Nov 24, 2009

And Now for Something Completely Different

One of the things I like about cycling is the endless opportunity to experiment with gear. Taken to an extreme this can be an expensive (or even decadent) pass-time, but like anything slightly deviant, if done in moderation it's a lot of fun.

My newest experiment is with some handlebars on my Marin mountain bike. The bike itself is an older, steel Marin with nice-for-the-era components. I found it on the consignment rack at a local bike shop last winter when I was in the market for a reasonably priced bad weather bike. The Marin is a little too nice to be a real winter beater, but it fit me well and was virtually new old stock, so it ended up coming home with me.

I had not ridden it much until this fall. The Rawland claimed almost all of my summer cycling time this year, but I figured that this would come in handy once the weather got more adverse. I outfitted the Marin with some fenders and moved a spare rack over to this bike anticipating commuting on it into the Fall and possibly the Winter. We have been blessed with a beautiful, if a little rainy, Fall. This gave me a lot of time on the bike, and woke me up to the fact that "bad weather" includes darkness (at least for me). The bike now sports a Superflash and my bright headlights as well.

I have come to really like this bike; it's as light as anything I ride except for my nice road bikes, and it is pretty lively and fun as well. My only real gripe was the handlebars, which were some flat aluminum bars under the Marin brand. I have never been a fan of flat bars because I like multiple hand positions, but the truth is that as short as my commute is, they were just fine. Never one to be satisfied with "just fine", I came across an interesting looking bar that a contact on Flickr was rocking on his old Kona.

After a few email exchanges to find out what the bar was and how my contact liked it, I ordered up a TiTec H bar for the Marin. Hiawatha set it up for me while I was out of town, so that part couldn't have been easier, and they did a great job with estimating the correct stem for me (it pays to know the mechanic, or rather for the mechanic to know you) and I have been happy with these things for a week now. Good looking, multiple hand positions, and plenty of room for lights.

I am tweaking brake lever position and still making peace with the trigger shifters, but this is a process, not a race to the finish. I'll need to see what works best and how things work with gloves, etc. My dream scenario for this bar is to totally wrap it with cork tape, but with brake levers and shifters, that might not be possible. Even so, it's better than my old flat bar, so I am sharing a few pics in case anyone else is dissatisfied with the usual offerings in the flat bar department.


  1. I'm contemplating replacing the bars on my wife's Long Haul Trucker with these. Her hands are big enough to reach the brakes and this causes her to lose confidence in her bike-handling. This will give her multiple hand positions and the ability to reach the brake handle. These are the real titanium bars, but the aluminum ones, right?

  2. The bars look great and hopefully will do you well this winter. They sorta look like flat and bullhorns merged together.

  3. Bro. Yam - the TiTecs are the aluminum version. They are licensed copies of the Ti originals. I think the titanium versions run about $500 or so, I am long way away spending that kind of money on handlebars. Titanium on any of my bikes would be pretty out of place, too.

    Shishi - you are right, these do seem to be flats with bill horns. The arms are in closer to the torso on the extensions, however. I always felt my bull horns stretched me out and gave me a wide stance, which I didn't like as much. These seem better.