Just so you understand: The removable faceplate stem is one of the most important bicycle innovations of recent decades.
Undo four bolts (or fewer) holding the handlebar and two bolts securing the handlebar stem to the fork, and you can swap out extensions faster than you can recite the Gettysburg address, assuming you recite the address with all due gravity.
Even bicycles with one-inch threaded headsets can be retrofitted with quill extensions that accept 21-century handlebar stems. Like this one.
The quill extension–the silver column–is wedged inside the fork steerer, just like the original stem. The top of the extension is larger in diameter to accommodate the 1-1/8-inch stem.
And it works great. Need a stem that’s longer, shorter, higher or lower? Go for it. No need to unwrap the handlebar on one side and remove the brake lever to swap parts. (That’s what you had to do with old quill stem technology. Every. Single. Fricking. Time.)
There’s only one problem with the quill-extension modification. It looks like a kludge.
(Don’t get me wrong: I don’t mind kludge-like solutions if they get me something I can’t get any other way. But this set-up on this particular bike crossed an aesthetic bridge too far for me.)
What to do? Head back to the past with a Nitto Technomic quill.
Right after I strip one side of the handlebar to install the stem old school: by sliding the clamp over the bar from end to center.
It’s back to the past with a proviso: The Technomic is an extra-tall quill stem that brings the handlebars up to the same height as the saddle on a bicycle with old-fashioned frame geometry. (The top tube is parallel to the ground.)
It’s not a position the Experts around me used to recommend. Though now you can replicate the position on just about any slope-tubed carbon wonder.
Other notes on today’s session:
Saw a sliver of steel under the headset locknut. Turned out the small ridge retaining an o-ring on the bottom of the locknut was disintegrating.
To the junk drawer for a replacement. And–success!
Front end updated, or more accurately, backdated, I moved to the tires. I wanted to replace the 25mm Continental tires with 28mm Panaracers. (Actual tire widths as mounted on Mavic MA2 rims: 24mm and 26mm, respectively.)
I tried this before. The tightest frame clearance is between the tire and the bottom of the rear brake bridge. (If playing this game at home, make sure your rear wheel is properly dished.)
But what stopped me back then was the front derailleur.
When the the chain swung over to the big chainring, the derailleur cable anchor bolt tagged the tire. (Took twenty miles to suss that out.) At the time, I figured, well, the gods of manufacturing had spoken and it was game over.
But today, I decided I’m not going to live by their rules any more.
That new bolt is cute as a button.
Too early for flapjacks?
[Update: Took it for another ride and decided to go back to narrower tires. I now fully accept the limitations of the original frame design. Anyone want to trade me for a frame with plenty of room for 28mm tires? 32mm? 38mm? I’m ready to close the history book on the Trek.]