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  1. #1
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    Cleary Hedgehog "No Backsweep" handlebar: problem and solution

    The boy (4.5) has been riding his Cleary Hedgehog for about 1.5 months now.

    This post is not a review about the bike. It addresses a certain issue with the bike.

    Most kids bikes are equipped with handlebars with 22.2mm diameter at the grips (7/8"). In other words - us adults, and a 4 year old kid, are expected to grip the same diameter.

    This doesn't make much sense, and Cleary Bikes tried to improve it by equipping the Hedgehog with a 19mm handlebar (3/4").

    The only problem with this: the handlebar Cleary found (or decided to spec) is a completely straight (no backsweep) bar.

    Backsweep is an important ergonomic feature, and indeed the boy's hand position on the bike looked awkward. In several long rides, he even complained that his hands hurt.

    This is how it looks:

    Cleary Hedgehog "No Backsweep" handlebar: problem and solution-20150603_163255_resize_20150703_150214.jpg

    I decided to try and improve this issue. Finding a good handlebar with 19mm diameter is tough; Finding one with 25.4mm clamp size (to match the Hedgehog stem) was completely futile.

    I decided to go with Spawn Cycles "Stubby Bar" (Stubby Bars ? 19MM - Born to Ride | The World's Best Kids Bikes!)

    Two problems I could think of:

    1. It might not be sufficiently strong

    2. How do I attach it to the 25.4mm stem?

    Some quick calculation with fellow engineers at work showed that the strength should be OK, mainly because it's not very wide (40cm - the same as the original Hedgehog bar)

    To be on the safe side - and to match the Boy's size when he grows up - I decided I'll use it for about a year, then switch to something wider AND stronger.

    Now for problem No. 2: I found these adapters on Ebay:

    Cleary Hedgehog "No Backsweep" handlebar: problem and solution-screenshot_2015-07-03-09-55-13.jpg

    These are steel adapters for a Harley Davidson, but they solve the problem: 1" outer diameter, 3/4" inner diameter.

    Well, ALMOST solve the problem. Because they match the bar size exactly, they won't go thru the bend area.

    A machine shop at work helped, and the adapters where cut:

    Cleary Hedgehog "No Backsweep" handlebar: problem and solution-20150630_210805_resize_20150703_150213.jpg

    This is the final result:

    Cleary Hedgehog "No Backsweep" handlebar: problem and solution-20150703_092049_resize_20150703_150212.jpg

    Cleary Hedgehog "No Backsweep" handlebar: problem and solution-20150703_092055_resize_20150703_150211.jpg

    This setup not only solves the backsweep issue; it also enables some fore-aft adjustments, which helped us, as the Hedgehog is a very long 16" bike (I think the longest)

    It's not perfect: there is a limited space for the grips and the levers.
    I guess weight weenies will point that the bike now weight ~80-100 gr more. That's true, but I think the ergonomic argument wins here.

    Cleary Hedgehog "No Backsweep" handlebar: problem and solution-20150703_091223_resize_20150703_150213.jpg

    In the future, I can go two ways:
    1. Put Spawn Cycles "Short Can" bars (Short Can Bars ? 19MM - Born to Ride | The World's Best Kids Bikes!)

    That's a wider, reinforced 19mm bar. I can still use the adapters, grips and brake levers.

    2. Buy a 25.4/22.2 adult bar, and chop it to the desired size. No need for the adapters now. I'll need new grips and brake levers, but the boy will be physically bigger then, so thin grips and adjustable brake levers would probably do the job.

  2. #2
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    Nice job Oren. We do have a low riser bar available that fits our brake levers and stem clamp.
    Cleary Bikes

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ClearyBikes View Post
    Nice job Oren. We do have a low riser bar available that fits our brake levers and stem clamp.
    Cleary Bikes
    I'm glad to hear. It's not listed anywhere on your site. Can you please upload photos and details?

  4. #4
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    nice bar hack...

    Awesome work Oren!

    Quote Originally Posted by oren_hershco View Post
    The boy (4.5) has been riding his Cleary Hedgehog for about 1.5 months now.

    This post is not a review about the bike. It addresses a certain issue with the bike.

    Most kids bikes are equipped with handlebars with 22.2mm diameter at the grips (7/8"). In other words - us adults, and a 4 year old kid, are expected to grip the same diameter.

    This doesn't make much sense, and Cleary Bikes tried to improve it by equipping the Hedgehog with a 19mm handlebar (3/4").

    The only problem with this: the handlebar Cleary found (or decided to spec) is a completely straight (no backsweep) bar.

    Backsweep is an important ergonomic feature, and indeed the boy's hand position on the bike looked awkward. In several long rides, he even complained that his hands hurt.

    This is how it looks:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20150603_163255_resize_20150703_150214.jpg 
Views:	282 
Size:	151.5 KB 
ID:	999516

    I decided to try and improve this issue. Finding a good handlebar with 19mm diameter is tough; Finding one with 25.4mm clamp size (to match the Hedgehog stem) was completely futile.

    I decided to go with Spawn Cycles "Stubby Bar" (Stubby Bars ? 19MM - Born to Ride | The World's Best Kids Bikes!)

    Two problems I could think of:

    1. It might not be sufficiently strong

    2. How do I attach it to the 25.4mm stem?

    Some quick calculation with fellow engineers at work showed that the strength should be OK, mainly because it's not very wide (40cm - the same as the original Hedgehog bar)

    To be on the safe side - and to match the Boy's size when he grows up - I decided I'll use it for about a year, then switch to something wider AND stronger.

    Now for problem No. 2: I found these adapters on Ebay:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Screenshot_2015-07-03-09-55-13.jpg 
Views:	211 
Size:	67.2 KB 
ID:	999517

    These are steel adapters for a Harley Davidson, but they solve the problem: 1" outer diameter, 3/4" inner diameter.

    Well, ALMOST solve the problem. Because they match the bar size exactly, they won't go thru the bend area.

    A machine shop at work helped, and the adapters where cut:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20150630_210805_resize_20150703_150213.jpg 
Views:	169 
Size:	84.3 KB 
ID:	999518

    This is the final result:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20150703_092049_resize_20150703_150212.jpg 
Views:	331 
Size:	145.3 KB 
ID:	999519

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20150703_092055_resize_20150703_150211.jpg 
Views:	536 
Size:	350.7 KB 
ID:	999520

    This setup not only solves the backsweep issue; it also enables some fore-aft adjustments, which helped us, as the Hedgehog is a very long 16" bike (I think the longest)

    It's not perfect: there is a limited space for the grips and the levers.
    I guess weight weenies will point that the bike now weight ~80-100 gr more. That's true, but I think the ergonomic argument wins here.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20150703_091223_resize_20150703_150213.jpg 
Views:	359 
Size:	141.5 KB 
ID:	999521

    In the future, I can go two ways:
    1. Put Spawn Cycles "Short Can" bars (Short Can Bars ? 19MM - Born to Ride | The World's Best Kids Bikes!)

    That's a wider, reinforced 19mm bar. I can still use the adapters, grips and brake levers.

    2. Buy a 25.4/22.2 adult bar, and chop it to the desired size. No need for the adapters now. I'll need new grips and brake levers, but the boy will be physically bigger then, so thin grips and adjustable brake levers would probably do the job.

  5. #5
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    Check back later this week around July 16.

  6. #6
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    I just bought this bike for my 5yo son and thought the same thing. Thanks for the tips as I was going to do something along the same lines.

  7. #7
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    riser bars

    Quote Originally Posted by ClearyBikes View Post
    Check back later this week around July 16.
    I've got the riser bar from Cleary and it seems to be a good solution. One thing to note, even though I was careful remove the grips from the old bar, when I put them on the new one, they were loose. I first installed w/ isopropyl alcohol but that didn't work and then I went to hairspray which also did work. My final solution was to put on a spiral of electrical tape before installing the grip, which worked well.

    You might consider ordering some new grips if you order new bars because the tiny diameter grips are REALLY hard to find!

  8. #8
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    Oh man, i didn't even know they made these! Thanks for the update, now I don't have to mess around with shims, or diff bar/stem, lever combo !

  9. #9
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    Cleary low riser bar

    Quote Originally Posted by ClearyBikes View Post
    Nice job Oren. We do have a low riser bar available that fits our brake levers and stem clamp.
    Cleary Bikes
    So, I came across the same problem as my son is tall and five years old. I put the riser bar from Cleary and it is great. It does not have a huge amount of rise, to the point that I thought I would have to get more riser but the extra width and backsweep add a lot too. It got to my place (in Washington) is 3 days.

    Cleary Hedgehog "No Backsweep" handlebar: problem and solution-img_3868.jpg

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by hokeypokey View Post
    I've got the riser bar from Cleary and it seems to be a good solution. One thing to note, even though I was careful remove the grips from the old bar, when I put them on the new one, they were loose. I first installed w/ isopropyl alcohol but that didn't work and then I went to hairspray which also did work. My final solution was to put on a spiral of electrical tape before installing the grip, which worked well.

    You might consider ordering some new grips if you order new bars because the tiny diameter grips are REALLY hard to find!
    I ordered some new grips with my new riser bar, but I didn't have nearly the same problem you had. I used compressed air to take the grips off and that turned out to be way easier than I thought it would be. An old bike mechanic taught me to use Windex to installed slide on grips. Slippery at first then dries kind of tacky so they don't spin.

    The new Cleary Riser Handlebar is a great improvement over the stock flat bar. The extra width, rise, and back sweep provided an instant improvement in the way my little man handles his bike. He has been on real trails with his Strider, but now it's time to bring his Hedgehog to the single track.
    Cleary Hedgehog "No Backsweep" handlebar: problem and solution-fullsizerender.jpgCleary Hedgehog "No Backsweep" handlebar: problem and solution-img_2918.jpg
    Last edited by B.A.R.K.; 01-18-2016 at 02:50 PM.

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