A few weeks ago, my front derailleur shifter cable broke. I bought a set of SRAM X.4 trigger shifters to replace my current shifters. I installed the front derailleur shifter three days after the cable broke. I didn't get around to installing the rear derailleur shifter until two weeks ago.
The old front shifter. Note the ever-present gap between the shifter and the grip.
A couple of hours before my ride with Andrew to New York State line and back, I started work to upgrade the shifter. I was a little concerned that I wasn't leaving myself enough time to get the new shifter installed and tuned, but I had no problems. In addition to installing the shifters, I also installed SRAM locking grips and a second Mirrycle bar-end mirror. The old grips would often separate from the grip shifter leaving an annoying gap; the new grips alleviate this problem completely. I very much like the mirror I already had on the left side handbars, so I bought a second for my bike (as well as one for my wife's bicycle). Mirrors are a good idea on any bicycle, but are particularly important on recumbent bicycles since it so much harder to turn around and see what's behind you.
Particularly important on front-wheel-drive bikes, to help stabilize them when parking if you can set the front brake. The bike brake is a very cheap way of doing just this.
A view of the finished upgrade, including a second mirror and the bike parking brake.
A close-up of the grip, the shifter, the bike brake, and the mirror.
For the rear derailleur, I very much prefer the trigger shifter to the grip shifter. For one thing, when I would pull myself up by the handlebars, I often found that I would accidentally shift. For another, when I'm shifting into my granny gear, I generally go from the middle chain ring on the crankset and the lowest gear on the cassette to the granny gear on the crankset and the fourth gear on the cassette. I want this switch to be as simultaneous as possible. Before, it was largely guess work. Now, I just plink-PLUNKplink-plink and I'm there. (The plink is the shifting of the rear derailleur and the PLUNK is the front).
There are two downsides to this new setup. The first of which is that the twist front derailleur actually had more than three positions which would help avoid situations where the chain likes to rub on the front derailleur; I can't really get into the fifth gear or above on the rear derailleur when I'm in the granny gear. The second issue is knee clearance. Having the shifter live below the handlebars reduces this clearance. This doesn't affect me because I installed an adjustable stem as well as moved my seat as far forward as possible. I am not a big fan of twist shifters and am pleased with the upgrade to trigger shifters.
After this ride, I installed two other new toys. First, I installed Kool-Stop dual compound mountain pads on the front brake. I don't know if it just because because the original pads were quite worn (they had almost 1,500 miles on them when they were replaced) or because the new pads are really just that much better (or most likely, both), but the new brake pads help me stop much more quickly. Another worthy upgrade.
Kool-Stop front brake pads. The two colors are two different compounds are for tuned for wet and try stopping.
I've had a couple of close calls with cars where my only recourse has been to, well, basically shout at them to get their attention. Especially since I am often riding with my children, I've decided that I wanted a loud horn. I've just added a Delta Cycle Airzound Horn.
Airzound horn (surrounded by lights) with bottle reservoir.
The horn is air-powered and has the ability to (somewhat) control the volume. The reservoir is refillable with a regular air pump (up to 80 psi). I (fortunately) haven't yet needed to use it in traffic, but I'm convinced it will get me noticed when I need it. On trails and with pedestrians, I'll continue to use my voice as this horn is too loud for pedestrians and other cyclists.
The last two pictures are toys that I've already had and talked about. But since I was taking pictures, so I snapped a couple of shots. I used an Axiom seat collar with rack eyelets to attach the rear rack. I bought 29.8mm size which wasn't quite large enough to replace the seat collar that was there. I decided that this was a good thing and I used a piece of rubber to line the seat post and attached it. The reason I decided this was better is that I didn't want to directly connect the the rack (which is attached to the rear triangle) to the main body of the bike (since there is a rear shock). I really ought to bring up a metal piece from the rear triangle so that the rack isn't attached to the main body at all, but I found that how it is works well enough.
Rack attached to the seatpost. You can see the Trek trail-a-bike mount attached to the seatpost as well.
The final picture is showing how I mount my 100oz Camelbak Unbottle to the back of my seat. I use two straps that go under the upper seat pad to hold it in place. In my case, it sits on the braces for the rack, but I'm sure if the rack wasn't there, I would figure out something to make sure that it didn't drop too low and interfere with either the wheel or the brake.
I've never gone for a ride longer than 20 miles without this water reservoir and I recommend it highly.
Camelback Unbottle attached to the back of my seat.