Framebuilders - Any framebuilders with experience in building custom handlebars?
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08-21-12, 05:35 PM
This might seem like an odd request, but I'm looking for someone that could fabricate custom handlebars. More specifically, someone that could copy a pair of pursuit bars that I have been searching for for quite some time now, with no luck. Not the best photo, but there's an example below...
They're pursuit bars that come off of a Soviet era Takhion, and there were similar bars used on a few other bikes at the time too (late 80s/early 90s). They're almost exactly like regular pursuit bars, with the exception being the direction that the ends are turned. I've searched and searched for another pair of these for a few years now with absolutely no luck. If anyone can help, or knows of someone I could talk to who could make something like this, I'd much appreciate it!
10-05-12, 06:15 AM
Hi, I have a lot of tube benders and experience in that type of work. Handlebars are made from unusual size tubing and is custom made for the application. Tube bending requires tooling that fits the tube perfectly, inside and out. The tube must be annealed (softened) before the bending and a hardening process to make them usable again. I don't know the exact diameter of the handlebar you are trying to make but if 1" (25.4) was close enough you would only need to find bending dies in the radius of the handlebar bends you are trying to produce. I have a couple of 1" die sets with mandrels.
I can also do a process anneal to at least get something bent. You would still need to harden the handlebars if you were to use or sell them at any point in the future. You could also make a decent "show only" replica by cutting up a bunch of donor handlebars and machining internal sleeves to support bonded joints.
exact perfect replicas would run $10,000 or more due to the vast amount of special tooling required.
25mm two piece custom handlebar with correct bend radi (with two different radi) would be about 1/2 that, only bend radi would drop it another grand or so (no more than $4,000)
25mm handlebar using my existing tooling (if it can be done, I would need to check die inventory) with proper heat treating and anodizing, about $2500 or so,
cut and spliced show handlebar with nicely bonded sleeves around $500.00. This one could be welded and polished down but would never be usable for anything more than hanging medals and a kit.
I could also digitize the handlebar and make a proper 3D drawing for a few hundred. You then set up a temporary banking, email and shipping address and send the drawing to a few in the houses in the global market. You will get several replies with prices ranging from $2.00 each on up for prototypes. Make business with several and order samples. Be careful with trade and ship fees as you may also receive other samples for toys, vehicles, clothing or testing medical procedures on live animals. I have seen samples arrive with biomatter in or on the product so exercise caution. (chicken feathers in a rockshox box, blood and sweat on machined parts)
Stuff will begin to arrive as will tons of business offers. Once you get the part you are looking for, start a bike brand or dump the email, phone, computers, physical address and bank account and off you go.
I hope you find this helpful. shoot me a PM or email if I can be of further help.
10-06-12, 02:18 AM
There is another path, which is to make 4130 bars. A number of builders make them, often in the time trial type deal, since those designs may have fewer hand positions allowing less flowing shapes to be attempted. Naked had some bars like that on their website, before they got famous, maybe still today... Also I would look at English cycles as they do a lot of bikes of that type, though I do not know to what extent they fabbed the bars.
One way to reduce some of the specialized parts you need is to make the bars fixed, and have a fabbed stem as part of the deal. That way you can make the transition to the steerer without having to worry about clamp sizes. You can also use bar end brakes, or thumbies, since these can be arranged independent of tubing diameters.
It is conceptually possible to bend thin wall Al tubing with only outside forming dies if you use the ice, or packed sand methods. Then, since the part is small, you might even get away with heat treating them in your oven. Have not tried this, while what Frank says, has many years of the real world behind it.
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