I was fortunate enough to strike a deal with a member on the BikeRadar forums who posted me his 9 speed double Tiagra shifters for £32. Bargain.
Changing the shifters requires new bar tape and optionally new cables, which I went for. At the same time I also changed the brake pads as they REALLY needed doing. So all in all I paid £9 for two pairs of brake pads (Wiggle), £6.50 for some new bar tape (Wiggle), £10 for 2x gear cables & 2x brake cables from a LBS & then the shifters, £32 as mentioned. Total: £57.50.
Okay, so this is how the Bianchi looked to start:
First step was to remove the existing bar tape:
Easy enough to do. I also took off the black tape holding the cable housing down. There was no real need to do this, I just fancied replacing it.
Next up was using a 5mm allen key to loosen the bracket holding the shifters on. If you peel back the rubber on the shifter you can see the allen key. It needs to be quite loose in order to wiggle the bracket off of the handlebars.
|I loosened the bracket too much and the shifter came off...|
|Track bike anyone?|
Okay, next up was to cut the existing cables and pull out all the bits from the various clamps or shifters. Alternatively, if your cables are still good you could undo all the clamps and push the cable out and re-use. My cables were the originals so probably could have done with the changing.
Once the shifters were off and all the cables were removed it was time to put the new shifters on. To do this the bracket was loosened and they were put to roughly the right position on the bars and tightened a bit. I then used a straight edge to measure where the shifters should go. I opted to have the bottom of the brake lever level with the bottom of the bars.
Next was attaching the brakes. I took this time to change the brake pads. Here is one of the ones I removed compared with the new one:
Once the new brakes were installed I hooked up the brake cables. Fed it through the shifters, through the housing and through the loosened clamp. Then I tightened the barrel adjuster, squeezed the brakes to the rim and pulled the cable tight. Tightened the clamp and then opened the barrel adjuster about four turns. Quick test and it looked pretty great! Very responsive, much better than previously.
The gear cables followed a similar pattern. I was worried about this bit but actually it was fairly easy. Pop in the cable, go through the housing, under the bottom bracket and up into the front derailleur or round to the back for the rear derailleur. Pull the cable tight and tighten the bracket. The rear derailleur took a bit more adjusting, opening and tightening the barrel adjuster and clicking through each of the gears but I got it as good as it was before long. I think a new chain/casette is needed to get the best out of the shifting but that's fettling for another day..
Once the brakes and gears were cable-d in, it was time to re-wrap the bars. Unfortunately I'm not very good at this so it's not the best job in the world but I'm pretty pleased considering, and much happier about the results of the shifter upgrade to really care about the bar tape job :)
And lastly, I took off the mudguards as to make it look a proper little summer bike for the missus.
We're off work this week so hopefully get her out a few times at least to get some miles in the legs. Hoping to get out a few times myself though we have got quite a busy social calendar so might have to sneak in a few hours here and there... Until next time, cheers!