Old-skool chrome Bacchetta handlebars

Bacchetta makes – or perhaps only used to make – multiple sizes of handlebars for their recumbent bikes. I ride with the handlebars much closer to my chest than they recommend, and rest my arms across the tops of the bars when I’m going straight — which is most of the time. The only size of handlebars that works for this purpose is the smallest size.

Long ago, Bacchetta also used to make their handlebars with a shiny chrome coating, instead of black anodized aluminum. I suppose they switched to black because it looked better with more colors, or perhaps they could make them slightly lighter weight. But a consequence of this change is, the new bars are rough in texture. The older chrome ones are very pleasantly smooth.

Since I ride with my wrists and hands in contact with the bar itself most of the time, this difference matters to me. So when I built Valoria II, I started with a stock pair of handlebars, then swapped my old ones over when the time came.

A pair of ancient chrome handlebars on top of a pair of small-size anodized handlebars. They're exactly the same except for the chrome finish.

It was a pretty involved process. I had to remove three mounts, two handlebars and bar-end caps, two brake controls, two shifter controls, the mirror, and the anchor plate. I’m not just riding with handlebars, I’m riding with a whole dang dashboard!

In the end, it was worth it. The chrome feels cool on hot days, and clings to my gloves on cold days.

If I lost my bike and had to rebuild it from scratch, I could actually get everything I need brand-new from a variety of suppliers, with the glaring exception of these handlebars. They were only made for the first-run Bacchetta recumbent circa 2001. If I had to find another pair, I’d have to scour the entire country, and most likely I’d have to buy the entire bike just to plunder the handlebars and resell it. Eventually they will all go the way of the old Bacchetta under-seat rack: They’ll all get broken or lost, and then they will be gone forever.

This is one of the many reasons why I lock my bike up with a very serious hardened-steel segmented lock! Arrr!!

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