S&M Bruiser bars: bigger is better

6 05 2014

Could this be a sign that the sub-6″ cruiser bar is finally on its way out?

I have harped on the topic of traditional cruiser bars before…that they are just too small/short…but if you visit just about any race track, they are still being used by many folks (albeit usually with a topload stem and a whack of spacers).

But maybe that’s changing.

S&M just announced their new Bruiser Bar: 6.5″ tall and 29″ wide.  Available in black, white and chrome.

Bruiser bars sandm bikesGranted, if you’re rolling on a new school freestyle 24, you wouldn’t consider this a big bar (higher BBs and taller bars are the standard M.O. there) but for the race community this is a big step up…a lot of race completes still come with 5″ bars.

Hopefully, this will start a bit of a movement in the race community toward bigger bars.

Nice work S&M.

 

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Tested: Tall bars on a race cruiser

26 08 2011

A while back the post titled, Traditional cruiser bars: who needs ‘em generated a lot of discussion about the trend towards taller bars on 24″ BMX bikes. Part of that discussion also noted how the trend hadn’t really taken hold in the race community.

Racer, BMXActionOnline moderator and today’s guest tester, Matt Shelley thought the idea of taller bars on a race bike was a good one and decided to check it out for himself.

Here’s what he had to say:

The tall bars garnered a lot of interest at the races I attended, and most racers seemed positive toward the idea and feel. The local hot shot, nationally ranked in both 20” and cruiser, balked at the idea, insisting both bikes need to be set up with identical heights and reach. A rider who really liked the feel of my bike replied “all well and good, but if you only ride a cruiser, that rule simply doesn’t apply.”

A concern I had with the test was comparing my “apples” to “oranges”. Stack heights and stems vary from bike to bike, so bar height is not the final word in overall height. I decided I would measure from the top of the headset bearing. Whether internal or cup, this seemed like an appropriate starting point, and the middle of the grip area would be the end point.

Below is my main race bike. The bars are 5.75 inches, and the overall height is 7.5 inches.


I’ve been running this setup for close to 2 years now. It seems typical of most race cruisers and feels pretty good to me.

Here is a picture of a Quad that I recently set up. The bars are 7.5 inches with an overall height on 9 inches.

I’ve raced this bike 3 times now, and two 2nds and a 1st have been the result. After the initial half hour of  “this feels different,” I did not notice the bars much after that. I felt that they gave me better pull when manualing and hopping over jumps, and I got the impression I had much better pump with them on backsides.

Another advantage of the taller bars was leg room. I’m 6 feet tall with an inseam of 33 inches. The 6 inch bars I ran on the quad had to be rotated a bit forward, as I felt they were a little too close to my knees. With the 7.5 bars I can now run them in line with the fork.

The only area I felt these  bars to be too tall was out of the gate. I was now standing taller, and thus could not get all of the “give ‘em” out of my hips and into the pedal that I am used too. Aside from those first few pedals, no other detrimental effects on the track were noticed.

I’m now planning to boost the overall height on my main rig to 8 inches. This should give me that better pull and pump I felt, and still allow for a powerful feeling out of the gate.

So taller bars on a race cruiser? Hey, if it feels good… do it!





Renthal reboots the race cruiser bar

16 03 2011

While many in the BMX race world cling for dear life to traditional cruiser bars, it looks like Renthal is ready to mix things up.

A relative newcomer to the BMX race scene, Renthal has long history in motocross.

Red Division, my cruiser blog brother from another (Spanish) mother, is reporting that Keith Wilson from Dialed Bikes is sporting a pair of prototype Renthal bars with a bolt-on crossbar reminiscent of its motorcycle bars. (Keith placed 4th in 45+ cruiser at the 2010 World Cup. )

I have to wonder if there are flex and/or durability issues. It seems to work for them in the motorcycle world so I’m very interested to see how this type of handlebar fares in the bar-banging world of BMX racing.





BMX Plus! sends an early Valentine

6 01 2011

Oh BMX Plus!, it’s been nearly a year already….

Back in your April 2010 issue, you ran a cover story on the “Death of the 24.” A surprising turn of events given that you showed so much love for the cruiser in months prior to that article.

I won’t deny it. It stung a little.

Since then, it’s seems you have been on a non-stop campaign to bring the love back. There was the 10-page race cruiser shootout… a nice gesture.

And mentions of 24s in the different buyer’s guides.

But it seems forced.

Now your February issue hits the stands and I find a 3-page test on the SE Floval Flyer.

Is this an early Valentine, perhaps?

If it is, I appreciate the effort, but…

They’re still something we need to do, to bury the hatchet.

Remember the freestyle cruiser shootout I suggested before?

Run that and we can put this whole thing behind us.

 

*Off-topic but somewhat-related news*

SE recently announced the signing of #1 Pro Cruiser champ, Barry Nobles to its team for 2011.

Got to admire the versatility of a rider that backflips the Pro Section in the Pro Cruiser main during the 09 ABA Grands (why didn’t anyone capture this on video?) and follows it up with a #1 title the following year.





DK Bicycles raises bb on new race 24

11 11 2010

DK bicycles looks like it might be taking a cue from the world of 24″ freestyle bikes and raising the bottom bracket on its new 2011 race cruiser to 13″ (that’s at least an inch higher than a typical race 24 frame).

In a recent thread on Vintage BMX, a DK rep explained the reasoning behind the shift:

Cruisers have always been built with a ratio that was based off of 26″ bikes (which is what cruisers used to be) this bottom bracket is 13″…so check this out:

The professional frame has an 11.4″ bottom bracket height, that is with a 20″ wheel (so that means UNDER the drop out there is 10″ of wheel, plus the tire, since the other 10″ of the 20″ wheel is above the dropout and irrelevant to the bb height.). This cruiser has a 13″ bb height, so that is 1.6″ higher than the 20 inch professional, but with a 24″ wheel, there is 12″ plus the tire under the bottom bracket. That’s 2 inches more than the 20″ frame, so in actuality, this bottom bracket isnt that high, since its only 1.6″ higher than a frame that has 2″ less wheel under the bottom bracket.

According to the DK guys on the forum thread, the new 24 is supposed to handle great (with a 20″ feel) and be easy to manual.

Other specs on the 2011 DK race 24 are:

  • 22″ top tube
  • 14.75 chain stay (slammed)
  • 73.5 head angle
  • 72 seat tube angle
  • 7000 series aluminum

Certainly an interesting departure from your typical race cruiser geometry.

Will this be a game changer in the race community?

I’m pretty curious to see if other manufacturers follow suit.

Editor’s note: the BB height on the production model was lowered slightly to approximately 12.5″.








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