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Picture of Fat Bike Bar Covers

This instructable is likely for a relatively small audience. The Bar Covers are intended to cover the handlebar area of a bicycle, in this case a fat bike used to ride in the snow and cold of winter. These covers provide an additional windbreak and insulation against the windchill of your hands on the handlebars. I have survived for 3 winters riding without this device, but at times my fingers have become cold, yes, even bitter cold. And that is while wearing specific gloves with a "lobster" style finger design that are intended to allow one to operate the brakes and shifters on a fat bike and still stay warm. However, this winter has been the coup de gras for cold hands. So today, while shopping in a local thrift store, I came up with this take on an already marketed idea but under my own moniker:

Fat Bike Bar Covers

 
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Step 1: The tools you will need

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The tools for this project are few. A sewing machine (does not have to be a vintage Made in Sweden by Husqvarna Viking automatic, but it helps) a pair of scissors, and a talented seamstress (my wife).

Step 2: Raw materials and making the cuts

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The next thing you will need is the raw material to construct the Bar Cover. While in the thrift store I looked at ski pants, a long women's coat, a kid's parka, and then finally settled on this bomber style insulated nylon jacket. The jacket was black on the outside, but I was looking for dual purpose and chose the eye-catching orange liner for my outside color. The first step is to cut the sleeve off at the shoulder seam. We cut ours just above the seam. Next we cut the ribbed cuff off after finding that it was too snug of a fit going over the brake levers. I then determined the length that I needed and cut off the remaining piece closest to the end of the sleeve (that I would be discarding). The third picture shows the two layers of nylon and the poly fill insulating material that made up the jacket.

Step 3: Finishing the Cover

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After the length was determined and the final cuts made, we sewed the hem on both ends of the Bar Cover. As you can see from the second picture, the Bar Cover has a flare on the end that followed the shoulder seam. This end will be to the outside of the handlebar to allow for easy entry and exit for my gloved hand.

Step 4: Mounting the Bar Covers

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The Bar Covers slide right on over the brake levers, handlebar grips and protruding cables operating the brakes and shifters. As pictured in the second picture above, you can see that the covers bunch up at the junction of the stem and handlebar. The length of your covers will depend somewhat on this distance, the size of your hands, and style of the handlebar. I "dry fit" or measured this before I even took scissors to jacket to be sure where I wanted to make the cuts. I would say make them slightly longer than you think you should, you can always cut again if needed.

Step 5: Warm hands...even at 3 degrees F and -20 windchill...

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My hands have never been warmer on the fat bike! I look forward to seeing yours!

This is one Bar Cover charge that you won't mind paying: $8 for my used jacket at the thrift store. Retail prices of similar products that are manufactured run anywhere from $65 - $120.

Enjoy!

Nice park city thingy! That's where I live!
OddJob (author)  Fishyfish1231 year ago

Poster I purchased on ebay, gave it some "patina", and glued it to some old pallet boards. Memento of our ski trip there this past winter.

wbannister1 year ago
may I ask where u got ur fat bike from and how much it cost?
OddJob (author)  wbannister1 year ago
I purchased the bike as a frame set, frame and fork, and built it up using some new and old parts. I aged the frame using a "rustina" style paint job and had the wheels custom powder coated before assembling. I call it the Fat Rat. The frame and wheels are made by a company called Surly. They also make complete bikes for sale through local bicycle dealers around the world. You can find them at surlybikes.com. Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the instructable.
I'm up on the Canadian Prairies where we normally have a cold windy winter. I've used normal ATV Mitts up until now. I got fed up with the winter and decided to do something about it.
I took a couple of our old kids' jackets, like you, but instead of just using the sleeve, I was aiming for an L-shape. I cut the jackets in half along the zipper, Then shortened the sleeves. I sewed up along where the zipper would have been. The sleeves go on the handlebars and I stick my hands up "the body" of the jacket.
By converting two jackets, I am able to layer them up as required. The existing pockets also come in handy for holding keys (for short commutes) or gels, Energy bars, and batteries (for those of us who like long distance winter rides).
OddJob (author)  ironbirdexplorer1 year ago
That was one of my options as well. decided I didn't need that much bulk, and ended up getting the length I wanted out of an XL men's jacket sleeve. Forgot to mention in the ible that I too ended up with a secret compartment, a zip pocket that was on the sleeve of the bomber jacket, that ended up on the inside of my Bar Cover. Sounds like you achieved your goal of keeping warm, and then some! Congrats!

Such a simple idea..!

A possibly unnecessary mod might be a drawstring on the cuffs, to allow you to tighten them around the bars (and maybe tie them together over/around the stem, partly to keep the strings from dangling dangerously).

OddJob (author)  karlpinturr1 year ago

Thanks for the comment. I thought about a tie of some kind, but with the material bunched up a bit at the stem / bar junction it didn't seem needful. Also didn't want to constrict the cables, etc.

jadrjadr1 year ago
Ill have my friend link some more Info,
jadrjadr1 year ago
A friend of mine made a great alternative, bike gloves: http://cykelluffer.tictail.com/
OddJob (author)  jadrjadr1 year ago

These are interesting. I wish there was more than one view so I could see how they are used / fit and the access for shifting and braking controls. The link you provided only shows one top view of the gloves.

Ysabeau OddJob1 year ago

On the blog, you can see how they are worn. There are holes on the sides for the handles of the bike. I think that your idea is better: more simple to make and to adapt, and the covers protect probably better against the cold.

A photo, for example.

https://scontent-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/t1/14...

Here in China everybody on bike or on moped use that. Though I've never seen them in other countries...
Wow, this is clever.

The Chinese Food delivery guys do this all the time, especially for the moped. They do use several plastic bags and towels so yours is classier. Nice work.