Endurance Bar Innovations
Australian rider Sam Welsford not only teased a new tattoo sleeve at the Oceania Track Championships this week but also some new and innovative endurance bars.
On my first impression, the bars seem pretty wild!
The bars have what I like to call a double drop. They drop down once to form a flat section before swooping around for a second time to form the classic bar drops. The hoods incorporate wee horns for extra grip when pursuiting in endurance events. Welsford is often seen draping his hands over the front of his bars during the longer rides, and so this option provides a safer and comfortable hand position. The first bar drop gets the wrists low and elbows bent to maintain an aerodynamic posture.
I estimate the total bar width to be around 400mm wide and around 340mm in the hoods. The bars create the best of both worlds. The wide(ish) drops make for stable control for when Welsford gets out of the saddle for a sprint, and the narrow hoods make for an aerodynamic pursuit styled position. The hoods make a narrow and low frontal area when leading out a bunch.
One interesting feature to note is what the bars are made from. I believed they were carbon fiber, but It has since been suggested that they are 3D printed titanium - made to suit Welsford. The centre of the bars and the integrated stem are painted black, but the drops are silver. Could these be a carbon / titanium construction or have some titanium parts been painted black in some places?
Upon seeing these wild bars, I decided to spend a few hours to whip up a couple of concepts similar. The goal of the process was to re-create them in 3D to get a better understanding of their geometry and function.
This version below has some wings added to the sides. What if they were helpful to rest your wrists when in the hoods. They may help drop your aero position down into a more efficient position. Possibly they would be a hindrance and get in the way, something to test I guess.
Next steps from here are to continue to refine the design - both geometry wise and aesthetics. They’re not the prettiest looking bars at this stage, but certainly different from what you usually see on the track. To aid in their development, making full-scale prototypes will be important. Bolt them onto a bike, test their function, evaluate the idea and redevelop the design. New concepts like these will usually need a few iterations to perfect the design.
Let us know your thoughts below!