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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 08-05-05, 11:45 PM   #1
pasopia
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bullhorns off road?

Anyone ever ride trails with bullhorns? I am trying to figure out a good handlebar set up for my new karate monkey. I love the horns on the street, so I am curious how they would handle offroad on a singlespeed, with the brakes on the horn part of the bars.
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Old 08-06-05, 06:27 AM   #2
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I have a flatbar with bar ends on my mt. bike, and that's basically the same setup as bullhorns. The only difference is width. If you're doing somewhat technical trails, you'll want wider bars to help with sudden turns. Where bar ends/bullhorns really help is on steep and technical climbs, it helps to stretch your body out, allowing you to pull your c/g low enough to keep your front wheel on the ground, but back far enough to keep suitable traction on your rear wheel.

But, being stretched out on a rough downhill can be bad, making you endo material. If your brakes are only accessible in that stretched out position, you could be asking for it. If you must have a setup like that, I'd recommend using some in-line levers as well.
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Old 08-06-05, 07:12 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pasopia
Anyone ever ride trails with bullhorns? I am trying to figure out a good handlebar set up for my new karate monkey. I love the horns on the street, so I am curious how they would handle offroad on a singlespeed, with the brakes on the horn part of the bars.
Like Burt said, I would not want to be stretched out on the horns for the downhills.

Try moustache bars if you want something that works good on and off road. Or flat bars w/ bar ends, although I like the M-bars much better for the road. Depends on where you plan on spending most of your time.
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Old 08-06-05, 10:11 AM   #4
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As mentioned, moustache bars work well off road. I've got a m-bar set on my mtb....they are nice and wide.
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Old 08-06-05, 01:08 PM   #5
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you can just put bar ends on your flat bar
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Old 08-06-05, 01:38 PM   #6
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...or, as suggested, run a cx lever on the flats of the bullhorns. on one or both sides.
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Old 08-08-05, 04:42 PM   #7
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Yeah, you guys are right about going over the handlebars. Has anyone ever tried road drops on the trails? I asked the cyclecross folks about it, but I have had few responses. Maybe I will try out the m bars...
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Old 08-08-05, 05:00 PM   #8
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Some dirt drops would be rad. On One has the Midge bars that I guess are pretty close to the old WTB Dirt Drops.
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Old 08-08-05, 05:26 PM   #9
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You could always try a Jones H-Bar.

http://www.jonesbikes.com/hbar/default.asp


Pricey but cool. The few people I know that have them love them.
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Old 08-08-05, 06:38 PM   #10
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An alternative to the H-bar is the On-One Mary bar. It looks like some sort of cruiser bar with virtually no rise, but it's super-popular amongst the off-road single-speeders. Webcyclery can't even keep it in stock.
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Old 08-08-05, 08:42 PM   #11
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I rode Zoom Brahmas offroad for many years. Also, those funky Scott bars with the bridge. I liked those for dual-slalom and brush-covered trails. You can get the same effect with barends that have thinner clamps.

But, with wider bars, you're better off keeping your hands on the flats unless you're climbing or cruising some doubletrack. IIRC, the Zoom bars had a thinner section at the ends, so inverted brake levers might not work there. I think it was Salsa that made some clip-on brake levers for reaching them on your barends.
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Old 08-08-05, 10:31 PM   #12
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I have been thinking about this all day, (on and off the bike) My main problem is that when I am on the road I want narrow bars with my hands on the stem. I really prefer my arms tucked in when I am riding around NYC. I was think about chopping my mountain flats and moving the brakes and everthing else closer to the stem. Is this suicide for off road riding? Can having my hands 3 inches closer in on each side really effect my off road handling? I would just switch bars when I headf for the woods, but the brake cable lengths would be significantly different for the two setups, causing all sorts of trouble.
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Old 08-09-05, 06:32 AM   #13
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I'm going to go out on a limb and say that 3 inches on each side of your bars will affect handling a lot. It may not sound like much, but three inches of change just about anywhere on your bike will affect handling dramatically. Specifically, you'll notice (offroad) that the steering is a lot twitchier; that is, a small bar movement will make a much larger wheel movement. Try moving your grips and levers in three inches and riding around like that, before you cut anything.

For the road, a lot of people ride chopped flats or risers. At least two people on this forum regularly rock chopped risers for city riding. Check the FGG for other setups too.
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Old 08-09-05, 07:16 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeroplane
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that 3 inches on each side of your bars will affect handling a lot.
I agree. Off-road, wider is better, you really want the leverage when wrenching up hills on the SS.
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Old 08-09-05, 07:16 AM   #15
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There is no way a really good city bike will be a really good offroad bike at the same time. City needs narrow bars (sort of), off road wide bars are a must... The better compromise is prolly a relatively short (55 cm or so) MTB bar with bar ends.
Yeah, test ride before you cut.
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Old 08-09-05, 09:16 AM   #16
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have you tried a set of normal riser bars yet???

i love my bullhorns for commuting and general road riding but off-road those same bars would scare the ***** out of me.

i'd recommend some plain old riser bars with as much rear sweep as possible for comfortable and safe off-road riding. some people like them cut a bit narrower but especially if your gonna singlespeed i like the extra width to really torque on when i need help climbing.
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Old 08-09-05, 09:49 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pasopia
Yeah, you guys are right about going over the handlebars. Has anyone ever tried road drops on the trails? I asked the cyclecross folks about it, but I have had few responses. Maybe I will try out the m bars...
I ride a CX bike a lot on rough single track. I find I use the drop position more offroad than on! I get much better control and balance than on the hoods or tops when decending anything that is not crazy steep. Part of the control comes from easy access to brakes, but I also have bar top levers and find that when I ride on the bar tops downhill I have less steering control which I find is needed going thru/over/between rocks, etc. Keep in mind my set up is such than my bar top is only about 1" below the seat, the way I like it for offroad.

Al
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Old 08-09-05, 10:37 AM   #18
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This makes a lot of sense, because the flats of drop bars are essentially a narrower grip than the drops. and the drops put your hands further forward of the stem than the hoods. Which makes your steering less twitchy (more hand movement for a given amount of wheel movement).

Maybe "twitchiness" should be a standard measurement, like gear-inches. It would depend on a lot more things, of course (head tube angle, fork, rake, wheel size, stem length/angle, bar type/size), but it might help. Or, maybe some things should remain qualitative.
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Old 08-09-05, 10:55 AM   #19
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The aforementioned Dirt Drops (WTB), One One Midge and Mary are all really nice bars. Matt Chester seems to love 'em all. And he would know.

I've seen the Midge, Mary and Mungo all in person and they're really nice, well-made, solid bars.

The Midge's have a nice shallow drop with the flared out drops. I'm interested in trying those out but the wide width makes them a little too much for me. They seem great for someone who's over 6 or likes the wide width or for actual offroad applications of course, but for the city, they're a little wide for my liking. They do seem like a really good bar though.
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Old 08-09-05, 01:24 PM   #20
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I've done it. It's tons of fun -- it's a bit more challenging than a wide flat bar, but it's not ideal for technical downhills (or even non-technical steep ones) -- you don't want to be stretched out that far heading downhill.

Bullhorns with bar-end brake levers and cyclocross secondary levers is quite feasible, giving you both.
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Old 08-09-05, 08:27 PM   #21
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Those on one midge bars seem pretty sweet. Ultimately, I think I am just going to have two different handlebar setups, with two separate sets of brakes, but I may give the midges a chance. I may just go brakeless again, with bullhorns on the road, and mtb flats with brakes on when I go off. Kind of a hassle either way...
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