Monday, April 11, 2011

Origin 8 Gary II Bars: Update

As mentioned last week, I did finally get the Origin 8 Gary II Bar mounted up to the Salsa Cycles Fargo.

The previous bar on this bike was the On One Midge Bar, which is the bar that is closest in shape and flare to the Gary II Bar. The biggest changes from the Midge are the deeper drop, slightly longer reach, and longer extensions. I should also mention that now the Gary II is bar end compatible, where the older Gary Bar was not so. Installation was a breeze, but I did have to use a "pop can" shim to get the clamp tight enough on the Gary Bar II to keep it from spinning downward while riding.

Here are some pertinent features of the Gary II Bar from Origin 8's site:

* 6061-T6 tubular alloy construction
* Accepts bar-end shifters
* Reach: 135mm Drop: 80mm
* Bar flares out at grip area 15 degrees
* EN Mountain safety certified

 In terms of how the drops slope outwards, these are very similar to a Midge Bar, it's just that the drop is deeper. I found that the brake levers set up well, and only slightly canted outwards. With such a slight slope, the tops are a generous width for your seated climbs and cruising. (More on that in a minute.) This also allows for an array of accessories to be mounted, as you can see on my bar here. These bars also come in a silver finish, and you can also choose from a 31.8mm or 25.4mm, (shown), stem clamp diameter.

From the top, you can see more significant differences from a Midge Bar. The reach is longer, and the extensions are longer.

In terms of reach, I found that the Gary II was very much like a traditional road bar, like a Nitto for instance, and with those hoods "out there" you really can get stretched out over the bike. The extensions lend even more road bike bar sensations with the length and the minimal flare. Continuing on with the road theme, the tops blend into the drops in a very familiar way, which folks coming off road bikes should find quite familiar. The "ramps", (the part of the drop bar from the tops to where the brake levers mount), is much like a classic road bar, (read: "Pre-STI/Lance-lever" type bars), and will be familiar territory for those who remember shifting their skinny tired steeds from the down tube.

Here you can see better what I mean about the ramps and how deep the drop really is on the Gary II. Once again, I like longer extensions, but as you can see, one could easily dispense with some of that spare length, if so desired, by wielding a hack saw with care.

Note that like the Woodchipper, the tops/ramps are definitely not parallel with the extensions. Also like the Woodchipper, your extensions will point severely downward if you try to set your levers up with ramps more parallel to the ground. I do not prefer to ride on the ramps off road, so I base my set up off the extensions on all my off-road drop bar bikes.

The Ride: The way the Gary II is shaped and the way it sets up for off-road/gravel bikes greatly affects the way it feels. It is the most road-like of any off-road drop bar I have yet tried. I was reminded by someone of Salsa's Bell Lap Bar and in many ways, the Gary II feels like a Bell Lap Bar. (Thankfully, the Gary II doesn't have that anatomic bend in the extensions!) At any rate, the Gary II rides smoothly and comfortably, as long as you like less sweep and flare in your off-road drop bars.

The reach to the brake levers is excellent, and the longer extensions can be used as an alternative grip position, if you choose to keep the length. The drop is greater than any other off-road drop, save maybe the WTB Drop Bar, so be prepared for either a lower position, or to get a taller stem. I used the exact same stem and spacer set up as with the Midge and it resulted in about a 25mm drop in hand position from the previous set up. The reach is also greater, so using this as a bar to convert a mountain bike frame to drops may become problematic due to the reach figure the Gary II has.

Finally, I found that transitioning from the drops to the tops for climbs or cruising was not as nice as I would have wished for. The tops are so far from the drops that the dramatic position change may put you in a "sit-up-and-beg" position if you have set you drops as the primary grip position. If you use these as a bar where your primary position is the hoods, the drops may be too deep for you. This coupled with the longer reach may prove to be unsatisfactory for some mountain bike-centric drop bar set ups.

So far, I am okay with this bar. It is narrower than my 46cm Woodchippers and my Luxy Bar set ups, but for gravel grinding, this may be an advantage. I also could see cyclo-cross bikes with this bar, since it is "road-like with some tweaks".  I'll have more on this bar after some miles have been logged.

Bonus Post: Ibis Trial Comp:

Last week I also mentioned my Ibis Trials Comp and that I would  share some images. Well, here they are.

Again, this bike has a history around here and many older local mtb dudes might recall seeing this one being thrashed over pic-nic tables, rocks, and what not in the fall and winter.

This would have been an '88-'89 Japanese made Ibis frame and fork. Some Trials Comps had 24" front/ 20" rear wheels, but this one is a 20/20 model from the factory.

It is hard to say with any accuracy what is original equipment on this bike or not, but I believe the front brake and tires are about all that "doesn't belong" here.

The crank is a shaved Shimano one, the rear brake is a period correct XT U-II-Brake, and the bike sports the original magnesium skid plate.

This old girl has been beaten and battered, but is still in good working order. The tires are good, with the rear looking to be a brand new Pirelli M-14 trials tire. (The front matches, but shows some wear.)

If I can find a good home for this, I will be sending it on down the line. (I have two guys in mind for this). I just do not find myself being drawn to this bike, and it is too cool to be gathering dust in the Guitar Ted Laboratories.


Captain Bob said...

Are you still using those old 26.0mm stems?
The Ibis is quite a contrast to what we normally read about here. Good to see now and then. Thanks for posting about it.

Guitar Ted said...

@Rob: I take it you are referring to the Salsa CroMoto stem? Yeah, I still use them. 25.4mm clamp on those, by the way.

Doug G said...

I have a jones loop H-Bar on my Fargo. I like the functionality of it but I have found it hurts my wrists after a few hours. Not good for a touring bike. I am trying the luxey bars this week.

Travel Gravel said...

Dang! That has to be the Duck Billed Platypus of the bike world. I would have to be in a bad way to want to ride that baby. Woof!

Mark said...

Nice to see O-8 update the G Bar so it will take bar ends. Always wondered what bonehead came up with the idea not to make them that way.

Abaris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Guitar Ted, I am looking for advice. With your experience with off-road drop bars, have you had a chance to try the Alpkit Bomber ( Is it a copy of the Luxy? Trying to figure out which off-road bar to buy as a first try... ;-)


PS. Strat 73 bought in Paris in the house. Amazing neck.

Guitar Ted said...

@Francois USB: I have not tried that particular bar, but from all appearances, it is either a Soma June Bug or Midge copy. I'm betting it is a dead ringer for the June Bug myself.

It is DEFINITELY NOT a copy of the Luxy Bar, that is very apparent from the images. The Luxy had a straight 31.8mm section to the ramps, and as you can see, the alpkit bar does not have this feature.

'73 Strat? Nice! I'll have another guitar post coming up soon.