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Traditional cruiser bars: who needs ’em?

1 03 2011

Cruiser handlebars.

Those shorter, stubby versions of traditional BMX handlebars.

They always looked a little off to me.

While 20″ bars got taller, cruiser bars (until recently) stayed  smack dab in the 5-5.5 inch range. Perhaps it was a holdover from the days when people used to switch between their 20 and 24 inch bikes during races (had to keep the handlebar height  the same level for both bikes). Still, it was frustrating that you could not get a taller, cruiser-specific handlebar.

I like big bars, I cannot lie (my apologies to Sir Mix-A-Lot).  Cruiser handlebars under 6″ just don’t cut it. If you’re running bars under 6″, ask yourself:  Are my handlebars big enough?

Thankfully, It seems more and more people are realizing that taller bars are the way to go on 24″ BMX bikes. If you look at some of the more recent bike checks, you’ll see how taller bars are definitely the new trend. Granted, the elevated bottom brackets of current freestyle 24s has had an influence on this…but there’s no denying that a slightly higher handlebar would also help the handling of more race-oriented bikes.

Eva Gabrielle is tired of the bar scene

When I first made the switch to the big & tall 24umph bar from Sunday it made an immediate (positive) impact to my bikes handling. I’ve since run them on both freestyle and race bikes and don’t think I could ever go back to traditional cruiser bars. I’m also pretty intrigued by the new taller 24umph bars they’re testing. Come to think about it, even 8″ bars are not that uncommon on 24″ bikes these days.

Perhaps the only holdout, in this new trend towards taller bars is the race community. Race bikes, by and large, still feature the “regular” 5-5.5″ handlebars. But maybe we’re about to see a change there too…a casual walk through the pits at a BMX race will often show many cruisers rocking spacers and top load stems to give the rider a little extra height. Maybe it’s time for racers to drop the charade and just get  bigger bars.

To me, the days of the traditional cruiser bar are numbered. What do you think?

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Felt jumps into 24″ trails scene

27 02 2009

Add Felt Bikes to the growing list of bike companies to put out a 24″ bike for trails, street and park riding.  The Felt Brink is a good addition to their lineup as it provides an alternative to their pure-race Sector 24.

felt-brink-241

Unfortunately, despite how stoked I am to see another bike company jump onto the new school 24″ bandwagon I’m little disappointed in how it’s spec’d out. The frame is only main frame cr-mo (top tube and down tube), the bars hi-ten and the price kinda  high. A bike like the Mirraco 20forty is spec’d a whole lot better for nearly the same price.

Hopefully they’re just testing the waters for ’09 and will step things up next year…otherwise why bother  if you’re not going to put out a full cr-mo frame…it doesn’t seem to make sense to have a steel backend for trails, street and park riding…..

Bonus info: if you write into Felt with a question about their product line you have a very good chance of getting a response from Brian Foster’s older brother, Alan. Remember him? One half of Schwinn/Airwalk’s one-two race punch in the 90s.

alan-foster-jumping





An army of giants take over the trails

21 01 2009

McGoo, an industry insider from way back in the day, has seen it all..from Martin Aparijo doing infinity rolls to street riders wearing girl jeans to everything in between….his ascerbic answers to dumb reader mail questions were one of the highlights of Ride magazine in its early days. McGoo is now the driving force over at SNAFU and has a pretty good take on things on the industry. I check out the SNAFU blog from time to time and noticed that they have  a little something on the new bike in their “test stable”: the Mirraco Icon 20Forty.

mirraco-icon-20forty

They’ve spec’d it out with all sorts of goodies like the new OLA sprocket and prototype Splitter stem in bronze ano. Squint and you’ll see them in the picture above.

But perhaps the most interesting thing about the post is what he leaves till the end:

Mirraco isn’t the only progressive BMX company to offer a 24-inch trail/street bike for older and taller riders: Fit Bike Co., Subrosa and Haro also have two-fours in their quiver, and according to insiders at all these companies, they can’t keep ’em in stock. Does this mean an army of giants might take over the trails in 2009? Who knows. All we know for sure is this: 24-inch BMX bikes are fun to ride, and that’s good enough for us.

The italics are mine but I can’t help but share the sentiment… 2009 is going to be a big year for cruisers…there are just so many good options available now.  Older, taller riders (as well as everyone else) are starting to see how much fun they are to ride and are jumping on the bandwagon. Is an army of giants going to take over the trails in 2009? There very well might be…that is, when they are not taking over the streets, racetracks and skateparks.