Thursday, February 03, 2011

Luxy Bar, Bike Update, And More

Another Day, Another Drop Bar! The Ragley Bikes "Luxy Bar", which started out almost a couple years ago now with some inspiration provided by me, (Really!...and others as well), is now here in my hot little hands.

The Luxy Bar is the creation of Brant Richards, who once wrought component mayhem over at On One. Yes, the very same fellow who penned the designs for the Mary, Midge, and the oft forgotten Mungo Bars. Now he's doing his own thing called Shed Fire Designs and by using his brand, Ragley Bikes, he is marketing this off road drop bar. So, what do we have here?

Well, imagine the love child of a Woodchipper and a Midge Bar, and you would have what this Luxy Bar is. Like the Midge, the Luxy has a shallow drop, and a middle of the road slope, or flare to the drops as seen from head on. Like the Woodchipper, the drop extensions have a fair amount of sweep, and are quite long. One more thing: like the Woodchipper, this bar is wide!!

If the length of the extensions turns you off, might I introduce you to a hacksaw? Easy-peasey. Shorter extensions await you if you desire. One other oddity here that bears mentioning is that the Luxy Bar is 31.8mm from where the stem clamps on all the way across to each drop, where it then tapers down to accept the brake/shift levers. Oh end compatible as well. Check!

I'll be seeking out one more off road drop, but in the mean time, I will start measuring and comparing for a new series of posts which will likely be over on The Look for the Luxy Bar, Origin 8 Gary Bar II, the original Midge Bar, the Woodchipper, and the aforementioned, as yet to be named bar, (if I can get it), to be included in this comparo.

Update On The Black Mountain Cycles Cross Rig: I received word that the frame and fork I have coming from Black Mountain Cycles is possibly going to ship sometime next week. Seems that customs thought it necessary to "inspect the shipment more closely", so I will have to wait for a bit to receive it here.

No worries though, as I will have to get a few odds and ends scraped together before I can properly build the rig.

Since I first posted about the Black Mountain Cycles frames, (go here to see the road and cross frames), I've heard from several of you that also were considering one of these steel beauties. Actually, I hear a couple of you also have a frame and fork coming as well. That's pretty cool. I can't wait to see how those get built up, and maybe someday we can all get together for a Black Mountain Cycles only ride. That'd be fun.

By the way, is it just me, or are orange bikes really popular?

So that 26"er vs 29"er shootout, that'll never get done now, eh? A long time ago, James Huang was undertaking a 26"er vs 29"er comparative test and boy howdy! Did the readers ever go nuts on that one. Such that Mr. Huang actually modified the test to better compare and contrast the bikes. However; it never was finished, and the findings were never published, to my knowledge. (If I am wrong, perhaps someone can put up a link in the comments). Well, anyway, Mr. Huang has now published a piece on tires, which I happen to agree with, and some of what is written has something to do with 29"ers. There are a few finer details, however, that are not quite right, or are misleading, that I want to point out here.

First off, Mr. Huang is writing about an independent lab that has all sorts of whiz-bang instruments that are run by some "smart folks". This is impressive, and no doubt, convincing for many readers. However; these folks are not the first to do studies in a scientific manner on these things, so a lot of what is given as "new" here is really "old", if you care to dig into it. But that's beside the point....

I want to talk about the 29"er stuff here. First off, the lab finds that 29"er tires/wheels are "faster". Hmm.....okay, that's a touchy one, but along with this, it is stated that "29" tyres don't have a bigger footprint than otherwise identical 26" ones. While the total area is the same, the shape of the patch is longer and narrower on 29ers, though."  Well, that has been something that, if you had been paying attention in about 2003-2004 on, was proven by several "independent riders" that conducted their own tire contact patch studies. It was concluded way back then that tire contact patch shape was the defining factor in 29"er tire performance, not the size, which was agreed upon then as being the same as 26"ers. I have written several times since then on that subject based upon those, admittedly low-brow, not-done-in-a-lab findings.

Secondly, it is touted in the piece that Mr. Huang wrote that 29"er wheels have a"lower angle of attack", something the Gary Fisher Bike company has touted for years based upon a scientific paper written at a university. Which, again, isn't an independent lab, but, ya know........

Finally, the "wider tires roll better than skinny" idea, which leads off the piece has been validated by at least two tire companies and one periodical long before this. But again.......not an independent laboratory, so....

I guess it's all in who you want to believe in. Ya know, independent labs, or not. Just like doping controls. Those "independent labs" always get things right......... right?



Unknown said...


are the bars available yet?

Have a great day sir!


Guitar Ted said...

@Bill G: Yes, through Chainreaction U.K. online shop.

rigtenzin said...

I don't see where any of the test findings are presented as new findings.

Unknown said...

Thanks Mark - Just ordered them and those will be on the Monster Cross next weekend hopefully!

MG said...

That looks like a nice bar. Will be interested to see how it stacks up against a Woodchipper. That's hands-down my favorite off-road drop bar at present.

Ari said...

On the new drop bars: It is great that the 31.8 section goes all across. The bars with short 31.8 sections are troublesome since computers and lights don't stay put.

Guitar Ted said...

@rigtenzin: Here's the pertinent statement from Mr. Huang's article...

"...and they're coming up with some interesting answers that no longer have to rely on word of mouth, tradition, or intuition for their veracity."

So by inference, he is saying these findings are new, because they were verified in a lab. Not "hearsay", or popular wisdom.

Make sense?

Donnie said...

Re: the bars - anyone have any experience trying to use a Revelate handlebar harness with them? I'm trying to find a compromise between flat mtb bars and drops that will accommodate a handsomely loaded HH.



shiggy said...

Tests from a manufacture's lab have always been suspect as biased. Does not mean they are but the independent labs at least (should) be using the same methods for every tire for best comparisons and no "adjustments" to the data. Sounds like Wheel Energy has been around for a while. I wonder if they are the ones doing the tests for the German BIKE magazine.

Still does not mean the test procedures are valid for, or consistent with, real-world use. (I cringe at some of the Consumer Reports test procedures)

I have big issues with doing rolling resistance tests on a steel drum. That "large diameter drum" can not be more than ~4 feet. I would like to see it be more like 30 feet.

Never done much riding on steel, diamond plate, or chunks of rebar, either. I understand to need for a durable and consistent surface, but there has to be a better way than this.

scs said...

hi,iam on a mach429,frame is 7.5lbs. love the bike but the weight is not good for race,is the tallboy similar as for the suspenson,i can race the tallboy and be better in the end, frame is 2lbs lighter.

Guitar Ted said...

@scott: I would look at something else if the Mach429 pedaling feel is what you crave. I would think Epic Carbon 29 from Specialized, or a Superfly 100 from Trek.

The Tall Boy will not feel as "snappy", or in other words, it won't feel as though you are accelerating as well, as these other race oriented FS 29"ers will feel.

PAS said...

Is it correct the Luxy bar only comes in a 42cm. Wondering if that might be too narrow for a taller guy. In every other regard, they look perfect.