01 July 2012
A while ago I changed my handlebars with some success, but I wanted to see if I could do better. The main issue with the new handlebars was that they were a bit too low which made the riding position less than ideal.
So I looked around until I found some mountain bike handlebars with 65mm of rise (compared to 30mm on the other set) that were still 25.4mm wide at the clamping point. A handy hint if you’re looking for bars like this is that they are often called jump bars (I believe because they flex a bit on landing). Anyway the ones I went with are the “Full Bore” model made by a company called Funn and came from Chain Reaction Cycles.
Unlike the previous bars, the Funn ones widen out well before the clamping point, in fact they are virtually 25.4mm in diameter even at the curves. This makes them very difficult to get through the clamp. Even after spreading out the clamp a bit with a screwdriver wrapped in a cloth I still managed to scratch a fair bit of paint off the handlebars. Fortunately some Brompton black gloss paint tidied it up fairly well.
The Funn bars are also even wider than the XLC ones so I decided to cut them down a bit. I did it a little at a time an eventually took off about 5cm from each end. Note that this was the most I could take off and still fit my brake levers and grips on, and that my grips were already cut down a bit from when they were on the original Brompton bars. So if you have a larger hands you’ll probably want to take a bit less off.
I also cut down my brake and hub gear cables by about 5cm to get them to sit a bit better in their new positions. In truth they could do with being cut down a little more, but they’re OK as they are and I haven’t had the time or motivation to tidy them up any further.
With these adjustments made the Funn bars are a bit more comfortable than the XLC bars, and I think comfortable enough to live with - I’ve been using them for about 6 months now. I haven’t noticed my knees hitting my stomach since changing over either. The other improvement is in the clearance of the brake levers and cables over the front luggage which is now enough to not worry me.
The extra rise in the bars does make them a tiny bit more flexible, but not enough to be annoying (unlike the original un-braced Brompton bars)
Like the XLC bars I can have the bar ends set up in a comfortable position without interfering with the fold.
Overall I’m happy with this set up and will stick with it for the forseeable future, however I have to wonder if I’d have been better off just getting an S-type bike and the smaller luggage to begin with. The larger T-bag is nice to have and the extra capacity has been useful at times, but most of the time I’m sure I could have made do with the smaller S bag. Mind you, if I’d done that I wouldn’t have had half as much to write about!