Bar hopping……

It’s been a while, sorry folks…… 

For the last year or so, I’ve struggled to get comfortable on my Surly LHT.  My LHT has been my “go-to” bike for quite some time now, and was always comfortable with drop bars.   The discomfort seemed to all start when I acquired my All-City Macho Man and it’s more aggressive posture.  It seemed that two drop bar bikes under one roof was giving me mixed emotions about rider position, and true feelings of comfort.

The LHT…..

This has been pretty much the set-up the LHT has always had.  VO bars (classic round bend), TRP levers, bar-cons and good ole cloth tape……..but something had to change.

So, right around the same time I was on the search for a different bar set-up, my friend Pondero was doing a little bar swap of his own.  He kindly offered me a fair deal on his Nitto Albatross bars, ones that he had previously mounted on one of his Rivendells.  I had seen these on his bike and read about how comfortable they were, I knew these had to be the trick……..

I was so excited, I had them mounted within a day of aquisition.

I quickly figured out that level Albatross bars and Oury grips (a temporary fix) were not comfortable at all! A few days later they got a cloth tape aplication and a few degrees knocked off of level.

Another tape swap……

As good as they looked, there was still something wrong.  Maybe they were too low……like they needed to be slightly above saddle height?

I flipped the stem, which definitely brought them up a tad, but I hated the disruption of parallel lines between the top tube and the stem (have I told you I might have slight OCD?).

I rode the Albatross bars for several weeks, trying a couple different length stems, both with +\- rise…… wasn’t working, they were possibly too narrow, possibly not enough sweep, possibly………..gosh, I don’t know.  Re-enter drop bars.

Instantly I felt home again, and things stayed this way for a while.  Although “home” I was still battling with the two drop bar bikes in the house and the LHT again lost its comfort and I gave way to massive saddle adjustments.  It was bad, I couldn’t leave the house without an allen key with which to make more adjustments.

I began to neglect my LHT, not in maintenance and care………it wasn’t event even being ridden!!!

A bit later and after a good bit of time and frustration had passed, I stumbled across a picture of the Bosco bars.

This wasn’t the first time I had seen them, but the first time I thought about more rise and how it might allow my OCD side to mount that stem parallel with the top tube again.  Also, they seemed to have a bit more width and sweep than the Albatross bars……..

We had a trip on the books to visit San Francisco soon, and well Riv isn’t far from there, so……….two birds, one stone.

Our vacation was amazing (I was afforded an entire morning to visit Rivendell Bicycle Works) and I was able to leave with a set of Bosco bars and 4 rolls of cloth tape safely stowed away in my luggage.

It didn’t take me long once we got home to start stripping the controls off the LHT.  This time we’d be using some new to me Paul Thumbie mounts and some ergo PDW Cork Chop grips.

These grips………YES!!!



The additional sweep definitely lends to more comfort over the albatross bars, it allows me to get back on the saddle and off the nose.  Also being a rather big dude, the extra width helps with getting my hands at or maybe a little wider than shoulder width apart (dang, maybe that’s what was wrong with my drop bars!!!) Oh gosh, here we go again!!!!

With the extra width and sweep, there’s a good bit of flex to the Bosco bars over the Albatross bars, but don’t take that as a complaint (their oh so smooth).  So far (two weeks) I’m in LOVE with the new set-up!  Not sure I’d ever embark on a full on tour with the Bosco bars, but commutes, overnighters, errand running, joy rides……..there all a go, and that’s what the LHT sees more often than not.

To be continued……..(well you know, I gotta go ride them more!)


4 thoughts on “Bar hopping……

  1. I’ve gone through similar situations with handlebars. When I found my used XO-3, it had drops. I switched to mustache since it seemed most appropriate, and I already had a drop-bar bike, so I wanted something different. But I never got really comfortable on them, and was about to do more bar switching until I decided to just sell the bike and move on. I should have just left well enough alone, since it was already fairly comfortable, but we can’t have that! 😉

    • No, we can’t have that! Just think about all the great stuff we’ve let go, all because we couldn’t leave things alone. I’m at a point of leaving the LHT alone, would hate to sell it in frustration.

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