Velo Orange, LLC
8 out of 10
Loyal readers (Hi, Mark!) may recall when I posted a "meh" review of the Brooks Leather Ring Handlebar Grips last year, giving them a less than stellar review. I believe I called these grips "underwhelming," noting that the one major gripe I had with them was that these grips barely fit onto the Wald handlebars I was using on my bicycle at the time. Well, it looks like I owe Brooks of England a huge apology not only for that review, but for affixing their product to anything associated with products as dreary and dysfunctional as the once-great Wald (really, I should have scathingly reviewed those funky handlebars instead. My sincerest apology, Brooks.)
Turns out these Brooks Leather Handlebar Grips are perfect in every way (design, comfort, style, etc.) when attached to a complimentary handlebars: it appears that I simply had them mounted to the wrong handlebars. When mounted on to the stylish Velo Orange Montmarte promenade-style handlebars, these Brooks grips not only function properly, but they actually fit a promised 12cm grip area (Imagine that!), and they look pretty damned nice together, to boot.
Velo Orange is a wholesale cycling company known for their affordable, high quality bicycle parts, which are imported from Japan and Taiwan. The Montmartre handlebars, produced by Nitto exclusively for Velo Orange, harken back to those traditional bicycle handlebars designed to navigate the narrow city streets of the artist and cafe district known as Montmarte, in Paris, France. These handlebars feature a rise of 6cm, with a reach of 16cm and a bulged and sleeved clamp diameter of 25.4cm.
For a geometry that is both tight and nimble, these Montmartre handle bars are surprisingly comfortable. The swept-back grip area allows for a relaxed, yet vertical riding position, especially when paired with a proper saddle (like say, a Brooks B-67, for instance). The hand position of the Montmartre - which takes a ride or two to initially get used to - is akin to cycling with "bum bars" (drop bars turned "up" - most popular in the skid row area of your town), albeit in a much more dignified fashion.
I purchased the Montmartre handlebars for my Tweed Ride rig, and I must say, they improved my ride comfort considerably. The cockpit of my steed feels more confined with these handlebars, but in a much more pleasant and precision-exact capacity. Steering is easier and I feel mush more in-tune with my bike ("Ommm... !") Augmented with the now properly fitted Brooks Leather Ring Handlebar Grips, a Velo Orange City brake lever and a copper Crane bell, my tweed stead is as impressive to look at as it is fun to ride.
As for the drawbacks of these Velo Orange Montmartre handlebars, I could find none to speak of ...whatsoever; they are simply perfect. For leisurely touring, with the occasional chance of a spirited and jaunty race here and there, these handsome chrome handlebars simply can't be beat. These are touring bars of the highest order, which are not only aesthetically pleasing, but brilliantly functional as well.
Bon, pip, pip!