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Old 05-22-10, 12:54 PM   #1
boro
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"North Road", etc. bars for my girlfriend's bike

Mundane question here:

My girlfriend has a mid-late '90s specialized hardrock. The frame is 15.5", but it seems to fit her well. What she doesn't like is the MTB bars and the 'hunched' riding position - she'd like to ride upright.

So I'm looking at handlebars of the old 3-speed style... the wald cruiser #867, the pyramid 'north road' style bar etc.

I've checked out quite a few local bike shops, and none of them have anything in, so I'd be just as blind ordering off the internet as through a store. The bars need to have sweep, but also enough rise to bring her to an upright riding position and to clear her knees. The bike also has the integrated brake/grip-shift combo, so the ends need to be long enough to accommodate that.

I suppose I'll need new cables as well, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it

Any suggestions from people who have done something similar?
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Old 05-22-10, 04:01 PM   #2
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My only advice is there's lots of different handlebars so you have to choose carefully. Here's some things to consider:

1. Stem clamp size. There's 3 common sizes, 25.4, 26.0, and 31.8 mm. Most mountain bike stems take 25.4 mm. You can crunch a 26.0 handlebar into a 25.4 stem but that's not something you'd want to do with a brand new handlebar.

2. Brake band diameter. Road bike bars are 23.8 mm. Assuming you want to reuse your mountain-style brakes and shifters you need 22.2 mm.

3. Width. Some of the cruiser style bars are way, way wide. Is that a look you're looking for?

4. Overall look. Whenever I've change the style of handlebars it usually takes me a couple of tries to get it right. The color of the bars, the style of the stem, brakes and shifters, everything works together. It's tricky to come up with a combination that looke like it might have come from the factory that way.

5. Don't even think about cables and housings. If you're raising the bar significantly the ones that you have will be too short. It's probably going to be better to replace them anyway. Put new grips on your shopping list too.
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Old 05-22-10, 05:05 PM   #3
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Thanks for your reply. That throws some new numbers into the equation. It seems like most websites I'm looking on only list the clamp-area size of the bars, and not the diameter of the bars at the grip area.

Are most of these bars 'road' diameter?

Anyway, I think she'd like bars that are ~20" across... none of those huge 2.5 foot bars. I'd prefer to keep the original brakes and shifters just to keep cost down, but that sounds like it might limit what bars we can get.
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Old 05-23-10, 01:30 AM   #4
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Modern North Road bars are mountain diameter (the ones on many older bikes predate these standards). I believe most of them have a lengthened straight section, to accommodate modern mountain bike shifters, but I haven't tried this personally. The ones I have are about 21" at the widest point. They're from an old Raleigh 3-speed, but I assume the Walds are similar.

The cruiser bars should also be mountain diameter, but they will be much wider. I would guess that they would work with your shifters as well, but, again, I haven't tried this.

You might want to try asking in the utility forum. A lot of people there like North Roads (and similar), but I don't know how many of them look in here.
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Old 05-23-10, 06:22 AM   #5
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My Quality Book has Nitto "North Road Albatross" bars listed. They might be exactly what you are looking for. Silver, about 22 inches wide, sized for mountain bike stem and brake bands, and can be flipped to provide about 2 1/2 inches of rise. They look to me like they'd work pretty slick with twist shifters but trigger shifters might not work so great.
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Old 05-23-10, 07:17 AM   #6
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I lucked out while doing the search for these type bars. A bike shop that sold used bikes swapped bars from a "vintage" Schwinn Breeze (tourist bars with rise and sweep just like my old Schwinn Suburban) onto my Giant Suede with the twist grip shifters. Nothing else needed because the cables and grips fit fine. The Suede had flat bar with rise but no sweep. Love how my wrists and forearms don't hurt anymore. It only cost me $20.
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Old 05-23-10, 01:38 PM   #7
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Further investigation indicates that I wouldn't be able to use the twist-shift/brake combos with either of the bars I listed. Better to find that out now, I guess.

I think I'll call some more local shops and see if they can help me out. One shop I tried had nitto bars that seemed like they would work, but were $110 (!!!) CAD. I know I'll probably end up spending more than I was hoping to, but that's pushing it.

Thanks for all of your replies.
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Old 05-23-10, 08:38 PM   #8
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How about this one?

http://www.amazon.com/Sunlite-Tourin.../dp/B0010VZFJO
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