Managed to squeeze in a cross country ride on Boxing day from one set of
parents to another. The weather in the South East is not severe as elsewhere
around the country but it's still wet enough to be very muddy everywhere.
I didn't ride into the puddle, the bike was placed in the puddle purely for
the photograph. The wheels were in the water for several minutes.
When I got back on and resumed cycling the mud that was on the part of the
wheel that was immersed in water slid off while everywhere else it
continued to stick causing the wheels to drag and release, drag and
release, and so on.
Further along the track became stony and less muddy and I knew it would
have puddles along it I could use to clean the mud off the wheels simply by
riding through them.
The puddles spread across the track, a good eight feet wide in places and
on riding through them discovered some were probably a foot deep in places.
I got rather wet and the noise caused the horses in the field beside the
track to run around in circles watching me. I also caught the attention
of a young horse rider whose head I could see over a fence grinning at me.
Now my bike was relatively clean, it was time to get back into the fields
and orchards for the final leg of the journey where it got covered in mud
all over again.
During the run in to Black Friday I was ruminating upon the opportunity to
buy more bike stuff when the idea of new brakes for my Canyon Nerve XC
seemed particularly appealing.
I never had been impressed with the factory fitted Avid Elixir 3 brakes,
they just didn't seem to perform as well as the Shimano Deore brakes I'd
been using on my hardtail for the past eight* years.
They also didn't appear to be doing well in the durability stakes with the
finish on the lever body and caliper body showing obvious surface
corrosion. The old Deore hydraulics are bomb proof in comparison.
Given my budget, I was aiming to aquire a set of Shimano XT brake levers
and calipers (and use the existing rotors). After a few days resisting the
click of the proverbial buy now button, I decided new brakes were an
extravagance I didn't need.
Then I started looking at Shimano SLX brakes, one step down from XT. The
reviews were very positive and seemed to suggest XT didn't have much
performance-wise over these, just a little bit lighter and boasted a
pointless adjustmer nobody ever used.
Using on a popular forum I soon found confirmation that SLX brakes are a
worthy upgrade to Avid Elixirs (nobody even to contradict it). I found the
best deal I could for a set of front + rear levers, hose, and calipers,
pre-bled and ready to bolt on and ride with.
Then I discovered the reason for their low price - the length of the rear
hose was rather short. I measured the hose for the Elixirs and it was 15cm
longer but I hoped I'd get away with it, especially as the Shimano brakes
allow the hose to be angled where it is attached to the caliper.
Alas I was wrong, the hose was too short, but sending them back wasn't an
option as Black Friday deals had ceased by this time! I looked at
alternative routing options and a more direct route along the top-tube
would be fine for the hose length.
But then that would require spending money on cable guides to hold the hose
in place, thus losing the saving gained by the short hoses. Or I could
kill two birds with one stone here, and finally do away with the cable ties
holding the dropper post cable in place and do it properly with guides.
Except the top tube isn't circular in profile nor uniform along the length,
so the wrong shape for guides which clamp on. Forum posts about cable
guides suggested the stick-on guides lacked durability and reliability.
Eventually I found a solution which wouldn't require too much work for me
to make. I would use a strip of aluminium sheet and bend it to have two
loops; one for the dropper-post remote cable, and the other for the
hydraulic brake hose. The guide would be held onto the top tube by way of
rubber o-rings (as commonly used for holding lights to handlebars).
The first I made became a prototype after cutting the lips for holding the
o-ring far too short. On the plus side, I now knew what was involved, what
to use to for shaping the aluminium to fit snuggly around the hose and
cable, how to clamp it in the vice to bend it.