Milan Bars (Alcohol-Free)

When most people think of Milan bars, they probably picture something like this:


But these are the ones I had in mind:

The Velo Orange Milan Handlebars have now replaced the drop bars on my mixte. I picked her up from Open Bicycle today after the surgery. The bars are missing grips, but already looking beautiful. They are not nearly as wide as the distorted perspective of the shots makes them seem, but I can't get a better photo right now.

I replaced the drop bars and brake levers on Marianne after injuring my hands using the original set-up. Let's just say I am talented when it comes to injury. With the new set-up, the braking power is superb and the hand position is sporty (similar to holding the top of the drop bars) yet comfortable. The stem has been replaced with a taller and longer Nitto Technomic. The brake levers are Shimano mountain bike levers. I have some nice dark green cork tape for the wraps, which will be shellacked and twined. Will post updates once the makeover is complete.

Oh and they also removed the "pie plate" from the back wheel. It couldn't be snapped or cut off, because there was a stiff metal ring holding it together that needed to be removed as well. Marianne was very happy to get this procedure done, because all the hipster bikes in Boston were making fun of her. Now she is looking nicer than ever!


  1. Nice bars!

    with mine, sometimes (like when I'm going uphill) I like to grab the inside of the levers which seems to give me good leverage. I thought about taping the bar there, but I kind of like the feel of the metal as well.

    Let us know how you like riding with those bars!

  2. Marianne looks fantastic and very French with her new bars, Filigree! The whole handlebar and brake setup sounds well thought-out and I hope the riding position will be as comfortable as it looks. Did you have to change the brake and gear cables when you changed and raised the handlebar and stem? (I'm thinking of raising my handlebars a little).

  3. Mumbleboy - I have not noticed that I try to do this, but then I haven't gone on any serious hills yet; just rode around the neighborhood for now (with some short hills). But I have attempted to use the wicker basket on the Pashley as an aero bar : ))

    Carinthia - The brake cables yes, because different brake levers were installed. But not the gear cables, since the shifters remained in the same place on the stem. If you just raise your handlebars a bit, I don't think you will have to change the cables.

  4. I just installed the same bars on my wife's Univega mixte (I may have made this same comment to your related posting on

    My wife is very happy with them as well. She thought North Roads bars were too narrow and was used to horizontal bars from her mountain bike.

    I have been watching this blog to get ideas for my wife's Mixte. Here are the other mods I've done on her bike if you're interested:
    1. replaced 27" wheels with 700c wheels for slight reduction in height; went to 700x32 wide tires which are probably cushier than 27x1-1/4"
    2. used a 7-speed Shimano freehub for the rear hub, so now I have a 7-speed cassette on the back rather than a 6-speed freewheel
    3. using Shimano rapidfire 21-speed shifters, although I only have 14 speeds
    4. Brooks B68
    5. Milano bars from VO (great price, too!)

    I work down at Kendall Square, so hopefully I'll catch you cruising around "our fair city". Best of luck!


  5. Sorry to hear about your injury. I think Marianne looks great with her new bars, still sporty. Funny about the pie plate. BikeSnob has made all our bikes so self-conscious.

  6. grayvw - Those are interesting modifications. Why the B68 and not a sprung saddle like the B66 or the Flyer? If I keep this bicycle in the long term, I am thinking of converting it to a single speed - I only use it in one gear anyhow.

    Dottie - Marianne is indeed an avid reader of BikeSnob : )

  7. Personally, I think Marianne would look perfect parked next to that brown armchair, under the picture, in the top photo. Then it'd be "Dual" Milan bars.

  8. Dottie: Don't place all the blame on the Snob, we've been making fun of pie plates since the 70s. And the Snob's real target is pie plates on 10 speed to fixie conversions where they really are ludicrous.

    I keep looking at those Milan bars, and looking, and looking. The really are something to look at. I guess when I order something from VO I'll have to just get them, they're not only something to look at, but cheap as things go these days.

    Not sure what I'll use them for though. The Peugeot UO-19 Mixte I'm setting up already has jen-ewe-wine French city risers on it. Maybe I'll try them as a city bar setup on the IRO Angus.

    You'll have to stop insulting Marianne with the sobriquet "road bike". She's all cosmopolitinized and shit now. Svelte and fast, as any French woman in Milan ought to be, but a Milan Bar fly, not just some street roller.

    As for the shifter cable issue. The shifters are on a clamp fitting. When you raise the bars, you just lower the shifters. No problemo.

  9. kfg - Yes, $19 for quality handlebars is as good as it gets. Keep in mind though that they do not take inverse levers.

  10. That's why God had Weinmann invent aluminum city bike levers.

    Voobah, voobah, voobah; PING!


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