reputation with my hands. I generally like the Cane Creek SCR-5 levers, and will probably re-use them in the future. But once I saw these TRP levers are available in brown, I pictured the yellow cotton bar tape as part of the combo, and since the saddle is already leather, it was all over.

Vintage weather forecasting device: significant chance of rain

Everything seemed tightened and adjusted pretty well for the first ride. It may take a lot more miles before I settle in to what (if any) further adjustments I'll make. When I started the ride, I was still harboring a sneaking suspicion about the drillium levers. They certainly are not needed to lighten up this non-light old ten speed with the chrome steel stem. But the fast-moving storm to the north blowing through the city at sunset, kicking up lightning and thunder, hitting me with cold gusts on the way out and spattering me with showers on the way back, also generated a sunset rainbow.

The lighting seemed just right, low and bright, and I was imagining leaning the bike against a pole to catch some of the low rays on the yellow, when the rainbow appeared. I started to think, well, that's certainly fortunate, how nice for the blog photographs. Then, as if to shake me from my abstracting and yank me back to the concrete here/now, cold drops started splashing on me, and the wind started whipping up again. I headed for home, yes content in the initial impressions of the new setup, but also pulled into the moment by nature around me, by the bright colors and drama in the sky, and by the interesting texture of my fingertips touching cold, drilled chrome: sometimes it's all just drillium and rainbows.

Brown aluminum bar plug to seal the deal

Sun, and you can just glimpse the dark clouds in the upper left

*some real, actual, vintage drillium for your edification, over here


  1. Replies
    1. Reminds me of the old Smiths' song: Oh drillium, drillium, it was really nothing...

  2. The drillium is nice, but those brake hoods are COOL!

  3. BTW, I love not having captchas. I hope it has been working well.


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