Part 5 in the “CX First Timer Custom Build Experiment”

Admittedly the name handlebar is a little misleading; they’re actually tubes, only the very early bikes had an actual steel bar – think how heavy that would be!

So Many Flavors

Handlebars come in many flavors, each with their own devotees, advantages, and disadvantages.  For my usual urban riding I use what is generally referred to as “upright” handlebars, meaning your seating position is closer to sitting upright than a low-slung pursuit position.

Upright bars

Upright bars, threaded stem

These are upright bars on one of my bikes.  Upright bars come in many variations that allow for many hand positions, including things like mustache bars.  There are many varieties of grip options as well.  This bike has sparkly blue grips; although one could choose any color, or bar tape, or go entirely without.  Montague bikes fit industry standard sizes so the sky’s the limit, as they say, when it comes to options.

Drop bars, threaded stem

Drop bars, threaded stem

These are drop bars, aptly named because they drop below the level of the top tube.  (Sometimes they’re called ram’s horn bars.)  These allow for a number of hand positions – on the top flat section finds you upright like the handlebars on the bike up top.  In the drops (hands in the letter C shape) finds you low, aerodynamic, and ready for speed.  On the hoods, placing your hands where the brake mounts stick out (they look a bit like fangs I always thought), allows you to stretch out your back and arms – great on long rides.   These drop bars are on another bike that is part of the Montague HQ staff member “stable”, they’re sporting bar tape.

Usage Preferences

For getting around town I have found I prefer the upright bars, this keeps my eye level high enough to see over parked cars most of the time.  The angle is such that I’m not bolt upright, but only a little forward.  However, drop bars are versatility’s dream child, they allow countless permutations; and this is just what we’re looking for in cyclocross.  In fact it’s pretty much the standard.

How to attach these?  The pictures above show older bicycles with threaded headsets.  Most Montagues come ready for a threadless headset.

Upright bars threadless headset

Upright bars, threadless headset

Another bike, a Boston, from the HQ staff  “stable” shows off upright bars, red grips, and a threadless headset.  Or we can do drops on a Montague:

Thanks to the Community

The Facebook community for Folding Bikes is always a treasure trove of inspired build ideas, creative breakthroughs, and great people.  We’ll be getting this CX build put together with some drop bars, but wanted to take a moment to thank all the amazing people out there, the world over, who use their Montague bikes as a creative canvas – you’re an inspiration!

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