Whisky Parts Milhouse & Winston Handlebars: At The Finish – by Guitar Ted
The Whisky Parts Co. Milhouse & Winston bars are reminiscent of classic bars from different genres rendered in carbon fiber instead of metal. What these bars allow one to do is quite different than traditional flat bars or drop bars for the gravel/back road adventurer. I’ve spent a couple months riding these two bars off and on so it is now time to give you my final thoughts about these new offerings from Whisky Parts Co.
In my first post on these two bars I introduced you to the technical specs and showed you how I set them up. Well, now the Milhouse Bar has moved over to my old Mukluk fat bike. The Winston Bar remains on the Twin Six Standard Rando. I will get into why I decided to move the one and not the other here as well as telling you about the ride experiences that I had with each.
The Milhouse Bar: Every time I used the bike I had this bar on I said, “Wow! This is a WIDE bar!” I’m not sure I’ll get used to seeing an 810mm wide handle bar, (you MTB’ers are laughing, I know!), and when riding the Milhouse Bar one has a hard time not feeling as though you are gripping a set of motorcycle bars. Maybe that’s the point here……
Initially I had mounted these to my On One Inbred, and while they were okay on that bike, I felt the width and style fit my old Mukluk better. Plus, these bars looked weird on the On One and conversely, they looked perfect on the Mukluk. Well, I thought so, anyway….
I do know that once I swapped the Milhouse Bar over to the Mukluk that I had to relearn how to handle that bike again. It pretty much completely radicalized this bike for me. Different is one thing, but is this flavor of ‘different‘ good? While it took some getting used to, I would say that the answer to that question is a qualified yes.
‘Yes” if you like a very upright seated position, comfortable arm positioning, and a lot of leverage over the front wheel. The 70mm rise puts you in a very ‘heads up’ position which may work great for a more casual approach to cycling. I liked it for those rides I wanted to do that were aimed at relaxing, having fun, and seeing the sites. All the while I had great grip and control over my fat bike
Popping my front wheel over objects was made a lot easier, but the same weight shift rearward due to the altered body positioning caused by the 70mm rise also made steep climbs a bit more of a challenge. I eventually landed on getting out of the saddle on almost any climb, which seemed to help keep the front end planted. Granted, this fat bike has a huge stack height number, so your results may vary.
Overall comfort was excellent for this style of handle bar, which when rendered in metal can feel harsh and unforgiving- at least the examples I’ve tried in the past were like that. Real hand zingers, those…. The width? Hmm…..I’d likely cut a bit of that down, but at least you have that option. Got narrow trees on your tight single track? These Milhouse Bars may not fit! But for more open roads and back country riding I would think the width and the relaxed hand positioning would be a boon to a rider. Got lots of accessories you want to mount? Hmm…..there is that pesky cross bar. Aero bar thingies? Not happening here. So there are those negatives to the Milhouse one would have to consider.
The Winston Bar: A mustache bar is about as far removed from a drop bar or flat bar as one can get, or is it the best combination of the two? I’m leaning toward the latter. My thought is that the mustache bar is for the rider who wants more hand positions than a flat bar can offer but doesn’t want drop bars, and it also is the flat bar choice for those used to drop bars.
The real difficult thing with most previous iterations of mustache style bars was that you had to use road based controls due to the larger bar stock size mustache bars were typically made from. (Note: Yes- I am aware that some few choices were made for MTB style controls.) Also, you may not have liked the typically narrow width of old mustache bars, nor their straight-back-atcha extensions. The Winston Bar addresses all of these negatives with a modern take on the design.
I appreciated the option of being able to use MTB style controls but I went with road style controls. I also really liked the width of the Winston Bar which I feel is really in the sweet spot for most riders. The extensions have a gentle sweep to them which I feel is much more ergonomic than previous designs.
The ride feel is very nice with the Winston’s carbon having a nice give to it over the bumps and with the ability to use MTB style grips, road tape, or both, one could really achieve a nice, vibration damping type feel. I simply wrapped mine in road bar tape. If you are a single speed/fixed gear rider, these bars work so nicely with that style of riding it is hard for me to consider going back to drops which I had used previous to installing these Whisky Parts bars.
If there are any negatives to the Winston Bar one would be that bar end shifters don’t seem to go into the extension ends. Whisky Parts claim that they should, but I cannot make that work with my sample. Maybe I have an oddball set? Hard to say, but this is something to consider if you are a bar end user.
At The Finish: The Whisky Parts Co. Winston and Milhouse bars are different, but not so weird that many couldn’t find a bike to use them on. Carbon fiber has many promises and different shapes and different qualities of flex/stiffness are but a couple of those benefits. The Winston and Milhouse bars both exploit those characteristics and the obvious benefit of light weight comes along as well. Of course, high price cannot be forgotten, and if their is anything that makes these bars hard to consider it would be that barrier. However; try to find a competing product and it becomes apparent that if this idea is something that you’ve always wanted to see become available, well, here you go. I wouldn’t hesitate too long either. Good things, odd things, like the Winston Bar and the Milhouse Bar have a way of not being around long.
To learn more about the Winston and Milhouse Bars see Whisky Parts Co. site: https://whiskyparts.co/
Note: Whisky Parts Co. Sent over the Winston and Milhouse Bars at no charge to Riding Gravel for test and review. We were not paid, nor bribed, for this review and we always strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.