|New graphics on the Cowbell II are tastefully subtle
Why the Bell lap? Because the Cowbell is so much like the Bell Lap, and it is purposed for similar usage. That seems to be mainly cyclo-cross, but I also see this bar as being a gravel grinder's friend, and for folks wanting a more comfortable road bar they can actually use the drops with and not be uncomfortable.
Let's take a closer look...
|Cowbell II (Bottom), and Bell Lap (Top)
|Cowbell II (Bottom) and Bell Lap (Top)
|Cowbell II (L) Bell Lap (R)
|The Cowbell's flare and graduated brake mount guides
There is your brief tour and comparison with the Bell Lap bars of the Cowbell II. I think it will find a home with cyclo-crossers, long haul cyclists, gravel aficionados, and folks wanting comfy road bike bars. The Cowbell should set up well for tourists and racers alike.
Comments: The Cowbell Bar is really close to what I would have done with an off road "dirt drop". (I know- I said it was what I would have done, but it isn't quite on the mark, now that I have seen it.) That said, it isn't really a bar suited for rigorous off roading/mountain biking due to the minimalistic sweep in the drops. Could you mountain bike with a Cowbell II? Well, of course, you could. But there are better drop bar choices for that out there with better sweep to the extensions which would give you better control in the rough stuff.
I see this bar as a great alternative to road drop bars for gravel riding. It will have just enough flare and sweep to offer good control over the bike in loose, chunky stuff, and the shallow drop dimension will make being in the drops for miles of head winds more bearable. The minimal reach will help also with climbing from the drops. All of this translates over beautifully to cross racing, of course, and that is where this bar will become very popular. That said, a lot of recreational road riders should take a long, hard look at this bar. It will make the drops far more useable, and the short reach will make braking far easier for folks with smaller hands. The slight flare and sweep will surprise many road riders with a increased feeling of stability and comfort too.
I'll be mounting these to a bicycle soon and getting some ride impressions up shortly.
UPDATE: Salsa Cycles site has been updated with info on the Cowbell bars and more. Check it out!