[Dom sent us these photos of his Raleigh Gran Prix outfitted with his modified handlebars. —ed.]
This is a Raleigh Gran Prix from the mid 80′s. The inspiration for the handlebar was more function than form to begin with. The original equipment drop bars and long top tube were just too much of a stretch to be comfortable for urban stop and go riding. By flopping the bar I narrowed the stretch and by chopping the bar I got the micro handgrip positions I wanted.
After a few months of riding with pass through brakes traditionally mounted on the horizontal I wanted something completely unique. At the same time I was in contact with Dynacraft, the mass market distributor. After a meeting in Minneapolis with David Castrucci, Dynacraft, US president and Les Heinen factory rep. I was told my design was not patentable, which I began to understand was true.
I went home to brainstorm while I had two weeks awaiting an answer weither Dynacraft wanted to produce bikes with this handlebar concept. So that weekend I set about molding an elbow out of modeling clay and wire. I knew this elbow modification was the direction I would pursue. The hardware store supplied prototype parts for the elbow modification. I bought the Tektro reverse levers and put everything together by Monday morning, shooting an e-mail to David and Les with a patentable design.
For the next two weeks I worked on my patent application and currently have a patent application pending with the USPTO. I am very much into “repurposing” drop bars as DIY for urban riding.