The 2016 Know Your Roll series is kicking off with a part that has a rich, unique history that spans decades – the GT 4-piece Original Bar. Before we begin, however, let me preface this column by stating that I am by no means a BMX historian, so if some of my details seem shaky, ignore the inconsistencies and just pay attention to the current facts. Now that that's out of the way – the arrival of this specific throwback is by no means a surprise; if anything, they're years overdue, but I highly doubt the timeliness of their return will hurt their potential popularity.
Making their debut in 1990, the GT 4-piece bars were a challenger to the then-popular Haro Kneesaver, a favorite of both flatlanders and vert riders worldwide. Their unique design, featuring a single tube uniting the grips & crossbar and more upsweep than the average bar was a strong seller for a short time period, but was eventually surpassed by more stoic designs like the S&M Castillo's and Standard Strip Bars. As the 90's came to the close, 4-piece bars fell out of fashion, exemplified by Robbie Morales disgust when Dave Freimuth mounted a set to his bike in the final days of the original Road Fools trip, but there were more than a few holdouts – one of which being New Jersey's Bob Scerbo. Bob was not only adamant about sticking with GT's classic design, but he was also on the forefront of a new street riding revolution. Although Bob's sponsors were more than appreciative of the impact he was making, they definitely weren't feeling his handlebar choice, and with his stockpile of GT's dwindling, there was only one thing to be done: build Bob a perfect (yet stronger) clone. FBM made the first attempt, but ultimately Animal completed the first production run of what became known as the Bob Bar, and it wasn't long before they were clamped to the front ends of street riders everywhere, ultimately popularizing 4 piece bars again. At the time, it wouldn't have been a shock to see GT attempt to capitalize on a design that was originally theirs, but GT's focus in the 2000's was centered around Jamie Bestwick and their race teams. Times change, and the Bob Bars are long gone, but GT is still alive and kicking; only now, they're being led by Ben Ward, one of the most successful product designers of the last decade. When I heard Ben was taking the reigns at GT, I had a feeling that the 4 piece bars would be returning, and as someone who ran Bob's during their heyday, I'm beyond excited to see these hit the shelves.
GT's new 4-piece Freestyle Bar is built with straight gauge 4130 tubing, featuring 1" vertical tubes and oversized bends for additional strength. The iconic one piece grip/crossbar remains, as does the GT-stamped bar caps at the end of the vertical tubes. The classic 5 degrees of upsweep remains unchanged, but the backsweep is now a slightly more comfortable 9 degrees. The original 24.5" width has also been updated to a more modern 29", but there's plenty of room on the upper bar to trim them down a bit while still being able to fit a full-sized grip. Chrome was the only original color option, but the new bar will also be available in black or raw. Finally, I don't think a 7.75" bar would move over a dozen units in 2016, so that spec has been ditched in favor of 2 sizing options – 8.6" and 9.125". The GT 4-piece Freestyle bar will retail for $64.95, but it won't be available until this Spring, so start saving now. These should be available wherever GT products are sold. Thanks for reading this week, and don't forget to follow @gtbmxfreestyle on Instagram for team clips and behind the scenes product shots.
Name: GT 4- Piece Original Bar
Weight: 34.8oz (9.125″)
Colors: Black, Chrome, Gloss Clear Raw
5° up sweep
9° back sweep
Two sizes: 9.125″ & 8.6″
Straight Gauge 4130 Chromoly
1 piece bar upper with OS (oversized) bends for added strength
OS 1″ vertical tubes for added strength
“GT” stamped bar caps