View Full Version : Trekking Bars - yes, no , maybe ?

Riley Casey
10-03-2011, 09:53 AM
I have only seen these on line but they seem intriguing for my commuting riding. http://sheldonbrown.com/deakins/handlebars.html The third bar description down the page is the type I'm looking at. Has anyone had any hands on experience with these? None of the LBSs du jour have them on hand let alone on a bike. I'm currently riding with straight bars with bar ends installed on my Jamis Coda and the original English moustache bars on my old Raleigh Tourist. The Tourist shall forever remain as stock as possible right down to the 30 year old Brooks leather saddle but the Jamis could stand some more options as the miles pile up on my aging frame. Thanks for any insights.

10-03-2011, 10:10 AM
REI used to sell a bike with those bars. I tried them and liked them, but they were not really my cup of tea. I was curious and gave them a whirl on a test ride. They seemed to work and had a good variety of positions to ride.

The interesting part will be how things change for your brakes and shifters. Depending on what you have and how they are set up, you might have to change brake levers and shifters. I honestly don't remember what the REI bike had for shifters and brakes.

The other concern that you may have is figuring out the stem length. The bar position that will be at the same reach as your flat bars is the one perpendicular to the flat bars that you're using (similar to your current bar ends, but closer to you), and without access to the brakes. You'll have a normal hand position to you and another further away.

One last concern has to do with climbing. Having the bars curve back to the middle will interfere with your knees if you ever climb out of the saddle. I get that with my Scott Drop-ins when I climb anything too steep. If you get out of the saddle to climb, you may find you have issues with these bars.

10-03-2011, 10:22 AM
REI used to sell a bike with those bars. I tried them and liked them, but they were not really my cup of tea. .

Yup. Novara Safari.

From my understanding only place carrying them is Nashbar. Cheap enough for an experiment. http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_175533_-1_201521_10000_202348

10-03-2011, 12:37 PM
Soma Fabrications does numerous variations on the mustache bar that gets rid of the problem with climbing out of the saddle. Still requires you to figure out how you want to handle shifters, brake levers and stem length though. You also have to decide how much raise/drop you want too.


10-03-2011, 04:11 PM
And then there's the H bar:


10-03-2011, 05:11 PM
I don't really like the H- Bars on road bikes that much. The are extremely wide. I use them on my mountain bikes and love them. Just personal opinion on my part of course.

I am here: http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=38.860728,-77.199356

Riley Casey
10-07-2011, 12:14 PM
Thanks for the contributions folks, particularly that part about running out of knee room when climbing out of the saddle. Thats something that never would have occurred to me in the abstract thinking stage. Dirt, as soon as you mentioned that Novara bike I remembered having seen it at REI. Funny that none of my Googling had turned that up. I see it's still a current item from their website although I'm not thrilled about the brake and shifter arrangement. Guess I'll mosey over to REI and see whats to be seen.

10-12-2011, 07:48 PM
I have a 2008 REI Safari and have racked up close to 6000 commuting miles on it with no major problems. I have never had a problem with the bars getting in the way of my knees while climbing out of the saddle, that seems completely unlikely in my view.

The biggest disappointment in my view with the trekking bars is the practicality of the other hand positions. When commuting, you need to have your hands on the brakes and shifters, especially the brakes. This means your hands are in the same position most of the time. If you used such a bike for longer rides in less populated areas, then I think the trekking bars would be more practical. With your hands on top of the trekking bars, you have a very upright feel like on a 3 speed and on the sides you have more bent over feel like a drop bar bike but on the bottom where you can reach the brakes and shifters it is kind of between the two. It is also nice that such bars give you lots of real estate for things like mirrors, bells, and lights. You can adjust the bars so they are either perpedicular or parallel with the ground or somewhere in between.

10-14-2011, 07:43 AM
When I was working at Spokes I remember seeing a guy come in with tri-bars on his lefty with bar ends. He liked to "keep all his options open."

10-14-2011, 09:26 AM
When I was working at Spokes I remember seeing a guy come in with tri-bars on his lefty with bar ends. He liked to "keep all his options open."

I would have pooh-poohed that solution until I watched "Ride the Divide." All the competitors rode mountain bikes with both flat bars and tri-bars. They all needed to vary hand positions and stretch out the back over long distances.

Back to Riley's original post - I too looked at alternate bars for my rigid mountain bike, as the flat bars made my wrists hurt after riding for an hour. I settled on Salsa Cowbell bars with a higher-rise stem, Cane Creek brake levers, and bar-end shifters. It's a familiar position to this primarily-a-roadie, and I can ride on the hoods, the flats, or the drops without bending over too far.