I’m not a big fan of standard drop bars. The main reason is that I don’t feel I got a good grip when it comes to braking when you are riding in the hoods. I know that flat bars would not be a good thing either for touring and carrying heavy loads.
I looked at the Titec H-bar, which looks very good, I do think I can get on with them.
But at the time when I was building up my Surly LHT I couldn’t find them in stock anywhere. And I also learned that the gap at the front of these bars was too narrow to accommodate a handle bar bag. To get past that problem you needed a “T spacer bar thing” or what ever they are called, where you could hang your handle bar bag on.
So I went for the “Modolo Yuma Traveller Multi Position Hybrid Bars” aka butterfly handle bars or trekking handle bars depending which side of the pond you are on.
The normal standard way of setting up your butterfly bars is to have you controls on the flat part of the bars, which just turn your fancy bars into normal flat bars. And I knew that I would end up with my hands always there, since I always cycle covering my brakes, so no point in the extra hand positions.
So I moved my control up on to the sides of the handle bars, this can only be done if you are using XT single brake levers and shifters. Right away I knew I was onto something, I really liked the feel of having my hands there. Nice and resting both for my arms and shoulders and gave me nice control when climbing or just zigzagging in and out of London traffic. But even with extra thick Bar Phat and bar gel my hands started to hurt, because the handle bar curved right under the palm of my hand and caused them to go numb. So I started to look for something to “fill” corner on my handle bars where my hands were resting.
I got some chap ErgoGrip’s from BBB and started to cut them to shape. These are very soft so you can cut them easy, though this might turn into problem when come to use them. I know that there are other grips which are more solid but that would be too expensive to cut up while you are testing.
I have only cycled with them while commute and the pain and numbness is gone. So lets see how it would be when touring. Though not perfect yet, still needs some work. Not sure if it is bigger grips, harder grips or ? It does look at bit ugly since the bar tape isn’t put on neatly.
I have to remember to park the bicycle with care since the break levers are sticking out a bit. But the trick is to not tighten them too tight. So if the bicycle should fall the controls just move around instead of braking. A trick I learned from some MTB’ers I have meet on my trails.
Because of the bar bag I had to run the cables long which can be a bit of problem. Since they easy get tangled with other things or could cause gearing and braking problems. Though since I indexed the gears when I build the bicycle up have not had a problem. The same goes with the brakes and that is 2000 miles ago.
This set up is a very personal set up and I’m sure that not may others would like this. Now lets see how it work while cycling for longer periods. And I need to figure out a way to make it look better and I might have to fine tune it. I will keep you posted.
More photos here : Butterfly Handle Bars