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Old 11-07-09, 07:45 PM   #1
Chicago Al 
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Mystery of the rotating handlebars

The other day I realized that the handlebar binder bolt on my stem had a nearly-stripped head, enough that it took an SAE size key to loosen it. My bike is an '83 Miyata 210, a $25 CL find back in late August (thanks again Bill), so it has a few issues like that, no big deal. The bars are the original SR Sakae 'Road Champion' with the charmingly spelled 'RANDNNER' designation. They are kind of narrow so I have been looking for a (cheap) wider replacement, and have just left the original foam wraps on them.

I went to the LBS today (Uptown Bikes, salute) and got a new bolt along with the proper seatpost binder the bike needed. Even got some bar tape for my eventual first-ever bar wrapping.

So I put the bars to the angle I wanted, tightened the bolt, went for a ride, switched from drops to hoods and...the bars slipped and rotated down. Not in a dangerous way, but just kind of a surprise.

When I got home I tightened the bolt again. And again. And again. And still each time I found I could make them rotate around.

When I pulled the foam back I found the problem: the bars are not one piece. There is a central sleeve, which has the Sakae text on it, and the rest of the bar (duller finish) is within that. So I am tightening up the sleeve but not really tightening the bar.

Why in the world are the bars this way? Is there a workaround? Any suggestions?

There's a set of the same bars on eBay.au where you can see the difference in the metal finish in the sleeve. Sorry but can't grab the pic by itself. http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI....m=390107202954

There's a C&V ride tomorrow and I simply can't show up with my handlebars at the wrong angle!

Thanks for any advice!

Last edited by Chicago Al; 11-07-09 at 07:58 PM. Reason: added link to pic
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Old 11-07-09, 07:48 PM   #2
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Drill through the sleeve on both sides and pop-rivet the bars into the sleeve?
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Old 11-07-09, 08:01 PM   #3
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What width are these, and what are you looking for?
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Old 11-07-09, 08:23 PM   #4
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They are about 42cm at the end of the drops. I think wider would be better, but I am looking for alternatives--just bought some Soma mustache bars (at least they are supposed to be) to try out.
I am quite new to road biking and am finding I get some odd irritation in my left elbow after riding, so want to find bars that will alleviate that. No idea what that might be though!
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Old 11-07-09, 08:49 PM   #5
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Hi too bad about your bars. that 'sleeve' design was a way to save money. it is cheaper to put that sleeve on then to 'bulge' the bars in the stem area. DO NOT DRILL them. I would certainly ditch them as soon as I can.
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Old 11-07-09, 08:59 PM   #6
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Thanks BG! I guess that makes sense. [Loud clank as Al's appreciation of 80s Japanese manufacturing drops a notch.] Was the sleeve originally attached to the actual bar, maybe epoxy or something? Otherwise it seems like a self-defeating cost-cutting measure.

Wife's '83 Shogun has similar bars but not the 'RANDNNER' variation and the bar is tight inside the sleeve. You'd never know it wasn't one piece, though I will admit I didn't actually try to break it loose. I guess I just 'broke' mine, me and my 50-y-o 5'6" 160 lb massive upper body strength!
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Old 11-07-09, 09:47 PM   #7
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Thanks BG! I guess that makes sense. [Loud clank as Al's appreciation of 80s Japanese manufacturing drops a notch.] Was the sleeve originally attached to the actual bar, maybe epoxy or something? Otherwise it seems like a self-defeating cost-cutting measure.

Wife's '83 Shogun has similar bars but not the 'RANDNNER' variation and the bar is tight inside the sleeve. You'd never know it wasn't one piece, though I will admit I didn't actually try to break it loose. I guess I just 'broke' mine, me and my 50-y-o 5'6" 160 lb massive upper body strength!
Blame the Italians! Most bars, especially top end ones back then were made that way. I have a Cinelli Giro D'Italia, Campione del Mondo and several other Cinellis that are made that way. I also have a recent Nitto track bar made that way. None of them have ever failed. I don't think this is a cheap way to make a bar. Quite the contrary, it would be a lot simpler to just extrude a single piece of tubing into varying diameters to give you a larger center section. The center sleeve gives you a much thicker bar in the clampling area, which is less likely to crush if you overighten the stem. It also reduces the bending stress in the middle of the bar where the bending moment is highest. It sounds to me like your specific bar is defective and the sleeve was never tight enough to begin with.
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Old 11-07-09, 10:02 PM   #8
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JB Weld won't work here?
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Old 11-07-09, 10:50 PM   #9
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JB Weld won't work here?
I strongly suspect that there's no way to get JB Weld in between the sleeve and the handlebar. I also think the bars are 25 years old and have worn in the interface between the two parts. Either condition would be a recommendation for replacement. New handlebars are cheap. A trip to the hospital- not so cheap.
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Old 11-08-09, 05:40 PM   #10
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Best to replace the bars. I do remember seeing this occur, albeit very rarely, in my past bike career. The sleeve came loose from the handelbars. Replace bars.
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Old 11-08-09, 07:30 PM   #11
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I drilled mine on an older Nishiki Sport Equipe, and used the rivets (4). After that, they worked just fine. Eventually, I removed them, removed the sleeve, and used it for a shim. Worked just fine then, too.
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Old 11-08-09, 08:06 PM   #12
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I drilled mine on an older Nishiki Sport Equipe, and used the rivets (4). After that, they worked just fine. Eventually, I removed them, removed the sleeve, and used it for a shim. Worked just fine then, too.
OK, I give up. How exactly do you remove the sleeve?
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Old 11-08-09, 08:14 PM   #13
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OK, I give up. How exactly do you remove the sleeve?
Drilled out the rivets and twisted back and forth on the bar while holding the sleeve with a channel lock pliers. Eventually, it came right out. If it hadn't been loose, I wouldn't have had rotating bars, either.

It was a Modolo sleeve.
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Old 11-08-09, 08:15 PM   #14
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First of all lightweight aluminum handlebars are the last thing you want 'vintage' on your bike. Aluminum fatigues, and after so many cycles, field sprints, miles on the pave, whatever they WILL fail.

If you read your Zinn maintenance book you'll realize that Zinn says replace bars on a regular schedule. I would NEVER ever ride on a used alloy bar that I didn't know the history of. On that note alloy bars should be replaced if the bike ever falls over and lands on the bars, even once.

There is some leeway with oversize bars (31.8mm) as they are stronger and stiffer, hence the evolution to the larger clamp size.

That being said I'd be interested to see if you have a mismatch of bars and stem going on. The stem/bar standards were close enough that there were plenty of people riding around with a 25.4mm bars clamped inside a 26mm stem. I'm curious if that might be your problem.

I would NEVER drill the bars or attempt to rivet them, that is just INVITING disaster to the party.

Again, I suggest you recycle the bars. A castastropic loss of steering control on a technical descent, or in a bike lane three feet from traffic isn't worth keeping your bike period correct.
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Old 11-09-09, 11:20 PM   #15
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The local swap meet I went to after our Chicago C&V ride yielded a Sakae 'Custom' drop bar, which will do nicely I think, esp for $10. It's wider so will likely be more comfortable than the 'Randnner.' The bars I have were certainly original to the bike, just as spec'd in the '83 Miyata catalog--mine still have crusty original foam covers on them. The 'custom' bars with new/old aero levers and red bar tape: more comfy, safer, and more stylish all at once.

With all respect to Mr Zinn I'm not that worried about catastrophic metal failure on these ala the DeHavilland Comet. All that happened with mine is that they got a bit loose, which was annoying but (at my pace) not really dangerous. The only 'technical descent' I am concerned with is falling off the darn bike, which I try not to do.

Last edited by Chicago Al; 11-09-09 at 11:25 PM.
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