Wed Nov 22nd 2017 14:27:04: Bike Tape / Heli Tape / Copter Tape Review
I thought the internet could do with a review of helicopter tapes available for bikes as the information I could find when in the market for heli tape was a bit patchy and on old forum posts.
Biketape (Bike Tart)
I've used this before in small areas on my mountain bikes. It is thicker than the Rhino Hide stuff, nice and robust and forms around shapes with the application of heat extremely well. It also sticks really well - it has seen all weathers and rubs and is still stuck down as well as the day I applied it.
I would be happy to use this stuff in future.
Rhino Hide (Paragon Tapes)
Cheaper option. I used the matte version for my commuting bike and covered most of the paintwork to protect it whilst going on and off trains. It comes in wide and long lengths which is good for covering a complete bike and whole tubes. It is thinner than the bike tart tape. Is quite sensitive to heat and either forms well or melts, depending on how hot you go. I was very disappointed with the forming and sticking. Without heat it will straighten itself out when applied to a curved surface after a few hours and come unstuck?. With heat it sticks a bit better, but has still come a bit unstuck at the edges despite my best efforts.
To avoid bubbles you need to stick it in one place and push it down from there. Otherwise you trap air and have lots of bubbles that are impossible to remove.
I would not use this tape again.
Just Riding Along Copter Tape (JRA)
I've not tried this one. If you have please comment below!
3M 8671 tape
Forums suggest this is good stuff, however I've not tried it. Available via selfadhesive.co.uk, Tweaks and ebay (although i'd be worried there is no guarantee the stuff on ebay is the real deal).
I've not tried this one. If you have please comment below!
Mon Jun 6th 2016 21:25:07: Isofix in a Mk3 Ford Mondeo
At face value the Mk3 Ford Mondeo does not "have" Isofix. But that is not true!
It turns out the Isofix loops are part of the rear seats, but they are covered by the fabric. If you feel along the underside of the seat back you will feel the loops. All you need is a sharp knife to cut the stitching of the fabric in the right places and push the padding and fabric upwards and the isofix loops will pop out. You can then (with a little faff due to the fabric getting in the way) click an Isofix base in place.
One bog standard Mk3 Mondeo:
Cut the stitching and lift, and here is an Isofix loop (passenger side, near the door):
and the other (passenger side just to the door side of the seat belt socket):
Isofix base safely installed!
Mon May 16th 2016 15:24:00: Solved! Blackberry Passport - Proximity and Light Sensors 'unavailable'
I've had my Blackberry Passport for over a year now and when it was a few months old I became aware of it was intermittently being a bit odd - it would take ages to wake up when I pressed the power button, it would turn the screen brightness up to maximum (even in the dark), it would not turn on the keyboard backlight in the dark and I would keep pressing buttons with my ear during phone calls. Eventually (with the help of the BBVE handset testing app) I discovered this was because the proximity and light sensors were not working.
I hoped it was a software issue, however the 10.3 software update did not fix it. Therefore I returned the phone under warranty. A few weeks later it came back all fixed.
However last month I had a little incident with a concrete floor and smashed the screen. Therefore I purchased a new screen from Hong Kong and fitted it myself (thus voiding the warranty). After that everything still worked perfectly and I'd learnt a lot about taking the phone apart.
On Saturday I took the phone mountain biking for the first time in a long time. I was a very rough ride with some fast rocky descents and when I got back I discovered that the sensor issue was back! Therefore I am now convinced the sensor issue is caused by vibration.
I took the phone apart again last night and found the sensors in question are connected to the main circuit board with some spring loaded connections. Initially I thought it might be because the screws holding the PCB down were not tight, however that did not solve the problem.
Therefore a few days later I took it apart again (remove the back cover) and noticed that the main PCB was "wonky" as it is not constrained perfectly and can move by a fraction of a mm. Therefore I slightly loosened off all the screws that hold it down and moved it until the screw hole in the middle at the top was lined up with the thread below. I tightened up the screws and reassembled and so far this seems have solved the problem.
Please let me know in the comments below if that fixes the problem for you!
Sat Apr 2nd 2016 11:16:00: Top Grass... Questionable Marketing?
Yesterday I received a letter from a company called "TopGrass Professional Lawn Treatment".
Their letter felt very... 'local'. They started with "I am writing to inform you about Top Grass, a local, independent professional lawn treatment service that has opened a new branch in your area". That does come across very local to me. But then I smelt a rat... seemed too good to be true?
So I googled their address. 23 King Street, Cambridge. Oh. So their office is in Mailboxes Etc? I guess by "opening a new branch", they meant "opening a new postal forwarding account with Mailboxes etc"!
Their phone number is also odd, as according to google it is connected with Campbell Chishti & Co Accountants in Cambridge and Cruising Motorcycle Tours, as well as Top Grass.
The only thing that I know for certain is that the company is owned by Tom Arnold and based in Essex. I wonder if I called the Cambridge office whether I'd end up dealing with someone in Essex?
All very odd and a bit too keen to come across as local in my opinion!
Tue Jan 19th 2016 22:24:00: Spare Parts for Mezzo D10
Having had a Mezzo D10 folding bike for many years I've had to replace quite a lot of bits on it (as I do about 2000 miles per year on it). Here is a list of parts that are compatible....
The gear cable is very long. I have been using a Gore Ride On Extra Long Tandem cable up until now. It is real good, but you can't get them anymore. Not sure what I will use when it next needs replacing... If you shorten the cable outers to the bare minimum (taking note of the fold, as the cables need to be longest during the fold) then you can just get away with a 2.2m gear cable. You need to be careful doing this, as it is easy to make the outers too short and therefore not be able to fold the bike. With the "standard length" gear cable outers you probably need a cable that is about 2.4m long (that is a guess from memory).
I've got a FSA Orbit MX Sealed Headset 1 1/8' on my Mezzo now. I think a Superstar Uno will also do the job, but they were out of stock of Red ones at the time I needed one!
I've replaced the rear wheel as I wore through the rim. My new wheel has a 28 hole Hope Mono RS Rear Road Hub which is 130mm wide. This is a great hub, but is very loud due to the small wheels (Hope hubs normally make a satisfyingly loud click and 16" wheels go round about twice as fast as 700C wheels, so they are twice as loud as normal!)
My wheel has a Black Velocity Aeroheat 16 inch rim with Machined Side Walls (MSW). My local bike shop (Bicycle Ambulance in Cambridge) can order these rims in, or you can buy them online from Brick lane bikes in London. Bricklane bikes built my wheel for me, but after 1 year of use I had a few spokes go. I emailed them this feedback, but they did not reply. I can only assume they build wheels with cheap spokes, and given this experience would not recommend them. Not all bike shops can make small wheels as they will need a spoke cutter to make the shorter spokes. Currently I would recommend Bicycle Ambulance in Cambridge as they have a spoke cutter, so are a cost effective option.
I managed to damage my front brake caliper in an accident and have found that a Shimano R650 caliper (57mm) is compatible with a bit of work. The standard mounting bolt on this caliper is not right for the Mezzo forks and the original bolt is not compatible with the R650 caliper. I ended up running a Die down the R650 bolt thread and extending the thread quite a lot. I then trimmed the bolt down to suit. Now fitted it is much better than the original caliper.
FYI the Tektro R559 is far too big and is not suitable
I've not needed to find a replacement seat post, but did get mine re-anodized. I also got someone to machine a very very shallow groove in the seatpost which I filled with white paint, so I can tell how high the seat needs to go.