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.

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

  1. Dave

    I’ve tried to love rando bars, but haven’t succeeded. I ride 90% of the time with my hands on the corner where the bar turns forward from the straight part out of the stem toward the brake levers, and the rise creates an angle there that seems to dig in a bit more than does a bar without the rise. My favorite handlebar is the Velo-Orange Grand Cru Course bar, which has the same features you described for the V-O Randonneur handlebar, but without the rise. Both of these are, by far, the most comfortable handlebars I’ve ridden in the drops. Not only are the drops parallel to the tops, but the drops extend back more than most bars, so when riding in the drops I’m not extended out a long way—unless I want to be.

    1. theeverydaycyclist

      Would love to try the Grand Cru Course Bar. Love the fact that these kind of bars are available in this age of ‘anatomic’ bars, carbon bars and whatnot.

  2. Eric S.

    I bought a pair of VO Rando bars on eBay. While I find them very comfortable, I didn’t read the fine print about how they measure. They are 46cm, which means that the area on the tops and brake levers (where I spend the most time) is actually 40cm. I’m still evaluating whether I can live with it since I’ve been riding 44cm bars for so long. I may end up buying a set of 50cm Rando bars to get my normal 44cm back.

    1. theeverydaycyclist

      I had the same dilemma, exacerbated by bike magazines constantly telling me I had to match shoulder width to handlebar width to the millimetre! Okay I exaggerate! I have ridden 44cm drops for years but I decided to just forget the width and go with it and you know? I’m just fine.

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