Hand(lebars)

Side view of handlebar showing grip profile
JK Shallow Drop Wide Bars

I have a much harder time keeping my hands comfortable than I do my butt. On my last touring bike , the Schwinn Aluminium, the flat bars with bull horns worked very well. That setup was mimicking the tops and hoods of a set of drop bars, so it seems to me that if done correctly I could improve on that with *actual* tops and hoods. I wanted a slightly wider set of bars since I am wide across the shoulders and have some shoulder repairs that make me more comfortable with a good degree of splay in my grasp. Enter Lennard Zinn again (see drivetrain section). He sells items for big and tall cyclists and had a set of 47 cm bars with a very shallow drop that looked good to me. They are flat black but will be mostly covered by the bar wrap.

Side view of mounted stem
RaceFace 120mm x 6° Rise Stem

Based of my fit kit measurments a 120mm stem would be a good place to start. Finding a silver stem was harder than I expected. I finally decided on a 120mm 6 degree rise Race Face Evolve.

I tried a blue handlebar tape but it just didn’t go with the Surly blue which is really almost purple. I had Assabet River Bicycles in Hudson, MA get me a brown Salsa tape that is a nice complement to the Brooks saddle.

Spool of copper colored thread
Bass Pro Shops Fly Tying Thread

The dilemma on how to finish off the wrap was not something I anticipated. Posting a question on the Adventure Cycling forums convinced me that most people just use electrical tape and that is it. I really wanted something a little nicer so I decided to go old school and use a twine wrap and varnish it down. I wanted the wrap that they use to do the handles on custom fishing poles or billiard cues but it was not readily available. I stopped at Bass Pro Shops at Gillette Stadium to see if they carried it and all they had was fly tying materials. Looking for a good color match yielded a nice , almost copper colored thread at under 3$ per roll. I bought 2 to have a spare in the shop.

Spooling on the thread
Tediously wrapping the ends of the bar tape

Wrapping something this fine and not having a big bulge or uneven looking coverage is not easy. The method I used was to align the inside of one end of the spool to where i wanted the wrap to stop and keep tracking exactly over that spot. This allowed the thread to unspool from the roll at the same back and forth frequency that it was on the roll. It took a lot of wraps to get a nice solid coverage and look, almost the entire 100 yards, per side! This also gives the handlebar a nice constant diameter. The bulge in the center (to 31.8mm) is masked by the thickness of the tape on the thinner part and the wrap on the transition area.

Close Up of finished wrap
Finished Wrapping

The end result is pretty nice (in my humble opinion) the copper color and the brown handlebar tape go well with the brown and copper of the brooks. I am going to use Helmsman Spar Urethane to “varnish” the wrap and seal it down. The day I have to take a razor to it out on the road for some cable issue will be the day I get to try the electrical tape method.

Top view of bike with saddle and bars done
Color Coordinated Wrap and Saddle

 

Bicycle Touring as a lifestyle