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  1. #1
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    My Long Haul Trucker

    Well, I finally got around to get some pictures of my Long Haul Trucker... I've had it for about a month now. Up until this weekend, my LHT looked almost exactly like every other utility blue LHT, however this weekend I put on elk Hide handlebar covers from Velo Orange. It took me about six or seven hours to get them sewn on - as it turns out, I'm not especially handy with a needle. The mixed lighting(my flash and the CFLs in my kitchen) was kind of a PITA, so the color balance isn't quite right. I will try to get some proper pictures (outside hopefully) later this week.




    I haven't quite figured out how to adjust the angle on my saddle yet. It's comfortable enough as it is, but it looks silly when I take a picture of it.





    They match the honey Brooks very well once treated with proofide... they soak up that stuff like a sponge. The first image is comparing the treated handlebars with a piece of the extra elk hide. The second is a second piece of elk hide I put a little proofide on to compare to the saddle. The handle bars are a bit darker as I was more liberal with the proofide. I think the most fun part was applying the proofide and massaging it into the elk hide... that stuff is like character in a tin. The leather took on new life immediately.

    Despite all the effort that went into putting this on, I'm actually thinking of taking it off and starting over. I don't think it provides enough padding on it's own, and would like to get a cotton wrap underneath. Also, I am thinking about getting a set of extra long cables so I can route the shifters under the wrap and clean it up a bit. If I do this, I will probably just order a new pair of the covers, cut them to length and pre-cut the lever opening, and then use the old ones for hood covers... I have a few ideas on how to do this. Also, it seems that the bottom of the left side of the handlebar covers is a bit wider than the rest, and as such is a bit loose, which I don't like. It was a lot of work getting these on though!

    Finally, a picture of my lighting... reminds me of Johny number 5 from the Short Circuit movies.


  2. #2
    AKA Nathan Dr_Robert's Avatar
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    That looks sweet. Great job!

    The funny thing about a project like this is once you get started, you tend to think of all kinds of ways that you could do it better next time... and invariably, you decide to have another go at it. Routing the shift cables under the wrap would be very clean - if you do decide to redo the wrap, I would definately try that.

    Do you ride with gloves? If not, a good pair of cycling gloves could reduce the need for additional padding. Just a thought.

    Again, nice work, and nice ride.

    -DR
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  3. #3
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    Nope, no gloves. I've been thinking about getting a pair, but with the cork wrap that came on the bike they weren't really necessary. I've spent over 2000 dollars on my bikes(Trek 7.2fx and LHT) and gear since I started in April, and am now trying to cut back... I was supposed to be saving money by not having to buy a new car! I guess I have, but not much...

    Worst part is, I'm planning on touring Death Valley National Park in January and am buying camping gear for that now... ugh. Good thing I'm single and a work-a-holic, or I would be in deep doo-doo.

  4. #4
    AKA Nathan Dr_Robert's Avatar
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    I'd suggest a good pair of gloves before your tour, if not sooner. I used to hate riding with gloves (and still don't use them for shorter rides), but when my ride distances started to increase, I quickly changed my thoughts on the matter. Nothing sucks worse than sore/numb/blistered hands... except maybe sore/numb/blistered @$$, which is why I'd also recommend a good pair of cycling shorts.

    Seriously though, you have three main contact points on your bike: hands, butt, & feet, and injuring any one of them will end your ride in a hurry. Good gloves, shorts, shoes, and socks, are just as important as good grips, saddle, and pedals.

    -DR
    Last edited by Dr_Robert; 08-18-08 at 04:13 AM.
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  5. #5
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    Man that looks good. I've been thinking about some of that wrap, but I'm still on the fence about it due mainly to rain. I've seen what rain can do to a leather saddle, not sure I want to put handlebar wrap through that.

    Also go for some gloves, for no other reason than to protect your hands. I've had two falls where the gloves thankfully took the brunt of the impact for me. Without them, yeah, not a good thing to think about.

  6. #6
    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    I'm jealous! I was thinking about giving my LHT the exact same treatment, and chickened out and just bought a black B17 - I wasn't sure how the brown leather would look with the blue frame.

    Your's looks really good. I wish no I'd gone ahead with it.
    Steel Club = BF-STL-00064

  7. #7
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    Thanks. Truth be told, I was expecting a "honey" colored Brooks to be more the color of the elk hide before it received the proofide treatment. I think it would look a bit better with the contrast from the lighter colored leather, but what can you do? I don't know if the honey used to be lighter or what, but I know I've seen images of them where they are much lighter. Maybe they come treated with proofide now? I noticed very little change in color when I first applied the proofide to the saddle. That said, I really do like the color that the elk hide came out as... it's very beautiful.

    Ben... your saddle is also leather, what do you do with that? I can't bring my bike into work with me, so if rain is forecast or I notice it starts to cloud up, I bring it in under the portico to shelter it. However, beyond a being left in a down pour, I'm sure this stuff would be fine as long as it received proper weather treatment... or am I being too naive?

    Also... do you know how the change the saddle angle on this thing?

  8. #8
    Air
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    Destroyer of Wheels Air's Avatar
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    I also say gloves will save you if something happens.

    For extra cushion though you could get a few cheap rubber grips, cut the ends off of some of them and work them on the bars. THEN wrap it. You'll have .25-.5" of cushion underneath the grips plus whatever your gloves will give you. Awesome for long rides.

  9. #9
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    My saddle? I get all paranoid, basically - lol! No, I use a Brooks cover on it, which works very well. Truth be told I SHOULD just use my MTB as the "bad weather" bike, and stop being paranoid all the time. Really though, I bet you'd be fine. I'm *this* close to going that route, honestly, because your bike looks dang good.

    Quote Originally Posted by mesasone View Post
    Thanks. Truth be told, I was expecting a "honey" colored Brooks to be more the color of the elk hide before it received the proofide treatment. I think it would look a bit better with the contrast from the lighter colored leather, but what can you do? I don't know if the honey used to be lighter or what, but I know I've seen images of them where they are much lighter. Maybe they come treated with proofide now? I noticed very little change in color when I first applied the proofide to the saddle. That said, I really do like the color that the elk hide came out as... it's very beautiful.

    Ben... your saddle is also leather, what do you do with that? I can't bring my bike into work with me, so if rain is forecast or I notice it starts to cloud up, I bring it in under the portico to shelter it. However, beyond a being left in a down pour, I'm sure this stuff would be fine as long as it received proper weather treatment... or am I being too naive?

    Also... do you know how the change the saddle angle on this thing?

  10. #10
    Tilting with windmills txvintage's Avatar
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    I love the look. It's great a nice tradional look is still possible these days on a new bike.

    Velo has the elk wrap in several colors, including "coffee" which is supposed to match the brown Brooks. I'm pretty sure they have black as well. They also have matching elk hide chain stay guards now if you're looking to burn even more $$$, lol.

    I had a couple of locals tell me that the wrap wasn't big enough to route both brake and barcone shifter cables underneath. I still doubt this, but just went for some synthetic cork wrap with my major tune up at the LBS. The cork was in stock and should look good with the metallic British racing green and brown Brooks.

    I should have it back today if I start feeling like I can get that far from the, errrr, house. Being ill is no fun, especially when your "new to me" tourer is all ready to go play.

  11. #11
    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    Regarding getting a Brooks (or any other leather item) wet - I don't worry about it, as long as the item is treated with some sort of "waterproofing". After all, we all wear leather shoes and boots, and think nothing of them getting wet when it rains. Look at hiking boots and the abuse they receive in wet weather!

    Regarding a Brooks saddle, I think the best advise is not to ride the saddle after it's been exposed to a soaking rain. Riding it in the rain shouldn't really hurt it - your butt is keeping most of the rain off of the top, and the bottom can be protected from splashes by either a seat bag, a rack and trunk bag, fenders, or even stuffing a plastic WalMart bag up under the rails. Riding it when the leather is soaked through, however, will certainly cause it to stretch.

    As a side note, a century or more ago bootmakers didn't make lefts and rights, they just made 'em in certain lengths. When you bought a new pair of boots you "broke them in" by standing in water until the leather was soaked through, then wore the boots until they dried. Anyone who's been in the Marine Corps can probably tell you that on about the second or third day of boot camp, your DI marched the squad through standing water, then told the recruits to not change their boots until the boots were completely dry - did the same thing.

    (I recently mail-ordered a cheap pair of leather boots that were totally uncomfortable - I needed leather high-top boots that could be laced tightly for ankle support for service ***** competition on the 600 yd offhand (standing) stage. These boots had absolutely no "cup" for the heel - the back of the boot was totally straight. I took them down to the laundry tubs, filled it with about 8" of water, immersed the boots and held them underwater until they were totally soaked, dumped out as much of the water as I could, then put 'em on, laced 'em tight, and wore 'em until dry. In no time the leather stretched and conformed to the shape of my feet, and I had to keep re-lacing them to keep them tight and stretched. After drying, I treated them with a coat of polish, and now they're quite comfortable.)

    I wouldn't get too stressed about the Brooks. After all, they're made of leather, which used to be the outside of a cow. Where I come from, cows stand around in the rain all the time, and I hear no complaints from them.
    Last edited by tpelle; 08-19-08 at 08:33 AM.
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  12. #12
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    Mesasone, thanks for posting your experience with the elk hide covers. I got a black pair from Velo-Orange about 2 months ago to try out on a bike that I don't expect to get caught in the rain (much), but haven't put it on yet. I was gonna do that when I swapped handlebars, but then found that I could reuse the old tape and, being the frugal type, decided to wait until that crapped out before breaking out the elk. I almost hate to go through all that labor for BLACK---not much character there---but that's the only color that'll go well on the bike I'm trying the hide out on. Anyway, I'll wait for a football season to put mine on, when I've got a 12 hour block of time. I can then spend 6 hours watching football and spend the 6 hours of commercials stringing elk hide.

    BTW, I use gloves for all rides except for quick trips around the neighborhood. The padding is comfortable, but I also like the enhanced grip and the fact that it keeps my tape clean. Cleaner tape is longer-lasting tape (I'm frugal, remember?), and retaping is not my favorite activity. On long rides I consider 'em essential equipment.

  13. #13
    Senior Member dbikingman's Avatar
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    My .02 cents worth on the saddle angle. I would rather it look funny in a photo and feel comfortable, rather then the opposite. I thought saddles were to be level or angled slightly up, so you may not be far off the mark.

  14. #14
    Tilting with windmills txvintage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpelle View Post
    As a side note, a century or more ago bootmakers didn't make lefts and rights, they just made 'em in certain lengths. When you bought a new pair of boots you "broke them in" by standing in water until the leather was soaked through, then wore the boots until they dried. Anyone who's been in the Marine Corps can probably tell you that on about the second or third day of boot camp, your DI marched the squad through standing water, then told the recruits to not change their boots until the boots were completely dry - did the same thing.

    So, you're sayin' the Corps gives recruits boots they can wear on either feet for the first few days until they learn right and left?

    Regards,

    Former Navy Guy (Ducking for Cover)

  15. #15
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by txvintage View Post
    So, you're sayin' the Corps gives recruits boots they can wear on either feet for the first few days until they learn right and left?

    Regards,

    Former Navy Guy (Ducking for Cover)
    Actually kinda makes sense, you order 100,000 ambidextrous boots in several sizes, get each size in a big container, no boxes, no packaging, just a 53' container filled with lose boots. Split that into so many bases, making sure only that each base gets an even number of boots, you keep all the boots for the base in store and dole out 2 boots to each recruit, it's then up to the recruit to manage his/her boots. The other issue of course is that the wet boots, even if not quite the right size will stretch or shrink to the recruits foot, so maybe you only need 2 or 3 sizes instead of 7 or 8.

    Otherwise, you need boots in a variety of sizes, and some way of keeping the left and right boot together during shipping and storage, and inventory is more complex as well. Hey, if it's been working for 100 years, why fix it?

  16. #16
    Junior Member SJgunguy24's Avatar
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