Velo Orange Crazy Bars Review: Crazy is a Construct
The redesigned Velo Orange Crazy Bars have a wide, swept back stance and two bull horns for alternative hand positions. We’ve been testing them out over the last few months. Find photos and our review here…
Announced eight years ago, the Velo Orange Crazy Bars were an instant success among bikepackers and bike tourers. They had a three-piece design, generous sweep, and were different from anything else out there. They’ve had a few tweaks over the years, but the design has generally stayed consistent. After listening to suggestions from riders and testing a few prototypes, Velo Orange released details about the next generation of Crazy Bars earlier this year, which feature some interesting updates. The latest version is finally available, and I’ve been testing a pre-production model for the last few months. Read on to learn more.
So, what’s new? I’m happy to report that the latest Crazy Bar iteration is now a full 114mm wider than the previous version, bringing it to a reasonable 780mm wide from end to end. The sweep has also been reduced to a more conservative 36°. And they also introduced 40mm of rise to the bars. According to Velo Orange, “This combo creates the perfect balance of leverage for out of the saddle climbs and natural wrist positioning for regular riding.” Additionally, the grip area on the bars is longer, providing more room for brakes, shifters, dropper levers, bells, or even longer grips. Velo Orange states that the Crazy Bars are “intended for touring on paved and unpaved roads, single and double track, gravel and crushed limestone, and everything in between.” The idea is that the widest, swept-back portion of the bar provides a stable grip for rough descents, the junction between the horn and the grips mimics a neutral hood-like riding position found on drop bars, and the bull horns provide a slightly more tucked aero position.
Although they might look a little crazy at first glance, I really like what Velo Orange has done with these bars. They were the perfect substitute for the Jones-style bars on the Brodie Mega Tour I reviewed earlier this year, which felt too swept back and not high enough for my preferences. The Crazy Bars hit more than just one sweet spot for me. The 780mm width is excellent for a variety of riding types, allowing for great leverage and stability while riding singletrack or through rough terrain, and the 36° sweep isn’t quite as aggressive as the 45° found on some of the more extreme comfort-touring bars. This combination will likely feel closer to home for anyone who normally rides mountain bikes with long front ends and wide bars but who may benefit from a more touring-friendly position for multi-day rides.
Another big change was the addition of the 40mm rise, which also pairs well with any bike with a low front end or for those looking to raise things up to provide a more casual riding position. Until recently, I was hesitant to rely on riser bars to get the front end where I wanted it, but a little bit of height goes a long way when riding day after day. I also find some rise helps create more clearance between handlebar bags and the brake/shifter levers—an area that can quickly become congested with narrower, no-rise bars.
While I’m not a bull-horn super fan, I didn’t mind them. Even without being wrapped in bar tape, the slight curve felt natural under my hands, and since they are positioned wider than most alt-aero loops, they didn’t feel nearly as unstable. I wouldn’t say they provide anything close to an aero riding position, but they allow you to tuck your elbows in beside your body on smooth straight sections, which has to have some sort of aerodynamic advantage.
- Material: Heat Treated 6061 Aluminum
- Width: 780mm
- Sweep: 36°
- Rise: 40mm
- Horn Length: 110mm
- Horn Diameter: 23.8mm
- Stem Clamp: 31.8mm
- Weight: 532 grams
- Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
- Finish: Silver or Noir
- Price: $109 USD
- Manufacturer’s Details: Velo-Orange.com
There has been a lot of chatter regarding alternative aero hand positions on bars as of late, especially those without a proper forearm rest. While I understand that this new genre of bars won’t replace a proper aerobar setup, not everyone is looking for a fully aero position. Rather, if you’re like me, the extra hand position is the real selling point. The redesigned Velo Orange Crazy Bars are pretty wacky looking, but when broken down, actually make quite a lot of sense. The combination of rise, sweep, and width hits a sweet spot and could work for many styles of bikes and riding styles. It’s also great to see Velo Orange manufacturing them out of a lightweight 6061 Aluminum, because some steel bars seem excessively heavy by comparison. So, yeah, they’re crazy, but I actually think they have the potential to add another dimension of comfort to a wide variety of rigs.
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