Introducing Doom Bars and the Lucky Riser
Doom Bars fabricates high-quality custom steel handlebars in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They just launched a new website and several standard handlebar models, including the Lucky Riser we’ve been testing for the past few months. Find a Q&A with the owner, Keaton Haire, and Miles’ thoughts on the Lucky Riser bar as a do-everything handlebar for bikepacking here…
I first stumbled upon Doom Bars and started exchanging messages with owner Keaton Haire last fall. At the time, they were focusing exclusively on custom handlebars, didn’t have a website, and were only just starting to develop a business model. Although the business was in its infancy, Doom quickly developed quite the following in the mountain bike and bikepacking scenes. As it turns out, chromoly steel handlebars with comfortable angles make sense for all types of riding, so I thought it would be cool to get a closer look at one of their bars and to learn more about the company. Find a Q&A with Keaton at Doom Bars below, followed by my thoughts on the Lucky Riser bar I’ve been trying out for the last few months.
Tell us a little about yourself and the role bikes play in your life.
I’ve been riding bikes pretty much my whole life, and they’ve been my primary mode of transportation ever since I was a kid. I grew up riding BMX bikes and started to get into mountain biking and distance riding when I was in college. I also started working as a mechanic during my college years and spent a good chunk of my adult life bouncing around and wrenching on bikes.
When did you start making bars?
I’ve been an amateur frame builder since 2012, but I’ve never had much of a legit framebuilding setup and only make a frame every year or two. The first bars I bent were for a gravel bike that I made for myself in Portland. Pat Franz, the owner of Terracycle, was kind enough to let me use their tube bender, and I ended up bending 40 or 50 bars over the course of a few months. Since moving to Albuquerque, I’ve had my eye out for a tube bender that could bend handlebars, and I happened to find one at a local used tool shop the day after my work closed due to COVID-19. I had all the time in the world, and no income, so DOOM BARS was born.
What’s the story behind the Doom Bars name?
The DOOM BARS name is a spinoff of our mountain biking crew, 420 Doom Bikes. It seemed a little more professional to drop the 420, but there was plenty of doom around in 2020, so DOOM BARS seemed like a fitting name. I got the crew’s blessing and started bending DOOM BARS.
You offer custom and standard options, right? Can we get a breakdown of your current offerings?
Currently, most DOOM BARS are custom and made to order. We operate on about a month turnaround and will do everything we can to make your handlebar dreams come true. We make a broad range of mustache, cruiser, riser, and BMX bars. Raw steel, clear coat, powder coat, Cerakote, and nickel plating are our finish options. A lot of the time, customers have specific dimensions in mind and it’s just a matter of calculating how to bend their bar. But we are also happy to make recommendations and take the time to help design a bar for a customer and their bike/type of riding. We have developed a few models and started doing some small production runs. When available, the Legal Drinker, Bikepacker’s Delight, and Lucky Riser can all be found on our website.
Talk a bit about the bar you made for me. Why does it make sense from a bikepacking and trail riding perspective?
The Lucky Riser is the bar you’re reviewing. It has 2 inches of rise, 14 degrees backsweep, and 5 degrees upsweep. Lucky Risers start out 880mm wide and can be cut down to 745mm with a 185mm grip area. They are available with or without a BMX crossbar, but we’re currently only offering BMX bars as custom orders. The Lucky Riser is a good all-arounder. It’s got enough backsweep to put your wrists in a comfy position for long days in the saddle, but the sweep is subtle enough to maintain reach and stay shredable. They’ve got plenty of width to give you some leverage on climbs and descents. Two inches of rise is moderate enough to run with a suspension fork, but can still sit you up a bit if you want a comfier riding position. We like to think of it as an aggressive comfort shredder.
Any new products or developments in the works for 2021?
We’re constantly experimenting and trying to expand our offerings. There will definitely be some new things in the coming year, but we’re not ready to make any grand announcements just yet.
What’s your favourite local trail and trailside snack?
We’ve got a ton of great trails in Albuquerque, so it’s hard to choose a favorite, but the Bobsled trail in Placitas is definitely near the top of my list. It lives up to its name and is a fast, flowy descent. It’s got that perfect slope where you hardly have to pedal and you rarely need to hit the brakes. I’ll eat just about anything out on the trail, but it’s hard to beat a good apple.
Doom Lucky Riser Bars
I think Keaton described the Lucky Riser bar perfectly in the interview above. Handlebars with a major sweep and rise are very comfortable but aren’t for me most of the time. I tried some Jones H-Bars a few years back, and while the huge 45° sweep was comfortable, I found them to be very limiting on technical terrain and singletrack. Bars with that much sweep simply won’t work well on all bikes, since they can have so much effect on the bike’s reach.
The Doom Lucky Riser bar hits a sweet spot for me. As someone who likes to always have the option to hop into some singletrack or jump off a natural berm, the Lucky Riser offers enough comfort-focused angles without sacrificing good times. Although they aren’t identical, the Surly Sunrise Bar is a close comparison, which Surly describes as “a trail bar and a riser-bar all rolled into one.” Of course, buying a bar from Doom Bars supports a small one-person operation, allows for a completely customizable design, and you can show off those beautiful welds (if you decide on a clear coat).
At an obnoxious 880mm wide, I was quick to trim the Lucky Riser bar down to a more manageable width. I’ve been running them on the Hudski Doggler, which I ended up purchasing after my review, and although they aren’t that far off from the stock riser bar (16° sweep and 70mm rise), they’ve pulled me out of such an upright, casual position and have made the Hudski a little more trail-ready in some ways, without completely eliminating the cruisy aspects that make it fun to ride.
The overall quality of craftsmanship is top-notch. The included shims fit tight and have stayed in place, and the clear Cerakote finish I opted for seems to be quite durable and shows off the artistic side of the bar. Doom also includes two tiny dimples on the backside of the clamping area to help you line everything up.
As for pricing, the Lucky Riser bar with a matte Cerakote over a media blasted finish will set you back about $240 USD. Doom’s 4-Bend moustache, cruiser, and riser bars cost $125 raw or rattle can clear coat, $165 with powder coat or Cerakote, and $175 for nickel-plated. BMX bars with a fillet brazed crossbar cost $200 raw or clear coat, $240 powder coat or Cerakote, and $250 nickel-plated. All bars come with shims for a 31.8mm or 25.4mm stem if needed.
- High-quality craftsmanship from a one-person operation
- Made in USA
- Lucky Riser bar hits a sweet spot for bikepacking and trail riding
- Custom and made to order
- Steel is heavy
- Requires shims for 31.8mm stems
- Model Tested: Lucky Riser
- Rise / Sweep: 2″ / 14°
- Material: 4130 Chromoly Steel
- Weight: 662 grams (uncut, no shims)
- Place of Manufacture: New Mexico, USA
- Price as tested: $240 USD (matte Cerakote over a media blasted finish)
- Manufacturer’s Details: DoomBars.com
The Lucky Riser bars are as much a piece of art as they are a noticeable upgrade to my handlebar game. The fact that Keaton is bending and welding these bars by hand in New Mexico is the cherry on top. It’s been fun following Doom Bars’ progress over the last few months, especially during a year where supporting your local maker is more important than ever. For more, go check out Doom Bars’ latest creations on Instagram (@Doom.Bars) and online at DoomBars.com.
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