44 Marauder with Ritchey Comp Kyote bar.
44 Marauder with Ritchey Comp Kyote bar.

Another Cockpit Change

When you're the mean bastard who tortures his wrists on top of mountain bikes without suspension like I do, the least you can do is let your wrists hold onto the bars in the most natural way possible, so that they're not angled or twisted in any way. Alt bars with tons of sweep are the solution. I went from Answer bars with a 20° sweep to Jones with a 45° back sweep and my wrists have been happy ever since. Ritchey now has an alternative available with a bit less sweep. The Kyote with 27.5°. At the same time, the Kyote is considerably wider than a Jones H-Bar. 800mm versus 710mm. When I saw it on Bike24 and saw the price tag (25 EUR), I had to get one. Due to the different shapes, I also needed a new stem in order to use the Kyote. I went from a 100mm long stem with the Jones H-Bar to a 40mm stem for the Ritchey Kyote.

After a couple of rides with the new handlebar setup, I have a better idea of where I'll use a Ritchey Comp Kyote and where I'll mount a Jones H-Bar. The Kyote wins hands down on my 44 Marauder. There's a short, steep climb on my loop where a powerful acceleration at the bottom of the climb doesn't help to get to the top because the steep incline is full of roots. The only way to make it is to put all the power one has into the pedals and pick a good line to avoid the tallest roots. With the Jones H-Bar, I never made it. I got close, but never quite made it all the way. Now, with the Ritchey Kyote, I rode up the climb each time I hit it. What a difference a few centimeters in width can make.

But those extra centimeters can slow you down elsewhere. During the period when cattle are grazing on Jura pastures, fences are up everywhere and gates are closed. When you're lucky, you ride up to an above-ground cattle-guard and just ride across it. Unfortunately, most of them around here were designed with hikers in mind. With a narrow handlebar, some can be ridden, but with a handlebar as wide as the Kyote, the majority of above-ground cattle guards are too narrow to get through. I also have a few trails where trees stand so tight, that it's almost unavoidable to hit my hands. The more I get used to the bar, the less often this should be happening, though.

The Ritchey Comp Kyote requires a much shorter stem. On my Marauder, which has a fairly conservative geometry with a traditional head tube angle and a reach designed around a set-back seat post, I went from a 100mm stem to 40mm. On a more modern bike geometry with a long reach and an already short stem, the bar would move one's hands too much forward. Here, a Jones H-Bar would be the better choice since you'll have more options to play with the length of a stem to get your hand position just right. Lastly, I would also say that one's wrists are far more relaxed with the 45° of a Jones bar. For long days in the saddle, the Jones provides more comfort and remains my top pick. So, you'll see me use both bars. Where power is needed such as a single-speed, I'll use the Ritchey bar. When I want to spare my wrists, I'll go for the Jones.