Dear MXA, When I was a serious BMX racer in the early 1980s, I was sponsored by Powerlite and raced with PowerLite Power Bend handlebars. They curved at the end to fit in the palm of your hand. I loved them. I’m a little old for BMX after all these years, but I have a YZ125 and was wondering if any motocross handlebars come with the Power Bend design?

PowerLite Power Bend BMX bars bent downwards on the ends to give riders a better hold on the grips. Jeff Douglas from Nuetech was at Powerlite in the 1980s and built the motorcycle specific Nuetech A.P.E Attack bars to do for motocross what PowerLite did for BMX. At first glance, every MXA test rider thought that the A.P.E bars had been bent in a crash because the ends of the bars were tilted downward at a 30-degree angle. It was a strange idea, but, in reality, it just might have been the best handlebar ever conceived.

The Nuetech A.P.E Attack bars looked weird but felt right when you wrapped your hands around the grips. Curving the bars allowed the grips to mate perfectly to the palms of your hands, which are also curved. Ergonomically, the Nuetech A.P.E (Arm Pump Eliminator) curved bar ends made sense, but they looked so strange that most riders were wary of them.

In the end, the MXA wrecking crew was split down the middle on A.P.E. bars. Riders who disliked the A.P.E. bar ends claimed that the curved part made the grips feel shorter and that the downward bend made their wrists turn awkwardly. The riders who loved the A.P.E. bars said that the curved grips made it easier to keep their elbows up, led to less arm pump (because they didn’t have to hold on as tightly) and, unlike traditional straight grips, allowed their two smallest fingers to actually hold on to the bars.

No test rider could complain that running A.P.E.’s curved grips stopped him from running his favorite handlebars, because the Nuetech A.P.E. curved handlebars were actually curved bar ends that slipped into the end of your favorite bar just like hand guards. The throttle had a special CNC-machined throttle tube that curved downward. To make it spin freely, a bearing was fitted into the throttle tube (on the straight section), and it locked into a bearing guide that was inserted into the end of the handlebar. Riders had to cut 1-1/2 inches off their bars to get the desired bar width.

This was a brilliant idea that failed to catch on because it looked different, but don’t cry for Nuetech. Jeff Douglas’ company went on to invent the Tubliss tire insert that turns any motocross tire into a tubeless tire and the Nitromousse foam tube used by GP riders and offroad racers.



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