Daniel Zaid and Karla Robles were able to get their hands on an early version of Forager Cycles‘ new Jemmy Bar ahead of the preorder for the handlebar that opens today. Daniel explains his journey from wide drops to wider flat bars and bringing a classic MTB into the modern world of 2023 with a quick bar swap. Continue reading for more about the Jemmy Bar!
My partner Karla and I met Dan Stranahan, the nice human behind Forager Cycles, as we were making our way through the Baja Divide in 2020; he was turning the pedals at a pace we couldn’t keep up with so we didn’t get to ride together but we did stay in touch. Once Dan made it back home to Washington he started Forager Cycles and launched the lovely Cable Cherry, then a crossbar-style handlebar named the Oyster bar. At the end of 2021, Dan told me he was working on a new steel handlebar design with a 35mm rise, 27-degree backsweep, and a 6-degree upsweep and asked if we’d like to try it to provide some feedback before the launch; I said I had the bike just for that—a recently acquired a 1994 Specialized Stumpjumper M2—which was sporting a very long stem and very narrow bars, and I was looking for a replacement for the latter.
Two sets of bars arrived in January 2022 and Karla and I have been riding them on a variety of terrain and bikes since. The bars first testing ground was on our Stumpjumper and Rockhopper from the 90s; more recently we’ve been riding them on our modern bikepacking rigs, mine at 800mm wide (cut down from the original 850mm) and Karla’s at 740mm, which is the narrowest recommended width. After a few name changes due to availability, the bar has been recently baptized “the Jemmy Bar,” Aussie slang for a crowbar.
The handlebars arrived and included a shim for adapting a 22.2 bar to a 31.8 stem. Once the Jemmy Bar was in place, I immediately gained confidence and had control of where I was going; the Stumpjumper became an actual mountain bike and, when going to the trails, I found myself spinning up very steep pitches and lacing tight turns that I wouldn’t have dared attempting on my drop bar plus-bike. My hands appreciated the angles and flexibility, and the bike felt and looked so complete.
After a year of living on the Stumpjumper I’ve recently transferred the bars over to my rigid bikepacking bike because, as much as I love the wide drops, my summer riding plans suggested I might be better off with a flat bar. At this very moment, I am part of the scouting team for the new Ruta del Jefe route, and our recon missions to date have revealed a lot to recommend a flat bar: rugged, overgrown rocky roads, river crossings, sand patches, and steep climbs and descents. When we came for the first scouting I had drop bars and feared for my life a few times, but now I can stop and steer more confidently while also staying comfortable for the four or five hours that our daily rides span. On flat and long sections, I’ve tried putting my hands on the innermost part of the bar for a different—and narrower—position, so I might throw some bar tape on the exposed sections beside the stem.
The center of the Jemmy fortunately gets along very well with a handlebar bag (Big and small Fabio’s chest tested!), and I find that the forward sweep actually gives the cables a little extra room to run behind the bag. I’ve run two stem bags and a bike computer with cockpit room to spare. I’ve also spent some time riding a Jones bar and while there were aspects that I enjoyed, overall I found the backsweep angle to be a bit too severe; the Jemmy seems to hit the amount of backsweep just right. For another comparison, on the scouting trip where I snapped these photos, Sarah Swallow was running Tumbleweed’s Persuader bar which seems to have a very similar backsweep angle to the Jemmy but the Persuader definitely had more noticeable rise.
After these weeks of riding singletrack and rugged dirt roads with newfound confidence, I think the Jemmy will be a permanent fixture on my bikepacking bike for the foreseeable future. However, I also fell for these bars on the Stumpjumper so I’ve already put in my request for another set! Wanting to ride the Jemmy bar on both of these bikes is probably all you really need to know in this review!
- Use: Modern touring bikes and 80s/90s MTBs
- Material: Full 4130 steel tubing
- Diameter: 7/8″ / 22.2mm (31.8mm shim provided)
- Weight: 595g uncut
- Width: 850mm uncut (can be cut to 740mm while retaining a 185mm grip area); 35mm rise, and 27-degree backsweep.
- Made by Forager Cycles in Port Townsend, WA, and powder coated by Stunt Doubles Color
Preorders open Tuesday the 25th at 9 am Pacific time. This first batch is quite small, so we expect them to go quickly.
For more info and to get in on the preorder, check out the product page here.