31 August, 2020

Trekking Bars - The Original Alt-Bar

*this is a re-publishing of a post from November, 2017. We have updated some links, photos, and dates.

By Scott

It's hard to believe that it has been nearly 7 years since we launched the Crazy Bar. In a world of drop bars and flat bars, the Crazy Bar was polarizing. But, we'd be remiss if we didn't dig back further into the realm of alternative bars to an original one - the Daija Trekking Bar.

Sometimes referred to as Trekking Bars, Butterfly Bars, or Pretzel Bars, I remember seeing these bars on bikes ridden by an older Austrian couple in New Zealand back in 2001. The bars fit well with the front and rear panniers, rack top bags, and trailer they were each pulling around the south island of New Zealand.

Compared to flat bars, Trekking Bars offer more hand positions. You can use the sides to rock up a hill, you can stretch out forwards in a headwind, or keep your hands close to the brakes and shifters.

In terms of set up, there seem to be two camps. You either have the open end of the bars face towards you or away from you. A search of photos on the net shows more people run them with the opening towards the rider, thus keeping the brake levers and shifters close to you. Go ahead, do the Google search, we can wait.

OK, so now that you have seen the myriad of cockpits out there, you can see how this bar is the ultimate in individualizing a handle bar. I've never seen flat bars or drop bars get built up with such a personalized feeling about them. In the photo above, we put tape along the sides, but you could easily use another set of grips there as well for more cushioning.

For those of you who are now intrigued by these, some basic spec's. The clamp area is a 25.4 mm, standard for flat bars. The straight section where your main grips, shifters and brake levers would fit is a 22.2 mm clamp area and is 15 cm long. They work best with a 25.4 mm threadless stem, as trying to get a quill stem around all those curves could prove to be a nightmare. If you had a quill stem with a removable faceplate, that would work as well (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

( Photo taken by Endlessvelolove )

So how many folks out there are fans of alt bars and how many just want a flat bar with a bit of curve/bend to it?


Anonymous said...

How wide is the clamp area? I was thinking of reducing the flex just a tad with a V4 stem, which requires 100mm.

Robby said...

Used to run mine with old inner tubes as the bar tape. Of all the bars I tried to do that with these were the only ones I found that I liked it for some reason.

54 said...

Still have my Scott AT-4. That predates even the Original. :D Still love it for touring

Anonymous said...

I just installed some of these bars that I got from Velo Orange last week and so far I'm a fan. I find I'm using the wide part of the bars for cruising around.

Jess said...

Am still on the fence about alt bars, certainly not made the switch yet, thanks for sharing though