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FSA Wing Pro Compact Bars - Review

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FSA Wing Pro Compact Bars - Review

Old 11-23-08, 01:17 PM
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robncircus
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FSA Wing Pro Compact Bars - Review

I recently purchased some FSA Wing Pro Compact bars and finally got to ride them yesterday (50 miles with 5100 ft climbing). Before using these bars, I was using a bottom line Ritchey bar that was 44cm in width. I never quite felt comfortable in my drops and therefore found myself regularly descending on the hoods which was very tiring on the hands. When I was in the drops it wouls also feel like I was kicking myself in the chest because I was so low. Additionally, when I would try to stand and sprint in the drops my wrists would contact the top of the bars. For what it's worth, I'm 5'4 and my Ritchey bars were a "normal" drop which I believe is 145mm. Below is a pic of my original set-up:



I received my FSA bars from www.Jensonusa.com on Friday. I ordered the 42cm instead of 44 because I felt my Ritcheys were a bit wide. When I received the bars I was amazed at how different the shape was. They looked nothing like my Ritcheys. As soon as I got home from work I began the installation process. I found the bars easy to set-up and putting the brifters on was a breeze due to there being not ergonomic bends (it was a PITA to get them off the Ritchey bars). The tops of these bars are "wing" style and I wasn't sure if I was supposed to tape them but I figured what the hell and taped them.

Once I was able to get on my bike yesterday I immediately knew these were for me. My reach to the drops was very comfortable and I no longer felt really hunched over. I was able to "flip it" to compensate for the shorter reach on the bars and the hoods felt just right. The "wing" style top is very nice and I'm glad I taped it because it would have been too thick since I don't wear gloves. I did a few quick in the drop sprints and had no isses with wrist contact due to the bottom of these bars flaring out about 4 degrees (pic below).



Final thoughts:
I love these. I spent more time in the drops yesterday than I ever had before. I really enjoyes the "wing" style tops when climbing and surprisingly I'd say I prefer them to a more traditional round top. If you like a lot of room on the tops you will want to order one size larger then normal because there isn't a ton of room up there. I found the bars to be plenty stiff but I also know they might be considered portly at 260 or so grams. The carbon version is much more expensive but it is lighter. I think if you find yourself a bit uncomfortable in the drops these could be worth a try. I also think if you're smaller like me then you will love these. If anyone has questions about them feel free to ask and I will do my best to answer.

Here is a pic with the new bars:



Cheers

Rob

Last edited by robncircus; 11-23-08 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 11-23-08, 01:30 PM
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How flat are the tops? I couldn't really tell from your pictures. I got a set of ITM Lite Lux bars, and I think I am going to need to get rid of them for something a bit more compact, I'm having a difficult time reaching my brakes from them, but I like the flat top.
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Old 11-23-08, 01:35 PM
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Behold- the first road bike with positive saddle to bar drop!
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Old 11-23-08, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by tekhna View Post
How flat are the tops? I couldn't really tell from your pictures. I got a set of ITM Lite Lux bars, and I think I am going to need to get rid of them for something a bit more compact, I'm having a difficult time reaching my brakes from them, but I like the flat top.
Not sure how to describe. I don't think they're intended to be unwrapped if that helps. They are not overly flat but enough to rest palms on comfortably.

@Cedric

I think it's the camera angle but the drop is about an inch.
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Old 11-23-08, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by cedricbosch View Post
Behold- the first road bike with positive saddle to bar drop!
Still another half an inch or so to go, but we're getting there.
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Old 11-23-08, 01:39 PM
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I love mine. So much so I'm considering them on other bikes.

Specifically, I love the flat and wide top - and the flatter transition to the hoods. Very comfortable.
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Old 11-23-08, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by 55/Rad View Post
I love mine. So much so I'm considering them on other bikes.

Specifically, I love the flat and wide top - and the flatter transition to the hoods. Very comfortable.
Rad, do you have them with Shimano or Campy shifters?
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Old 11-23-08, 02:07 PM
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Another bar that is similar to this is the Easton EC90 Aero:



I was using a regular FSA Kwing but the angular drops weren't working for me so I switched to these. I like the flat tops, good transition into the hoods and the way the drops angle towards you but they are definitely compact.
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Old 11-23-08, 02:26 PM
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I just received my new FSA Winged Compact bar as well though am out of state on business so will be a while before I get them mounted. I too ordered the 42cm because I prefer a narrower bar even though these bars ride a bit narrower than they are spec'ed. I will be mounting mine with Campy 2009 Centaur Ergolevers. After Christmas, I will try to find this thread and post a picture or two with the newer Campy levers. Rad has them on his sweet Orbea with older style Campy levers as I recall.

My opinion is this bar design is brilliant on a number of levels...from top shape to sharp bend at the lever clamp which promotes a flat transistion to the hoods...referred to by some as the ramp of the bars to the hoods which for me is critical for palm comfort.

The shape of the drop hook is perfect. I ride Deda Newtons and the reach at 95mm creates a bit too large a disparity in reach from tops to hoods. With the FSA Winged Compact all three positions are closer to the same...hence the reference compact versus shallow. If I designed a bar...it would be just like this one. The only other bar that compares IMHO is the 3T Ergonova which is impossible to find in Al. The most notably thing about handlebar shape is they transform how any given bike feels to the rider and I am looking forward to losing the dreaded ergo shape of the Newtons which I have never liked. I ride the Newton because of the hood position but the FSA will be better on all accounts no doubt.
Thanks Rob for your nice review.
P.S. If you guys want to see an excellent video review, check out Andy's review on Competitive Cyclist's website. Andy's vid is superb and really captures the essence of this bar design. BTW Andy's review of the new Super Record is very comprehensive as well and many of his comments about ergos in particular apply to other 10s Campy variants.

Last edited by Campag4life; 11-23-08 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 11-23-08, 02:30 PM
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You guys' shoulders must be about 3 inches across. I ordered the 44s and theyre WAY too narrow for me. I have two sets of these damn bars in 44s. I assumed they'd be the same as the alloy version... they arent. I switched to a Ritchie 46cm bar with shallow drops and they suit me much better.
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Old 11-23-08, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by JayC View Post
You guys' shoulders must be about 3 inches across. I ordered the 44s and theyre WAY too narrow for me. I have two sets of these damn bars in 44s. I assumed they'd be the same as the alloy version... they arent. I switched to a Ritchie 46cm bar with shallow drops and they suit me much better.
You are showing your lack of perspective big guy. Another big guy here. Not everybody likes or needs a wide bar. Wide bars are in fact a relatively recent phenomena and many long time cyclists don't embrace them. Many tours have been performed by large riders on 38 c-t-c bars before the trend to wide bars. What do you get with wide bars? You catch more wind. Yes they offer leverage for climbing and sprinting...but you catch air "all the time". I have tried everything from really wide to very narrow and 42 c-t-c works best for me. Like frame size and other aspects of bike fit such as setback and saddle to handlebar drop, bar width is more personal preference than fitting anybody's sense of normalcy or rule book. Also, wider bars opening up breathing is another myth. Lastly, wider bars for the average rider promotes shoulder and neck pain because spreading the shoulder blades can promote slumping. Lots of reasons to err on the side of a narrow bar. Personal preference and nothing more.
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Old 11-23-08, 04:50 PM
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I used a very similar FSA bar last year, the FSA K-force compact carbon. The c-c distance at the hoods is a full 2cm less than the c-c width at the ends, so 40cm bars place the hoods at 38cm c-c, which I found a bit too narrow even for my 5'-6", 135lb body. The other downside, which I think is shown in the photos is a long reach from the hooks to the brake levers. I also did not like the flat top section, since it ended up with a slight upward angle.

This year I tried the Easton EC-90 SLX3 that only weigh 195 grams. They are much better, IMO. The reach to the brake levers is substantially less, the roundish (but not truly round) top section feels much better. With a very short torso and my saddle slid pretty far back for, I need the short reach to keep a decent stem length of 110mm. The c-c width on the brake hoods is still less than the c-c width at the ends, but only about 1cm. These bars aren't cheap, but can be had for $175 at Beyond Bikes. That's a lot better than the $250 MSRP.

I think the OP's saddle is slightly higher than the bars, but not a lot. In contrast, I use a large 12cm drop from the saddle to the bars.
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Old 11-23-08, 05:02 PM
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i had spent some time on these bars last summer, and while i have not deviated from my current road set up, i did opt to put them on my cross bike, its a great bar, i just wish the white version wasnt so much more expensive than the black version...
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Old 11-23-08, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
I used a very similar FSA bar last year, the FSA K-force compact carbon. The c-c distance at the hoods is a full 2cm less than the c-c width at the ends, so 40cm bars place the hoods at 38cm c-c, which I found a bit too narrow even for my 5'-6", 135lb body. The other downside, which I think is shown in the photos is a long reach from the hooks to the brake levers. I also did not like the flat top section, since it ended up with a slight upward angle.

This year I tried the Easton EC-90 SLX3 that only weigh 195 grams. They are much better, IMO. The reach to the brake levers is substantially less, the roundish (but not truly round) top section feels much better. With a very short torso and my saddle slid pretty far back for, I need the short reach to keep a decent stem length of 110mm. The c-c width on the brake hoods is still less than the c-c width at the ends, but only about 1cm. These bars aren't cheap, but can be had for $175 at Beyond Bikes. That's a lot better than the $250 MSRP.

I think the OP's saddle is slightly higher than the bars, but not a lot. In contrast, I use a large 12cm drop from the saddle to the bars.
Interesting. I doubt they're for everyone but I'm enjoying them.

Rob
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Old 11-23-08, 05:19 PM
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how do you know what size to get ?
 
Old 11-23-08, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by 55/Rad View Post
I love mine. So much so I'm considering them on other bikes.

Specifically, I love the flat and wide top - and the flatter transition to the hoods. Very comfortable.
+1. I found them about a year ago and fell in love with them. I have big hands and had trouble with the "hook" being a bit uncomfortable on D.A. hoods.

These helped make a longer flatter transition from the bar to the hoods.

Other positives is the shorter reach so you can run a bit longer stem if needed.

The only negative is that 44cm is actually about 42 while in the hoods. The bars narrow a bit in the hoods but widen in the drops. I would love if they made them in a 46 as well.

I've got them on all of my bikes now.
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Old 11-23-08, 06:26 PM
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I think I'm glad that I didn't swing for these bars.

The drop looks way too cramped for me.

I think the OP did the right thing though. From everything I've read/seen, these bars reflect a trend for the fit to be lower in front and directed to using the hoods more than the drops for the majority of the time. So the setup is to lower the bars and be comfortable in the hoods and more aero in the hoods than otherwise, with the drops not so far off so the drop is about the same as a regular bar (since the hoods would be higher here). Interesting to see!

The bars look like italian bars with a shallower drop!

Glad you like them OP! Digging the yellow tape!

I've never tried them, so I'm not knocking them

Also, your original setup had the hoods way too high on the bars. The shifters should have been down a little more and the bars should have been rotated. That might have worked better for you, but there's nothing like a set of bars that just works!
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Old 11-23-08, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by haimtoeg View Post
Rad, do you have them with Shimano or Campy shifters?
Campy.

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Old 11-23-08, 07:04 PM
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55/Rad, your pictures are always very dramatic, unfortunately I can't see **** in them because of the high contrast lighting.
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Old 11-23-08, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by liquefied View Post
55/Rad, your pictures are always very dramatic, unfortunately I can't see **** in them because of the high contrast lighting.
I'll make note of that for when I become a product photographer. Thanks.
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Old 11-23-08, 07:40 PM
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I have Wing Pro Compact bars as well. Cabling job wasn't amazing but in general, I like the bars a lot, the flat top is very comfy for climbs.

Sorry for killing people not running large resolutions. How does one resize pics in terms of coding on the forum?





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Old 11-23-08, 07:41 PM
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I use these bars on my CAAD 9, and for non-racing applications, I think they're very comfortable. Its interesting to me how manufacturers seem to have taken away comfort and practical features from road bikes. The label of "road bike" today is almost synonymous with "road racing," and its unfortunate to see frames missing handy features like fender eyelets and non-aggressive geometry. Oh well...
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Old 11-23-08, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by kergin View Post
I use these bars on my CAAD 9, and for non-racing applications, I think they're very comfortable. Its interesting to me how manufacturers seem to have taken away comfort and practical features from road bikes. The label of "road bike" today is almost synonymous with "road racing," and its unfortunate to see frames missing handy features like fender eyelets and non-aggressive geometry. Oh well...
That is an interesting comment since most of the large bike company have a bike with "non-aggressive geometry". Roubaix, Synapse, Pilot, OCR even the new Madones come in a model with a longer head tube. Bikes with fender eyelets would most likely be found in the touring or commuting class of bikes.
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Old 11-23-08, 10:09 PM
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College dorm? Beautiful bike

Originally Posted by MiqueMaus View Post
I have Wing Pro Compact bars as well. Cabling job wasn't amazing but in general, I like the bars a lot, the flat top is very comfy for climbs.

Sorry for killing people not running large resolutions. How does one resize pics in terms of coding on the forum?





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Old 11-23-08, 10:10 PM
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Saddle = a little nose down?
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