Whisky Parts Milhouse & Winston Handlebars: Getting Rolling – by Guitar Ted
Recently I was tipped off to a couple of carbon fiber handle bars that Whisky Parts was about to unleash upon the world. Whisky Parts kindly sent them over for evaluation and review, and since now the curtain has been lifted on these, I can freely talk about them now.
The bars are called the Milhouse Bar and the Winston Bar. They a riser bar for flat bar applications but with a rather BMX-ish, moto inspired twist, and a mustache bar with road and MTB control capabilities. Obviously, you’ve seen handle bars like these before, but in carbon fiber? Oh yes! Let’s have a closer look, shall we?
The Winston mustache bar is unique in that it can accommodate not only road controls, but also mountain bike controls. This is highly unusual in terms of mustache bars, which typically are road control compatible only. Yes, long ago there was a mountain bike with a mustache bar that used MTB controls, but unless you were hip to the rarity of those handle bars, you probably didn’t know they existed. I actually was afforded the opportunity to use those bars once and loved the idea of using MTB controls on a mustache bar. Now with the Winston Bar, you can see what the fuss is all about for yourself.
Whisky Parts achieved this feat by using carbon fiber to its potential, tapering the diameter from MTB 22.2mm at the extensions to the road standard 23.8mm at the bends. Whisky parts even put gradations on the bends to help with aligning the road levers of your choice. Obviously, MTB grips could be utilized at the extensions along with bar tape to really customize your grip sections if you desire. Whisky Parts says the Winston is “bar end control” compatible, but…..eh! I have to wonder about that claim. (I tried some Dura-Ace bar ends and no-go)
Here are the features as provided to me by Whisky Parts:
- Bar Width: 600mm
- Backsweep: 73 degrees
- Clamp Diameter: 31.8mm
- ASTM Rating: Condition 3
- Material: Carbon
- Weight: 250g
- Price: $200 USD
- Part Number: HB8204
Now for the Milhouse Bar, which is the riser bar here and is a wide 810mm with the capability to be cut down from there. This bar has the typical MTB control compatibility with a 31.8mm stem clamp area. Following are the features for this handle bar as provided by Whisky Parts:
- Width: 825mm
- Upsweep: 8°
- Backsweep: 16°
- ASTM Rating: Condition 3
- Rise: 70mm
- Clamp Dia.: 31.8mm
- Weight: 288g
- Price: $215 USD
- Part #: HB8203
First Impressions: I will make no bones about it, I love a mustache bar. In my mind, the mustache bar is the perfect segue way from flat bars to drops and drops to flat bars. They have been around since forever, but Whisky Parts made some important tweaks to the design to make these more appealing to the modern cyclist. Likewise, the Milhouse Bar is another tried and true design that always suffered from a weight penalty and modern peccadilloes which demand wider bars than we’re used to having seen in the past. For instance, I used to run Bontrager Crow Bars, but they are no where near as wide, or as light, as the Milhouse Bar is.
I found the weight claims to be very close. The Milhouse Bar I received weighed in at 289 grams and the Winston Bar weighed in at 252 grams on my scales. Close enough.
I mounted the Winston Bar on my Twin Six Standard Rando v2 single speed and the Milhouse Bar went on the old On One Inbred 29″er, circa 2006 model, which we are also testing the Archer Components D1x shifting system on. Installation for both bars was easily accomplished. The aforementioned hash marks on the inner radius of the bends on the Winston Bar made for easy and even lever mounting. The grips I used on the Milhouse Bar went on just as they should without marring the carbon.
So Far… The handle bars both feel like they have a good amount of give and obviously, the lighter weight is a big bonus. The Winston Bar, with its wider stance and swept extensions, is a huge improvement over traditional mustache bars and tailor made for gravel riding. The Milhouse Bar seems sturdy and the width should work for modern hard tail geometry. I’ll be using them as a bikepacking type of bar along with a way to use a MTB hard tail in a more ‘adventure bike’ way. Look for those updates soon on the site.
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.