Friday, August 24, 2007

The Misfit Psycles Fu-Bar

I don’t get it. That’s what I said when I saw the Jones H bar and the Misfit Psycles Fu-bar.

Fu-bar on top, Titec H-bar on the bottom.

I am 52 YO and have been riding bikes for about 30 years. I started as a roadie and really didn’t start riding off road until about 1991 when I bough a Specialized Rockhopper. The Rockhopper came with straight bars and I put on bar ends as was the custom of the time. The bar ends were in a way similar to riding on the brake hoods of a drop bar. The point seems to be get your hands forward of the stem, weighting the front wheel and allowing you to stretch forward. And there is still little argument that bar ends assist the rider when climbing for the very I have mentioned. When riser bars first appeared, I tried them several time, but they never opened up the cockpit, so to speak, when climbing, as did bar ends. That why I just couldn’t figure out the new wrap around bars. They still didn’t allow you to stretch over the front of the bike.

But, thanks to Misfit Psycles who sent me a couple of Fu-bars to check out. My first test was with the Fu2-bar. I mounted this on my Rocklobster with the 115mm stem Paul Sadoff had spec’d.
Immediately I sensed the bar was too narrow. The bar would be good for someone who is not used to a wider bar, as it seemed the stock stem worked well. Next I went to the wider Fu-bar. The bar was wide enough, but after the first ride I found my hands moving forward off the grips. I then switched out the stem to 130mm. This was better but it still felt too far back. Finally I switched out the stem for a 140mm Thompson.

OMG, this stem is super stiff and gave a much better fit to the Fu-bar. The other issues I was dealing with were positive and negative. First, the hand position of the Fu-bar is by far the best I have ever used. I had surgery on my left wrist years ago, which causes numbness and pain. That is simply not an issue with this bar. Even with the shorter stems, I could ride seated and do seated climbs much more comfortably with the Fu-bar then the bar ends. But, single speed is really all about climbing. With bar ends I could stand, lean over the front wheel and comfortably climb in this position for literally miles. This is something that doesn’t happen with a riser bar. With a riser bar and the Fu-bar with the shorter stems, I was in a more upright position, that felt cramped and in a more upright position that put more pressure on my lower back. When I finally went to the 140mm stem I was again able to lean forward, but with my hands wide and out to the side.

It’s a different position, but I am able to maintain the position and there is less pressure on my back. Add to that a better hand position, the fu-bar makes for an acceptable alternative to bar ends. On the Single Speed forum, I call myself a retro grouch and I do find myself leaning toward the proven over the new and improved. I am in the enviable position of having two singlespeed mountain bikes. One is the suspended Rocklobster and the other is a converted rigid Bontrager. The Bonty still has bar ends, which I have no plans to change. If I only had one bike, I would probably stay with the tried and true bar ends. But one of the advantages of having two bikes is enjoying the differences between the two. In this case I know have another difference to enjoy with my Rocklobster with the Fu-bar.

On a side note, Misfit Psycles has now given me the Fu-bar I was testing; obviously that is huge. Thanks so much to Peter and all the guys at Misfit. When I look at all the singlespeed products on your website, along with your not taking yourself too seriously attitude, one has to wish you success. Feel free to use my name and any comments as an endorsement for your product. If you need to use some words out of context; “Wow!”, “Great!”, “A whole new paradigm”, “almost better than beer!”, “I’m in awe!”, I’d sell my children for this bar”. Thanks again, Brad

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