Kris Holmes T-Bar

After seeing countless pictures of people using a Kris Holm ‘T-bar’ Touring Handle or something similar i bought one for my 36 " unicycle.

It takes a lot of getting used to i must say. While riding i get the feeling that somebody else is messing with my steering.

So i am wondering what settings most people prefer. Close to the saddle or far away, high or low? And what about the angle between the T and the handlebars? And do you use both hands or just one, only on flat terrain or also in corners?

For on road riding, relatively horizontal and extended to allow me to take weight off the saddle and tuck down into a lower position. I mostly ride two hands on including corners once I have got up to speed but turning will feel different and needs to be worked on.

For off road, cut short (with width reduced) and positioned just in front and below the grab handle or even replacing the grab handle. This allows me maximum climbing ability and resistance to being thrown off by roots/rocks etc. I mostly use one hand on and the other out to balance. When climbing i use both hands unless the ground is rough.

As for angle, try loosening one, getting on and seeing what position is most comfortable while riding.

Yes, it doesn’t come naturally! Have a look in the Learning Journal thread and you can see a bit of my experience. It did take me a longish time… I have a feeling that lower and longer is what the serious racers use.


The pic below is how I have my bars just now. I tried out and low, but every time there was even slight road camber I felt it niggling in my lower back…
I haven’t had any problems since raising it and bringing it closer, even did a bit of Muni a couple of days ago! Completely different on a 36er :sunglasses:

Davejh, would you recommend shorter/closer than this for Muni?

Oh, I should probably answer the original questions :roll_eyes:

I’ve only been riding with bars for a couple of weeks and they’re great!
I ride mainly with both hands on. When turning a corner that I think I’m going too quick on, I take the hand off whichever way I’m turning and rest it on my calf. I’m not sure if this actually helps with balance, or if its just in my mind :slight_smile:

While Muni-ing the other day I rode like Davejh, with my right hand on and my left hand for balance/brake. I didn’t adjust my bars from road to Muni.

Unlike KrJames I took to my bars straight away. I have been riding on and off for years with both hands on my saddle’s grab handle though, so maybe I was already mentally prepared for the bars.

Very much so, but i would advise you get a shadow handle section and cut it down so you don’t lose a setup that you know you like. The width of the T needs to come down to 10-12cm if you value your legs. Currently the T is around 5cm forward of the front of the grab handle with just enough clearance to still be able to use the handle for hops.

Still getting used to it myself but is definitely worth having a T bar. Also if you fit the brake lever (if you’ve got one) close to the end of the T bar: is worth considering cutting the width of the horizontal bar of the T from 150mm to 130mm so your fingers can reach the brake lever nicely whilst still keeping the hands on the handlebars (all dependends on how big your hands/fingers are, mine are average and found it easier at 130mm: you can try it first before you cut it for good…). Also fitting a brake lever extension/spooner makes a huge difference.

The problems I found with having the brake lever right out:

  1. Braking with both hands out on the bars means I’m leaning forward, if I brake too hard I fear I’ll go over. This is why I sit up a bit straighter, and have my left hand further back when braking.
  2. Brake lever hitting the floor.
    In my current set-up (pic above) if I upd, my brake lever can’t hit the floor.

Until I come across any issues, I’m reluctant to cut my bars in any way…I’ll put a few decent Muni miles in tomorrow, weather allowing, and try a few different arrangements :slight_smile:

I know what you mean. You’re right, it takes some time getting used it (still working on it myself). I cycle on the road and at the moment: when the road is mostly flat or slightly downhill, I can manage to brake with both hands and also lean on the handlebars. It does take a while to get used to it. When I go down a medium steep hill, at the moment, I brake with my left hand whilst still grabbing the handle bar and I take the right hand off to counter balance with my arm, at the same time I lean back quite a bit but I still can keep my left hand on the handlebar. I think with a bit more practice I should be able to keep both hands when going doown hill (unless really steep…).

To protect the brake lever from UPDs whilst having it as close as possible to the handlebars: what I did is to hold the wheel vertically and let go of the seat post so the handle bars hit the ground (vertically). Then you slide the mount of the brake along the bar towards the handlebars untill the brake gets close to touch the ground but doesn’t. This way the lever is well underneath the handlebars but, at the same time, is also protected as each time the unicycle hits the ground in a UPD the handle bars ususally take the hit and not the brake lever/spooner (at least if you ride on the road where there is no huge rocks sticking out of the ground). I’ve been doing plenty of UPDs lately and so far it works. I’m sure the brake lever will suffer a hit at some point though :smiley:

I reckon its all psychological for me…I still keep my right hand on the handle, so I’m probably leaning as far forward as with both hands on :roll_eyes:
Same as I said earlier with corners that I’m not too confident on, my hand instantly goes to my leg.

I’ve had very few upd’s, so can’t really say if the bars get in the way.

Still struggling with the bar myself too. :roll_eyes:

Only got the T bar a few weeks ago. I keep taking one hand off (the right one) and have to force myself to bring it back to the handlebars all the time. Also my back and torso ache a lot after a ride since I installed the T bar. That must show how many other muscles are being used to keep the balance with the T bar set up.

Still, after few weeks I already find it much better (and much more fun) to ride the 36 with the T bar than without it. Very much worth it! :slight_smile:

For months I had no hope in using the T Bar. I just could not hold on with both hands and because of the extra weight in the front I had a hard time controlling the uni. I felt as though I was learning how to ride all over again! But then recently one day I dared myself to lean forward more and suddenly my weight was centered and I could ride with both hands easily! It is definitely a more comfortable and less tiresome ride on the road. I am also still struggling with sharp turns while holding on with both hands, but I think it will just come with practice like anything else in this sport. I ride a 26", a fat 26", and a 29+ though, so I don’t know how turning feels on a 36". For road riding I have mine out as far as I can get it, the handles are as wide as possible, and they sit fairly upright. With muni it helped me to have the length as short as possible, but since I use my T Bar for both road and muni, I can’t cut the length of the bar or the width of the handles. I hear it’s easier with the handles closer together. I pretty much exclusively hold on with one hand and use the other to counter balance during muni rides. But I like riding on trails without the T Bar, too. If I know there will be a lot of steep downhills and UPDs, I leave the T Bar at home. Overall it’s a fun and worthwhile investment IMO. It just takes some time to get used to.

I struggled with a T-Bar (I have the Shadow) until I found a local park with a huge parking lot. In the parking lot were six light poles. I was able to ride and ride, practicing straight-a-ways, and turns, and in a few sessions I had a much better feel for the setup. Now it is exciting to get out on the rode, and cornering is definitely getting easier!