09 April, 2008

New French Style Handlebars

We just received two new models of VO/Nitto handlebars.

The first of these is the Montmartre bar. Montmartre is an area of Paris known for its cafes and artist's studios. The Montmartre bar is a very traditional French city bar. It accepts bar end shifters or inverse brake levers. It does not, however, accept MTB levers or shifters. As you guessed, the diameter is the same as on road bars.

Like most traditional French bars, the Montmartre bar is narrow, 42cm center-to-center. The streets of Montmartre are narrow and it wouldn't do to knock over a drink at a cafe table or snag a Citroen's rear view mirror with the wide Harley-style bars that seem so popular on this side of the Pond. Besides, a proper low trail city bike has geometry that allows it to hold a straight line with almost no input, yet turn with only the gentlest touch. We are piloting a fine bicycle, not driving a tractor!

The rise on the Montmartre bar is about 6cm. We do want to sit up so we can enjoy that greatest of all Parisian pursuits, people watching, even when cycling.

We went a bit wild with the second bar's design. It is a full 49cm wide and the grips flare outward a bit to appeal to the less restrained cyclist. Given its radical nature it can only be named the Left Bank Bar, after that section of Paris, the Latin Quarter on the left bank of the Seine, that was historically populated by students and leftist philosophers. The Left Bank Bar is also made for inverse levers or bar end shifters, and not for MTB bits.

These bars are made by Nitto exclusively for Velo Orange and both display Nitto's usual superb workmanship and finish. The clamp diameter is 25.4mm on both and the bars are bulged, rather than sleeved, so they will not squeak.

I recommend traditional grips on these bars, either three layers of cloth tape or leather grips. We already have a leather grip kit for them.

Both bars and grips will be in the store later today. We also just received Nitto S83 seat posts and Sugino "old logo" triple cranks.


Anonymous said...

Tres cool :-}

RMHampel said...

Very nice Chris. Can you post photos of the bars installed on a bike? It's difficult for me to visualize without that.
Thanks, Ron

Anonymous said...

The bars look good - but if they accept bar end shifters (and we choose to run these) and not MTB brake levers, how do we stop?

Velo Orange said...

Annon, You can use road brake levers or European style city bike levers (we'll have those soon). But the simples way is to use the older city bike levers with the band type clamps; many of those fit.

Anonymous said...

Yes, if one chooses bar end shifters and not mtb levers one would have to use road levers. I was wondering how that would work. I guess it would depend on how the and where the road levers were installed on these bars.

I have one set-up where I run road levers on the Nitto mustache bar with bar end shifters. And on a single speed I use the Nitto Albatross with the Soma inverse levers. That works too.

I'm guessing the road levers will work if mounted properly on the rise. In fact it would look very retro if one used some really nice older levers or even a set of Campy NR levers would look cool. Just don't use areo type road levers. It would spoil the look.

Maybe another Chris project would be to manufacture an retro looking set of polished stainless or aluminum (3-speed) levers. Those would do the for the right look.

I guess these would work to with those very expensive Brooks grips.

I get more compliments on my various assortments of different handlebars than anything else on my bikes. Bars, grips and brake levers are just plain cool (along with high polished cranks and TA rings of course). And single speed rides always look better with this look.


Anonymous said...

Chris, you bet me to the punch ... I just knew you were going to produce those retro city brake levers ... know why did I just know that?


nordic_68 said...

Very nice. The Montmartre might be a good bar for converting a steel road race frame to 650b city bike (since the reach was too long for her before).

Why do you keep offering products that encourage me to spend money on projects long set aside?

nordic_68 said...

Ah yes, so what is the rise and 'setback' of the Montmartre bar?

Anonymous said...

Were you not also planning a nitto made replacement for the Belleri bars?

David said...


Recall the recent deluge of "interrupteur" (someone correct my French) levers? They will fit these bars, no? And they work fine as "end-of-the-line" levers.


In all your spare time, could you post a picture of the bars together, for a comparison?

I'm thinking the city brake levers and Paul Thumbies, since they come in the right size. The problem, of course, is that anything Paul costs its weight in silver. Any plans for a V.O. thumb-shifter mount

Velo Orange said...

The Belleri bar replacement project is under way. We have the right shape, but there was some question over the material to be used. Nitto was concerned that it might not bend as I had hoped. We'll have them eventually.

Interrupter levers are a good idea. In fact we've been looking for a nice silver model to stock.

We had not planned a thumb shifter mount. I like the Paul version.

I'll take and post a few more photos and measurements when I get a free minute.

Anonymous said...

remember, pauls plus shimano bar cons (or whatever shifter you choose) is at least 150 bucks. falcon thumbies on the other hand are under 20, and with a 25 cent longer bolt, and some pliers, you can fit them to road sized bars.

Anonymous said...

i was wondering if you were expecting to get more of the belleri porteur bars. they vanished from your site before i could order some.

Anonymous said...

Are you going to make a Pigalle Place handelbar?

Anonymous said...

Or Place Pigelle

Anonymous said...

Chris, the Nitto post link is broken--it links to the bars page

Anonymous said...

hello, i was wondering what the major differences between the Montmartre bar and the Promenade bar?

Velo Orange said...

Bryan, The diameter and shape and width are all different.

Anonymous said...

I see the width and rise for these bars but what is the reach? I'm trying to figure out what size stem I'll need.

Unknown said...

I too had trouble visualizing the set up for shifters and brakes on the Montmartre handlebars. Here's the set up I ended up getting thanks to Jay at Rivendell: http://www.flickr.com/photos/maiacybelle/sets/72157621925059297/