I drive finish nails with a sledge hammer. How so? I’ll explain.
Not too terribly long ago I stumbled across a 58cm Bridgestone MB-2 from way back in 1987. 1987 was when the Internet consisted mainly of real content, unlike this blog. Ahem. Anyway, I’ll detail the build-up of my MB-2 in a future post. To keep the 60 cycle hum to a minimum, let’s just say Charlie Cunningham has been a bit of an influence. From the time I laid eyes on that bike I knew it was getting dirt drop handlebars.
For the unwashed masses, dirt drops are slightly modified drop bars where the hooks are flared out at the bottom, and the rear most part of the drop is flared out away from the frame. This creates a wide grip area which, in turn, provides for some nice leverage amongst the baby heads. (Not my term. Don’t shoot the messenger. I don’t want to ride my bike over your baby’s head.) Here’s a picture, blatantly stolen (it really has a Creative Commons license), showing two different dirt drops. The black one is an On-One Midge (still available) and the silver one is a 3ttt WB1 (no clue where you might get one of these).
So I did my research and decided that I really, really, really needed a silver bar with a 25.4mm clamp area, mostly because I have plenty of stems with a 25.4mm clamp and I hate black components. No sweat. The following bars met my needs and are currently available, at least somewhere.
- Origin-8 Gary (also available in black and with a 31.8mm clamp area)
- On-One Midge (I’d have to order the silver one from old blighty)
- That’s about it, unless I want to take one for the team on eBay and get some NOS Nitto bars.
The Gary bar got the final nod, because nearly every online retailer in North America stocks it for about $25. The Midge isn’t significantly more expensive, but the silvery kind would have to be shipped across the pond. I held off ordering my Gary bar, thinking that since I needed to go to the LBS, I’d see if they had one in stock. This was entirely wishful thinking. If I was lucky they’d have a Bell Lap, black, 31.8.
While I waited for Jim to set my crown race I wandered over to the handlebars and nearly passed out. There, in all it’s non-silvery glory was an Origin-8 Gary. In black. For only a couple bucks more than the bargainbikepartsdotcom price. I could have walked away. I could have ordered exactly what I wanted. But I like my LBS. The Pedal Pusher is, by a long shot, the best bike shop in the Harrisburg area and one of the best I’ve ever been to. Anywhere. So I pulled them off the wall, in all their ugly black non-silveryness, and settled up at the register. $30.
Halfway home, at a red light, I lifted the bar from the passenger seat and noticed the 31.8 stamped on the cardboard packaging. The very same packaging that had obscured the clamp area of the bar in the shop. The very same packaging that I failed to read. Damn you, Origin-8! And your honest product descriptions! Gah. The evil LBS was just around the corner, so I made a quick detour and bought a short, steep stem to fit the new bar. I had a threaded to threadless adapter at home on the road bike. I could just get a new stem for that one later. Another $30.
I like my bars higher than most folks. I wanted these at least at saddle height. My threaded-to-threadless thingy was too short. VO sells a longer one. $16 plus shipping.
If there’s a moral to the story, other than “I’m an idiot”, I have no idea what it might be, but I spent $80 to accomplish what I could have with $25 had I just ordered what I wanted in the first place. Finish nails with a sledge hammer.