eXotic Full Carbon Riser Handlebar £60.49
There's something eminently pleasing about carbon fibre. The fact that it's so smooth and warm to the touch makes it something you want to have. Add to that the fact that it's strong and light and you're onto a winner.
Exotic's Full Carbon Riser uses the material to full effect. It is smooth and when the light catches the fibres it screams quality. Aluminium handlebars pale into insignificance compared to this. With the eXotic logo clearly marked on the front and OBE on the rear, you're left in no doubt which brand it is.
The 680mm wide bar I've tested is towards the narrow end of the carbon bars the company makes - they start at 660mm and go through to 750mm, so have something for everyone - and has a backsweep of 9 degrees and an upsweep of 4 degrees.
With a 31.8 clamp size it's chunkier in the middle, thinning down to the standard 22.2mm ends, allowing you to fit pretty much any grips to it.
I had half expected a lot of vibration to be transmitted through it via my hardtail's frame on bumpy tracks - I tend to run quite high tyre pressures when the ground is firm - but it wasn't the case. Despite being very rigid, very little vibration found its way through.
Cross-country at speed showed up a little more - where the aluminium bars would have been a little more forgiving the carbon stayed rigid, but the lighter weight more than made up for it. I've found I'm running my fork at a slightly lower pressure away from hardpack and am noticing the benefits.
The 680mm feels quite wide on tree-lined trails - I'd probably be clipping all sorts of things if I'd gone for the wider bars - but it does offer plenty of control. And, at slower speeds, you can lean it over with more confidence to avoid branches.
It's a good, rigid bar that's very competitively priced. If you're considering making the upgrade, don't forget to check your stem size - you may have to change that too.
Suitable for Cross Country and All Mountain riding
- Material: full carbon fibre
- Clamp size: 31.8mm
- Bar Diameter: 22.2mm
- Rise: 20mm
- Backsweep: 9 degrees
- Upsweep: 4 degrees
- Weight: 147g