Wide, flared and handsome – I’m a little smitten with the Velo Orange Grand Cru Randonneur Handlebar

The big problem, for me, with standard drop handlebars, is setting a handlebar angle that is at the same time comfortable on the drops and behind the brake levers.

This is because in my opinion, somewhere along the way, the DNA of drop handlebar design was fundamentally altered, and because its development was driven by going fast/looking fast rather than going comfy, nobody noticed.

Racing and touring bikes back in the day had comfortable drop bars with an elegant, constant radius curve and parallel drops and tops. Then someone came along and broke it all.

But happily, of late, there’s been a resurgence in handlebars that don’t torture the wrist and demand a vice-like grip. The Nitto Noodle, championed by Rivendell is one and the Velo Orange Grand Cru Randonneur is another.

The latter I chose to buy for my sympathetically restored Raleigh Clubman, which, one day I will itemise fully on this blog.

The Grand Cru Randonneur is a handlebar in the classic constructeur style. Wide, flared and with the critically important parallel drop and top. Why is this so darned important?

Well, it allows the drop bar to be so angled that the tops are level with the ground, along with the drops and the brakes within easy reach from either position. This all results in a relaxed wrist and hand, opening up a whole new world of drop bar comfort.

It is rare that ergonomics and aesthetics go hand in hand to such a degree, but I’m sure you’ll agree that there’s a certain Georgian rightness about these bars that’s hard to dislike.

Velo Orange Grand Cru Randonneur handlebar
Velo Orange Grand Cru Randonneur handlebar in the 46 cm width, mounted on a Zenith 80mm quill stem.