36er Bar options: Stoker stem vs Touring Bars

Okay, so I’ve bee watching the development of touring bars, first KH, now UDC, all have been breaking at the welds, not exactly awe inspiring, so my question is this:

Why not use a stoker stem, attached to the seat post, on weld, strong, lots of choices, can get fixed of adjustable. Is this a decent choice if I only care about a front handle?

Anyone out there using one? If yes, can you advise on what angle, length, etc… would work best on a KH saddle? 25 or 35 degrees?

I plan to use a short piece of straight handlebar tubing in the stem, then have a variety of bar ends. My primary use is double track riding, gravel, so looking for more control/leverage than I can get with the seat grab handle.

Here are some I’m looking at:


I’d be interested in feedback from anyone (email info at krisholm.com) who has managed to break the new stronger insert tube on the T-bar (e.g. the one used after the original gen1 release), or anything else on it for that matter. Mine has now held up to a lot of wipeouts and smashes to the ground, without issue. I just love this thing - has totally transformed my riding comfort not just for the road but also on my geared muni.



Hey Kris, didn’t mean to trash on your stuff, I’m just looking for something that’ll take trail use/abuse. A stoker stem seems to be about as simple as it comes.

Did a search and really didn’t get a sense for what angles and lengths folks are using. I don’t have access to an LBS who stocks stoker stems, can’t really afford to byu and sell till I get it right, hence my questions.


Ben, I remember seeing a few handlebar setups that were based on a coker stem in the DIY handlebar thread.

I’ve considered getting a T-bar for my 29er but it seems like UDC has been out of stock for a while.

Hey no worries; I didn’t take it as such. Just want to check that the stronger T-bar is working for everyone.

For those who have enough room on their seatpost to fit it, I think that a seatpost mount handle has the potential to be the least expensive option. Potentially it can also be very strong.

Key though is whether it works in terms of adjustability. The required angle for the handle changes hugely depending on rider preference and the length of handle extension, and preferred saddle angle (if the handle angles independently of the saddle). Even for a single rider, it may vary depending on the uni and riding style. My T-bar on my offroad uni is set up totally differently than on my 36’er, and my 36’er setup would also be different for a ride on dirt roads or easy trails, versus paved roads.

One note regarding stiffness versus strength: Obviously it’s nice to have a fairly stiff handle, for responsiveness, but I think the key is that it is “stiff enough” rather than totally rigid. Otherwise you run into problems with brittle failure, or have to design something that’s overly strong/heavy compared to what it otherwise could be.


Ben, I remember seeing a few handlebar setups that were based on a stoker stem in the DIY handlebar thread. IIRC, usually the base of the stoker stem is used with another piece of tubing or a quill stem stuck into it. I don’t know that any adjustable stoker stem would be long enough to be used on it’s own.

I’ve considered getting a T-bar for my 29er but it seems like UDC has been out of stock for a while.

Hey Kris, I took another look at your handle and the price is a lot less than I remember, esp since you provide a stiffener plate as part of teh package. So, if they are staying together, that might be an option, esp with more adjustability than a stoker.

What about going with a single grab, more like a muni handle (Reeder), but further out from the saddle? Would that work on an extension or would it lead to twisting?

I looked over the touring handle thread, some good ideas in there, had already considered modifying a brake hanger, though I worry about strength issues…

Here’s a photo of my geared KH26 with my handle setup for this particular uni. I like having both handles; I guess you could cut off one of the sides of the bar but it would expose the brake lever and not gain much IMO. Key to this setup is that I cut the “T” narrrower (to 120 mm width); otherwise in such a close and low position it would bump my knees. With that width it also makes it easier to grab the brake (closer to your fingers).

Cheaper than any stoker stem is the Torker Unistar Unicycle Brake Handle Mount at $5.60:
I used one to extend the length of my Coker PiBar. Didn’t end up working out for me because I tend to ride with my knees in a little, so I was rubbing against the inner end of the PiBar. But might be something to play with for other do-it-yourself handle options.

That said, I really like my T-Bar. I’m probably not advanced enough to have throughly tested it while riding, but I’m unadvanced enough to have very thoroughly tested it through many ungraceful falls, smashing it down unmercifully on pavement and tumbling it down rocky slopes. :smiley: I’ve got the 2nd generation, and no signs of any problems at the weld. I switch mine back and forth from trail to road-riding mode, so I have yet to cut it down like Kris. However, I hope to get a second one at some point and will then cut one narrower for xc muni.

I’m one of the stoker stem users.

I bought a few before finding one that worked, which was non-adjustable amd was the lowest angle stem I could find, paired with the longest quill stem, a piece of handlebar, and two bar-ends. It was heavy, and wouldn’t adjust very far forward. Here’s a thread with pics.

I’ve since purchased a Nimbus Shadow, broken it, and now I have a new one. It is NOT as adjustable as the KH, but there are some really sweet things about the design. The best is the improved seat rigidity from the way the seat-base attaches. The seat is rigid at the front. but seems more comfy due to the fact that the middle of the seat is NOT right on top of the post, but rather slung between the front and back, sort of like a taint-hammock.

UDC Canada has some, I believe =)

My favorite handle at the moment is a bit of a hybrid. A piece of an old road bike (top tube and chunk of down tube used stoker stem style) and then the back T section from a T7 stuck in the front with bar ends. It is a very stiff and was practically free for me to make but the T section is key to keep it light and allow the use of a brake with the handle in the middle.

If you could get a T section from a KH T-bar (maybe a friend bought one and only uses the curved section) this would be a very feasible option.

Not all bike frames work, go to a dump, grab a few likely candidates and start chopping. :slight_smile:

I use a stoker stem based handle on my 36". I have an old bike fork slotted into the stoker stem and some tennis racket grip on the ends to make it a bit nicer to hold. The angle isnt perfect but it has been pretty good. I have the stoker stem done up quite lightly against the the seatpost so if dropped, the handle moves but the seatpost doesnt.

After weighing the pros and cons, considering the total cost and weight, adjustability, etc, I went ahead and purchased a KH Touring Bar.

It arrived yesterday, installation was very easy, all the holes lined up nicely, ended up using a different set of bar ends that were longer; I have big hands.

Since I use mine for riding gravel and dirt roads, I didn’t need much extension, really just a more forward and position that gave better support and control.

I gotta say, the T Bar works pretty well, no complaints, adjustability is great, feels very strong and secure, the new “beefed up” tube hanger seems pretty burly, brake set up was perfect. Easy to adjust on the road, which is nice for making fine adjustment.

Now I’m thinking about one for my Muni, though I’d like to see a Reeder styled grip.

Hey Kris, how about replacing the T with a bar end clamp that would hold a u- shaped piece of tubing. This would allow all sort of rotation combinations as well as having the extension and angulation choices using the stock mount.

My current setup is a curved bar end on the t-bar for my 24 guni. It ends up being like a reeder handle. I can grab it on the side or out in front. A short, straight bar end on the other side would complete the loop. On rough single-track, I seem to need one arm free.


Where did you find that super curved Onza?

I used bar ends similar in shape to the Onza, but cut down so I can use both left and right (my handlebar sits a bit further out so there is enough clearance to go wider).

Bummer that bar ends aren’t fashionable in MTB land any more, makes them much harder to source. Once I’d tested a pair of the RavX and they worked well (and were relatively cheap) I bought a few pairs.


They’ve been hanging out in my garage for about 15 years. I bought for my mountain bike and never used them.