Bentley Components ‘dwidget’.

30 04 2017

It is a bit precious of me, but as much as I like using ‘gas tank’ style bags for food and stuff, I have always had issues with the strap around the steerer bit.

The straps cannot be tight enough on several of my bikes due to the lack of steerer space under the stem, or truss fork clamps. The strap is also a source of wear and I have several King top caps with missing bits of material and anodising due to this.

One idea I had explored was a top tube mounted bottle or Many Thing cage. After discussion with Sean regarding my next bike, the use of midline bolt holes and heat from welding meant it was a possible weakness in a critical position, so I went back to the idea of a bag.

Mark, at Bentley Components, makes beautiful and functional things, including carb loading devices. After a brief discussion, an envelope sketch was produced and Mark made the concept a reality.

This is a proto made out of delrin. This should be a great material for this part, but it may be that aluminium is a possibility. We’re not sure where it is going, but I can tell you it makes for a super solid gas tank mount that cannot cause any wear or interference with the stem in any way.

It is just over 10mm in height so it takes up minimal space and still allows headset pre-loading if required. It can mount above or below the stem. More in time, but if you might be interested in one, leave a comment so I can gauge interest.

It goes without saying, that I am hugely indebted to Mark Bentley for his help with this. Thank you!





Optimisation, part 2: Tooling up.

11 02 2017

What to carry when you ride. It’s a balance, isn’t it? on the one, hand you don’t want to be too encumbered with un-needed stuff, but on the other, a mechanical that can’t be fixed means a walk out.

Perhaps a long one.

The other key thing to keep in mind – the tools you carry *must* be effective. If you cant reach that essential 4mm hex bolt with your super-dooper, wee multi tool, it is useless.

Over the years, I have whittled down what I carry and made changes to the tools themselves in the interests of balancing utility with minimisation.

One relatively recent change has been the use of Backcountry Research Aweseme Straps and it’s various stable mates. These at-first-glance simple webbing straps have gone through several iterations to produce what I consider to be essential items. The Tülbag, courtesy of the inimitable Team Dicky is also well thought out – a good size, zip puller and grippy coated material make it an excellent jersey pocket take-along.

In it, I have a 5, 6 and 8mm PB Swiss hex key. These are coloured so they are more difficult to lose in grass and are made to exacting tolerances. There is a magnetic bit holder that allows me to use a PH2, slotted 5.5mm, T25, 2, 2.5, 3, and 4mm bits as needed.

I used to use the PB Swiss bike tool. This has most of the above tools, but also 2 integrated tyre levers and the subtle difference was down to me adding a 8mm bit. In use though, anything that requires an 8mm bit required enough torque that it damaged the magnetic bit holder over time, rendering it, eventually, useless.

I also never use tyre levers. All my tyre and rim combinations can be remounted by simple thumb pressure. It just takes practice.

What else? a Park tools folding chain tool and 10 or 11 speed quick link.

I also carry a Race Face 8 to 16mm adaptor. This is used to tighten their next SL and sixc cranks. essential if seldom (never? – so far!) required.

Occasionally, I add a ‘specialist’ tool… like this Bentley Components carbo loading tool – light and effective.