I’ve decided to save up some money to buy a distance unicycle, and the addition of a handlebar seems very useful. I’ve been eyeing the Coker V2 with a Pi Bar, but if anyone has had serious problems with either, I may reconsider… I am specifically interested in how the current stock handlebars (ie Coker Pi Bar, Kris Holm T-bar, Nimbus T7, etc) compare for distance riding.
It won’t be soon enough for you, but there’ll be a comparison in issue ten of Uni Magazine…
Although I don’t have one and didn’t ever try one I’d say forget about the other two and get the KH T-bar. You’ll have to have a 2009 KH saddle in order to be able to mount it, though. But I’m pretty sure it’s the best stock handle out there at this point. The reasons for my opinion are:
- the t7 breaks, is heavy and quite unadjustable.
- pi-bar is known to rub on the thighs
- KH T-bar is lightest and has more adjustability than the other two.
Unfortunately I don’t think the KH T-bar has been tried and tested enough yet for anyone to give a fair evaluation. Most unicyclist’s T7s last a little while before breaking, but we have yet to see if the KH T-bar will suffer from the same fatigue.
Here is my summary:
Coker Pi Bar - Some riders complain they hit their knees on the bars. Some riders, have absolutely no issue and love the Pi bar.
T7 - I tried one out for a while and I hated it at first, and grew to love it later. I find that the hand holds are a bit higher than I would want them, but you get used to it. I couldn’t really put enough force down onto the handle to relive saddle soreness, so I ended up switching back to my old handle set up (GB4 bars, which are not sold anymore). The T7s are prone to break after a lot of riding and pulling/pushing on the handle. I never had any issues with mine.
KH T-bar: More customizable than the two above. It must be mounted on a KH 2009 saddle, which is kind of annoying and limits your saddle choices. I am not sure what the flex will be or if there will be an issue with the handlebar breaking after a lot of riding as it hasn’t been on the market for long enough to tell. I am quite curious to try one out myself as it does seem to be pretty promising, but it would mean I would need to get all new equipment to go with it.
If you are getting a new distance unicycle, the KH36 with the 2009 saddle and KH T-bar will be a great option, but it will be more expensive than the Nimbus route.
I assume you are getting a 36
The only real choice unless you can afford a geared hub.
I would advise against buying a handle right away. If you are like me, you will throw your 36 down the road frequently in the first months of riding. That is a bit safer to do without a bar. Apparently the bars are a bit fragile, and would last much longer if you waited until you had some miles under your tire before you put one on.
Also, doing the forward dive off a 36 is generally painless if you wear wrist wraps. I find I can save my knees by using my wrapped hands so I can wear shorts with no leg gear safely.
The T7 is very expensive and not available in South AFrica.
I built my own saddle after extensive research on the site, and after I built something similar for my first 36’’.
Here is how my reasoning went:
- I got used to the placement of the Magura brake on the saddle.
- My previous handle was just a pole, which actually worked remarkably well.
- Adjustablity is very important. Doing long distance, being able to hold on different parts of the handle, adjusts seating, which makes riding easier over long distance.
- the most stable place to put the handle is on the frame, not on the seat such as the new KH handles.
How I built it:
- Had an engineer make a clamp that fits the frame, and had him weld a stainless steel pole onto it.
- The pole’s thickness is the same diametre as the part where a bicycle’s handlebars fits into.
- Into this pole, goes standard bicycle handlebar holder. It has a nut which can be loosened to flip the handlebars 180degrees, and to shorten and extend it a bit.
- I attached standard MTB handlebars on it, also angle adjustable.
- cheap standard rubber knobs (used to cover chair feet) are put on the end. It protects the handlebar if dropped.
- The Speedo has a velcro with elastic to have its placement adjusted, especially when flipping the hand around.
- The bars are covered with blue cork tape, used as racing bike handles, wrapped so to leave the adjustable alan key holes open.
- The tape is put on thickly at the end of the pole, creating a nice alternative grip to hold onto.
- The handlebar is very effective, especially in the upright configuration.
- It can be easily removed if I want to go offroad. I just have to figure out a way to remove the speedometre.
- There is most likely even enough space to add a water bottle.
- Won’t swap it for the more expensive T7
I’m not sure that many riders have spent enough time with the different options out there to give a level opinion. For me, the first one I tried was the T7. It felt good, and I love it, it hasn’t broken or let me down, so I haven’t bothered trying any others. It may well be that other handles are better, but I don’t see a need to change right now.
I think the T7 is the cheapest option too, so I would suggest you start with that. If you’re new to 36ers, as Feel The Light says, you’re likely to drop more often to start with. Sure, this might break the T7, but by then you’ll be more experienced and will have more of an idea of what your ideal riding position is and what you want out of a handle.
I broke two T7s just from general riding and the occasional crash, and now that I have a Kris Holm touring Handlebar thing I get the feeling T7s would be more suited as a boat anchor than a handle, they weigh a ton. The only advantage the T7 had was the drink bottle holder, and that isn’t the most efficient way of drinking while riding anyway but I liked it.
Today I noticed a crack in the weld of my Kris Holm T-bar, well in the bit where the T-bar attaches to. I have had a small handful of crashes in a couple of months of owning it, so I was kind of surprised that it’s breaking already. I was hoping the Kris Holm handle would be able to deal with being yanked on a bit and rested on- unlike the T7 which was a bit of an ornament rather than a functioning strong structure. Has anyone else had theirs crack yet? Any failures where it’s broken?
The best thing about the Kris Holm T-bar handle thing is the 2009 fusion freeride seat with the stiffener plate! It is so much stiffer than a <2009 saddle and it vastly improves efficiency when yanking on the inner KH handle. It gives a feeling of stiffness much closer to carbon fibre at a fraction of the price.
I reckon what Feel the Light said is a good idea- if you are new at 36" save the handle til you put some miles on then make the upgrade cos it seems they are a bit fragile and add problems like brakes and gears. Trying the out the worser handle is only going to make you wish you got the better one in the first place.
There have been a number of people who have had the same problem, me included. Kris has commented on a thread that he was disappointed with the thickness of that part and will be producing a thicker part asap. I think he mentioned that it will be covered under warranty so you should be able to get your broken part upgraded to a beefier version.
personally, i like the idea of not having a handlebar. I know it’s not good for distance riding, and i know that i am new to unicycling, but i’ve noticed that unicycles improve my posture A LOT! I have terrible posture. i’m always slouching.
I received my beefier version in the mail yesterday free of charge (with another order I made). It looks like it will solve the problem as the old tube is tiny compared to the new one. I’m stoked, I will have more confidence in trying this handle in a long race and leaning on it more. Thank you very much Mr Holm and unicycle.co.nz!
so what happens when you don’t have enough seat post to put a handlebar on other than the T7? : P I have a T7 that I got with my nightrider. I must say, it doesn’t look terribly secure.
Anybody mind telling me where their T7 broke specifically? I’m thinking about trying that welding triangle idea. . . but should I put them on all 6 support areas near the seat, there are 2 little triangles already welded in place : )
other than the T7 feeling a little flexy, I love the riding position, the bottle mount, and the extra handle on the back, I’m just worried I’m going to be on a long trip and it will break. Granted, I did just get it a few weeks ago, but I’m persnickity
I’m sure you’ve already chosen your machine by now, but I was going to recommend against the V2 for serious/long distance riding. It’s best aspect is looks. The Big One frame does the same job just as well, for much less weight. Also some people find the V2 a little wide for them.
If the V2 isn’t too wide for you (works for me), the Pi Bar will probably work for you as well, unless you want to run it low. If your knees overlap the front part where the bar-ends attach, you may find that annoying.
For me the T7 is a nothing handle, being too high to lean on, and too low to use as a cupholder. It’s just there. I prefer a much lower handle. The T-bar sounds very promising. Even if you have to invest in the whole seat to go with it, one can always use a spare “regular” Coker/Velo/Nimbus/KH seat.
The KH bar attaches to the bottom of the seat so you can have your seat all the way down. No worries about seat post mounting.
As John and others mentioned you will need to have an 09 KH or Nimbus seat in order to mount the handle so it does get a bit costly for the initial setup if you don’t already have one of those seats.
I have a KH bar on my KH 36 and I like it, however I have not ridden with any other bar option. (With my shorter height I do not have any spare post to mount to.)
hehehe, I just happen to have a nimbus seat on my nimbus xP. . . christmas maybe O:-)
I thought it only worked with a KH seat, and didn’t want to buy another one : x
I used a KH handle for 6 months before getting this:
There’s the weak point of this handle, at the thinner part of it. Overall it’s perfect, but this problem need to be fixed. I wont buy another one before it’s officialy fixed, or it will break again overtime. So I’m trying to find a way to repair this one with a thicker tube.
It looks like the problem was fix. I dont know if Darren Bedford is the only one to supply this stronger replacement piece. My handle will be repaired next week!! Yay !
Kris has improved the weak part and offers a free replacement. I already got mine a couple of weeks ago from municycle.de.
- The Pi Bar is wide for some peoples’ tastes, but fine for others (including me).
- The KH T-bar is the second most adjustable. Pi Bar is the most by far. More up-down adjustment, both in angle and in location on your post or frame. But it doesn’t telescope.
Terry’s add-ons, in that little video above, make it a very flexible handle, and may remove the width issue for most riders. Unfortunately it adds some weight, but it’s worth that if the handle works for you.
I also question the weight comparison of the T-bar to the Pi Bar. Neither one is what I would call heavy, but in weighing the T-bar it’s important to include the stiffener plate and all those bolts. They’re probably pretty close in the end though.
I’ve ridden the T-bar some now, though not enough, and love the way it feels when I’m tucked down onto it. I’m running it as low as it will go, and turned the mounting tube around backwards to give it more extension. However I feel kind of awkward when I sit up and am not holding onto it, based on where it emanates from the front of the cycle, if you know what I mean.
Now somebody needs to come up with a way to protect bar-ends on unicycle handlebars from the inevitable drops that are going to happen…
I think it’s better if bar ends are left unprotected and hopefully take the bulk of any impact. Provided the handlebar design is strong enough the bar ends will fail and you’ll only need to replace them, not the handlebar.
TBH I’m skeptical the strengthened T-bar meets that requirement, which is ok I guess if you don’t crash much.