04 October, 2010

New Handlebars


I've wanted to offer VO bars for a couple of years, but it's surprisingly time consuming to design and test bars. There are so many subtleties to their shape. We looked at many popular modern and classic bars (I have quite a collection) and tried to identify the best features of each. Then I added my own preferences, mostly longer grip areas or ramps. The result is these two new Grand Cru bars. The first is a classic road bar that reminds me of the old Phillipe Professional bar. The second is based on my idea of the perfect Rando.

Both bars have a high polished center section. The area under tape is bead blasted. The Grand Cru crest appears on either side of the clamp area. The clamp area is bulged, not sleeved, to prevent "creaking".


Our Classic round bend handlebar, the Course bar, has a long flat ramp aft of the hoods. This allows you to slide you hands forward or back which, at least for me, adds a lot of comfort. The drops are open and also extra long so, again, there is plenty of room to move your hands for and aft. The drops are  parallel to the ramps on top, allowing them to be level. You'll see bars like this on many classic constructeur bikes. This is a great all around drop bar for long distance. Though it may not be important to everyone, I also think this is a great looking bar with smooth classic curves and a very nice finish.

The Course bars have a medium drop of about 114mm. The reach (measured from the stem clamp forward) is about 110mm. Available in 42, 44 or 46cm center-to-center. About 395g (44cm)


Our new Rando Bar is the bar that I always wanted. After riding with several different French, American, and Japanese rando bars, I designed this bar to my ideal. It has substantial flare for a wide stance in the drops. The bend is round and open, as on our Course bar. The area behind the hoods is long and flat for extra comfort. The drops are also long so you can slide you hands well back.

The Rando bar has a medium drop, 130mm. The reach (measured from the stem clamp forward) is about 115mm. Available in 42, 44, 46, and 48cm center-to-center at the ends; the width at the hoods is about 7cm narrower than at the ends.

In other news:

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

nice bars, great design and nice shape. A great set of bars for a new build. However, that's WAY too much reach for people who are looking to change their bars! If I'm reading the numbers correctly, those long flat ramps mean that people will need to change stems to go with these and we're talking about stems that are as much as 4cm shorter! This is possible if you're using a 110-120mm stem, but not if you have a 70mm stem mounted.

Allan

Anonymous said...

The "Course" sounds like my dream bar! I love the Nitto Noodle, but always thought it would be even better if the drops and ramps could both be level. I think the longer reach will be nice, too.
I've always liked the curvy look of Rando style bars, but they've all been too narrow for comfort. I fear that even the big 48 won't work for me since you say the hoods will be only 41 apart. I may still give them a shot.

Ryan

Chris Kulczycki said...

The reach is about 10mm-12mm longer than on a Nitto Noodle. I screwed up those measurements.

Anonymous said...

How do you measure reach?

Chris Kulczycki said...

Reach is the horizontal distance between the stem clamp and the forward-most part of the curve when the drops are horizontal. It's measured center-to-center. It's tricky to measure without setting up some sort of jig, or fixture.

dr2chase said...

How does your Rando bar compare to the Nitto Rando bar (other than coming in narrower widths)?

And have you considered a Mountain-tubing version of the Montmartre? I've discovered that I like narrow bars (says the guy who drives a car with dead power steering), but I think there's more choices for shifters and brake levers if you have MTB tubing instead of road tubing. And it would be fine with me if you made them from CrMo, like the Albatross -- I've broken aluminum handlebars before, twice, so I don't mind a more conservative design.

(Of course, you won't sell me any right now, because I've already converted two bikes to use the Montmartre bars. But I think these are great bars, I love not having to worry so much about snagging something when I ride in tight places.)

Chris Kulczycki said...

The most obvious difference between our Rando bar and Nitto's is the longer ramps, but there are also several more subtle differences. Plus, our bar comes in two wider widths.

22mm Montmartre and Left Bank bars will arrive this Fall.

WickedCold said...

Those look nice. It would be great to see them mounted up, with brake levers and tape.

Anonymous said...

"The reach is about 10mm-12mm longer than on a Nitto Noodle."
ok, that seems reasonable...
Cheers,
Allan

Anonymous said...

Are you sure about those reach numbers?
Rivendell claims a reach of 95 mm for the Noodle, so that would make your bars 40 mm longer.

Grand Bois handlebars have a very long reach, yet they claim 110 mm for their Randonneur model, and 115 mm for their copy of the Philippe Professional. Are your bars really 20 mm longer even than the Grand Bois bars?

Chris Kulczycki said...

No. The reach is about 116mm. I measure the noodle at 99mm.

Bike Ride Stories said...

I love the shape. Looking forward to a VO shallow drop, short reach bar.

web said...

I'm probably the only person reading this post that wouldn't purchase a 400 gram drop bar.
But they are pretty.

The Shed Master said...

easy way to measure center-to-center reach - place the bar on a flat surface against a wall. Measure from the wall to the center of the clamp area, subtract 11.9mm (half the diameter of the bar at the brakes.

Anonymous said...

@ Web - Yes, they are pretty, and they also won't break off in your hand unlike some of the carbon fiber weight-weenie bars out there.

Anonymous said...

what is the clamp size?

eriq said...

when are the other sizes going to be in stock?

Nick said...

Nice bars, Chris. Any chance you may make a narrower version of the classic bend soon? I have narrow shoulders and like my bars to be about 38cm wide ctc. It's hard to find nice narrow bars these days.

TSVDP said...

It almost looks like some of these new handlebars are in the pictures provided on this web site in the store.

I question whether the Grand Cru Chris's Rando Handlebars might proove be too big for some measured handlebar wraps. I have no idea but they look immense. Of course one can always use a bar tape.

halfstep said...

I haven't found that bar width affects chest expansion since it primarily occurs in the lateral plane as opposed to the coronal plane. The fashion seems to be for wider bars but I don't think your bar width needs to correspond with your jacket size.

Jim in Texas said...

I like the handlebars a lot. But I like the Japanese VO Rando (link at the bottom) much more. It's just lovely!!

Mike said...

Chris,

These might be exactly what i am looking for! Question...Are the Rando bar's drops parallel to the ramps like the Course bar?

Thanks!

Mike

web said...

@ Anon, I've been riding Ritchey WCS Classic bend bars for years with no problems - aluminum, 210 grams, bought the last set for $35 on eBay. Also, I have several sets of Nitto "Classic" 105's - they weigh around 280.
These bars are really pretty, I'm just a bit surprised at their weight - I don't think I've ever owned a bar that weighed that much.

Anonymous said...

the bars are wonderful, and I hope to try some soon. One observation: they seem to be predicated on the older fashion of riding on the ramps as primary position. That was comfortable, but the new style, where the hoods are primary position, works well too. One might argue that some of the ergo levers--I really like Sram--are better than bars could ever be as primary position, because they can be designed for the hand and not bent out of a hard constant diameter tube.

But with really long extensions like this, you can't really have it both ways; I couldn't see having more than one primary position, with some alternative positions for a change. This is true for me with the Noodle, too, by the way. Nice bar, but I found it didn't work as well for me, since I wanted to use the hoods as I normally do, but the bar wasn't really designed for that. So many contemporary bars aim to provide a nice flat transition just for that purpose.

I think these new bars would be perfect for a rider who wanted to use older style levers, probably nonaero, and didn't really intend to ride on the hoods that much. Sorry for the longwinded post.

best,
mw

Anonymous said...

Can I get them in black. or could I powder coat them? That requires heating it to 400 degrees will that hurt them?

Anonymous said...

A can of Krylon or a black magic marker makes em black too!

Anonymous said...

went to buy a course in 46 and your sold out. : (
When will they be back in stock

Chris Kulczycki said...

Most sizes of both bars will arrive in about 2 weeks.

I don't see why they couldn't be powder coated.

The drops on both bars and in all sizes are parallel, or within 5-deg, of the ramps.

Shed, that method won't work with classic bars where the drop goes back behind the clamp area.

Joseph said...

Referring to the "creaking": I've been using a Nitto Mustache Bar on my fixed commuter for some time now. Overall I love it, but my bicycle has developed a creaking sound when I put a lot of torque on the bars. No mechanic has been able to figure out what's causing it, and regreasing the stem, headset, etc. has provided no relief. Any thoughts?

Dale said...

I like the new bars and found mw's post interesting as I ride on the hoods pretty much all the time, even though I have down tube shifters. A classic silver, lightweight compact handlebar would be a nice option as they do not seem to be available anywhere else. This article might be of interest: http://ruedatropical.wordpress.com/2009/03/02/road-drop-bar-geometry/

Chris Kulczycki said...

With the long flat ramps these bars are designed for riding on the hoods. They are more comfortable in that position than my Noodles, Classics, Belleris or my older Cinelli bars. The long ramps are exactly what give you more choice of comfortable positions. They also allow you to be more upright when on the tops. Threre was good reason that the constructeurs used bars of this shape on so many long-distance bikes.

Regarding squeaking sleeves, try laying the bike on it's side and dribbling some Locktight into the gap between the sleeve and bar. Do this on both sides.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Chris. I don't disbelieve you. What I'm getting at is that compacts are really an outgrowth of the evolution in gear shifters . . . as the lever hoods has gotten longer, more ergonomic, and has taken on the whole job of supporting the hand--and also as brakes work better and levers are designed to operate from the hoods--well, what has happened is that the bar has been redesigned around all this. That's the whole raison d'etre for the compact bar, and I use a compact bar on a bike with Sram Force with true pleasure. Nothing I have used has ever worked as well. When I use more traditional shifters and brake levers--which I still do on most of my bikes--then I use more traditional bars. This is just what works for me, all I'm sayin.

michael white

ChrisCullum said...

I'm not a weight weenie but ~400g seems a bit excessive, especially when your stems are so light (<200g). The shapes of both the rando and course look nice however. Why so heavy?

Anonymous said...

Like I said, Chris, I look forward to trying these bars on a forthcoming project. I am not worried about the weight. Nitto bars are kinda chunky too :)

mw

Anonymous said...

The long flat tops may not be good for road levers, but they look like they'd be awesome for Guidonnet levers.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chris, when will the bigger sizes be available again?

Thanks,

Stephen