Finish Line Cross Country

I’ve gotten lazy in my old age. I never went so far as to remove my chain to clean it, but I used to watch it a bit more closely than I do now. I used to use ProLink on my road bike. That stuff is great but kind of light, and it definitely requires a bit more attention. I’ve used Finish Line Cross Country for years on my mtb, and have really appreciated its ability to keep the drivetrain running smooth on long muddy rides. Then I started using it on my commuter, which I often put away wet twice a day in rainy Seattle. Now I just use it on all my bikes. The stuff is awesome. Provides solid, durable protection. And if you’re working on a friend or relatives bike and get the feeling it won’t get oil on the chain for a while, use this stuff. I swear they put perfume in the bottle–definitely has a sweet smell. And hey, it’s green…

Finish Line Cross Country

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Silver Downtube Shifters

Well I’ve been running the Silver downtube shifters on my Surly Cross Check for a week, so and I think I can probably write a review now. I purchased these from Rivendell recently for $42 (looks like they’re $44 now). This is the first time I’ve run friction DT shifters on a bike since the mid-80s, which I was riding Campy Super Record (though I do I still have some friction Suntour barcons on my old Bonty cross bike…).

Why go back? Well, I run DT shifters on my two other bikes, but they are both index shifters with 7 speed Dura Ace. The Surly is 8 speed and I had been running it with flat bars with the Pauls Thumbies and 8 speed index shifters. But I just switched to drop bars. I was trying to decide between DT shifters and the Shimano barcons that I already have. I looked for 8 speed index DT shifters on eBay a bit but didn’t find what I wanted quickly and got impatient. Plus, I was curious about the Silvers.

These Silvers are probably the best friction shifters to come along since Simplex. But is that good enough? I definitely found myself not shifting as much with these. I remember the special overshift and correct motion you needed to do to get Campy Super Record friction to shift smoothly. You don’t have to do that with Shimano derailleurs. For some reason that made shifting a bit less satisfying for me. After a week I think I’m comfortable saying I don’t think I want to go back to friction. So I’m probably going to put those 8 speed Shimano barcons on there. Plus, I admit, a “cross” frame looks kind of weird with DT shifters… However, if you are looking for simple and dependable, you’re not gonna find something better than the Silvers. More pics after the jump!

Used for: 1 week
Price paid: $42
Purchased at: Rivendell
Rating: 3 stars!

Silver Downtube Shifters on Surly

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Pauls Thumbies

Until recently I was using my Cross Check to commute to work, and I had it set up with flat bars in order to better navigate through all the idiots on the MUT (I just switched the Surly to drop bars, but more on that later). For shifters I was using the levers that came with some Shimano 8-speed barcons, combined with Pauls awesome Thumbies. These things totally rock. I like Rapidfire, can tolerate Grip Shift, but I think thumb shifters are still my favorite. Paul’s solution isn’t cheap, but it sure is cool. More pics after the jump.

Used for: 5 years
Price paid: don’t remember
Purchased at: Bikeman via eBay
Rating: 5 stars!

Pauls Thumbies

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Park Screw Type Chain Tool

Is there a better chain tool on the market? Not that I know of. This thing is burly. And apparently they haven’t changed it 20 years or so, since they still make the CT-3. Works for 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 speed chains.

Used for: 20 years
Price paid: dunno
Purchased at: don’t remember
Rating: 5 stars!

Park Screw Type Chain Tool

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Campagnolo Pump Head

I bought this pump head for a Silca pump that never ended up on a custom frame because a) I didn’t manage to get the pump to the painter in time to have it match the frame and b) I started using mini pumps. These were the best pump heads on the market back in the 80s, and I always felt they’d be good against dogs if it really came down to it. Those little blue feet never lasted long, though…

Used for: 10 years
Price paid: don’t remember
Purchased at: Palo Alto Bicycles
Rating: 5 stars!

Campagnolo pump head

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Suntour Freewheel

Thought I’d do this as a quick follow up to the Dura Ace freewheel post. These were pretty much the standard freewheel for a few years in the mid-80s. Note the two prong removal tool (they went to a four prong a little later). The cogs were not evenly spaced so you could not use these with index shifters. The bodies were pretty durable, though. I remember having a huge Suntour cog board at Palo Alto bikes where you could make basically any combo you could think of.

Used for: 5 years
Price paid: don’t remember
Purchased at: Palo Alto Bicycles
Rating: 4 stars!

Suntour freewheel

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Mavic MA3

As you can probably guess by my post on BrokenBikeParts, I’m not a huge fan of Mavic MA3s. Cracks developed around the eyelets after just 5,000 or 6,000 miles, which apparently is pretty typical for these budget rims (and I don’t think it was the result of too much spoke tension). But this is the first time I’ve had an issue with a Mavic product in over 25 years, so I’m willing to keep buying their stuff. You can see the pics of the cracks at BrokenBikeParts.com

Used for: 2 years
Price paid: was included in a wheelset
Purchased at: Cambria Bike
Rating: 1 star :(

Mavic MA3

Benotto Bar Tape

Why do I still have three packages of Benotto bar tape? I’m not really sure. I still have Benotto tape on one bike, too. As a friend of mine once said, “Benotto is the only tape you can puke on and then wipe off.” So it’s the best tape if you do a lot of interval training. It also lasts forever, whether on the bike or in the package. I never tried the “heat with flame” thing mentioned in the instructions on the back of the package.

Used for: 25+ years
Price paid: $1.98
Purchased at: Palo Alto Bicycles
Rating: 5 stars!

Benotto bar tape

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