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Bikepackers, we’re a strange bunch. On the one hand, we seek out the wild places, remote, lonely and free from people. On the other, we court attention, interaction, even conversation – fat bikes, single speeds, big miles, rigid forks, and the ultimate aid to making people stop, stare and point …. the weird handlebar.

To the uninitiated, our component choices may appear to be no more than attention seeking, a mechanical cry for help or a substitute for something deep and meaningful, absent from our long ago pasts – bollocks. In the main we pick this stuff because it works. Most is far from trendy in the cycling circles frequented by the ‘pointers’ but that really doesn’t matter because the trail centre cafe is an awful long way from those lonely, wild places we call home.

Naked and weird …

I’m sure most of you reading this are perfectly aware of the ideas behind ‘weird’ handlebars but for anyone who isn’t … the idea is that a bar with lots of back-sweep places your hands in a much more natural position. They generally also allow for multiple hand positions which can help alleviate pain, injury, numbness etc.

Casey’s Crazy bar from Velo Orange offers a 45 degree back-sweep, a minimum of 3 different hand positions and more than enough weirdness to keep everyone happy. By modern bar standards they’re not wide, 666mm tip to tip but they do actually feel wider when you’re riding. For me, the width feels just right, much wider and I start to feel like a monkey on a mangle. Something else I like is the 25.4mm clamp size, I know it’s now considered obsolete by many but I’ve always found the smaller diameter much more comfortable, especially when riding rigid.

… dressed and less weird?

The control area is mountain bike standard 22.2mm, so your grips, shifters and brakes will all fit in the usual places. The extensions however, are 23.8mm which means should you wish, you could fit bar-end shifters, inverse brake levers, etc and get some proper, industrial strength weirdness going on.

The perfect bar for covering the miles?

A short, initial bimble to play around with angles, etc felt very promising. There’s no denying that even to the ‘trained’ eye they look a little peculiar but once underway they feel scarily normal no matter where your hands happen to be.

These will be in residence for the next few months, so I’ll return and let you know how we’re getting along … I’m hoping for at least 3 points, 5 stares, a couple of double-takes and if we’re lucky, maybe even a jeer on the first ride!


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