Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lauterwasser Handlebars Launched


It is with great pleasure we are releasing an updated version of the racing bars that Olympic cyclist and cycling engineer Jack Lauterwasser hand-made in the 1930's. We received a few requests a couple of years ago to reproduce this bar design. We learned the originals were much sought after by collectors. With its unusual design, we knew right away if we wanted to do this right, we would need to find one of the original bars. So we plunked down a few hundred bucks to some stranger on the internet and soon it arrived(complete with an antique bike attached no less....seller would not sell the bar separately).

We tried to keep the design fairly close to the original with modern touches to make the bar more practical. Grip OD was changed to 22.2 to fit MTB grips and the drops were lengthened to accommadate levers. The stem clamp was widened to 25.4mm (Sorry 26.0mm fans - get a shim). There were suggestions to make it narrow like a modern drop bar, but that altered the look too much.

Width is 48cm (same as our sample). Drop is 90mm. This is the first bar we are producing in both aluminum and steel. Steel version will take bar end shifters and is a little stiffer of course.

How do they ride? Well this no upright townie bar. If you compare it to a Nitto Moustache bar, it has more drop, a more forward position, and narrower. It is very comfortable to get out of the seat and mash on the pedals with this bar. Definitely more comfortable than a full-on drop bar. You can also move your hands forward to get into a more aero position when desired. We recommend a short stem to preserve the original look, but do what you want. Handling is very stable on bikes with hybrid/CX geometry.


Threw these on a friend's commuter bike for kicks.



Above: Original versions of the Lauterwasser Below: Original bar on an old Raleigh. Most
old set-ups we've seen is with a tall quill stem with super short extension. This seems to
give the most clean look, but please don't just go by looks. Figure out what works best for
your riding and your bicycle's geometry. Most likely it doesn't quite match a 1930's race bike.
(Picture courtesy of Haight Ashbury)




Now how do you pronounce the name? You don't want show off this fine bar to your buddies and murder the name when you explain it. Lauterwasser is German, so you can pronounce it "lot-ta-vossa"; however Jack Lauterwasser was born in London, England and he pronounced his name like a Cockney would ("lorda-was-suh"). An apt American pronounciation could be "lot-ter-wasser", but the others are more fun to use.

In 1928 Jack won a silver medal in the 160km road race event at the Amsterdam Olympics. He rode to and from Amsterdam. In the same year he also broke the 50 and 100 mile RRA records.

Jack learned how to build wheels in his teens but in 1929, with Olympic and record-breaking success behind him, he set up his own cycle shop in Holloway Road, London, and marketed his own brand of bikes.

His "Lauterweight" brand specialized in racing machines, the lightest of which was 17.5 lbs.
More biographical info
on Mr. Lauterwasser here.

Currently available at our online shop and Rene Herse Cycles, but your LBS can get them too.
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