Now, I never thought of them as ugly, just very different. The project did attract my interest and I watched the progress of the bars on his blog. When I ordered my new Hillborne, I saw that the final version of the bars would be arriving at the same time and decided to give them a try. I wrote to Spenser at Rivendell and asked if he would add them to my frame order, to be sure I got one in case they sold out quickly. He was more than happy to do it, and even sent me an e-mail to let me know that I was officially the first owner of a Bosco Bar.
They come in a couple of variations, but I chose the widest (58cm) and lightest (heat treated aluminum alloy).Compared to the famous Allbatross bars, they look like this.
The width is not as extreme as I had anticipated (1.5 cm per side) and when I first saw them they had made sense to me. They are somewhat counter intuitive to a standard drop bar. The aero position is in the center near the stem and puts the hands 3-4 inches lower in a position similar to a time trial tuck.
The bar ends have an enormous sweep, open up the arms and allow the rider to sit nearly bolt upright to negotiate traffic or take advantage of a tail wind. There is a huge amount of area for any variation to continually change positions. While waiting for the bars, I had found those little knobs made by Dia-compe and thought they would prove useful to establish a comfortable "midway" lean for all day riding.
After a few test rides, I found that position, had added interrupter levers to the front and located my "thumbies" on the stem where they would be right in the middle of everything. I adjusted the bars so the bar-ends were about level with the seat, used a pair of Cardiff leather grips for the end and wrapped the rest with cloth tape to test it out.
I had put the Dia-Compe knobs in a position where I could lean all my upper body weight on the fleshy part of my hand between the thumb and forefinger.
My first ride on the bike or the bars was a 100km at the Harpeth River Ride outside of Nashville. The terrain was variegated between a few mountainous climbs and level river bottoms.
I have to say that Grant might be onto something here. I was perfectly comfortable all through the ride. I made use of every position I could find and never experienced any numbness in the hands at any point in the ride. The bar-end or upright position is not only good for traffic situations and down wind cheating, it is a great climbing grip. The bars practically beg you to get out of the saddle on the hills and you find yourself between the bar-ends practically pulling the bike up the hill as you mash the pedals. The aero position is
not quite as aerodynamic as you might like for real fast riding, but satisfied me for a hybrid style ride.
In short, these bars could prove to be real game changers for the hybrid market. I would still prefer drop bars for touring or road bike performance but these will be great for everyday use and credit card touring.
I am not experienced enough to recommend them for mountain bike use, but I'm sure somebody will use the "Bullmoose" variation for that. I suspect they will work out just fine.
I was impressed enough to take a copy of Spenser's e-mail, laminate it, roll it up and stick it inside the bar, just to certify to future generations that I am the first owner!
As a great man once said: " I got that goin' for me!"