Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bike Industry: Fix This, Please

There are two clamp diameter standards for brake levers and shifters: 23.8mm for "road" (i.e. drop, but also bullhorn) handlebars and 22.2mm for "mountain" (i.e. flat or riser) handlebars.

Why? Couldn't we just pick one? 

Or at least make all brake levers/shifters in the larger size and provide a (cheap and easy) shim to adapt to the smaller size. Oh, and the expander plugs for bar-end brake levers and shifters should be the smallest size possible with shims to fatten them out to larger bars.

Here's why: How frickin' cool would it be to be able to swap bars and brakes and shifters around willy-nilly, building your own bizarro Frankenstein's monster, then rebuilding it into something else? Flat bars with bar-end shifters sticking out the ends? Why not? Drop bars with hydraulic MTB levers up on the flats and GripShift down on the ends? Sure! The whole world of bike cockpits would become a giant box of Legos to be torn down and stuck back together however you want. I'd be SO into that.

I imagine that the "tuner" market isn't big enough to justify the chaos of switching to one standard. After all, how many cyclists know a 22.2mm clamp from a 23.8mm? Or even know that two different sizes exist? But still, a fella's gotta dream.

(Don't get me started on 25.4mm vs. 26.0mm vs. 26.4mm vs. 31.8mm stem clamp diameters, either...)


Scott Loveless said...

Oh! I agree, like, one million percent. Also, if there's a reason for anything other than 25.4 bar clamps, I have no idea what it might possibly be.

Anonymous said...

tilting at windmills again??

A little more standardization would be nice, or at least the mfgr's could stop inventing *new* standards! On the plus side, at least you don't have to wonder if the threads on your bike are Swiss, French, Italian, etc. There used to be such a thing as tires that only fit Schwinns, Raleighs, etc., too. Crazy stuff!

Steve in Peoria,
where one 'bent has 559mm wheels and the other has 571mm.

Steve Fuller said...

Let me guess. You tried putting bar ends in a set of Gary Bars you bought from an LBS? I have a spare set of Midge bars here I'd let go (to you) for cheap. They fit bar ends quite well. :)

Jason T. Nunemaker said...

Steve F -- nope, it's always the external diameter that gets me. I have these gorgeous bullhorn bars that would be awesome on my folder, but it runs Vs (and cantis on a folder would be a pain). Sure would be nice to just pop some mountain levers on those things, but no dice without serious (and possibly dangerous) Dremel-age.

You sure bar-ends don't work in Garys, though? Regular reader Scott put that combo on his old Bridgestone. Maybe old Suntour barcons are skinnier than modern Shimanos?

Scott Loveless said...

For the record, I have the latest Gary bars, which are slightly different than the earlier bars. Mine seem to have a bit more drop, which I don't like, but they'll take bar end shifters, which I do like. The earlier bars won't take bar ends.