New Budnitz Bicycles Flatbar Test & Review

A few weeks back, John Young, Sales Manager for Budnitz Bicycles http://budnitzbicycles.com/ offered to have me test ride the new titanium Budnitz Flatbar http://shop.budnitzbicycles.com/products/titanium-straight-bars. Disarmed with a huge smile, I was powerless to refuse.

The Flatbar

 
Rise: 0mm
Sweep: 12º
Width: 630mm
Weight: 230 grams
Clamp Diameter: 31.8mm
The test bar has precise marks for length trimming. It also has a finely textured surface area for stem clamps. The bar weighed in at 260 grams on my digital scale. I later discovered fine finishing debris inside the bar’s ends after mounting. All was easily wiped and blown out, but I didn’t weigh the precious dust. As I said, this bar is new.

The Bike
Time came to choose a test mule. Hmm. I couldn’t bear to tear down my No. 1′s cockpit, it’s set so perfectly. For an alternate test mule, I did, however, have to amputate the No.1′s Budnitz stem, as it’s the one stem I have with a clamp 31.8mm in diameter. I gazed over the quill-less of my quiver, the bikes sans quill stems.
A '97 Moots YBB, made the year my bro Tony and I rode the Emerald Bay trails in Orange County with Sara Ballantine http://www.saraballantyne.net/about/index.htm atop her Moots sponsored YBB. We ran into an angry 6 foot long rattlesnake after introductions.

A ’97 Moots YBB, made the year my bro Tony and I rode the Emerald Bay trails in Orange County with Sara Ballantine http://www.saraballantyne.net/about/index.htm atop her Moots sponsored YBB. We ran into an angry 6 foot long rattlesnake after introductions.

A custom Moots Psychlo-X YBB with disc brakes and an original Jones H-Bar.

A custom Moots Psychlo-X YBB with an original Jones H-Bar.

My 1st titanium frame, a '95 Bontrager Ti Lite with Sweet Wings cranks, a Modzilla converted Rock Shoks Judy disc fork, and a 28 spoke radially laced rear wheel I built with a Bontrager asymmetric ceramic rim and a Chris King rear hub designed by Keith Bontrager to be the 1st King hub approved strong enough for radial lacing. I've ridden thousands of interstate trail miles on this frame, a gift Danusia gave me in 1995 after my '92 Gary Fisher Procaliber with a Rock Shox 1 (with pink stickers!) was expertly stolen from our garage.

My 1st titanium frame, a ’95 Bontrager Ti Lite with Sweet Wings cranks, a Modzilla converted Rock Shoks Judy disc fork, and a 28 spoke radially laced rear wheel I built with a Bontrager asymmetric ceramic rim and a Chris King rear hub designed by Keith Bontrager to be the 1st King hub approved strong enough for radial lacing. I’ve ridden thousands of interstate trail miles on this frame, a gift Danusia gave me in 1995 after my ’92 Gary Fisher Procaliber with a Rock Shox 1 (pink stickers!) was expertly stolen from our garage.

A '96 Bontrager Road Lite single gear with a White Industries ENO eccentric hub.

A ’96 Bontrager Road Lite single gear with a White Industries ENO eccentric rear hub.

A 2004 custom Sycip Crossdresser, the 2nd Crossdresser made, except with different paint and chainstays. The bike is made of stainless steel, tubes mated by Richard Sachs lugs. Because of a shortage of stainless road chainstays, My Crossdresser was made with stainless mountain bike chainstays, which are too great in diameter to fit the Sachs bottom bracket lug, so my bottom bracket is welded, yet sports a painted lug to match the real ones.

A 2004 custom Sycip Crossdresser, the 2nd Crossdresser made, except with different paint, BB, and chainstays. The bike is made of stainless steel tubes mated with Richard Sachs lugs. Because of a shortage of stainless road chainstays, my Crossdresser was made with stainless mountain bike chainstays, which are too great in diameter to fit the Sachs bottom bracket lug, so my  bottom bracket is welded, yet sports a painted lug to match a real one. The Sycip brothers have a good sense of humor.

My delayed, but essential point is that the Budnitz Bicycles Flatbar will do justice on everyone of these unique steeds. Yes, I called them mules, but that was legerdemain. And this gorgeous bar will turn any mule, … well, most, into a stallion.
Right. So. Which steed got its horns … rather, which bird got its wings?
A 1995 WTB Phoenix, a frame handbuilt and signed by Steve Potts, which I built up as a ’69′er after I bought it in 2005. It has a Salsa unicrown steel fork, which attaches an Avid disc brake and places me deep in the bike’s sweetspot. The inertia and angle of approach of the 9′er wheel guides me balanced in all terrain conditions. It’s a bike that ‘disappears’ under its rider, perfect for focusing on the Flatbar.

The Test
 
Del Monte Forest Trails: Poppy, Spider, 666, Ti, and Congress.
07:30 53* foggy and misting.
26 psi front, 30 psi rear.
Wet spider webs awaiting.
Heading out, I noticed my torso position to be a touch flatter and forward, perfect for speed, climbing, and blitzing down. With the Flatbar, the Phoenix cockpit felt very solid, balanced, and precise. That established, my intention on the trail was to discover how much the Flatbar would flex. With a rigid fork on a trail of drops, I quickly observed less flex in the Budnitz bar than in the aluminum Mary bar that otherwise guides the Phoenix. The Budnitz titanium stem was instrumental in the WTB’s solidity in the narrows and, naturally, in its aesthetics.

The mountain biking and trail riding applications of this titanium flat bar are wide reaching. Its dimensions are spot on and it will last a lifetime … beyond that, actually. I project that its urban application reaches even farther. The Budnitz Flatbar is suited to any bike one would choose to negotiate the impermanent moving portals among people, their automobiles, and the narrows.
Buddhaspeed,
Cary
PS John mentioned that another newly designed Budnitz Bicycles product might find me for review in September. Disarmed again with a huge smile, I am again  powerless to refuse.
Flatbar on Budnitz No. 1

Flatbar on my Budnitz No. 1

© Cary Gossett and Rollin With Outta Colon, 2012. All Rights Reserved.
Oh, sorry about the paragraph spacing. Looks perfect before posting. WordPress spaces posts however it likes, regardless what I do. WordPress? You there?

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