Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Four-Piece and a Biscuit

Don't look now, but four-piece bars are making a comeback. Again. Maybe. Only this time they're bigger and badder than ever. Well, except for when they were popular in the early '90s and again in the late '90s. (It's more or less impossible to find someone that rode in the late '80s/early '90s who didn't have a set of Haro Kneesavers or GT four-piece, or someone that rode in the late '90s and didn't have a set of Castillos or Mad Dogs or Moe's Bars.) I can hardly wait for the return of the six- and seven-piece bar. Are we headed back to this?

Anyway, when I saw a shot of the new Federal 20/20 Bars (whatever that name means):


on their blog the first thing I thought of was a post I made on my old blog back in January of '07. I happened to have two sets of uncut GT four-piece bars (the 3D blueprint for the original "Bob" bar), and since they were 28" wide and chrome, I decided to shoot them and present them as if they were a new Animal product. I then assured everyone that it was just a joke. Were I cleverer, I would have let it hang for a little longer before ruining all the fun.

Now, of course, it's come full circle—the 'new' Federal bars look an awful lot like old DK bars. I half expect Haro (or maybe Premium) to offer an updated version of the OG Kneesavers—or maybe some lightened-up Mirra and or Nyquist Bars. Redline could bring back the Forklifters, complete with number-plate mounting tabs.

Federal isn't the only one on this particular bandwagon. Sputnic is pushing their own 13-butted version, in three different rises and three different colors, complete with their exclusive pad-centering (and utterly disgusting) externally butted crossbar:


I also like that they mention the "street-inspired 4-piece design." Because you never see anyone riding a street bike with two-piece bars or a race bike with four-piece. How can handlebars be "street inspired" anyway?

Of course for those who don't need 28"x8" and could care less about weight, there's always old faithful, the Animal Bob Bars:


I love that people are complaining (anonymously, of course) that Federal is just copying the Bob Bar (even though they're obviously wider and have way more backsweep) when the Bob Bar itself is a BLATANT—and acknowledged—ripoff of the GT's design from the early '90s. They're probably the most popular four-piece bar on the market right now, because they don't have that much competition. They're SIX WHOLE OUNCES heavier than the Sputnics, but think of the street cred! Even Corey Martinez has a pair, although he runs them a bit differently than most:


Word is that United is also coming out with a four-piece bar, which is good news for Corey so he won't have to be unceremoniously dumped from yet another team.

It'll be interesting to see whether this bigger crop of four-piece bars catches on. I kind of hope they do, just so companies start making something other than 28"x8" two-piece bars. (Not that it will be any better if everyone starts making 28"x8" four-piece bars. And I don't think my stomach could even handle a 29"x8.5" four-piece bar.)

But before everyone starts rushing to be first, let's consider that this isn't the first time a company has tried to make a big four-piece bar. Remember the FBM Dinner Box Bars:

They didn't make much of an impact when they came out, and disappeared without a trace. If there's any left at the warehouse, Steve and JPR should consider having them chromed and re-named. Because perhaps their time has finally come.

Personally? I'm holding out for the return of three-piece bars. I'm so far ahead of my time I'm about to pass you twice.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

So i guess i'll pull my DK bars out of the shed. Sell them on Bikeguide.

brien said...

the geo of the FBM 4-pieces was spot on, but they just looked weird.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't Odyssey have one now too?

Fuck BMX. said...

I always wanted blast bars when I was a kid, but I had to settle for DK's.

Russ said...

Odyssey at least prototyped the Lumberj4cks or Lumb4rjacks or whatever they were calling them, but I don't know whether they're production-bound or not.

Anonymous said...

Mybe the name "20/20" is for how hindsight is always. Looking back and learning from the past. That, or maybe they are just drinking too much mad dog.

Anonymous said...

Maddog bars.. 20/20 bars.. Get it?

Anonymous said...

standard recently did a pair of 4piece strips for one of their team riders. i think they might update the rise on them and make them signature bar.

www.standardbyke.com

http://www.standardbyke.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/digi-new-127.jpg

Topher said...

dude i dont even see the point of these bars. could someone explain to me why they need four piece. I could understand the three piece would increase lateral strength. . .

Stephen said...

No mention of Love Handles? I had some. I think they were technically 8 piece.

http://www.23mag.com/com/hoffman/hb95balh.jpg

Anonymous said...

Odyssey is the best you dushebags. Their bars are the best!

NOT

S.Bros said...

Could be worse... someone could bite the mid 80's Dyno Detour bars for a remix.

http://www.os-bmx.com/forums/index.php?s=&showtopic=8586&view=findpost&p=57520

Or the sure sign of the rapture... the return of the Vector bar / stem uni-combo.

The perfect symmetry of the bends on standard 2 piece bars is so elegant and simple. if it ain't broke...

S.Bros said...

Sorry... the link to the photo of the Dyno bars was meant to be:
http://www.os-bmx.com/forums/index.php?s=&showtopic=8586&view=findpost&p=57520

S.Bros said...

FFS!

It looked ok in the preview. My bad.
Nevermind.

nick said...

is s. bros skunk bros? if so do you know the dude who made Skunk ZIne?

todd from albe's said...

i very honestly would not be surprised if Fly or Eclat re-invents the Vector bar/stem fiasco. best part of the whole vector company was their promotional poster...anyone else remember it?

and Russ, if you got a minute get ahold of me, got something to ask you about. either by phone 586.264.1150 or e-mail at todd@albes.com

MaxiBMX said...

Keep the bars I'll have the biscuit.

brian said...

fly or eclat reinventing the vector bar/stem combo? didn't KHE already do that with the SwissMiss bar/stem?

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rullybikeco/DSC00402.jpg


i still have a set of maddogs at my parents house. revenge still(?) makes the castillo bars.

ryan said...

Vector bars-
http://bmxroots.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/oldmetal_museum_vectorpro.jpg

Dragonfly mike s bars-
http://www.global-flat.com/upload/parts/2004-11-11-20-32-43L5DJMR.jpg

KHE swiss miss craps-
http://www.global-flat.com/upload/parts/2006-04-02-11-05-54350_swissmiss_2.jpg

Ryan said...

the stubs on the DK's went out of the sides, not down to the ground

brian said...

ryan, these vector bars.

http://sprfls.blogspot.com/2008/04/supersize-me.html

gsport george said...

here are some more good GSport parts

8 piece bars


http://www.gsportbmx.co.uk/custom/G's_bike/6pc%20bars%20650.jpg

6 piece bars

Anonymous said...

Todd is a robot. Don't do it, Russ/

VxD said...

Christ, the g-sport impersonator(s) need to give it a rest.

Stephen said...

Todd is a robot?

That means...

I AM STILL A VIRGIN! YES!!!!!

Mexican John said...

powerlite four piece where the best, if there is such a thing as 'best 4 piece'.

todd from albe's said...

robotic tendencies, yes...homosexual tendencies, no. (not that there's anything wrong with that)...and assumming Stephen is a male, of course, and implying that he and i have had an "encounter". then again i have seen some pictures of myself in some pretty unusual situations on the chance that i had been over served so i'll officially deny it and hope that photos don't surface. (i can hear all the homo-phobes now yelling "Todd from Albe's is GAY!" haha.)

anon said...

ho ho, I couldn't give a fuck if that is a fake George or not, what a hoot seeing all that old turd and then realising it's the basis for some of the new Oddy/GSport/Sunday! gear

anyway nothing (well not much) against the behemoth that is Bear Corp, they do make some kick ass bmx product

S.Bros said...

Nick,
No... S.Brothers is my actual name. I'm just your run of the mill bmx enthusiast.

Your zine looks good. I like the photocopy aesthetic... takes me back to the legendary zines of yore.

G.S.GUCCILIFE said...

4 pieces bars fo' eva

Russ said...

Jeff Harrington used to run DK four-piece. And the Federals look about as much like the DKs (different lower junctions) as they do the Bobs (different top junctions).

Meant to mention Powerlites—strange that they became so popular in the UK. They have the same geometry as the GTs, right? I'm not sure whether I've ever seen a pair.

Anonymous said...

Nice Jay-Z ref. I am the same Anonymous who noticed the Gang Starr ref recently, by the way.

Duncan said...

Personally, I love four piece bars... I had Solid build me a custom 8x28" set when I couldn't locate any of the flash-in-the-pan FBM Dinner Box bars. They have the same exact geometry as Slams. Why? Well, for one they are a smidge stiffer, but that's not really it. I've always liked 4-piece bars since the first Forklifters came out. 20+ years ago, that shit was futuristic. Now, it's old school. Funny how that happens. In terms of 8x28" being overdone, that's pretty much been the standard since everyone ran friggin' CW bars. The itty bitty bar thing was the anomaly. I'm a big, broad-shouldered hunk of a man (with rugged good looks), and my friends used to heckle me for running Slams while they had cut down Odyssey Skim Milks at 23"...but now look who's running big bars? Four piece is a test of just how trendy the kids can get. I'm the only one I've seen in a long time running four pieces in SF, except for a Bob Bar or two, but we'll see if they'll be the new black in a year or two.