Sunday, April 27, 2014

I Like Open Bars

Rusty wheel-less Huffy inexplicably locked to a bike rack
in front of NYC Velo
The 30 minutes were almost up on our Citi Ride bikes, so we checked them into a lower Manhattan bike station. Maybe we'd find a bike shop, I sort of had in my head that I might buy a set of Surly Open Bars if I could find a decent price. I had a hard time swallowing the $60 online price so figured I might at least save on shipping.

At NYC Velo I asked the proprietor if they carried Surly.

"Yes" he replied.

"Would you happen to have any Open Bars" in stock" I asked. Fat chance.

"Yeah. As a matter of fact I do" and he produced a bundle of them from under the counter.

My pulse quickened. I didn't particularly want to lug a set of handlebars around Manhattan for the rest of the day, but what the heck. "How much" I asked, figuring the New York City markup would bring it close to $70.

"Twenty dollars" he said.

Holy shit. "I'll take it."

Fast forward to today when I rode The Double Bonus loop with the new bars installed. The bars are amazing. The substantial sweep puts my wrist in a natural position and the flexy steel takes the sting out of the full rigid ride. Combined with the fact that I have recently figured out how to tune the "self-steering" out of those Vee Rubber Mission tires (it's totally a tire pressure thing), the bike is starting to get dialed-in.  It's closer to an eleven. The wrist doesn't hurt. The bike rails turns without any inkling of self steering.

But before you run over to NYC Velo for your $20 Open Bars, be advised that it's a 25.4mm diameter (not 31.8mm like most mountain bars) so you'll need a different stem. I pulled one off Sara's bike. It's heavy and has more rise than I would like, but it will keep me going until I can find the one I want.

Remaining upgrades for the fat bike:

  • Replace large ring with a bash guard (convert from 3x9 to 2x9)
  • Lighter tubes (saves like a pound of rotating mass)
  • "Hog out" the rims (Rob's words)
  • Change calipers to BB7 (no rush)
  • Remove the dork disk


"It won't make you ride better, it will make you ride more, and that will make you ride better."
     -- Nippleworks ad


  1. $20? Steal!

    Not that I've ever understood why a handlebar should cost $70.