06 September, 2007

Modernist Randonneur Bars

A couple of weeks ago we had a discussion of modernist design and bikes. So it was impossible to resist stocking a few of these NOS Modolo Gran Fondo handlebars. Imagine someone starting from a blank sheet and designing a rando or cyclo cross bar, someone with a strong taste for Bauhaus or perhaps Cubism.

Anyway, if you can get over the odd looks, these are great bars. They are made of very strong heat treated 6082-T6 aluminum, and you know how much Nitto heat treated bars cost. They have a super flat ramp, so they should be very comfortable when riding on the hoods. The drops also offer a nice flat place for your hands and a fair bit of flair. The tops angle back so you can really sit upright when you like. There is a single groove for aero bake cables. All in all this is a very intelligent, if bizarre, design. I'm saving a pair for the Toyo prototype.

They are available in 41cm and 43cm sizes. But wait, that's measured center-to-center at the tops. The ends of the drops flair to about about 7cm wider than the dimension given. So if we measured these in the usual way they would be 48cm and 50cm; like I said, "bizarre". The clamping area is 26mm.

The cost is $30 for now and we only have a small quantity. But if you like them I know of a little warehouse in Europe with a bunch more. So what do you think? Are they ugly enough to be cool?

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ugly or Cool? 2 very good questions. I would have to say they are interesting in design but not sure how they would feel once mounted. There doesn't seem to be much area for mounting a cycle computer or a head light, if you run one from the bar.
Based on the photo and price I would have to say they might be a dandy bar for someone putting together a commute rig who has the occasional need to hit the drops.
That's my 2 cents......
Jim

Don said...

They are definitely not ugly; definitely odd; definitely efficient/comfortable looking. After getting over the shock I think some people will warm up to the modernist rando bars.

Annette said...

Please change back to the redder orange on the blog headline.
AN

Anonymous said...

So this bar is made by Italians who like German architecture for French style bikes and sold by an American shop. Talk about collaboration!

I like the new muted orange blog headline.

C said...

I like that someone is willing to acknowledge that the design of good rando gear didn't stop in the 70's! Nice to see something new that isn't either a reproduction of something old nor aimed solely at the racing crowd. I give them an A for effort. Surprised they didn't flatten out the tops as well. That's one recent trend in bars I actually like. Those wide, flat "aero" tops are really comfy. The wider bar top means less pressure on the hands.

I'd buy a pair if they didn't flare out. I tried some wide Nitto bars and they gave me some terrible pain in the shoulder blades after 4-5 hours. How wide are they at the hoods? Does the flare start close to the top or close to the bottom?

C said...

Could you post a pic of a pair with brake levers mounted?

neil berg said...

An,
When I lived in my Bauhaus house, I painted the stucco fireplace a
nice burnt orange, that season's colour du jour. After living with my creativity for a couple of years, I developed a distaste for orange that is still with me 40 years later. Dark orange, light orange, dull orange, bright orange, - they all hurt.

Anonymous said...

I think they're pretty cool and would look good on the right bike - say ,possibly, a Surly cross check in light gray with all decals removed and built up with all silver bits.
hmmm....

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah -- those bars would get even more double-takes, on any bike, than I did when I joined up with the local racing club's "C" ride one fine Saturday aboard a fore-and-aft-racked steel touring bike. They look odd. With the right bar ends, brake levers and bar tape they'd look cool.

patrick said...

i could really see using a pair of these bars. I spend a lot of time thinking about the perfect handlebar. I want something that essentially amounts to Promenade style handlebars, but with an option to get in the drops. These aren't it. But they are a step closer to that than my Nitto Noodles.

The only thing that bugs me about these is the non-standard bend in the drops. If they had the even, curved bend, I would like 'em more. But if the timing is right, I may try these (or your design) out.

Joel said...

Put me in the yes column. These are nice looking bars.

Joel said...

After posting I did some browsing at the Rene Herse project site.

Perhaps if Toyo is interested in making Modernist Randonneur Bars, they might also want to make a new version of the Herse stem.

The design is practical and lovely. They should be available.

David said...

I'm in. I like the flat space inside the drops a lot. I have a Salsa bar on my LiteSpeed with a similar angle, and makes that portion of the drops totally usable, whereas the curved surface itself isn't practical for gripping. Also, I dig the flairing. I have a pair of Nitto Rando bars and love them. I see these bars as an improvement on that.

Chris Kulczycki said...

Wow, we've almost sold out of them in one day.

C, they are 3-4cm wider at the hoods than the nominal size. Look at the third photo to see how the widen along the ramps. It's a very even flair starting at the hoods.

Anonymous said...

I can't stand "ergo" bends, so I'm not really entitled to an opinion, but I have a question. Why bother with the double-bend near the stem? It doesn't sweep back like a noodle to angle your hands. It simply jogs back to a closer straight section, so has exactly the same effect as a shorter stem and a longer reach bar. This eliminates computer, light, and possibly secondary brake lever mount space for no reason.

Kevin King said...

I received my Gran Fondos today and mounted them up. A very nice looking bar really and not as odd looking (IMHO) once mounted as you might think - I doubt that a non-gearhead would notice them at all. I haven't yet taken them for a real ride but, aside from the funky upper bend, they are fairly similar to my fave bars the Salsa Bell Lap Cyclocross bar which I have mounted on almost every bike that I ride regularly. I put them on a bike that has a super long top tube so that the slightly shorter reach might be nice.

As the one "doubter" noted, they do not "sweep" back and put your hands at an angle like an old Rando or a Noodle. This might or might not be a good thing - personally, I rather prefer a non-angled top. What they do that that person seemed to miss is that besides going back, they also go up (assuming that you haven't mounted them with the tops totally flat) so the bar is closer and higher in relation to the rider. Also, was plenty of room for me to mount my secondary CX levers and there should still be room for bells, lights, etc. if you want them... would depend on exactly what you were trying to mount but there is still a fair amout of bar left.

Anonymous said...

I've had Salsa Bell Lap handlebars for a little while now, ride most of the time in the drops (I don't know why...), and love everything about them except the curved bump in the drops. Why - I wondered - Oh Why, can't someone make bars like this without that palm-killing bump?

It looks like someone has. I eagerly await these bars being restocked.
-AJ Pasl