LHT 26″ Wheeled Build PT4…

30 06 2011

It's starting to look like a bike...

I decided to install my bars and stem next since it makes the frame look like a bike sooner than if I worked on the BB cranks.

Velo Orange Chris' Rando bars...

When I saw the VO Grand Cru Chris’ Rando Handlebar on their website a while back I made a mental note to try one on my next build. It’s got an interesting shape with lots of bends that look like they’ll be quite comfortable. I got the 44cm width which means the tops are about 38cm apart centre to centre. The finsh quality is great and at $50 they seem like a great option to consider for a long distance bike.

VO Product shot...

The VO product shot above shows some of the curves better than my photos.

VO stem...

Continuing the theme of nicely finished functional parts that don’t cost a lot I attached the bar to the fork with  a VO 4 bolt threadless stem [26mm clamp, 90mm length and 6 deg rise]. It looks sweet and at $35 it’s priced well. I need to track down some silver 1 1/8″ headset spacers and ditch the black ones I have on the bike right now as they look goofy with the silver stem/bars.

VO stem product shot...

Here is a VO product shot that does the attractiveness of this stem justice. I’ve mounted it will a 6 deg negative rise so that I have the option of turning it upwards on a tour if I need some ergonomic relief. I’ll set the tops of the bars level with the saddle once I get its position finalized.

My next move will have to be the BB/cranks/pedals!


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17 responses

30 06 2011
AdamDZ

These spacers come in silver: http://www.universalcycles.com/shopping/product_details.php?id=25507. Although, I never used them (I use only black ones) so I can’t say if they’re as shiny as the VO products :D There are all kinds of “silver” color. You might want to check your LBS and actually see if they match.

30 06 2011
thelazyrando

My LBS is a few blocks away so I’ll roll down there when I’m ready and hunt around in their stock for the silver spacers. I just pulled these out of my spares bin. You can polish up most aluminum spacers top a mirror finish if you want to put in the effort!

30 06 2011
Bob

I put this handlebar on my 26″ LHT this spring. The ramps are a dream, but my favorite part might be the flared drops. I have three comfortable, relaxing hand positions in the drops alone. Enjoy!

1 07 2011
Wannes

Hi Vik,

I really like the VO bars, I nearly bought them myself a week ago. Only thing I don’t really get is the clamp diameter: 26mm. What’s up with that?
I’m a big guy and I want to sit relaxed. To avoid 15 spacers, I try to use stems with a good rise (think 35 – 40°), to get a cleaner look. I’m afraid I won’t find stems like that in 26mm.
I guess I could use shims and 31.8 mm stems, but I have no experience with shims at all. Tough choices…

Keep us posted on the bars please ;-)

Greets from Belgium!

6 07 2011
gypsybytrade

Wannes: VO has stems for 25.4, 26.0, and 31.8 clamp diameters in both 6 deg and 17 deg +/- rise. They also offer the Nitto Technomic, Dia-Compe Gran Compe ENE, and VO/Grand Cru branded quill stems with chrome finish, all in 26.0 mm clamp diameters. All are nicely finished aluminum with four bolt faceplates. Standard aluminum, chromed, and silver knurled headset spacers are available as well.

14 07 2011
Mike

Nice! I have almost the exact same build… 56cm LHT 26″ wheel with 2″ Big Apples, Brooks Flyer and Nitto Noodle Bar. I took it up through the San Juan Islands and Vancouver BC last summer and it rocked! Super stable loaded up and the fast downhills on Whidbey Island and Mt. Constitution, Orcas Island didn’t scare me one bit! – Can’t wait to see more pics.

14 07 2011
Garth

How is V-O randonneur bar different than the Nitto Randonneur bar? I’m curious if you have experience in this, thanks!

15 07 2011
thelazyrando

@Garth – I don’t have a Nitto Rando bar for comparison purposes – sorry.

1 10 2011
Alix

Hi Vik, In trying to figure out the nasty thumb pain that has creeped up on us after years of guiding bike tours, I’ve landed here. The constant message I get seems to be “just get some gloves”, but I’d prefer changing my handle bars as a solution (tougher to lose). Do you have anything more to say about these VO rando bars? Any experience with thumb pain? My partner seems to think that rando bars will just turn our S & S coupled LHT’s into a further packing pain. I can’t help but feel that those lovely rando curves would be just what my thumbs are craving – any further input is much appreciated.

p.s. The Island makes up part of the triangle we run between Mexico, Canada, and Greece. We thoroughly identify with and enjoyed your posts about safety crazed Victoria.

2 10 2011
thelazyrando

@Alix – I would love to help you, but there is really no way I can. You’d have to try the various bars out to see what happens. My GF was having bar problems and I couldn’t really do more for her than adjust and swap in different options so she could see how she felt on them. The VO rando bars are very nice and comfy for me, but I’m fine on normal drop bars so that doesn’t mean anything in particular.

My general advice is to not give up until you are comfy there are many adjustments you can make [distance from seat to bars, height of bars vs seat, gloves, different bars, different grips, etc… Just do one at a time and keep at it you will find comfort.

BTW – what bars are you using at the moment?

3 10 2011
Alix

Comfort is a very personal thing, but the strange thing is that we both started with the same pain at exactly the same time (we have the same bikes). We have the standard PMT drops that originally came with the LHT complete (2007). In thinking about it more, the pain came on immediately after installing drum brakes (front and rear drum brakes – I know, seems like overkill, but Greece has damn steep mountains and we carry too much stuff already)…could be something to do with that and/or the bar top brake levers, but we’ve had those since the beginning…sigh~ We’ll both be in Victoria tomorrow for a few days so maybe we’ll see some other tempting bar alternative to think about (choice is limited in Mexico). Thanks for your advice.

3 10 2011
thelazyrando

@Alix – if you guys are in Victoria let me know. I’d be happy to buy you a pint and hear about your adventures…=-)

BTW – are you traveling with Basil Y who was from the Toronto area at one point??

3 10 2011
Alix

You know it, Basil Y would be my beau -we are mainly in Oaxaca now, but mostly we’re homeless. Do you know each other? He is with family over in Cobble Hill right now, and I’ll be arriving tomorrow night. You played a role in our decision to get LHTs, so we’d love to get together. Your gear saavy is invaluable! I expect we’ll be in Victoria on Wednesday or Thursday.

3 10 2011
thelazyrando

@Alix – I know a good friend of Basil’s in TO. I may have met him once through her, but it would have been a long time ago. Drop me a line when you guys get here and if you need a place to stay I can offer you a big secluded backyard to pitch a tent and use of the house for bathroom/cooking/wifi, etc..

My cell is 778.678.7510

25 01 2012
Jack

Hi Vik,

You still happy with these bars? I am considering these and the Grand Bois Randonneur bars for my LHT and would be grateful for your thoughts after half a year or so with the Grand Cru.

Fwiw, my riding is mainly commuting, but also long weekend loaded touring, overnights and a bit of randonneuring. Dunno if that would make a diff in your comments, but figured I’d toss it out there.

Thanks
Jack

25 01 2012
thelazyrando

@Jack – the VO bars were very nice, but too narrow for my wide shoulders. I passed them on to a lady friend who is a professional bike tour guide and she likes them a lot. If I was ordering up some new bars I’d go for the VO Rando bars again – just in a wider size.

25 01 2012
Alix

I’m still loving the bars that Vik passed on (thanks again Vik). They’ve been on a few thousand kilometers of loaded touring down here in Mexico and are still going strong. I am pleased. The flared drops are lovely and those curves definitely have added the comfort I was looking for. Like Vik said to me, fit is so very personal so it is tough to say what is right for someone else. I did see some Nitto noodle bars on a Rivendell Atlantis a fews tours back that I continue to be curious about, but I’m satisfied enough with the Gran Cru bars to only be curious.

Alix

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