Making Do

The hoods on the Superbe Pro brake levers on the Rivendell Road are badly dried and ripping.  A nasty tear is visible in the first picture here.  The rips on the sides of each hood come together some when they are removed (surprised they came off without tearing all the way through), but clearly their best days are behind them.

I wish I could use them until they disintegrated, but they look out of place on the shiny new to me bicycle.  They gotta go!

Replacement hoods are not easy to find.  SunTour doesn’t make them (SunTour isn’t really SunTour these days–it is just a name bought and used by a conglomerate and slapped on strange mountain bike parts).  No aftermarket makers produce a hood for this lever.  If I were patient, a NOS pair would show up on eBay, but they’d be pricey (around $100), they’d be as dry as the ones I am replacing and they might not survive installation intact.

What to do?  I ordered a pair of Dia Compe 287 hoods.  

Pluses–they are readily available, affordable and the rubber is soft and new.  Minuses–they are longer than the Superbe Pro hoods.  When a hood is longer than the body of the lever, the hood rides forward and up a bit leaving a space between the front of the lever and the inside of the hood.  They look and feel sloppy.  I am happy to report that the minuses are easily erased by trimming the back opening of the longer hoods to match the length and shape of the original hoods. 

I used a small pair of scissors from a first aid kit.  The short blades made turns easy to negotiate.  I had little faith this project would come out well, so I worked more quickly than I should have.  Start to finish in about an hour.  If I had known this could work, I would have taken more time.  As it is, the modified new hoods look pretty good.   They certainly feel nicer in my hands.

The cap over the peak of the lever is a little loose.  If I removed a bit more material I could pull them back some and snug that up, but I am satisfied for now.

The side view is solid.  These straight cuts were easy as the hoods have very little material on the sides.  I achieved nice arced cuts on the bottoms of the hoods, too.  Again, this was easy as the hoods are thin there as well.

Unfortunately, the least attractive cut (shown above) is the one I see as I pedal.  There is a bunch of rubber inside the hood on top (to help form a transition ramp and provide cushion) so it was pretty tough to make the arced cuts necessary to follow the circumference of the bar.

If you want replacement hoods for SunTour Superbe Pro aero levers, I’d heartily recommend using modified Dia Compe 287 hoods.  The Dia Compe hoods might work on other aero levers, too.  There seems to be an abundance of vintage aero levers on eBay, but very few have nice hoods.  Even more are offered naked (without hoods).  The levers with rough hoods sell cheaply and the naked levers sell for less.  Add modified Dia Compe 287 hoods to a set of naked vintage levers and you end up with well made and attractive levers for very little money.

I undertook another project yesterday necessitated by receiving a bill for a credit card account I didn’t open.  $450 big ones.  I spent three hours speaking with the billing company, every other financial institution I do business with, the credit bureaus, the local police (they sent an officer to my home!) and the FTC.  Things are locked down tightly now, but I suspect I haven’t seen the last of this little game.  Crazy world we live in.

Not crazy?  How happy I am about 2011.  Lacey and Frida are doing great.  I love them with all my heart and they give me buckets-full of love in return.  Our families are doing well, too.  They support us in so many meaningful ways.  We also have a group of wonderful friends, each of whom makes huge contributions to our happiness and growth.  My work is back after a couple of very slow years.  It didn’t come back so quickly as to crush me, but it wasn’t easy to fire up long-dormant engines.   I couldn’t have done it without my colleagues, clients, developers and financing team members.  Then this blog.  I’ve enjoyed writing 315 posts over three years and have received so much wonderful feedback from readers.  Altogether hundreds of people deserving thanks.  Luckily, gratitude is a limitless  resource.  I give it all to all of you.  You make my life worth living!  Have a great new year.  Have fun, do good and be happy.  Bye!


4 responses to “Making Do

  1. Thanks very much for documenting the work you did on your brake hoods, Randal. I have two sets of Superbe Pro levers and the hoods are completely shot. I was looking at the 287s but could tell they weren’t a perfect match. Good to know they’ll work fine with a little modification. -PM

  2. did you keep the old hoods as I am looking for some as investigating having moulds made or if any one else has some old hoods that could be patched up to make moulds I am interested.

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