We make a list of specific handlebars for gravel, or for adventure cycling in general, made of carbon. In a previous review, I already wrote about some models for this specialty but made of alloy and with a much lower cost. That is why, I have been investigating what the market has for this specialty but a lighter material and obviously, with a higher cost.
Add, that the cycling gravel does not need substantially of a reduction of weight, but of a reliability of its components. However, this is a very personal opinion.
It is true that with the installation a carbon handlebar on your bicycle will add extra damping since they normally absorb vibrations much better. Important thing if you are going to spend many hours pedaling.
1. Ritchey WCS Carbon Venturemax / 289.95 €
Well, here I bring you an important novelty for this 2020 such as the Ritchey WCS Carbon Venturemax. This handlebar is practically remarkably like its aluminum version and well known in gravel cycling: the WCS Venturemax.
The difference in terms of the characteristics of the carbon version compared to the aluminum alloy, are very subtle. Obviously, and the main one is that there is a difference in weight. The WCS Carbon VentureMax gives us about 228 grams in size 420mm. The aluminum version with the same measurement is 310 grams. The difference of 82 grams is not so great and practically imperceptible at the level of light sensations.
Perhaps, there are other aspects that differentiate them. The WCS Carbon VentureMax has a more streamlined air. The upper part is practically flat. This characterizes it as a handlebar for the use of a sports gravel, rather than for long journeys. The downside is that there is little space for the installation of utensils.
This carbon fiber handlebar has a flare or 24-degree opening. Consequently, this type of flared bar causes us to have greater control over descents or in general on somewhat more technical roads. Also, it causes that we can take the hands in different positions.
To finish, there is another important aspect of this handlebar. It is perforated, and therefore allows us to route the cables internally. This gives it a much cleaner visual appearance.
Its price is € 289.95
2. Pro Discover Carbon / 210.10 €
The Pro Discover Carbon is also a lightweight handlebar. In fact, it weighs only 230 grams. But do not go crazy with the lightness data of the components. Compared to aluminum models there is no substantial contrast and we are talking about differences of approximately 50-100 grams.
It has a flare or opening of 20 degrees, which allows us to increase stability on more technical roads. Additionally, its mid-section has been ergonomically designed to complement the GRX Brake Sub Lever (BL-RX812).
Discover Carbon handlebars are available with a 75mm reach, 110mm drop, and widths of 40, 42, and 44cm.
The price of this handlebar is € 210.10. Obviously, it is not within everyone’s reach, but if you are looking to lose weight on your bike, it is worth your purchase.
3. FSA K-WING AGX / 240.00 €
The K-Wing AGX is a handlebar for gravel, cyclocross or just for adventure cycling. It is built on the popular road K-Wing ergonomics. That is, the central part of this handlebar, like the road model, is elevated. With this greater comfort is achieved, since the design follows the natural arc of the arms. Furthermore, said central part is flat, increasing comfort when we rest our hands and especially during long journeys.
Unlike the road model, the FSA K-Wing AGX has more open ends (25 mm opening) with the aim of increasing control when we travel through more abrupt and complex areas.
Other aspects of geometry and that help comfort on the handlebar, is a shorter reach of 75mm and a drop of 115mm.
The approximate weight of this handlebar is 230 grams.
The approximate price is € 240.00.
4. Enve G Series Gravel / 402.99 €
The Enve G Series for gravel is almost prohibitively priced. Beyond its high cost, it is a model with a design and ergonomics designed for off-road cycling.
The first thing we observe is that its upper part is wider than usual, seeking a more comfortable position for the user’s hands. And it is that the discipline of adventure cycling requires a comfortable handlebar, since when traveling long hours on unpaved roads increases fatigue in the cyclist’s arms. This wide position creates a strong and stable base for cyclists when descending or riding in the drop position.
Also, this extra width results in two unique hand positions. A low for relaxed driving and a high for driving where access to controls is required.
The G series handlebar is designed for electronic shifting. It is available in four sizes ranging from 42 cm to 48 cm and includes a wider clamping area that fits accessories ranging from lights to hitch extensions.
As for the flare, it has a discreet 12-degree opening. Its average weight is approximately 250 grams.
The approximate price is € 402.99
5. Easton EC70 AX Carbon / 182.01 €
The Easton EC70 AX Carbon is a carbon handlebar that has an interesting price that does not reach 200 euros. Like most of the bars presented, it has a flared shape. Its flare or opening is 16 degrees. As you know, this allows you greater control, especially in areas with some difficulty or even descents.
Its technical data gives us a reach of 80mm and a drop of 120mm. As for its weight, it is one of the lightest we can find: only 220g (42cm).
The approximate price is € 182.01. It is the cheapest that you can find.
6. Farr Carbon Gravel / 225.34 €
This Farr brand handlebar is the lightest we can find in terms of carbon handlebars. It only gives us a scant 182 grams on the scale.
In addition to its light characteristic, it is one that I have presented that has a wider flare: 24 degrees. Consequently, its flared shape is not only designed for gravel, but I would venture to add that you can use it for touring.
Another feature that I highlight is that it is optimized for internal cable routing, which gives a much cleaner appearance.
Finally, regarding its price it is not excessive.
The approximate price is € 225.34
7. 3T Superghiaia / 250.49 – 262.00 €
The Italian brand 3T also offers us a specific handlebar for gravel and built in carbon: the Superghiaia. Like all the handlebars previously presented, its shape is also flared. Too bad the manufacturer does not specify the degrees of flare of this handlebar; a fact that I think is important.
As for its weight, it is quite light obtained a data of only 204 grams. The Superghiaia has a similar design to the models of the aero road brand 3T. In fact, the upper part of the handlebar is like the Superergo. It has a drawback, said upper part: it causes that there is little space for the installation of supports, or lights.
One of the things that I love is that the cables are routed internally. This gives it a much cleaner look from a visual point of view.
The price is not the cheapest: € 250.49 – 262.00
8. Salsa Woodchipper Carbon / 203.35 €
To end with this review of gravel carbon handlebars, I present the Salsa Woodchipper Carbon. In fact, its design is like its aluminum version. Plus, it shares the same 25-degree Flare. It is a model that, thanks to its wide flared shape, can be installed on your adventure or touring bicycle.
One difference from the alloy handlebar is that it has a much wider clamping area (140mm vs. 120mm).
Its approximate weight is not bad: 230 grams.
Its approximate price is € 203.35
Summary of presented models
1. Ritchey WCS Carbon Venturemax 228 grams 289.95 €
2. Pro Discover Carbon 230 grams 210.10 €
3. FSA K-WING AGX 230 grams 240.00 €
4. Enve G Series Gravel 250 grams 402.99 €
5. Easton EC70 AX Carbon 220 grams 182.01 €
6. Farr Carbon Gravel 182 grams 225.34 €
7. 3T Superghiaia 204 grams 250.49 – 262.00 €
8. Salsa Woodchipper Carbon 230 grams 203.35 €
I know I have left some more models that could be included in this list. I have highlighted, a priori, those that are best known within this versatile discipline.
As a common denominator, they all have a certain flared shape. Something that allows you greater control through more technical areas, or descents. But if your thing is to walk through paved areas, or through forest tracks in good condition, it is not so necessary to have a bar with such a pronounced flare.
In short, carbon handlebars are usually lighter than aluminum handlebars. The question I ask myself is whether it is necessary to invest so much money in a component that saves us only a few grams. What do you think?