During our recent interview with Andrew Watson of Watson Cycles about his Great Divide Fat Tire fat-bike Andrew mentioned that he also does custom titanium handlebars. I took a closer look at what he offers on his website and decided that I’d like to give ergo-swept bars another go on my fat-bike.
I contacted Andrew and told him my general thoughts, medium sweep please, and he came back with some questions about some specifics. What kind of riding do I do, how much do I weigh, length, etc. and we nailed down a spec. I went for the “The Watts” with its middle-of-the-road sweep at 26 degrees. There is also a slight forward sweep to help keep you using your original stem.
Installation was straight forward. I used the included shim for my 25.4 Thomson Elite stem, bolted on the Magura MT2s, Gripshift and Lock-on Grips and my bar swap was complete in about 5 minutes. Note that on my 666mm width (yes, I picked that as I liked the width of my Surly 1x1s) there is just enough room for Gripshift. Think about what controls you are going to use on your bars and you can have the straight section built to accommodate your preference. Andrew makes all Titanium bars custom so you can ask him for any mods that will make the bars work for your particular use from bend and length to different wall thicknesses. Tell Andrew what you want to use the bars for and let his expertise guide you!
On the first ride I immediately felt the sweep was comfortable but noticed the cockpit was longer than I had with the old bars I’d been using, Surly 1x1s, that had 16d of sweep but no forward sweep. Because of that, and my lazy ways not getting a longer stem for the 1x1s, I’d had my saddle pushed back almost all the way which probably put me at a less than idea pedaling position. (I’m not a position geek, but it was noticeable) So, with the Watsons on I was able to slide my saddle forward where it should be and get to a very comfortable position easily. I’ll do a more thorough review of my experiences riding “The Watts” when I get more time on the bike.
BTW, Andrew would love to see more people riding his handlebars because, as he says:
I know how much they have changed riding for me and my current customers and I’m sure they will do the same for others.
Watson Ti Handlebars go for $160 plus $15 for shipping and you can get the ball rolling by contacting Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org
I paid what Andrew asked for these bars out of my pocket. I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts throughout.