I’ve been riding the same road bike for more than six years now, and inevitably it’s going to show signs of wear and tear.
But one area I didn’t expect to see problems is the brake hood. These are items we take for granted. They’re a comfortable place to rest our hands during our rides, and 80 percent or more of our ride time is spent grasping these rubber sheaths.
So I was bothered awhile ago when my left brake hood started showing signs of wear. And tear. In fact, my first inkling that there was a problem was a small tear in the hood.
Of course, it doesn’t take long for a small problem to morph into a larger one — and that’s what happened here. First, the rounded area at the top where the hood rests on top of the brake lever popped loose. It’s held in place by a small protrusion on the brake lever. On the underside of the hood is an indent that fits the protrusion perfectly. The first few times it popped off, it was easy to pull it back into place.
Trouble is, with our hot, humid summer this year the hood is subject to a lot of twisting action. Because it’s the left hood, it covers the brake lever/shifter that controls the front derailleur. When I shift into the big ring, my hand twists the hood. And with the hood coming loose from that little thing that holds it in place, it just softened and tore some more. Now, I’m at the point where I don’t even try to fasten it down, because I know it will last only until my next shift.
So, what to do? Well, replacement hoods are available. I like the ones called “Hudz.” They come in a variety of colors, and I thought it would be cool to get some blue ones, and put black bar tape on the bike — just the reverse of my current look.
But Hudz doesn’t make hoods for every model. Mine is a Tiagra shifter, and I guess that’s not high-end enough. I couldn’t find any that filled the bill. (Oh, another thing I learned during my search is that every model of shifter has just enough of a different shape that it requires its very own hood cover. You have to find the one made expressly for the type of shifter you use.)
That’s just a simple Internet search. I found some Tiagra brake hoods at bikeparts.com and placed an online order. They came in the mail yesterday. With no instructions.
I’ve been doing another search — this time for online videos on replacing brake hoods. There are more online that you might expect. I seem to have a complication, in that the shift cable is going to interfere with an easy replacement. It looks like I’m in for taking off the bar tape, then taking off the brake/shift assembly, mounting the hood, and putting it all back on the handlebar. I think. I’ll let you know how it all turns out.