We are big fans of bells here at Commute By Bike.Â Every good commuter bike, or bicycle that is ridden near people and dogs, should have some sort of bell attached to it.Â After many years of trying various bells, some expensive and some inexpensive, I think Velo Orange has crafted my favorite for the city commuter.
The Velo Orange Brass Temple Bell attaches to only certain handlebars due to the limited clamp diameter.Â I would say it is safe to install it on a straight bar, townie or anything without an over-sized design.Â This bell is also pretty inexpensive at $8.00.Â You can save your pennies and install one on every bike you own…Â For a bell with better mounting choices, check out the Japanese Bell with Retro Space Mount.
Several weeks ago we went down the road of handlebar selection during the group build of the Surly Long Haul Trucker. I’m still venturing down this road slowly and have ordered in several various handlebars, with many more on the way. The biggest issue I’ve had is trying out handlebars that use road brake levers, or not and also bar-end shifters or not. To continue on my test I have also ordered in Paul Thumbies and Shimano long pull brake levers. *
Currently the process for handlebar testing is to install, document and measure.Â Test ride on normal road riding, semi off-road and crushed gravel type situations.Â Adjust, measure and document as needed.Â Wash, and repeat with next bar..Â What are your thoughts on the process? Anything to add or remove?
Because of the list above, and on-going handlebars that will probably be added this process may take a month or so but I will update you as I go through bars.
We’ve moved on to accessorizing and the important question now is fenders, what type, style and such. I’ve used various fenders over the years, and had great luck with SKS, Planet Bike and Velo Orange. For personal lust I have a set of Velo Orange fenders I’ve been saving for a moment like this. The idea of all silver/chrome parts on this bike with the blue paint makes me giddy!
As I’m leaving this as a sounding board for all of you to tell me your favorite fender and WHY, I’m not making this a poll but instead an open forum.
Planet Bike is a Commute By Bike sponsor, this doesn’t sway my opinion for them but by law I have to tell you this.
When I worked in a shop a few years ago in downtown Washington DC a issue that we came across about once a week, especially during winter, were completely ruined bottom brackets..Â A city of bike commuters would abuse their old school Trek and Raleigh bikes, letting the bottom bracket rust out (among other things..Â Using our handy cheater bar we would normally be able to break free the bottom bracket that possibly hadn’t seen the daylight since 1970 when the bike was built.Â 1 out of 10 times, threads would come with the bottom bracket and left the frame about useless.
Velo Orange now stocks a Grand Cru square bottom bracket that doesn’t require threads.Â How does it work.Â As you screw in the bottom bracket cup it pushes the sleeve out and into your bottom bracket in the frame.Â Now round up that “useless” frame you have laying in the basement and fix her up!