Remember the vintage French bars in the photo? They were a standard bar on countless French city and utility bikes for many decades. I wrote about wanting to make them again a few weeks ago. Here's what happened; I found it interesting.
I made some measurements and drew a rough sketch that we gave to our draftsman. He made a proper set of plans that we sent to our agent in Taiwan. The agent contacted several manufacturers.
The first manufacturer was a large company whose name you are certainly familiar with. They asked a large fee for tooling and a huge first order. The second company, a medium sized handlebar manufacturer, wanted a smaller amount for tooling and required a much smaller order. The third company was a new and rather small manufacturer who would absorb the cost of tooling and required an order of only 200 bars. Their per piece cost was a bit higher, but still reasonable.
Since this bar is narrow and very simple in shape I felt we could trust this new company with it. Besides, Tom had already worked on a project with them, in his former job, with good result.
We had almost settled on the third company when our agent sent us a new drawing that was virtually identical to the one we had sent her. It varied by 2-3mm in one or two dimensions. Obviously someone else had had the same idea as us. They had copied the same bar. It seems a fourth manufacture had once made these bars for an unknown company and so already had the tooling and experience to produce them. The cost was somewhat higher as was the minimum production run. But this company has a great reputation and we could skip all the prototypes and minor revisions and inevitable tooling delays.
We should have these bars in 60-90 days. They are narrow, about 44cm (O-T-O) for slipping through traffic. There is zero rise. The bar diameter is 23.8 to accept inverse levers or bar-end shifters. Clamp diameter is 25.4mm. Cost should be around $20.
So the question is, what should we call them? I'll offer a free set of these handlebars for the best suggestion!
07 October, 2008
Posted by Velo Orange at 11:39:00 AM