V-Bars come back in a big way

I have to admit this emerging trend crept up on me.

Let me put it this way…you may have heard the saying, “Once Is Chance, Twice is Coincidence, Third Time Is A Pattern.”

That’s kinda what happened to me when I looked around recently and saw more and more companies bringing back the v-bar handlebar.

Long a staple of old school BMX, v-bars fell out of favor decades ago in favor of straight cross-bars.

Sure, v-bars would pop up here and there over the years but they were definitely outliers in the BMX world.

But, then they started creeping back.

NoWear BMX’s Candy Bar was one of the first modern-day v-bars that started appearing on new school bikes.

Still, they were very much a niche product (and notably given the name and design…probably pretty handy if you were into candybar tricks).

Next to come across my radar was the Knight Retro V-10 Bar.

Sporting old schooling but a very contemporary 10″ rise and 30″ width, these bars were lookers.

With a sweep of 11 degrees back and  1.5 degrees up, they could easily work on both old school and new school rides.

The third example is the DK Chamberlain bar.

The thinking behind this one seems similar to the Knight bar above, according to the DK site, we shouldn’t be swayed by the retro-inspired “V” crossbar, the DK Chamberlain bars are “modern-day marvels”.

Butted cro-mo construction, a modern 9.8″ rise and 29.5″ width are right where they should be for a modern day ride. 11 degrees back sweep  and 4 degrees upsweep are also current. The V bar is what gives them their swagger (and the copper colorway even more so!)

The V-bar on the Chamberlain bar is also functional.

According to DK, the V crossbar serves to help reduce the “box” size of the bar, giving you “more room to move” (vs. other boxier big bars).

Are these modern-day V-bars the thin edge of a V-shaped wedge poised to disrupt the world of traditional looking handlebars?

I don’t want to make any wild predictions….but I can’t be the only one noticing these new options and contemplating on what they would look like bolted to their ride.

WTP Audio gets souped up for 2020

The 22″ WTP Audio returns for 2020 in an eye-catching translucent blue package. This thing looks bad ass!

Which is not to say that the previous iterations looked bad…it’s just that this model takes thing to a whole other level (and I’m also a sucker for trans blue frames).

But the improvements on the 2020 Audio are more than just cosmetic. New additions for this model year are the Logic Stem and the Supply Chain.

More importantly the fork has been updated to be sturdier, with a “bombproof steer tube/crown area”…a welcome bit of news for 22” riders that sometimes cast a wary eye toward the forks that have come on some complete bikes (from a variety of companies) in the past.

Pair all that with their high end Logic wheels and grippy Overbite tires and you have one impressive 22″ machine.

 

 

PDC’s Smooth Operator

22″ stalwart, Matt Stahl, has partnered up with Pedal Driven Cycles (PDC) for something special.

The genesis of this collaboration was Matt’s feeling that while many 22″ frame offerings were good, they just didn’t offer exactly what he wanted/needed for his riding style.

So, he approached Big Dave at PDC about designing a park/street oriented 22″ frame…one with a steeper head angle and other geo changes that would be a bit more agile than the dirt-oriented 22s that currently dominate the 22″ market.

A prototype was designed and Stahl and Big Dave rounded up a test crew to test the new frame. That crew consisted of Mad Mike, Ureal Stalling, Tim Timpe, John Wold and Nathan Steere.

The PDC Operator was born.

Two versions were designed: one with a 21.75″ top tube and another, a 22.75″ top tube. (Nathan Steere opted for the shorter one I believe, Matt Stahl the larger option…the other test riders are unknown as of press time)

Two colorways are also available: Claret (burgundy) and a seafoam Green (my personal fav).

The Seaform Green is the “Mad Mike color” and with every purchase of a PDC Operator frame in that color you’ll also receive some custom Steev Inge-designed Mad Mike stickers…nice little incentive there! (Editors note: Satin Black is also an option.)

Testing seemed to go well evidenced by some of the clips coming from the crew:

 

 

If this frame piques your interest don’t sleep on it though….the pre-order period for the first batch (which has already been extended once) ends this Friday…hit up PDC now!

 

This is the new stuff

Oh man, it’s that time of year….

Bike companies are rolling out that new stuff. Shedding the skin* of the previous year’s lineup and getting hyped for the new model year.

Stolen’s updated their popular Spade complete with an appropriately trail-sy colorway.

Subrosa’s upsized their 22″ Malum complete bike from 21.5 top tube to one that is 22″. The raw with a hint of orange anno is super nice too.

 

DK’s back with the iconic 22″ General Lee in two colorways: the iconic orange Duke Boys orange and the Maximum Steel colorway,which sounds a bit like an 80s metal band, but is actually has nice blue/grey finish. The Maximum Steel is a limited run situation so don’t sleep on it if strikes your fancy.

 

Speaking of limited runs, FBM is also doing a run of their beauty 22″ Steadfast frames.…this time in two sizes: 22 3/4″ and 22″ top tube lengths. You can get these in one of three colorways: Sunburst, Tundra Green, Trans Brown.

 

Finally, Big Dave over at PDC collaborated with rider Matt Stahl to develop the 22″ Operator frame. Featuring a steeper head tube and more responsive geometry (than most trailsy 22″ frames). Matt, along with a bunch of other volunteer testers, are currently riding the prototypes and making final recommendations before it goes on the market. It looks real good though.

More on that in a followup post.

 

 

*I guess I got an a bit of a Peter Gabriel “Sledgehammer” kick there…