07 June, 2013

New Handlebars - Keeping it Weird

A guest post by Casey:

"It never got weird enough for me" ~ Hunter S. Thompson

About a month and a half ago I wrote a post about my current cockpit setup on my touring rig. I mentioned that my ideal setup would have the swept back hand position of funky mountain bars along with the flats and hoods hand positions of drop bars. I also alluded to the fact that I was getting a prototype of a bar that would provide all of those hand positions. Well it's here, and I'm pretty sure the whole office has become concerned for my sanity.
The initial inspiration for these bars came from looking at pictures or old condorino bars and more modern bullhorns in too rapid of succession.
The swept back portion of the new bars will provide a similar hand position to the VO Postinos
We may end up slightly changing the look of the bar but, testing withstanding, the production model should be functionally similar to the prototype. Here's the nitty gritty: The clamp diameter is 25.4, these bars can only be used on stems with removable faceplates (obviously). The swept back mountain portion of the bars have a 45 degree sweep and 22.2 outer diameter. This means that most flat bar brake levers will fit on it. For my setup I'm using the Tektro FL750's. The bullhorn portion of the bars will have a 23.8 outer diameter. This means  that you can put bar end shifters at the end, or most inverse brake levers. Like the Tektro RX4.1 inverse levers. Cross levers can also be mounted on the flats. You can also put the VO thumb shifter mounts anywhere that your heart desires.


46 comments:

Eric said...

Those are really unique and clever. I might have to get some, as I rarely ever ride in the drops. Most of my stems don't have face plates though...

dr2chase said...

How wide? I am trying to decide whether to modify my current franken-bike to use Left-Bank(mountain)+clamp-on, or whether I should stay with my existing Montmartre(road)+levers.

If it were up to me, I would rotate the grip sections in a little bit -- Postino's too wide, I'd be happier with something modeled on Porteur or perhaps Bellville. I guess one possibility is to saw off the excess, since those grips look very generous.

One problem I have noticed with both pairs of Montmartre(road) bars is that I seem to have bent them slightly. That's not a complete surprise (I've broken handlebars before, twice) but I had hoped that because they were narrower my leverage would have been reduced enough to prevent that.

Jeff said...

I searched for, and trialed, several handlebars, including a few from VO, for my Handsome Devil-based porteur (with VO porteur rack) bike equipped with a Shimano Alfine 11 internal gear hub. As the trigger shifter for the Alfine IGH requires 22.2 diameter bars, and the porteur rack needs clearance above it for larger loads, it was a challenge to find a bar that gave both a variety of hand positions, reach, and general comfort, while also not impeding on the pack space of the porteur rack. I finally landed on a Soma 3-speed bar, but, by the looks of this prototype bar, I'll be making a handlebar change as soon as it's available. Need a tester? Count me in.

Zed Martinez said...

This is exactly the right compromises I was wanting when I was playing with bars on my commuter. I liked the bullhorn, but ultimately missed the wide stance of the flat bars and ended up going back to them but putting some long ramp bar ends inside the grips and controls to have the forward position of the bullhorns. This bar looks like the much better version of my kludging. I am extra interested in this.

ediblepedal said...

Perfect for the utilitarian at heart but aestheticly too frankensteinish for my taste. Still waiting for an affordable Jones bar.

Feel free to kick this criticism to the curb as I want you guys to keep growing and keeping alive our favorite type of bikes.

Dustin Sharp said...

Looks like a set of Jones H Bars married to bull horns. Pretty good idea as the forward extension part of the jones bars never worked that well for me.

Not sure I get the point of 25.4 though since it's really no longer the standard for either road or mtb.

gypsybytrade said...

Truly amazing! I often need a wide stable position and a 'go fast' mode on the same bike. Might have some Divide riders and racers that would find these positions useful. The mold of conservatism is broken, bring on the weird stuff!

mattr said...

Interesting but a little homely and no good for those of us with old fashioned quills. Couldn't you achieve a similar result by widening the porteur bar from 48 to 55 cm an dmaybe giving it a slightly forward sweep before the curve (imagine a cross between the porteur and a moustache bar)?

JessenJ said...

I would get those in a heart beat!

Robert said...

This reminds me a lot of Jeff Jones' H and J bars.

C said...

I love the concept but the execution is a bit wanting. I would make the forward and rearward extensions one piece and then connect them with a straight bar as Jones and others do. I think this would also give you more places to comfortably put your hands. It would give more room on the straight, flat section which would be comparable to riding on the tops of drop bars. You would also have a position where the extensions meet the center bar. Finally, it think it would look better.

Don S. said...

I like the experiment! A couple of years ago, the Breezer Finesse was a fast commuter that had extensions attached the middle of the flat bar. Similar combo, but they would have interfered with access to a basket. Keep at it. You could also have the sweep come from the opposite ends of the bullhorns, sort of like a mutated mustache bar. But I'm all for handlebar experiments. I will say I'd prefer it all taped for continuity.

Mark said...

I've been on Milan bars for several years, and have considered putting bar ends at its bends to make a bar like this. Never could find one that would put the extensions at the right angle. Looks like you've got a winner.

C's comments are worth considering tho.

Doug said...

THOSE ARE HIDEOUS

BURN THEM

Beech said...

Kudos for trying something new and unique. I'm not quite sure if I will be willing to spend the money on a pair, but I'd certainly like to see them in person.

Anonymous said...

The larger part of these look lIke a pair of the old Scott AT-2s I have on my RB-T; I like the swept-forward part but not the flat bar section.

I agree with c: make the center section one piece and the forward and back extensions another, a' la Jones, and you will have a winner.

Dan

Sam Placette said...

That reminds me of the handlebars I saw on a Cherubim bike at NAHBS this year. If you want to make the styling more sleek, you could take a look at the beautiful lines of the Cherubim bar.

Credit to Urban Velo for the image: http://urbanvelo.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/cherubim_nahbs_2013_070-800x532.jpg

John Perry said...

I notice in "Ride the divide" documentary, most riders had flat bars with tri-bar setups. This may just be a more relaxed version of that extra hand position. Maybe even an interpretation of the Jones H bar. Personally I've tried neither. But looking for something other than the bullhorns on my MTB.

Larry said...

I agree...C's comments are worth considering. I have one bike set up with Nitto Noodles and other than shifting, the drops only get used if it is really windy. Second bike has Albatross bars, but I wish that they did not sweep back at such a steep angle. The Albatross bars kind of feel like a tiller. The Jones H bar sweep feels good, but the rest of the bar does not lay out for the other controls/hand positiond that I find useful.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I think I like what "c" is recommending, too. Then as a bonus, you can more easily offer different stem clamp diameters, too.

Kevin said...

Sign me up. Currently weirding out a new Ogre, need more hand positions, with room for things like lights and bear spray. Was considering risking bar-ends for a similar set up, welds are better.

If you build it, they will come.

Don said...

Weird indeed! All those cables on the front end add to the weirdness. My, my!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic! Now if they were heat-treated they'd be perfect :)

BC said...

Awesome! I had commented on your prior "cockpit setup" post about using Soma's Urban Pursuit bullhorns with some Dia Compe knobs (lever-less brake hoods in a sideways flat position, not the actual "knob grips") on the outer corner, exactly in the same spot where you have the wide mtb extensions welded. My knobs really only offer a half hand position so I'm quite jealous of your prototype... it's almost exactly what I'm looking for. "Almost" only because the up-angled ends of the horns look too short for my liking (look up the Soma bar and you'll understand what I mean... theirs are loooong) and the the width of the flats/horns also appear a little too narrow for my liking. But hey, you can't please everyone every time! I do dig the design however.

I think C and those suggesting the forward and rearward section be made in one piece are missing just one thing... how you are using two different bar diameters for levers and controls. To make the foreward horns and wider back-swept part in one piece would require machined or tapered tubing to get the 23.8 at the horns and 22.2 at the wide end and I'm sure that would add to cost, no? Looks like you essentially made some bullhorns and welded 22.2 MTB extensions on the corner, right?

I'm curious, what's the width of the bullhorn section?

JP said...

Those are a little scary, and look like some kind of medieval weapon. That said, they look pretty practical, and I bet you'd sell some. Not a ton, but perhaps as many as you need to sell.

Joe said...

Definetly interesting, weird and possibly a great idea. Since I ride mostly on the brake hoods but try to vary my hand positions to stay in the saddle longer these look like they would be worth a look. As another person commented, what's with the 25.4 bar clamp, not standard for anything today.

reverend dick said...

I like these.

Kyle said...

Put me down for a set.. When I commented on the original post about using Titec Jones H-bars and missing the "hoods" position, I was thinking of a setup that actually let you mount road brake levers, for example if your extensions sloped curving downwards. Now that would be REALLY odd looking. But this is just as good, and simpler. I wonder if you could do inverse levers on the extensions and interrupters on the wide grips. Just make sure the swept back portions are long enough for full grips, brakes and thumbies (which they appear to be). On my H-bar, I put the thumbies on the forward extensions as there isn't room next to the grips and brakes. On this bar, they need to be next to the grips and brakes as they would interfere with the "hoods" position on the forward extensions if they were put there.

Jan said...

con·tor·tion·ist (kn-tôrsh-nst)
n.
One who contorts, especially an acrobat capable of twisting into extraordinary positions.

To me, these bars look ugly and stupid at the same time. How on earth could one person comfortably fit all those different positions?

My $0.02

Jan

Anonymous said...

I see the 25.4 clamp as a plus... they could easily be shimmed to fit 26.0 and 31.8 stems (it may not always be elegant but it works.) To make them exclusively for the latter clamp diameters would greatly limit their use for a niche product. 25.4 may no longer be the standard but it's far from obsolete.

Steve said...

You could call them the Pamplona bars.

Mark Holm said...

Very interesting. My only reservation would be that I'd have to change a bunch of stuff, thus a bunch of expense!

RussRoca said...

Those bars aren't weird :) Tried those out in 2008 :)

http://epicureancyclist.blogspot.com/2008/10/new-poll-what-bars-do-you-use.html

Tim said...

That would work perfectly on my gravel grinding pugsley. I have been using Surly open bars but wanted something to give me some additional hand positions. I have done flat bars with aero clamp-ons but the flat bar sucks for riding all day. This looks awesome. If/when you put these into production I will be buying one.

Anonymous said...

I own a Rivendell with several VO goodies on it, and I think if Grant Petersen ever eased off his worship of Nitto bars he'd be on these bars like white on rice.

The idea of having something MTB'ish, particularly when you might have to have a death grip from time to time, and also having road-type flats to cruise on is really neat. However, they are some kinda weird.

Daily said...

Love it! Just what i was dreaming of.

Just need the Grand Cru quill stem with removeable faceplate!

Will said...

Soooooo when are these coming out?

VeloOrange said...

@Will

We're currently waiting for a slightly modified prototype before we finalize the design. We will hopefully have the new prototype within a few weeks, then it will be about three-five months before they hit the shelves.

Casey

Psy said...

I'm a bit late to comment, but re-reading Yehuda Moon recently I noticed something slightly familiar...http://www.yehudamoon.com/comics/2011-09-16.gif

Anyway, I'd definitely try these!

Hjalti said...

I like them. I currently have the titec jones bars, and can't use a handlebar bag. These would give room in the center to do so.

Karl Fundenberger said...

Wicked! I would rock a pair on my scorcher!

Willi said...

Reminds me of the "Crow-Bar" as imagined by Rick Smith in his now-defunct webcomic "Yehuda Moon".
http://www.yehudamoon.com/comics/2011-06-23.gif

Anonymous said...

Hi - I love these. I can't believe anyone wouldn't actually - they seem so practical. Either way, I'm all about weird. Question is, are they past the prototype phase yet...are they available?? If so, where? Thanks!

VeloOrange said...

They are available here, but sold out at the moment (more will arrive in late May.) http://store.velo-orange.com/index.php/casey-crazy-bar.html

Ich Vill said...

Just got some and they seem good. Struggling to fit an Alfine shifter onto the swept back bit though. With my Hope brake lever and the grip-shift, it leaves about 7.5 cm for actual hand grip. An normal (e.g. Ergon) grip is about 10cm on the grip shift side. Any ideas?

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested in the MTB version once you have that available.