Introduction: Bicycle Handlebars Shelf

About: I'm an engineer who loves to solve problems by creating new products and finding useful ways to improve existing products. I like working in many different disciplines which helps me learn new skills and conti…

During a triathlon race this past year my brother carried too much speed into a downhill corner crashed really hard. The crash fractured the top tube of his carbon bike frame and handlebars. Thankfully he walked away from the crash with only minor injuries. A unique aspect about his handlebars was that they were a carbon one piece stem/handlebar combo so instead of just throwing them away, I really wanted to make something out of them. The handlebars had a flat aerodynamic top section it and that is what inspired the shelf idea. Click through the next steps to see how it all came together! If you like this Instructable, please vote for it in the Shelving Contest.

Step 1: Shelf Design

Once I settled on creating a shelf, I decided to use 3/4" thick cedar wood for the shelf because I thought it was the right thickness to compliment the handlebars well, and cedar wood looks great when stained. The handle bars were 42 cm (16.5 in) wide so I decided to make the shelf 24 inches wide.

The first challenge was to figure out how to mount the handlebars. Initially I thought about cutting off the steerer clamp of the stem perpendicular to the top of the bars, but I didn't like the idea of having to cut the bars. Then I realized I could simply clamp the bars to a dowel and mount the dowel to the underside of the shelf. This method preserved the bars from being modified which is almost always preferred when incorporating an item into a piece of art.

In order to hang the shelf on a wall I needed a vertical backer (of cedar wood) and quickly decided that it should extend the entire height of the bars. I then penciled in a support piece at either end of the shelf to help hold up the shelf.

I knew the focal point of the shelf needed to be the handlebars, but I also wanted to incorporate another bicycle component into the design. After sifting through my extra parts bin, I came up with the idea of inserting half of a chain ring into the space between the support and the shelf.

As a final touch I decided to add several drawer knobs at the bottom of the vertical backer piece that my brother could use to hang his racing medals.

Step 2: Handlebar Repair

The first step in building the shelf was to repair the handlebars. The repair wouldn't make them road worthy, but would make them look like they did originally. First I used a long razor blade to reach inside the broken sections and cut off some of the more splintered carbon strands. Then I used a dowel to mate the two pieces. I had to sand the dowel down a fair amount to make it fit, but I used light sanding and frequent test fits to ensure that the dowel was still a snug fit in both pieces. Once I had the dowel sanded down enough to fit into both sides, I used black pain to disguise the dowel from being seen.

Then I made a quick mount to hold the handlebars up and off of the work table for gluing. The mount was simply a 1-1/8" dowel that slid into the steerer clamp of the stem and screwed into a base. To glue the dowel inside the handlebars I used quick setting epoxy and that made me move really quickly when trying to align the left drop bar. If I were to do it again, I would use a slower setting epoxy, but in the end I think was able to mirror the original angles.

Step 3: Construction

The shelf piece was fastened to the top of the back piece by using several long screws. My plan was to bury the screws deep enough to cover the tops with a dowel and then cut it flush, but I ran out of time.

The chain ring I picked out had five bolt holes so I wasn't able to cut it exactly in half. To cut two symmetrical pieces I had to cut out one of the bolt holes out as a separate piece. Doing this luckily resulted in the perfect size of chain ring to insert into the space between the shelf and the support. I used a router with a 1/8" bit to auger two slots for the chain ring ends to slide into the support and then epoxy to keep them there. Since the support piece holding up the shelf was only 3/4" by 3/4" I just used wood glue to hold it in place for fear of splitting it with a screw or having a nail head showing.

Cutting the dowel that the handlebars clamp to was a bit tricky. I did my best to measure and cut it at an angle that made the top of the handlebar parallel with the bottom of the shelf, but in the end I had to sand the top of the dowel to get the handlebars parallel. To sand it quickly, I used a small dremel with a barrel sander.

When it came time to install the knobs, I was still unsure exactly how many I wanted to have on the shelf. At first I measured and marked a place for nine and mocked them up, but my wife thought it was too many and distracted from the handlebars. When I mocked up seven knobs there seemed to be a lot more space in between and it looked better. I decided to stick with seven knobs because odd numbered items are more visually appealing than even numbered items. Mocking them up before any holes were drilled was a key decision because had I just marked and drilled, I would have been stuck with nine.

Step 4: Finish

I used a dark stain on the cedar which looked great when paired with the glossy black handlebars. Then two coats of polyurethane were applied to protect it. Finally I installed the drawer knobs and gave it to my brother. He loved it!

I'll post an update picture when it's actually hanging on the wall!

Shelving Contest 2016

Runner Up in the
Shelving Contest 2016

Trash to Treasure Contest 2017

Participated in the
Trash to Treasure Contest 2017