Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Fabricating Aero Cycling Bars

One of the worst decisions I ever made was to sell my Trek road bike in a garage sale for $40. I thought I'd never ride it again, as I was interested in off road cycling at the time. Now, I'm riding more roads than trails and wish I could have that bike back. It had the clips, the aero bars and everything that I want today.

I recently sold my heavy (45 lbs.) mountain bike on Craig's List to a UT student. In it's place I bought a light, 27-pound Bianchi and starting to change it's soul from a mountain bike to more of a hybrid with road accessories. Last weekend at Frankenbike, I purchased some used cycling shoes for $20 and a pair of clipless pedals for $15. By the way, the recumbent made an appearance at Frankenbike and got it's picture taken. Take a look at Frankenbike #3.

The next thing I wanted for the bike were some aero bars. A friend had passed along a Nash Bar catalog and they still seemed expensive for a couple of pieces of tubing, bolts and padding. Some getting upwards around $140. REI's sale brought them down to the $110 range. I thought I could build something for far less money, after all, it's bars, tubing and padding.

I took a stroll through Home Depot last weekend and found a lightweight broom handle to start with. Moving over to the plumbing section I looked through the PVC section and stumbled across everything I needed, or thought I needed. Connecting pieces together like a Lego model, I came up with a design that resembled most of the aero bar concepts.

Three days later and the aero bars are on the bike. I tried them out last night, after I had glued the bars into place and put new grips onto the other bar and tightened everything down. I won't be able to put any weight on them but who does anyway. They're light and the placement of the shifters works fine. All of the weight is placed on the padding and transferred down to the main sterring bar. The flex but allow me to steer in either direction. Total cost for the aero bar parts came to $8.45.

Sometimes atoms are too expensive, based on the brand or other market factors. It seems everything related to bicycles is expensive. Browsing through the local bike shop I saw bikes for $1,400, shoes for $120, handle bars for $75. This may seem like no big deal to others but I find the stuff extremely expensive for a bicycle and accessories. But then again, I lean towards function over design or brand in most cases.

Maybe I've watched too many episodes of Biker Build Off or American Chopper, where they tend to fabricate many of the things they put on their motorcycles, excluding the engine and tires. Fabrication of parts doesn't have to include welding. It can be PVC if it stands up to the stress of the purpose it's used for. And fabrication doesn't have to only include bike parts, motorcycle or bicycle. So many things can be fabricated form found parts in the hardware store.

My recumbent bike is testament to fabrication. It works, it functions, and it was a joy to build.

Main Entry: fab·ri·cate
Pronunciation: 'fa-bri-"kAt
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): -cat·ed; -cat·ing
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin fabricatus, past participle of fabricari, from fabrica
1 a : INVENT, CREATE b : to make up for the purpose of deception
2 : CONSTRUCT, MANUFACTURE; specifically : to construct from diverse and usually standardized parts
- fab·ri·ca·tor /'fa-bri-"kA-t&r/ noun


Blogger daniel58 said...

I absolutely loved your creative way of making a homemade version of aerobar that is custom made to order. Perhaps you can take some closeup pictures from side view perspective. It looks like one can make two versions of aerobars one for a road bike and one for a mountain bike with some judicious experimentation of course.

9:31 AM  

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