By Nancy Moss
When looking to upgrade your bike for a more comfortable ride, cyclists will generally look to pedals, saddles and handlebars to make the difference as these are the three key touch points that connect you to your bike. Now while riders will generally spend a considerable amount of time selecting pedals and saddles, unfortunately the same can’t be said about handlebars. Despite being overlooked, an ideal set of handlebars can have a dramatic effect on both comfort and performance as they can help to improve your posture and weight distribution.
3T Ergosum Pro Bar
Made from aluminium and carrying a weight of 245g (42cm size), the 3T Ergosum Pro Handlebar is a modern racing bar that’s built in a triple-butted AL 7075 alloy with an anodised black finish. Being shallower than more traditional drop bars with greater reach, the 3T Ergosum Pro is a well-balanced set of handlebars at a cost-effective price for those looking to take cycling a little more seriously. Not only that, with the bend’s fit geared to accommodating the latest brake-shifter levers it makes it easy to accurately adjust the reach and angle of the handhold to fit your specific requirements.
ITM R Triango Wing
ITM R Triango Wing road bars are made from 6061 T6 aluminium and wrapped in 3k carbon to offer a strong and lightweight upgrade with superb vibration dampening. Weighing around 371.6g, it’s not the lightest set but the ITM R Triango Wing road bars do feature a compact drop shape, in order to enable the rider to easily switch hand positions to achieve optimum steering control, improved comfort and brake reach. To top this off, this version also has a special wing section design that provides the option for hidden cable routing for a neater setup.
FSA Metron 4D Compact
Moving into the more performance-based handlebars of the list, the FSA Metron 4D Compact is designed for intermediate riders that are looking to seriously looking to improve their performance out on the road with the intent to compete in future races. Boasting a slight rise from the stem with a 10o forward bend, the FSA Metron 4D truly combines a dream mix of aerodynamic design with an ergonomic fit for better handling, posture and comfort. Weighing around 240g (42cm), it’s lightweight too, and features internal cable routing that can even accommodate wiring for electronic shifters such as Campagnolo EPS and Shimano Di2.
FSA Trimax Carbon 4D Compact
Featuring a continuous carbon composite construction and weighing approximately 225g (42cm), the FSA Trimax Carbon 4D integrates an ergonomic design with a lightweight, aerodynamic formation. Similar to the FSA Metron 4D, the FSA Trimax 4D features internal cable routing that accommodates high-end electronic shifters and a 10o forward bend to make it one of the most comfortable road handlebars to ride with. In addition to this, the FSA Trimax 4D has a flat top base section which offers a stiffness that helps to promote greater control and handling when riding. While this is more expensive than others in this list, this is a quality set of road handlebars that will help you take your riding to the next level.
ITM X One Carbon
The ITM X One Carbon bar has rapidly risen to the top of the list of most wanted handlebars and is one that all other race bars will be compared to, owing to its supreme comfort, stiffness and composition. As with most modern race bars, the ITM X One uses a compact drop to allow riders to get into an aero tuck pretty easily and makes braking easier with the ergonomic fit. The shape of the bar offers riders a high level of comfortability too, even without a pair of padded gloves or bar tape since the flat tops provide the perfect place to put your hands. Weighing 230g the ITM X One doesn’t reside within the super-light category, but it’s responsiveness, compliance and handling is what makes these handlebars great value for money.
Vision Metron 4D Di2 Compact
Constructed from with a continuous carbon fiber composite, the Vision Metron 4D Di2 Compact is designed to offer an unmatched level of comfort at the expense of a little aerodynamics. With ergonomics being the main priority, the tops are not aggressive or thinned out and are more oval shaped to give a more natural and upright riding position – which is particularly useful on tricky climbs. Weighing around 240g the Vision Metron 4D isn’t the lightest model available, but the shaping of the bars enables riders to achieve an aero tuck with minimal hassle. The bar is very stiff but compliant too, so gives you a really confident feel when cornering or sprinting and its internal cable routing means that it’ll never have to look less than its best.
When looking to upgrade the handlebars on your road bike, you should consider the kind of riding you will be doing and the route you’re likely to take. If you’re a casual long-distance rider, then handlebars with more emphasis on ergonomics and comfort may be best for you. However, if you’re a performance-based rider, then a lighter and more aerodynamic set of handlebars are more likely to be of greater benefit to you.