Okay folks, now then, today for your reading pleasure or otherwise I'm going to waffle on about this, the lovely Steyr-Puch Clubman, and something I thought I'd never fit to one of my bikes again... Handlebar ends!
Despite having a puncture at the moment, and a saddle that for some reason or another I no longer find comfortable, this thing is wonderful to ride. It has become my go-to bike for my evening ride as it just sort of glides along the road with relative ease. It is almost perfect, and easily as good as the Kalkhoff that it has replaced in my collection. However, this is not to say that it is immune from further tweakage, oh no, that would be crazy because is anything we build ever fully finished? My feeling is probably not. But for my latest bit of tweaking I have done something that I've not done since the eighties... I've fitted handlebar ends.
Over the years I've had several sets of these come to me on various bikes, and I hate them, and I've not had these things on my own bikes since the eighties, I just think they look kinda ugly, and despite how functional they may be, I just hate the way they look. But back in 2019 when I was putting a Muddy Fox Shout together for Mrs Clint she insisted that she wanted them on her new ride. One thing I was surprised about when I tested her new bike out after I'd thrown it together, and before she got to ride it was that I did use them, and even found to my horror that I actually liked using them on my ride. But, like I said, I can't stand how they look, they always just look too damn big and chunky. However, for whatever reason I do tend to find that when I ride the Clubman I find myself riding along with my hands over the ends of the handlebars in a position like I am holding on to bar ends. I dug through my stash and found numerous sets of handlebar ends that I have removed from various bikes over the years, but I just couldn't bring myself to fit them to my bike, as I said before, they're just too damn ugly. I figured that I'd just leave it, I didn't really want them anyway. But then at the tip there was a Trek with these quite compact looking bar ends, and so it was out with my little pocket allen key set, and pretty soon I had two little handlebar ends nestled in my pocket.
Once back at BelongaClint, and still not entirely sure I really wanted these things on my bike. I set about installing them, but the installation wasn't as straight forward as I had hoped. I have a feeling that the handlebar ends that I had liberated from the Trek were probably meant to be used in conjunction with the grips on the Trek. Therefore the diameter of the hole in the bar ends was far too large to just fit over the handlebars alone. Irritatingly it was also too small to fit over the grips that I already had on the Clubman, however, I still have a few good pairs of used grips in my stash, and so I dug through the stash looking for something suitable. As ever, when I'm looking for something there was nothing to be found. I thought about popping back to the tip with a can of WD-40 to liberate the grips from the Trek, but as I remembered they weren't the best looking grips I'd ever seen, and they were a bit müllered anyway, so I figured I'd be better off just leaving them where they were. This left two options, buy some new ones, which to be fair I was against as now I had the bar ends they needed to be fitted immediately, and I didn't have time to wait for some grips to arrive in the post. The other option was to consult my bike collection, and rob a pair of grips from one of those. As it happened the Raleigh Maverick had the right grips, and so was relieved of them straight away. Before too long it was all fitted to the Clubman and I was off out for a ride.
As I rode along I looked at the bar ends and tried to convince myself that actually they didn't look too bad. to be fair to them, their compact design does make them look far better that any of the bar ends I've had before. But still... I guess I kind of prefer how it looks without them. That being said, most of the time when I'm riding it my hands are covering them, so I don't see them anyway. I've decided that for the time being atleast I'm going to make my peace with them, and stick it out for the sake of comfort.
Actually, by the time I got home I was wondering why I'd not fitted them before, they just make it so much better to ride. Not that it was bad in the first place you understand. So does this mean that I'll be flinging these things on all my bikes? Now that would be crazy talk, they're good on this because for whatever reason I seem to ride it with my hands placed over the ends of the handlebars naturally. I don't seem to do that with any other bike in my current collection, so I'm not going to need to fit bars ends to anything else... Currently... Thank goodness!
This just needs two things that I feel need to be addressed. Firstly the saddle. For whatever reason it's no longer comfortable, which is odd because it was comfortable on the Raleigh Lizard, and it was comfortable on this up until just recently. Although, now that I'm thinking about it perhaps it was never comfortable on this. I have a feeling that it was comfortable on the Lizard, but when I put it on this it wasn't quite so good. I remember thinking that it was OK for shorter rides, but on longer rides it did tend to make my bum a little bit sore. It just seems a bit odd to me that it never did that on the Lizard... Strange. Also I think the pedals need looking at. They are a traditional steel pedal with the rubber blocks and they've been OK, but just lately my feet have started to slip off them when I'm riding. I've stuck with them more for aesthetics than anything as they just look so right on this bike, but I'm thinking that a pair of aluminium Victor type pedals will be the way forwards here as I know I've got more than a couple of sets in my stash. Other plans for it will include fixing that puncture, and then just riding and enjoying it. I don't think it's perfect, and it never will be, is there such a thing as perfection in the arts? But whatever it it, it's pretty damn good!
So until next time, have a great day gang... Lets ride!