Thursday, November 05, 2020

Update On The Whisky Parts Co. Winston Bar

The Whisky Parts Co. Winston Bar as seen on my T-6 Standard Rando v2
Last week I wrote an update on the Whisky Parts Co. Milhouse Bar, (which you can read here). This post will be an update on the companion bar released at the same time as the Milhouse Bar by Whisky Parts Co., which is called the Winston Bar. 

This carbon fiber bar is a 'mustache bar' and will accept MTB or road controls. I decided to mount it up on my single speed Twin Six Standard Rando v2. So, I used road 'long pull' style levers only, since I have no shifty-bits on this rig. 

Now I need to make something perfectly clear- I love the idea of a mustache bar and so I think the Winston Bar is rad. You may think the mustache bar is silly because it has very little drop to it so why bother? However; if you almost exclusively ride 'on the hoods' and wished that you had more hand positions, (I know, but I see this a LOT), then you would love a mustache bar. TONS of hand positions that alter your back posture and arm positions. You can definitely get a great position for climbing, cruising, getting aggressive, or you can even 'get aero' if you are so inclined. 

I'll be honest, many recreational drop bar riders really should be on mustache bars. I can also tell you why they are not on mustache bars- Because all the cycling marketing you see shows racy drop bar set ups and this is what 'they' tell you is 'cool'. Mustache bars are seen then as weirdo bars for urban freaks that love oddball bikes. That's really a shame. If you've never tried mustache bars, and don't give a rip what people think about you if you were to show up on a group ride with mustache bars, well then.....step this way! 

A look from up top.

 The Winston Bar differs from the traditional mustache bars offered now in some pretty significant ways, which in my opinion, improves upon the classic shape and has better 'modern' adaptability. For starters, you can see from the image above here that the Winston Bar has extensions that sweep outward instead of pointing straight backward, as standard mustache bars do. This aligns better with how your hands and forearms align when relaxed. The other important details are harder to see, but make this a more versatile bar for modern bikes, mountain or road, or gravel. The bar clamp diameter here is 31.8mm, which covers a large swath of bicycles out there. Traditional mustache bars tend to be 26.0mm clamp diameter, (Old road standard), or 25.4mm (Old MTB standard). The bars diameter changes from the extensions where MTB controls would fit to road diameter standard where my levers are here. So, instead of buying one bar for MTB and another for road, you just get this bar for both. That means swapping the Winston around to different rides is a distinct option, and makes spending the money it takes to get one a bit less painful. Because, let's face it, these are expensive bars. 

A look from the front.

The Winston bar, being carbon and having the length it does in the extensions has a definite comfort factor. You can feel it giving under your hands as you hit bigger bumps and it absorbs vibrations a bit as well. The fact that you have all those variances in hand positions makes the Winston even more comfortable. I chose to mount road levers and used a traditional mounting position. The laid-over hoods also provide a platform to rest your hands while cruising. The hoods protrusions add a nice grip for seated climbing. Getting to the lever tips to brake while your hands are back in the extensions is super easy. 

Not everything is hunky-dory with the Winston Bar though. I found that my Tektro levers, which want to have the brake line exit kind of off to one side, makes for a difficult routing across either the top side of the bar or underneath, and neither is clean and smooth looking. It may have been nice for the bar to have had a molded channel for the brake and/or shift housings. I experimented with two different routes for my housings and neither was particularly satisfying to me. 

The other bit that may or may not bother you is that the ends of the bar are supposedly capable of having bar end shifters inserted into them. Ah.......I'd not advise that. My bar end shifters end diameter is slightly over 19mm, (SunTour or Shimano, didn't matter), and the actual measured inside diameter of the bar measured slightly less than 19mm, meaning that my bar end shifters were too large to insert into the Winston Bar. Not that I want to run those, I never would, but the claim is there from Whisky Parts Co. and I am not seeing that as a possibility with the ones they sent me. I may have an odd set? I do not know. I have communicated this to Whisky Parts Co, but I have not had any feedback since then. 

So, other than those few odd-ball nit-picks, I am completely enamored of the Winston Bar. I'm very glad that something like this is available. Perhaps a less expensive alloy version could be offered, and if that happens, perhaps a few different widths would be good to see offered as well. I feel these would make really awesome bars for many bikes. Bike packing, fat bikes, gravel rigs, or even road bikes. Mountain biking? Sure! They definitely are great for a single speed, I know that much. 

So, there ya go. My take on the Winston Bar.

Note: Whisky Parts Co. sent over the Winston Bar for test and review at no charge. I was not paid nor was I bribed for this review and I always strive to give my honest thoughts and views throughout.



Phillip Cowan said...

I'm a fan of the mustache bar. My first set felt really weird at first but that was because I had spent a lifetime on drops. After a week or so it was like an old friend and I really began like it a lot. When I set them up I usually go with a higher shorter stem. Just curious, did you change your stem length for these? I wonder how these compare to Nitto's Albastache bars? I think an alloy version would be the bee's knees because I'm not really a fan of carbon. Also the dual diameters is a smart idea.

Guitar Ted said...

@Phillip Cowan - Thank you for the comments. No- I did not change my stem at all because my reach was still going to be similar with the Winston Bar. I find that when I grasp the extensions about 3/4's of the way back it looks from the saddle as it does with the drops, only I am likely not as 'low' as I would have been with the Cowchippers. Also, I am used to being in the drops for extended periods of time so by not adjusting that with stem rise I don't lose all of that position either.

But this is just my personal preferences. What you did is perfect for you, and another way a mustache bar can be set up. You also have the 'tilt' of the extensions that you can adjust. I like mine pointed slightly downward toward the rear axle, but others like their extensions level. That's another nice feature of a mustache bar which you can use to make them work for your needs.

DougM said...

Agree with you on all of it. I picked up a set also to put on my Redline Monocog Flight 29er turned in to gravel road duty. Had a set of Gary Bars that always felt like too much reach and drop for that low head tube. These put the hands in the right place.

I and using some Tektro levers with BB7 MTB brakes now. I asked TRP about the Hylex brakes for this setup and was told it should work but it is not ideal to have the master cylinders mounted horizontal. I have not had a chance to try any MTB controls on it, but I don't currently have a bike to do that with either.

Doug M. said...

Very cool! Looks great on the School Bus bike.

TheLazyReconnoiter said...

I might give those Winston bars a go on my Bridge Club, it would be nice to be able to tuck more when dealing with headwinds.

Tom said...

I completely agree with your comments regarding this bar vs drops/average riders/marketing. My question: I use Rival 1 so how do you think that right side brifter would work out on this bar? Also, if it could work, what about the idea of angling the levers downward just slightly to help with the odd shifting position?

Guitar Ted said...

@Tom - My 'money no object' solution? Get two dummy levers and use a flat bar shifter or a TT SRAM shifter on a Paul Components shifter pod, OR go with flat bar controls, OR go electronic, (SRAM or Archer Components D1x)

I would be leery of using a SRAM hydraulic lever on its side all the time as they weren't designed to be that way in regard to seals and whatnot. But.....that said, it *might* work.

Tom said...

Hey, thanks for the quick reply. My levers are not hydro though, my question concerns the clearance for the lever with the shift paddle on that bar. Is it about the same as an ordinary drop bar has? I'm asking because I don't recall ever seeing brifters used with a bar like this.
Thanks again! Tom