In October/November last year I started to get a serious itch for XC handle bars for my KH36 which is my main off road machine. The bars that were readily available weren’t what I was after so like many other guys have done I started working on my own.
I had a bunch of criteria for the GUNI Bars but the main three were that it would be seat mounted, the brake lever would remain located beneath the front of the seat and the bars would be sturdy enough to survive off road.
In the five or so months since I’ve gone through a few iterations of the XC GUNI Bars including lots of riding, crashing, doodling, changing the design, rebuilding, and am really happy with how the current version is working.
If anyone is interested in having a GUNI Bar themselves, firstly WOOHOO! secondly WOOHOO! thirdly let me know either here, via PM or via the blog. The Alu fabrication place is willing to produce small batches of them and I’m getting a couple of extras made in the next week or two for myself.
The bar requires a KH09 saddle and stiffener plate. Earlier versions were made to work with the Carbon Fibre seat base, but that is no longer the case.
It’s great to have the GUNI Bar out of my head and developed to a point where the main thing left to do is enjoy riding with it!
That looks really nice. I was wondering what the OD of the Al tubing was, because I was thinking, and I could get this, and have a off road setup like you have, but also an on road one by attaching some sort of bike stem to extend from the farther ‘cross-tube’.
I love seeing new handlebar designs. It looks like a good position for road riding with the geared 36.
My two comments:
That brake lever does not look to be placed in a very easy to reach place. I like having a level somewhat near the hand holds. How do you brake with it, do you only keep one hand on a bar end and use the other to brake, or do you take both hands off the bar ends to brake?
-For XC riding I like having the handle a lot closer than that, but I guess everyone has different preferences for this.
With the brake lever position, the handle bar has a rear bar that acts like and replaces the front bumper which makes braking very easy, just the same action and reach as if you had no handle bar fitted to the uni at all and were gripping the front bumper with one hand reaching down with one finger to the brake lever fitted to an under seat brake bracket.
I positioned the brake that way as when I am out on the bar ends cruising I don’t need/use the brake. I do need the brake though when I’m heading down rough/steep terrain, in which case I’m not out on the bar ends but holding onto the rear bar with one hand, just like I’d be holding onto the front bumper in rough terrain, with the brake in easy one finger reach.
This would be different for braking during road riding where you’d probably remain out on the bar ends most of the time and would want the brake located within easy 1 finger reach of the bar ends. However I made the handle bar primarily for off road riding and I much prefer the brake lever mounted under the seat for that.
There’s actually a bunch of ways to hold it too which is fun and comfortable re changing positions - both hands on bar ends, one hand on the rear bar (like a uni with no handlebar fitted), one hand on rear bar and one on front bar, one or both hands on the side forks closer to your body, one hand on one bar end while climbing steep sections etc.
I hope to add some photos showing it action in the next couple of days, just need to talk my wife into helping with the camera!
heya Scott sure that would be possible. The front Alu cross tube that the bar ends attach to is 22.23mm OD (from memory, early hours of the morning and I’m about to head for zzzz). It intentionally fits all the standard bike stuff so you can use any bar ends, accessories and the ‘inside’ section is also a good place for things like bike computers, lights, bells etc.
The main limitations of the design atm is that the rear cross bar isn’t as convenient and comfortable to use as the front bumper of a unicycle (which it replaces), but I found that after a few rides I adjusted how I used it and didn’t notice. The other thing also related to the rear cross bar is that it might not be roomy enough for someone with big hands. There’s plenty of room for my size hands though and overall it couldn’t go wider, to keep the handle bar clear of the riding action.
Looks cool, but in my case, when I ride my 36er offroad, I never use a touring bar! I need to be able to do drops, hops, gaps and so on, and a bar simply gets in the way, adds weight and is awkward–just as it would be for technical MUni on a 24". Now if you’re doing mostly XC stuff with nothing very technical, I can see the benefit, especially for long XC rides.
heya Corbin, thanks. yeah I mainly use a single hand close to the uni for stuff like rough descents. For steep climbs the side forks can be held with both hands no worries, or a single hand grip wherever, the rear cross bar, side bar. etc.
The weight of the handlebar is 415 grams. An earlier build was ~290 grams but the wall on the front cross bar/tube was too thin, too easy for the bar ends to bend it during UPD’s. Atm the front cross bar it’s overbuilt, so I’ll change that a bit and the weight should end up just under 400 grams.
hey also thanks - seeing all the bars you made really encouraged me to give making one a go!
heya Terry, sure yeah. I don’t have a bar fitted to my single speed 36 which is also a favorite off road uni for me. I try to look after my big wheels generally though and ride more MUNI style stuff on a smaller wheel, mainly my 29er, and even more so now with the wide rim on it - it rocks! As you know, that’s not to say you can’t have a lot of fun off road on a 36.
The 36 GUNI off road is a different thing though. In 1:1.5 the leverage provided by the longer handle and the different hand positions are worth it. Especially when you get out of shape in the big gear the front bumper isn’t really adequate imo. I don’t find the bar awkward and weight wise it’s a non issue especially on a 36 GUNI which is already quite heavy due to the geared hub etc.
An alternative pic of the handle bar. You can grip the rear cross bar with one hand and be able to brake, either or both of the two side forks, the front cross bar (or fit stuff there like bell, computer, camera etc) and one or both of the bar ends (out of shot) in various positions.
I’ve tried a few different bar ends and busted a few too! The ones I like most atm are relatively long and run perpendicular to the front cross bar, then have the horns that curve in towards each other. I cut them down with a pipe cutter to fit width wise. Bummer that bar ends are no longer fashionable in MTB, limits the choices available.