Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Barleycorn Engineering swan neck clip ons

Seeing as I've now put plenty of time and alas money in to my Gold Star I thought I might as well make it comfortable to ride too. The standard clip on position just doesn't suit me: could be something to do with being tall or I could just be getting older. I get on well with rear sets and flat bars but the Taylor Dow top yoke has no provision for regular handlebar clamps. A further bind with the Dow top yoke is that it comes with a different headlight bracket that pushes the clip ons further down the stanchions.

Swan neck clip ons seemed like a decent answer. I had a pair kicking around that I had bought at an autojumble some time back. I tried those on but the angle of them was cast down and though the position was raised from regular clip ons they still put a lot of weight on the wrists and at a bad angle. So, back to the drawing board. Fortune had it that I walked by the Barleycorn Engineering stand at the VMCC Shepton Mallett autojumble.

Barleycorn proprietor Simon was decent in taking the time to go through the options, even down to the possibility of a bespoke set of bars. In the end I opted for his regular swan neck clip ons. Made to order they arrived in a very swift five working days. They're a beautifully made piece of kit, stainless steel and the fabrication is spot on; they might seem expensive at first glance but when you hold and see a pair in the flesh they are good value.

The Barleycorn swan neck bars give a far more comfortable position. The lines of the bike are changed more than I expected by just swapping the bars but not necessarily for the worse, just different. The bars are very generous in width but I would rather have this to be able to accommodate all the handlebar furniture and then cut down to taste than have something too narrow to start with.

The long and the short of it is that the real value in these bars is the extra enjoyment that I can get from riding the Gold Star. The position is now one that I can live with all day rather than one which gives neck, wrist and back ache after half an hour.

Head on view of the Gold Star with Barleycorn swan necks
fitted. A tad wide for my taste but I'll cut them down later when
I am sure.

Rider's view. The bars sit about five inches higher than the
standard clip ons did and the angle is a lot flatter.

Very nicely made.

The Amal alloy levers are a period accessory.
They take up a lot more space than regular
levers. Good job the bars are wide. Still
some scope to narrow them down though.

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