I’ve got aerobars on a V frame, so I can’t speak for all handlebar set ups, but unless you’ve got some really large and wide handlebars, they won’t pose a problem. The handle bars, like the unicycle seat, will quickly drop down in front of you and get out of the way, allowing you to run out your UPD without tangling up your legs. My biggest concern with handlebars is width, although some folks ride with wide bicycle-style handlebars and find them to be just fine.
I ride with the Coker Pi Bar and have an occasional UPD, usually once every 200 miles or so. I never really notice the bar when I fall; it’s like not having them there. If you were falling forward AND sideways, you may get tangled up a bit but I don’t think that happens… ever.
I’ve had a few different handlebar configurations, and have ridden a couple thousand km on them, and the worst that has happened for me is a bruise or two on my leg.
The crashes at risk for entanglement are the forward falls, and in these scenarios, the frame rotates forward, pointing the handle down and away from the rider’s trajectory. The poor handle usually gets more scraped up than the rider.
I just added the KH T-bar to my KH-26 Muni. On technical trails, I think it does make UPD’s a little more dangerous. I haven’t had any bad injuries yet, but it is a little tougher to get clear of the Uni. There have been times when I’ve been riding in a rock bed and the Uni will twist sideways while falling forward. I got a decent bruise on top of my right thigh yesterday from such a UPD.
Anyway, the T-bar improves my riding position, comfort and pedaling efficiency so much that I can’t see myself going back to a regular saddle handle for Muni or distance riding.
As you can see in my signature, I use a T-bar for MUni and a Shadow for touring. I’ve narrowed the T on my Tbar from 150mm to 130mm per Kris’ instructions and I’m still sporting a bruise on my right knee from impact with the handle through percussion armor during a botched freemount. The T part of the Shadow handle on my 36er is nearly 7" wide (I think it’s 6.5") and with 7" bar ends the straight bar extends out a full 18" from the tip of my saddle. I’m scared to death of that thing! I never try and “catch” any of my unis (not even the $2.5k one) during a UPD. My focus is getting clear of the wreckage. Better a broken handlebar (on my 3rd Shadow) than leg. It’s the price you pay. But, as MadFurai said, once you get used to using a handle, you can’t live without it! That’s why I like the NB grab handle on my 26er for the knarly stuff. Sometimes it’s refreshing to ride with no hands.
I have not had any issues with the Nimbus handle at all and I have mastered upd’s on the 36 (practice makes perfect!). I did remove the rear t-bar though as I reckon it has more chance of getting your legs on the way past
LOL. But in all seriousness, looking at Steeley’s avatar makes me miss my Impulse something awful. My geared 36er has Magura HS33 rim brakes (whereas the Impulse has that butter smooth internal disc) and it is very heavy. My Impulse was the lightest (drilled rim predates StealthII) fully kitted 36er on the market. I got a good price for it and it’s in a good home with our very own UniBueno but I still miss it. My next build will be an Impulse frame, Oracle disc hub (heavier but sturdier than the Aluminum hub on a stock Impulse), and the new “25% lighter” knobby 36" tire (when it comes out). Coker MUni!
During the unicon I mounted aero bars to the KH T bar on my 36 which made distance riding really comfy and reduced saddle sore… I was really worried about getting tangled up in them as I had some pretty impressive bruises on my inner thighs from learning to mount… Then it happened at about 20KPH on a night time ride (narrow trail in the dark not my best idea ever)… I was ejected off cleanly so major issue there
I rode a T Bar for road and never noticed any problems, but I didn’t have any UPD’s. I just started riding one off road on a 36er and I ended up with bruises on the inside of leg, 4" above the knee, but this was from hitting the handle with my leg while riding, not fom UPD’s.
I’ve had a ton of UPD’s on the 36er since adding the T Bar and I can honestly say that I have yet to get “tangled up” in the handle.
I did end up shortening the T on either side by 1/2", so I no seem to be having a leg bruising issue.
The T Bar is a bit flexy compared to my single hand mount, but I am planning a modification, similar to what Turtle did, which will place the T Bar closer to the seat, still allowing extension and retraction, but no change in angle; the bar ends can be angled so it’s not a problem.
I used to get a lot of bruises on the insides of my legs from the KH T-bar on my 29er. After a combination of getting more riding (and falling ) experience, and narrowing the T-bar per Kris’s suggestion, I hardly ever hit the handlebar any more.
I also have the wider Impulse handle bar end set far out on my 36, which should cause me more problems. However, I still manage to not hit that too often. Probably a combination of less off-road riding, experience, and having more air time coming off the 36er.