History of the flat mountain bike handlebar

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Geir Anders Ryb, Feb 6, 2003.

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  1. I'm researching the history of the mountain bike handlebar, and wonder when the first flat handlebar
    turned up on mountain bikes. It seems like the first mountain bikes all had wide riser bars.
    Somewhere around the end of the '80s the flat bars arrived in mountain bike competitions, as far as
    I understand.

    Today, more mountain bikers - not only the freeriding kind - seem to avoid the flat-out racing
    position, returning to the more comfortable rise, sweep and width of the riser bars. One of the few
    «returns to the roots» in the history of mountain bike equipment?

    Anyway: Who introduced the flat handlebar concept to the mountain bike? Why? And when?

    Geir Anders Rybakken Ørslien, Norway terrengsykkel.no

    - - - http://terrengsykkel.no - the leading Norwegian mountain bike magazine Check out our travel
    reports and photos here: http://terrengsykkel.no/section.php?n=Utflukt
     
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  2. Jim Price

    Jim Price Guest

    Geir Anders Rybakken Ørslien wrote:

    <chØpped>

    > Anyway: Who introduced the flat handlebar concept to the mountain bike? Why? And when?

    I bought my first mountain bike in 1985 - a Raleigh Maverick. I changed to flat alloy handlebars
    (made by Cinelli, I think, but I know who's got them now so if its a matter of utmost detail I can
    check) in 1986. Such a massive improvement over bent bars, I have never gone back, even though my
    riding position has got a lot more upright since then. Perhaps the original Maverick bars were steel
    (anybody know?), which would explain why the flat ones felt so much better.

    JimP
     
  3. Jobst Brandt

    Jobst Brandt Guest

    Geir Anders Rybakken Ørslien writes:

    > I'm researching the history of the mountain bike handlebar, and wonder when the first flat
    > handlebar turned up on mountain bikes. It seems like the first mountain bikes all had wide riser
    > bars. Somewhere around the end of the '80s the flat bars arrived in mountain bike competitions, as
    > far as I understand.

    I think you'll find that flat bars are as old as bicycling, the first bicycles having had flat bars.
    You might as well ask about when hand grips or bar tape was first used... on MTB's. THe first MTB I
    saw had flat bars:

    http://draco.acs.uci.edu/rbfaq/FAQ/10.4.html

    Jobst Brandt [email protected] Palo Alto CA
     
  4. Jim Edgar

    Jim Edgar Guest

    Geir Anders Rybakken Ørslien at [email protected] wrote on 2/6/03
    4:48 AM:

    > I'm researching the history of the mountain bike handlebar, and wonder when the first flat
    > handlebar turned up on mountain bikes. It seems like the first mountain bikes all had wide riser
    > bars. Somewhere around the end of the '80s the flat bars arrived in mountain bike competitions, as
    > far as I understand.

    My first was a 1983 Fisher Montare, with a flat but swept back bullmoose one-piece bar/stem. IIRC,
    Gary Fisher had made the pitch that the wide, flat bars gave you better control on the downhills.

    Here's the bike pretty much in stock condition:

    http://home.earthlink.net/~cyclofiend/Images/Cycling/BikePix/montare/Montare _clean01.jpg

    http://home.earthlink.net/~cyclofiend/Images/Cycling/BikePix/montare/Montare _roofrack.jpg

    FWIW - my recollection was that the bikes with the riser bars were pretty cheap - the early Schwinns
    and Murray Baja's come immediately to mind. I recall when we were out on the trails in the 80's ('83
    onward), if you saw a handlebar with a "kink" in it, you figured it wasn't very good.
     
  5. I don't have a copy to check right now, but have you looked in Frank Berto's mtb history book?
    http://www.cyclepublishing.com/bod.htm He interviewed most of the pioneers, and since Frank is
    really into equipment it seems likely he would have covered this.=20

    On 6 Feb 2003, [ISO-8859-1] Geir Anders Rybakken =D8rslien wrote:
    =2E.....
    > Anyway: Who introduced the flat handlebar concept to the mountain bike? Why? And when?
     
  6. > Anyway: Who introduced the flat handlebar concept to the mountain bike? Why? And when?

    Many of the Marin Co. MTB forefathers started doing things all around the same time, and at that
    time probably didn't think much of it. Then later, when their paths ( and more importantly, careers!
    ) seperated, they all started taking credit for what was at the time group/committee concepts. I
    seem to remember flat "bullmoose" bars on Fishers, Ritcheys, Breezers, etc. all around the same
    time. We may never know exactly which guy showed up with them first, even the original repack crowed
    won't agree. --Jim
     
  7. Per LöWdin

    Per LöWdin Guest

    > Today, more mountain bikers - not only the freeriding kind - seem to avoid the flat-out racing
    > position, returning to the more comfortable rise, sweep and width of the riser bars.

    We don´t. Find the flat bar with barends superior in every aspect, for climbing, for comfort, for
    speed, but if I buy a "citybike" to use for the office I might consider a riserbar.

    Per http://user.tninet.se/~ipg289h/English.html
     
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