In theory it's a mtb bar, but I use it hybrid-style (tarmac, dirt and gravel roads, no single-tracking). Anyway, recieved it yesterday and here are my first impressions.
Prelude: Why I left my trekking bar
When I restored this old Specialised, I decided to use a trekking bar: they offered many positions, and this is always welcome when one is planning long rides. Problem? I did not like much any of the hand positions, specially the one on the brakes, which, on urban commuting which is what I tend to do a lot on my bike, is the default one: I had my hands too close to my body and to one another: besides, I don't enjoy flat handlebars too much. It was great for climbing but not too much for anything else. The corners were a bit too angled, too, almost parallel to the stem. So, my priority has changed from many hand positions to a "main" hand position that I'll enjoy.
Enter the Fme Bar by Misfit cycles. 52 USD + 35 shipping to Catalonia. Apparently it's something as close as it gets to a drop bar that runs mtb components.
This are a few photos on how it looks on my bike. Like an overflared mtb drop bar.
When it comes to hand positions there's only one that's seriously useable, on the end of the bars, like on a flat bar. A short commuting ride and a couple adjustments later told me that it was, at least, decent for my hands. I'm saving the "great", "no more pain" until a month or so. I've been on too many honeymoon periods to know better. So yes, it works for commuting, I'm comfortable and it doesn't feel cramped, but how is it going to perform on the dirt?
30 km, 1,300 m of altitude gain later I can say the following
- All things being equal, the hand position is superior to that of a flat bar and to most positions on a trekking bar
- It only has one real position, but my hands kept going to the place the hoods would be in a drop bar. I guess that with some extra-short bar ends I saw the other day on my LBS I could simulate an "on the hoods" position quite easily
- Bar tape is ok but Ergo grips make a whole lot more sense. At some places my hands were taking a bit of abuse from bumps
- The main hand position is a bit mediocre for climbing. I'd need my hands closer together. Probably the "fake hoods" would help.
- On the other hand, it's brilliant for descending. The bar is really wide so you have all the space that you may want, and it turns with little effort, hands and wrists feel well and the body position is just aggressive enough to feel you are controlling the bike and comfortable enough not too feel overstretched.
- At first I thought it didn't give me enough cornering control. Blame over-inflated tyres.
So, do I like it so far. Yes. Will I keep them, yes, but ask me again in a month of daily commuting and twice a week rides.