After over 500 miles of use I thought I would write about George Barnes’ GB Handle. I’ve been using one on my Coker since Oct 2002. While it’s not as good as a Reeder Handle for offroad use, it’s better for road riding, which is what it’s designed for.
I first mounted it on the front of a carbon-based air seat by itself. I attached my friction shifter brake control on one side and mounted the cyclometer on the little hanging part designed for this. It worked great and it was nice to be able to finally see my speed without a risky/difficult bending forward. I normally ride with both hands on the handles in the natural position, and sometimes lay them across the top, one hand on the other.
More recently, George made me an aluminum one to try out. It is feather-light, especially compared to the steel one. Having destroyed about 4 aluminum seatposts, I was concerned about it’s strength. But the welds look strong and it’s not holding my weight all the time. I’ve ridden the aluminum one 300 miles in the last month, including some insane offroad where I was yarding on the handle with every bit of strength I have. It never budged!
With the aluminum GB handle, I’ve also been using a Wyganowski extension. The two together are great. I have nice soft rubber grips on the GB handle and light-weight carbon fiber bar ends (LP brand) on the Wyganowski. The resulting variety of possible hand positions is fantastic.
I’d say the most common hand position I use is with the base of my palms resting on the GB handle, lightly gripping the base of the LP bar ends. Although it’s harder than with the Reeder handle, I can now climb the hill to my house (250’ of 18% grade) unless I’m bonking. If you don’t want to fool around with custom-making handles, get the GB handle from unicycle.com - it’s really nice.
Nathan, can you speak to how you built the brake setup on your orginal model? I bought the basic Coker to save $, but am now wishing I invested in the brake because of the pain I’m having in knees on some of the big downhills in my area. I’d like to try to improvise a handles, brake, cyclometer setup since I’m starting to do a lot of longer rides. Appreciate any tips from anyone.
On my original Coker frame with the original wheel, I installed an Odessey A-brake from unicycle.com. By using a Rad V-Brake Mount you can get away without welding. Be slightly warned though, this is a cheap component. Mine worked ok, but a friend’s never actually fit well enough to use well.
For a brake lever, use a friction gear shifter from a bike shop - should be less than $10.
I’m buying a used Coker and a lot of the question I’ve had to make it more comfortable for training have been answered buy your postings, thanks! Except the saddle and seatpost issue. What seat and seat post to you use and what would you recommend? Thanks in advance!
If you’re looking for an off-the-shelf saddle, you should probably try the KH. I build my own from Roger’s carbon base, the Gemcrest leather cover, a 20" tube and the air pillow.
Since I like the saddles angled up about 12 degrees, I use either the Wilder or Kinport bracket (depending on whether or not there is a brake). My favorite seatposts are Thomson - 25.4 on the Hunter36, 26.8 on the Telford, 27.2 on the KH. On my 29" with the stock Coker frame, I use a tiltable 22.2mm BMX seatpost and a Kinport adapter.
The handle is important. I use the Reeder handle for all offroad riding, the GB handle for road riding and the Wyganowski extension with several water bottle holders and extra bar ends for long distance touring. See photos in my Hunter36 Album
You need a Miyata or other back bumper to make these seats.
The GB handle may be available in aluminum by special order from George.
It may sound like a real hassle building up your own custom seat when you can just buy a KH, but I think it’s worth it if you ride a lot. The seat is a very personal choice and these are my choices built up over the last 4 years. Someone else may hate my seats, in fact, one of the riders in Norway last summer rode my unicycle on the last day of the tour and asked me how I could possibly have ridden 600 miles on it. He literally couldn’t believe my seat felt so bad to him. And conversely, his felt like a flat piece of steel, incorrectly shaped to me and I would never believe he rode the same 600 miles if I hadn’t seen it.
Thanks for all of your help. I will use all your experience and find what works best for me. From your last paragraph, I’ll have to do a bit of investing and be patient. See what works well and what I can improve on and make changes. I’m new to this website and didn’t know that you did the Norway tour. I have the website saved in my favorites. You should know that I’m buying my used Coker from Scot Cooper. When I saw the Norway website I saw his email and emailed him and he happen to have a Coker in Long Beach that I can get started on. He recommended this website for more advice and it’s been very helpful.