Dirk Passchier started out making Kayak Paddles from Bamboo after realizing the material’s potential to improve on the comfort and flex offered by traditional Kevlar paddles. Forty years on, the New Zealander has turned his attention to mountain biking, developing the Passchier Gump bamboo handlebar said to improve ride comfort through flexing to dampen vibration.
Passchier Gump Bamboo Handlebars
The use of bamboo for bikes and bike componentry is nothing new. Only recently we caught up with Jason O’Nions of Earthbound Bikes who is hand building bikes for all kinds of different terrain using the natural material, including a wild-looking high pivot full suspension mountain bike. Like Jason, Dirk Passchier has appreciated the natural flex and vibration damping properties of Bamboo for many years, albeit within a very different sport.
He initially worked with Bamboo to produce Kayak Paddles, finding through his own experience as a paddler and through the experience of others that the material was able to reduce shoulder soreness, as compared to a regular Kevlar Paddle. Now, Dirk has made some bamboo handlebars, hoping to offer bike riders the benefits of the naturally flexible material.
So, what are the claimed benefits? Reduced hand and arm fatigue, principally, also known as arm pump. If you suffer from it, you may want to check out our piece on How To Reduce Arm Pump, for some cheap and effective solutions we’ve discovered over the years. You can also throw money at the problem, with everything from pivoting handlebars to suspension grips to tire inserts claiming to tackle the problem.
The Passchier Gump bamboo bars are the latest bit of kit claiming to offer a solution to hand and arm fatigue. They are made from eleven laminates, each 3mm thick, that are pressed together before being CNC machined to achieve the desired shape. The central carbon fibre piece where the stem clamps is 31.8mm in diameter.
Though the Passchier promo video shows the bar being used for mountain bike riding, their website only recommends them for use with commuter bikes, town cruisers, eBikes and tourers. While the guys at Passchier do use their Bamboo Handlebars for some trail riding (up to Grade 3), they firmly state this is not a bar for aggressive downhill riding.
There are two models currently available; the Passchier Gump 650 and the Gump 760, referring to their respective widths. Both have a 22° backsweep and are tested to ISO 4210-2:2015, Clause 188.8.131.52 and 4.7.7, meaning they surpass the fatigue and strength tests for commuter and trekking bikes.
Finally, why the name Gump? “Named after Forest Gump, who was more of a runner than a rider, these bars are so comfortable you’ll forget to stop riding and over shoot your desired destination” – Passchier.
Pricing & Availability
The Passchier Gump 760 and 650 bamboo handlebars retail at $250 USD.