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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Gravel Bar Questions

Old 06-28-20, 07:10 PM
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wgscott
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Gravel Bar Questions

The bike I normally ride on gravel has conventional compact drop bars. It is an FSA carbon bar, and is quite comfortable, so I am reluctant to change it. I ride mostly on the hoods, and the configuration is ideal. When I am on the drops, near the bar ends, it is satisfactory. When I am on the drops, near the curve and brake levers, I find my hands hurt, specifically on the palm side at the base of the thumbs.

On a whim, I bought something called the FSA adventure bar. It is aluminum and I think I got it for $30. It has the same reach, compact radius for the drop, etc, but a very modest 12 flare. So it preserves everything I like about the conventional FSA compact carbon bars (except for the carbon), but adds a small amount of flare which I find relieves the above complaint. (I put these on my touring bike.)

Unfortunately, I cannot find the same thing in carbon. For whatever reason, FSA doesn't make them, at least from what I can see. So does anyone know of something similar from another manufacturer? The size is nominally 44cm, but the C-C distance where the brakes get mounted in each case is 42cm. For the conventional FSA compact bars, the C-C distance at the bar ends of the drops is 44cm. For the aluminum adventure bars, it is 49.5cm.


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Old 06-28-20, 07:26 PM
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Check out the Easton EC70 AX
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Old 06-28-20, 09:02 PM
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I ride the FSA Omega on my road bikes, and I find Salsa cowbells to have very similar geometry plus some flare.

You can try the Salsa Aluminum for $50, then invest in carbon if you are happy with the shape.
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Old 06-28-20, 09:32 PM
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Those would have been perfect, except for the reach (68mm vs. 80mm).
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Old 06-28-20, 09:57 PM
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I'm reading some reviews on the Enve gravel bar, which has the 80mm reach. One review says an advantage is that the brakes remain vertical, like on a standard bar, which I kind of like:


When the G Series showed up, I was initially worried that the hoods were going to be some funky angle that was going to be awkward, but that is not the case. The bar is 90-degree to the horizontal where hoods clamp. This is also where the bar is measured.

But then I read another review, and it shows the same levers I have, and they look like they are at a 30 angle. I wonder what is going on?



Are there two different versions of this, or what is going on?

Also, the circumcised bar ends kind of give me the creeps.

Last edited by wgscott; 06-28-20 at 10:04 PM.
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Old 06-28-20, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
I'm reading some reviews on the Enve gravel bar, which has the 80mm reach. One review says an advantage is that the brakes remain vertical, like on a standard bar, which I kind of like:





But then I read another review, and it shows the same levers I have, and they look like they are at a 30 angle. I wonder what is going on?



Are there two different versions of this, or what is going on?

Also, the circumcised bar ends kind of give me the creeps.
Sites will have the specs/measurement correct. Pic lense can result in perspective distortion.

I had a bit of a look around including What Bars but couldn't see see anything with similar stack/reach in carbon. 3t has their Superghiaia carbon which is 420*** at hoods and also has that vertical hoods design. Though rest of bar numbers are different.

***These 420 bars may not be out yet. See 3t blog comments on this bar.
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Old 06-29-20, 04:24 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Those would have been perfect, except for the reach (68mm vs. 80mm).
Change your stem
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Old 06-29-20, 04:37 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
I'm reading some reviews on the Enve gravel bar, which has the 80mm reach. One review says an advantage is that the brakes remain vertical, like on a standard bar, which I kind of like:





But then I read another review, and it shows the same levers I have, and they look like they are at a 30 angle. I wonder what is going on?



Are there two different versions of this, or what is going on?

Also, the circumcised bar ends kind of give me the creeps.
Might be where the levers are mounted on the bars, higher in the first picture and lower in the second one. Notice the bars look to have the bar ends pointed more downward in the second picture and level in the first one which would put the hoods at a different position on the bars and change the angle of them. Could just be camera angle. Go find someone who carries them and try them on would be my suggestion.
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Old 06-29-20, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by srode1 View Post
Change your stem
For another $200 to $300. Might as well get the right bar, even if it costs $100 more.
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Old 06-29-20, 11:12 AM
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$200-300 stems?! Nice alloy stems equal to the craziest weight weenie stuff on the market are like $60. Can't imagine how you can spend $200 except on something claiming to be carbon; stems are a rather poor application for carbon, they're almost never actually carbon, and not lighter anyway. My generic Taiwan 100mm stem ($30) is 107g and plenty stiff for my 46cm bars and 200+lb self. S-Works (alloy) is 110g. I don't see anything more than $150 at JensonUSA today. Anyway -

I have the Salsa Carbon Cowbells, and I think they might fit the bill. Though if I was shopping for a new carbon bar today, I'd have a look at the ergo FSA K-Wing AGX. Looks like it would improve wrist angle on the tops (my wrists are a little sensitive from various injuries)
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Old 06-29-20, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
For another $200 to $300. Might as well get the right bar, even if it costs $100 more.
wat? Is your stem dipped in gold and bejeweled in diamonds?

Salsa Cowbell carbon and a 10mm longer stem gives you the same effective result as what you have. Bar stats are 115mm drop, 68mm reach, 12degree flare.
Its the same 12degree flare, basically the same drop, and itll be the same reach with a longer stem.
Plus, its 100g lighter than your current bars.
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Old 06-29-20, 06:37 PM
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I also prefer to run a 12 degree bar (Ritchey Butano), but that's alloy only too. I think what you're looking for is the Whisky No.9 12F carbon bar.
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Old 06-29-20, 10:46 PM
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[QUOTE=srode1;21559102]Might be where the levers are mounted on the bars, higher in the first picture and lower in the second one.[/QUOTE

This is correct. I love my 48s.



You can get a better feel for how vertical the levers are in action here:


Last edited by HD3andMe; 06-29-20 at 10:51 PM.
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Old 06-30-20, 03:10 AM
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Originally Posted by zen_ View Post
I think what you're looking for is the Whisky No.9 12F carbon bar.
Exact same bar as the Salsa Cow Bell carbon - just rebranded - both owned by QBP.
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Old 07-01-20, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
wat? Is your stem dipped in gold and bejeweled in diamonds?

Salsa Cowbell carbon and a 10mm longer stem gives you the same effective result as what you have. Bar stats are 115mm drop, 68mm reach, 12degree flare.
Its the same 12degree flare, basically the same drop, and itll be the same reach with a longer stem.
Plus, its 100g lighter than your current bars.
Right now I have a carbon stem and carbon compact no-flare bars on this bike, both FSA. (The aluminum flared ones are on a different bike.) I really don't want to replace the stem, but if I did, I don't want to downgrade the stem. I want to keep all the current properties of the stem and upper part of the drop bars, including the 80mm reach. (It is a custom bike, and I have a large investment in the fit, so I don't want to change something that has worked well for six years just to tweak hand position for one lower-bar position I use less than 5% of the time.)
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Old 07-01-20, 10:46 PM
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[QUOTE=HD3andMe;21561023]
Originally Posted by srode1 View Post
Might be where the levers are mounted on the bars, higher in the first picture and lower in the second one.[/QUOTE

This is correct. I love my 48s.



You can get a better feel for how vertical the levers are in action here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIpCnNsPS0E
Thanks. That is really helpful.

I also didn't know there was a gravel road on Diablo. (I did the road ride once around 1987.) Maybe it is time to go back....
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Old 07-02-20, 05:02 AM
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If you like to ride with your hands on the tops often, I highly recommend you consider bars with a 4 or 5 degree sweep back design, very very comfortable. Of course that narrows the options and might end up forcing you to swap for a longer stem because it makes the effective reach shorter. Pro Discover Carbon bars have the sweep.
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Old 07-02-20, 01:15 PM
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So carbon in the handlebar space really only nets you shape options. If you like round bars, you might be happiest with an AL bar given a wide array of options. I think most of the bars in this space are going to be shallower and shorter, with longer drops (meaning they are meant for a longer stem).
Note:
1) that measurements are different company to company - for example a 42cm Easton bar is the same width as the 44cm 3t bar i had despite both quoting hood c-to-c.
2) Flare is not the bar tips splayed out to the pointing away from the bike. Flare is the bars spread away from the, but parellel to it. "Outward Sweep" or "Z-Flare" are the bar ends pointed away from center.

FSA has the Carbon K-wing, which has weird pockets for your palms.

This might be better for you. https://us.3t.bike/en/products/dropb...hiaia-562.html

I'd suggest looking at the product technical drawings.
https://shop.fullspeedahead.com/en/f...3bdfd247d8404/
https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/00...e_AX.pdf?62361
https://us.ritcheylogic.com/media/it...ec-diagram.pdf

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Old 07-02-20, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by jfranci3 View Post

So carbon in the handlebar space really only nets you shape options.
I thought it was to help dampen vibrations.
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Old 07-02-20, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by sean.hwy View Post
I thought it was to help dampen vibrations.
Sean, I expected better from you! :-)

You hit a bump or are riding on rough road you want some deflection and dampening. Generally, more flexy bars will be more comfortable and the material play a major role in dampening. Keep in mind that I don't think any bar is going to flex that much from the stem to the hoods.
So... It easy to make a stiff, cheap handlebar. You can use thick wall metal can bend it the simplest way possible, then heat treat it the fastest way possible. One reason people may think AL bars suck is because the stock units that come on most bikes are almost universally cheap, stiff units. It's not the material it's how you use it. Unlike frames, bars are open ended. Round tube AL frames shake the crap out of you because they can't flex well. Here it's open ended with free movement and we can fiddle with the material with less restrictions.
Here you can see, as implemented, an AL bar will flex just as much as a carbon one. Road Handlebar Review - Fairwheel Bikes Blog
As for dampening, you've got the bars wrapped in tape and your body is enough of a dampener to kill the oscillations - plus you've got a big tire and dirt under you. In any case, you can make a comfy, light AL handle bar. Carbon allows you to shape the bar more easily, so you can make the part where your palm sits fatter and for the bar to have more bends. It'll be lighter, but like stems, carbon handlebars don't tend to be all that much lighter than the AL versions (30-40gr).

I have carbon bars on both my bikes, but I wouldn't buy a handlebar because it is carbon. Internal cable routing, flat top/aero profiles, and more contours make the difference for me.
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Old 07-02-20, 05:02 PM
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[QUOTE=wgscott;21564721]
Originally Posted by HD3andMe View Post
I also didn't know there was a gravel road on Diablo. (I did the road ride once around 1987.) Maybe it is time to go back....
The mountain is laced with fireroads. Many make for a brutal climb so North Gate or South Gate make for better routes to get to the dirt descents.
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