At this very moment I have six bikes in the house, four of which are 100% built and rideable with the other two in between having parts swapped in and out before getting back out there. Of all these bikes, my cross check is the only one being ridden every single day: to work, to the bar, little errands, all of that. I’ve gone through many, many different set ups between grips, bars, and brake levers but none have been as satisfying and comfortable to ride as where it’s at today.
At the heart of it all are a pair of Whiskey Grips from Portland Design Works. At the time I received the grips from the nice people at PDW I was running a city bar that sported a 23.8mm grip area instead of a more standard 22.2mm. I’ve had my eyes set on a pair of Map/Ahearne bars for about as long as I can remember and these grips warranted finding the perfect bar to mount them to. The grips themselves are super plush on the hands, I’d never owned an ergo-shaped grip before and now I’m totally sold on them. The leather breaks in real nice and has little weathering to show considering all it went through this past winter.
The shape of the Map/Ahearne bar is ideal for carrying heavy front loads- wide enough to control it and a bend that feels really natural. The Tektro brake levers may not look like anything too fancy but they’re pretty elegant compared to the other options for cheaper brake levers out there. Plus this all-silver version is produced just for Rivendell so you’ll have to buy it from those weirdos if you want to keep things looking shiny throughout your cockpit.
The Spurcycle bell tops off the whole set up- takes up very little space on the bar and packs a mighty strong “DING” activated by a simple lever. I ended up liking the bell so much on my city bike that I picked up a black anodized bell for my mountain bike to make other trail users aware of my presence around corners and coming down hills. Not cheap, but worth every single dollar in my opinion.. I intend on putting two more bells on a couple of other bikes eventually.