I’ve got 3 Titec H-bars in play at the moment. My Thorn Nomad S&S, Surly Pugsley and Surly Big Dummy all sport H-bars. My initial setup on the Big Dummy was with just some rubber grips and the rest of the bar bare. This worked fine for shorter rides in town, but proved uncomfortable on longer rides – particularly long cold rough rides that beat up my hands. So I replaced the rubber MTB grips with Ergon Grips [shown above on my Pugsley] and wrapped the rest of the bar with a double layer of cork tape. I liked this so much when I got my Pugsley I did it up the same way. The only downside to this setup is that the brake levers are a bit far from the Ergon Grips when riding technical terrain. My Big Dummy doesn’t see this sort of action so I’ll leave it alone. My Pugsley does see some technical riding [although not a ton] so I think my long term solution will be to replace the current levers with some that have adjustable reach and maybe lever arms that are a bit longer. It hasn’t bothered me enough to do anything about it yet, but occasionally I want my hands at the ends of the bars for more leverage and my hand firmly on the brakes at the same time. I do have some SLX hydraulic brakes that are looking for a home so maybe these will find their way onto my Pugsley.
When I built up my Thorn Nomad S&S touring bike I wanted to try a different Titec H-bar setup. Reading Jeff Jones’ comments, the designer of the H-bar, he recommends you have a seamless transition from the grips to the rest of the bar. The idea being your hands can move around as you ride finding the optimal position for any given moment. That made sense and Jeff Jones is clearly a switched on guy when it comes to bikes so I decided to give it a shot by wrapping the whole bar in a double layer of cork tape. I’ve had my bar setup as shown in the photo above since the spring. I have to agree that there is something to be said for not having a specific “grip” position and I have enjoyed moving my hands around the whole H-bar as I ride. Having said that I don’t find the H-bar without Ergon Grips as comfortable as with them. I’ve been using my Nomad for shorter around the town rides since there are no big tours on my agenda at the moment. For this use the double wrapped tape is excellent, but after about 2hrs of riding I start to wish I had my hands on some big flat Egron Grips. This is another one of those projects I’ll eventually get around to and I’ll swap in some Ergons…no major rush though.