Recent Roll: Helmets and Handlebars Dec 12, 2010



It’s been a while since I said something about helmets. While I don’t always wear one, I should. One thing I’ll never ride is a bike with unwrapped bars. It’s just not a matter of aesthetics, it’s also matter of safety. Unplugged bars can be dangerous and you really could lose a chunk of flesh in a crash. As per a recent request by Mash on their Twitter, I started to GIS handlebar core sample. It’s not pretty. Wrap your head and your bars!

These two photos came off a recent roll of expired Ilford XP2 and you can see the rest here. Included are some final shots of NYC, T-1, the new Fast Folks and a kid’s bike for sale.

  • I’ve always been an advocate of helmet safety. Its clear to me now more so then in the past due to a face plant to curb accident i took this past summer. i broke the bone directly under my right eye, just slightly enough to not have surgery. i suffered a pretty bad concussion and what should have been 8 stitches on the upper lip if i would have gone to the hospital right away. The helmet saved my life. The doctor told me that if i didn’t have a helmet on, we wouldn’t have been having this conversation. Wearing a helmet doesn’t make you look dumb, it makes you look smart. Prolly, i’ve been following your blog for over a year now, and even though I have never gotten into the whole fixed freestyle scene, i do support the diverse cycling information you let out. Thank you for posting this. Keep the helmet love comin’

  • Marty

    Helmet, check. Bar wrap, check.

    Brake? Sigh…. Tarck bikes.

  • Marty, I get it but in the years I’ve been riding, I have never been in an accident or been in a situation where a brake would have helped me. I know how to control my bike and can stop it on a dime.

    But I see your point. Being an “example”, etc.

    I won’t be putting brakes on my track bikes anytime soon.

  • J

    what drops are those? I like the bend at the corner there almost like those rare nitto bars.

  • christopher

    Is that the Ionos, and how does it fit?

  • Rishi

    Those aren’t the Nitto abdx?’s, they won’t fit into a quill and their not so rare. They were re-released

  • colin

    thank you for reminding everyone to plug there bars. i see to many kids riding without end caps. its been a year since i got my foot caught in my cage while pogoing and landed on on the uncapped end of my riser bars. the result was a plug of flesh being cut from my belly about an inch deep. six hours at the emergency room and $30,000 later i was left with a gaping hole that luckily didn’t perforate my stomach lining. the scar is gnarly and a constant reminder to take safety seriously.

  • Terence

    I just had the best laugh of the week thanks to this post. Thanks to Marty for summing up my entire feelings on this post.

  • “Ever ride home in the rain to be alarmed by something and when you whip into a hockey stop, your bike kicks out from under you, landing you on your ass and your bike in the street? Well, I’ve done it a few times and it’s no fun.”–Prolly, 5/25/09

    Because I care,


  • Uh ohhhh! Bike Snob went into the blog darkness and pulled out a quote! I think I was talking about the Fyxation tires right?

    Regardless, you don’t skid in the rain.


    Nope, those aren’t Nitto bars, they’re the stock bars that came with the KHS. I’m guessing the little 45° bends allow you to sprint without hitting your wrists on the bars.

  • rusty

    I nearly had a core sample taken by the unplugged end of the risers on my beater bike this summer after I slipped off a platform pedal. I was lucky enough to only get a deep cut on my abdomen from the bars but it was bad enough that I learned my lesson and I’ll never ride without plugs again. It’s awesome that you’re reminding everyone about safety but it’s so unfortunate that most people just won’t learn until something bad happens to them…

  • JS

    Marty, I get it but in the years I’ve been riding, I have never been in an accident or been in a situation where a brake would have helped me. I know how to control my bike and can stop it on a dime.

    But I see your point. Being an “example”, etc.

    I won’t be putting brakes on my track bikes anytime soon.

    Posted by: prolly | December 12, 2010 10:53 PM


    I don’t ride a fixed gear bike so maybe I am off base. But are you saying you could stop faster than a bike that has front and rear brakes?

    My experience with brakes tells me that 70% (if not more) of stopping comes from my front brake.

    So, you saying that you can stop your bike with only the rear tire…on a dime. Leaves me skeptical.

    Have you had a …man this sounds dorky…but a see who could stop faster contest?

  • What I will say is that I ride differently on my bikes with brakes. I’m much more of an asshole, cutting corners closer, hitting lines in traffic and all because I know I have stopping power. On my track bike, it’s more like skateboarding down the street, you’re always looking ahead anticipating things and ready to skid.

    This argument is kinda pointless because if you’re never ridden a brakeless track bike for an extended period of time (over 5 years) – especially in NYC – then you don’t understand.

    Riding here in Austin is like a fucking cakewalk. I even took off my bell. There’s really nothing that can harm you here. People give you 10′ of clearance and the lights have a count down from 20 seconds until they’re red.

    Maybe that adds to the discussion a bit?

  • Wait, so which is it? Can you “stop it on a dime,” or do you have to always be “looking ahead anticipating things and ready to skid?” And isn’t skidding the opposite of stopping on a dime?

    Sorry, I’m a brake-lover and you know this is my favorite subject.



  • When you have to stop, you do. The anticipation is just part of the process.

  • Marty

    John, respectfully, that’s all fine anticipating danger and therefore adjusting your riding behavior, I get it, although like riding on the track, it’s the unexpected that fucks you over… and the only thing you can do is crash.

    Track bikes need velodromes, tarck bikes need brakes.

  • Ya’ll,

    I ride fixed year round, dual brakes, with plugged ends, and helmet already on noggin. I also have raced track here in St. Louis for 2 years. I would rock fixed dual brakes over anything, anyday, except riding mountain biking single speed (first love). Shit, I’ll rock front brake no rear fixed over brakeless anyday! Now on the velodrome? Brakeless. Brakes= efficiency. Leave the no brakes on the ‘drome.