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  1. #1
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    Handlebar for converted MTB with rapidfires, high rise, city use?

    .

    TL;DR version: seeking a handlebar with 85mm to 4+ inches of rise (in addition to already using a stem riser) that has room for rapid-fire shifters, ergo grips, but isn't too wide to still filter forward through traffic sometimes. Something similar to a riser bar or BMX, but not looking exactly like a BMX bar as I see jankily done sometimes!


    So, I picked up a new bike that I'm just getting started on converting to take over commuting duties to replace my 1993 GT Outpost. I say "new", but this is a 1994 GT Corrado MTB. Main benefit is that it is significantly lighter and will probably ride nicer, as I suspect the rear triangle on the Outpost is hi-tensile steel while the Corrado is made out of nice double-butted True Temper. It'll also be my first real foray into the threadless system.
    And, you know, N + 1 !

    On to the question in title of the post: the steer tube has been cut short, I'm probably going to have to use a stem extender as a partial solution to bring the handlebars a little closer to me (higher), but I'd also like to try out something different from the XLC handlebar with maybe an inch and a half of rise and not a whole lot of sweep that I currently have on the Outpost. What I'd like is a handlebar with quite a bit of rise, somewhere between maybe as much as 85mm and maybe as high as 5 inches or so, but I need room for ergonomic grips as well as rapid-fire shifters AND I filter forward through traffic sometimes, so I'd really like for the bend in the bars to happen pretty early so there is room for everything without the bars being superwide. I've already got the steepest stem possible on there and it doesn't even touch the issue!

    I'd like something with some sweep in addition to the rise, not as much as a Soma Sparrow, but perhaps a little more than on the bars I'm currently running. In case it isn't obvious, I like riding pretty upright. Aesthetically, I'd like to try a handlebar with a pretty serious rise and a shortish stem extender rather than a handlebar with less rise and a really extreme stem extender (I've seen at least 4" ones), but I'd prefer not to have the bike looking like one that someone jankily mounted a kids BMX bar onto! I'm pretty sure there is a sweet spot that meets my needs, but I'm having a hard time sifting through all the options and thought I'd pick the brains of the collective wisdom of the forum, especially since I need enough room for rapid fire shifters and full size grips.

    I'd welcome suggestions!

    FWIW, I think this is the XLC handlebar I'm currently running, unfortunately no specs listed, nor do I remember any from the ebay seller I got mine from, so I have no idea as to the sweep or total length.
    Amazon.com: XLC Mountain Bike Handlebar, 100mm, 640mm, 25.4, Silver: Sports & Outdoors


    For reference, here's a couple of photos:



    This is my 1993 GT Outpost, set up as I ride it every day. I commute 100 miles a week, and ride seven days a week on this. Often I can ride for long periods of time comfortably, but sometimes my wrists still bother me and sometimes my hands still go numb. I suspect with the handlebars just a little bit higher and with just a little bit more sweep I probably wouldn't have those problems anymore.

    Obviously I'm not really happy with the amount of stem I've got going on there, but I really like old steel MTB's and a 22 inch frame is as large as I can ride due to standover height.


    This is the bike I recently picked up from a Craigslist seller:



    That's after I went to a park near where I met him and spent about an hour swapping over parts from my spares boxes that I brought with me. I replaced the stem with one with the most rise I could find, replaced the handlebars with a set that came on the '96 Pantera I converted to city duties for my girlfriend with Soma Sparrows. The Sparrow bars have a little too much sweep for my taste, but she's liking them and I benefitted from her nice surplus Ritchey riser bars to ride the bike the 50 miles home from where I met the seller. Turns out there wasn't room for the shifters to work with the bar ends crammed back on there, so they came off shortly after I rolled away!

    As you can see, the handlebars are lower than the saddle, even with probably the most rise I'm going to get out of a regular stem, and level with the saddle is about the minimum I'm going for. I think I'd benefit from the bars being slightly higher than the saddle actually.


    Thanks for any advice!

  2. #2
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    store.somafab.com
    orangevelo
    rivbike.com

    maybe
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
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  3. #3
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    The kind of rise and close-to-you-ness and space for things that you want is going to be tough to find. Rivendell sells the nitto-made Bosco bar that will give you the rise, closeness and space you want, but it is very swept. What is your aversion to sweep? I imagine that given the amount you ride, you have a pretty good idea of what does and doesnt work for you. I find that some angles are better than others for me. On-One makes the Mary bar that has a sweep that my arms and wrists really like. I think they are 40 deg. Titec Jones bars are very similar in sweep but just enough different to not be as good. Also, the surly Open Bar that I had on my commuter for a while are also really good but again just enough off to be not quite perfect. Drop bars with nearly parallel grip position are also good for me as are bar ends on flat bars. For me it seems that half-ish sweep and almost parallel are optimal, but I'm fond of experimenting and will continue to try different bars to hone my position on bike. In my experience, ergo grips are nice but don't negate importance of proper bar sweep, angle, or height.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by vaultbrad View Post
    ...
    What is your aversion to sweep? I imagine that given the amount you ride, you have a pretty good idea of what does and doesnt work for you. I find that some angles are better than others for me. On-One makes the Mary bar that has a sweep that my arms and wrists really like. I think they are 40 deg. Titec Jones bars are very similar in sweep but just enough different to not be as good. Also, the surly Open Bar that I had on my commuter for a while are also really good but again just enough off to be not quite perfect. Drop bars with nearly parallel grip position are also good for me as are bar ends on flat bars. For me it seems that half-ish sweep and almost parallel are optimal, but I'm fond of experimenting and will continue to try different bars to hone my position on bike. In my experience, ergo grips are nice but don't negate importance of proper bar sweep, angle, or height.
    Although they aren't On-One Mary's, I think the Soma Sparrows are very similar, and I put a set of those on the mountain bike ('96 GT Pantera) I converted for my girlfriend to use around the city and on unloaded tours. Admittedly, I haven't ridden any distance on them, as her bike is too small for me, but I've ridden it a little bit, and that much sweep seems very unnatural for me and I'm pretty sure it would be uncomfortable for me over any distance/time. My wrists feel like they are at a really weird angle. I want some sweep and would like for it to be at least a little more than what MTB risers often have (15 or 17 degrees maybe?), but less than the Sparrows.

    I've eyed the Jones bars, but they don't have the rise I need. Same with the Surly Open Bar. The Surly looks pretty good to me other than lacking the stupid amount of rise I need.

    I found three options that look like they might work for me and went ahead and purchased them to try them out. I found handlebars for scooters (like 50cc) on e bay. There is at least one seller who has salvaged ones and ones pulled in the showroom (likely the customer wanted different bars). I'm not super keen on the way these look, but they do have a LOT of rise and the rise happens early, so it looks like there will be enough room for shifters and everything. I asked the seller to take some measurements, and assuming he accurately measured from where the bend ends, these will work, but I think I might need a shim for the clamp area, but I found 22 to 25.4mm shims online if that is the case.

    Second, Wald makes a bar with 5.25" of rise and I got a black set of these first, and aesthetically they look pretty good, but both they and the scooter bars are a little wide (I think they are both 27"), and it looks like it is going to be real tight fitting everything on the Walds. Come to think of it, IIRC both the Rans and the scooter bars are black too! Score!

    Last I spotted a Rans semi-recumbent (crank forward) bike on the street on my way home from school the other day and the bars on it looked like exactly what I needed! I flipped a quick u-ie and hopped the curb where he was locked up and eyeballed the bars. They're branded Rans and so I went to their website and found their "Deep V Handlebar" for only $30 and ordered that. Their ordering was a little weird, but I think I'm not paying any shipping for that. The scooter bars are new ones pulled off a bike on the showroom floor and were $14 plus another dozen bucks shipping from Georgia (IIRC). The Walds I got free shipping through A mazon and they were about $18 after tax.

    If more than one of them fit, I've still got my tourer to build up and I'd be able to drop the ridiculous amount of stem I've got going on, on the bike I've been commuting on and is about to take over snow/ice duties if it actually snows this year!

    Thanks for the replies folks, hopefully the above info will help someone in a similar position to me.
    Last edited by Medic Zero; 10-12-2013 at 12:26 AM.
    ISO: 22" GT Rebound frame, year 2000 model

  5. #5
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    Just a thought... this could widen your options for a handlebar. I have used one of these steerer extensions with success for a few years now, year-round commuting and occasional mountain biking on a Trek 29er. The device has been 100% reliable. I would not recommend using it on a carbon steerer tube, though.

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