Titec H-Bar and J-Bar Review – First Impressions

BikeCarson.com recently received the Titec J-Bar and the H-Bar for demo and review.  Both of these handlebars are quite unconventional, the most notable attributes being the radical rearward sweep and the extensions off the front of the bars.  While standard mountain bike bars really only have one hand position, the Titecs offer multiple hand positions like you have on a road bike bar.  Having tried and become a fan of alternate bend bars such as the Mary Bars by On One, I was eager to get the H-Bar and J-Bar mounted up for some riding!

Titec H-Bar and J-Bar, designed by Jeff Jones
J-Bar (top) and H-Bar (bottom) Out of the Box

THE DESIGN

While these bars are made by Titec, they are actually a design patented by Jeff Jones. Jeff Jones has created some very unique designs, and calls hims self a cyclist committed to the non-suspended bicycle.  There’s an interesting analysis of the design and features of these bars over on the JonesBikes.com website, but here are the main points:

  • Better handling and power output.
  • More comfortable and ergonomic.
  • Multiple hand positions with up to five inches of ‘rear to front’ hand position range.
  • All this translates into a handlebar you can ride all day.

One of the advantages of a swept back bar is that you can get a lot of leverage without adding too much width. At 26 inches wide (660 mm), the bars feel lined up with your shoulders. But if you measure the length of metal tubing from end to end, it measures 30 inches long! You can really put the power to the pedals on standing climbs when your hands are in the outermost position, something very important on a single speed. Even when your hands are further up the bar in the braking position, you still get a 27 inch long bar that is only about 24 inches wide.

Titec H-Bar
H-Bar out on the trail

OUT OF THE BOX

The H and J Bar are both similar in construction material, sweep, width and color. Both bars will appeal to the single speed crowd, but can be mounted with shifters with special considerations (more on this later). The differences are that the H-Bar is a riser bar with 1.5″ of rise and a 25.4mm stem clamp area, while the J-Bar is a flat bar (no rise) with an oversized 31.8mm stem clamp area.  Both sets of bars are over 400 grams, so there is a weight penalty for the added functionality.  While neither bar is wheel size specific, I chose to mount the riser bar on my 26″ wheeled single speed, and the flat bar on my 29er single speed. 29ers already have a pretty tall front end, so additional rise is not always desirable.

Jones H-Bar
H-Bar, Front View

H-Bar Statistics

  • Material: 6061-T6 Aluminum Drawn & butted tapered welded tubing
  • Width: 660mm (26 inches)
  • Clamp: 25.4mm
  • Rise: 1.5”
  • Sweep: 45° sweep on outside grip extensions
  • Color: Anodized matte Black
  • Weight: 425 grams on my scale (five grams less than advertised)
  • MSRP: $90.00

H-Bar Mosaic
Multiple hand positions for different riding situations

J-Bar Statistics

  • Material: 6061-T6 Drawn & butted tapered welded tubing
  • Width: 660mm (26 inches)
  • Clamp: 31.8mm
  • Rise: 0mm (No Rise)
  • Sweep: 45° sweep on outside grip extensions
  • Color: Anodized matte Black
  • Weight: 440 grams on my scale (40 grams heavier than advertised)
  • MSRP: $90.00

Karate Monkey
J-Bar with cork grips and bar tape

SETUP

Titec provided me with the cork grips, and I took the bikes out before getting a chance to purchase the bar tape to finish the bars. It quickly became evident that bar tape is an essential part of the setup, as access to the brakes was difficult without it. Bar tape combined with the cork grips creates a long seamless grip area that is easy to move your hand around to all the different positions. I was able to complete both sets of bars with just one box of bar tape.

Karate Monkey
J-Bar, out in the city

As I mentioned before, both of these bars will appeal more to single speeders. This is not to say you can’t run shifters with them though. You just need to be selective of which shifters you use. Although standard Shimano or SRAM shifters slip easily onto the front extensions of the bars, it would not be easy to reach the under-the-bar thumb levers at the angle they would be mounted. Jeff Jones suggests using the Shimano dual controls (brake/shifter combo that works like a modern road bike control) or Paul Thumbies. Still, a top-of-the bar shifter like the Thumbies would probably screw up one of the best hand positions on the bar.

I setup the bars so the top is pretty much parallel with the top tube. This position has worked out well, and I haven’t adjusted it. My brake levers are angled pretty far down, as this is where your fingers are in the braking position.

Creek Trail
Riding a switchback with the J-Bar

OUT ON THE TRAIL

I’ve had the J-Bar and H-Bar out on the trail several times now. Before mounting the bars, I was surprised that the Titecs have even more sweep than my On One Mary bars (the Marys have about 40 degrees of sweep), but climbing felt very natural from the very beginning. It did however, take a couple rides to get totally comfortable while descending as I explored all the hand positions on the bars.  After only a few days though, I started to really love the bars, and I think it would be hard to go back. In fact, I’ve even found myself clearing technical sections of trail that I’ve never been able to do before without putting a foot down. The biggest shocker during the test period was riding a bike equipped with a standard 9 degree sweep riser bar after being on Titecs exclusively for several days. The straight bars just felt wrong!

Since I also use my bikes as my primary mode of transportation, I am pleased that the Titecs also work great for riding in the city.  Getting back on the bars shifts your body more upright and gives you a better view of traffic.  Leaning into the bars in forward  positions helps get you out of the wind.

Karate Monkey
J-Bar, Front View

Over the next few weeks, I plan to put the H-Bar and J-Bar through more testing, analyzing climbing, turning, switchbacks, technical sections, and descending. I also want get them out for a multi-hour ride to test comfort over a long period of time. Mounting lights to my previous set of swept back bars was problematic, so this is another area I’d like to test. Stay tuned for the full performance review in a few weeks!

Disclaimer as required by the FTC: This product was given to BikeCarson.com at no charge for test and review. We were not paid or bribed to do this review, and will provide our honest and personal views throughout the entire process.

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3 thoughts on “Titec H-Bar and J-Bar Review – First Impressions

  1. better is the enemy of good – your in depth first review with nice views of the NV country has me starting to give these bars a try against my Mary on an On One Scandal.

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