Curves to Lay Your Hands On: Nitto

by Chikashi

Being a Retro Grouch, I prefer bikes that are built using or look consistent with classic methods, materials or forms.  For example, in terms of bicycle frames, that means lugged steel with a horizontal top tube.  On one hand I have a strong preference for classic builds, but on the other hand, there are many elements of contemporary bike design that I actually dislike.  One contemporary element that I find visually unpalatable is the so-called ‘aero’ handlebars with their angular form.  I think they are utterly ugly.  I appreciate that there may be certain ergonomic advantages to the aero bars albeit I think most of the claims are nothing more than marketing bollocks.  However, I am not convinced that such advantages outweigh the catastrophic visual handicap.

That said, even handlebars designed in the classic spirit take various forms  depending on the intended use, which is perfectly reasonable.  Form follows function, but it should do so without offending one’s senses.

Drop handlebars designed for track racing probably have the most beautiful form.  I would hesitate using one for transcontinental touring, but I find it very difficult not to be seduced by the curves of a track handlebar.  They demand to be admired and touched.  A bit like the curvature of a woman’s back.  Or is that Poliwhirl’s gut?

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