To the casual observer, road bike handlebars look more or less the same now as they did about a century ago when ‘drop bars’ first came into existence.
But while the design has been only subtly tweaked over the decades to accommodate things like brake levers and integrated cables, the materials and production methods have undergone sweeping change.
From steel to aluminium alloy to titanium and carbon fibre, manufacturers have been in a race to produce lighter, stiffer and more integrated bars, all while reducing drag.
In order to give riders an insight into the production of our Handsling Integrated Race handlebars, we decided to leave the carbon in its unfinished raw state on one set of bars.
This means that the join - where the drop section is bonded to the stem/tops section - is clearly visible instead of being hidden under paint.
We love the look. It's something different and gives rider a feel for the manufacturing process. In the factory, the top-section and drop sections are produced separately in their own moulds before being bonded together. The width of the join dictates the overall width of the bars - 38cm up to 44cm.
Riders may fear these joins are potential weak points that could break under strain or in a knock. In actual fact, the process of carbon welding makes them the strongest part of the bar.
Ever since we launched the first edition of the A1R0evo back in 2018, we've made subtle tweaks to the handlebars.
The main change was to account for sprinters requiring clearance for their wrists and forearms at the point between the top section and the drops.
Company founder Simon (a sprinter) worked with our engineer to change the rather severe angle on the first incarnation in favour of a shallower, more flared angle that doesn't interfere when you're sprinting.
We also updated the design to provide more stiffness. We wanted something rock solid that wouldn't flex when out of the saddle giving it full gas. For those who want slightly more flex and comfort, we have our Integrated Sportive Handlebar.
The result of years of design refinement is an aerodynamic and super stiff integrated bar that reveals the skilled manufacturing work that went into it. Let us know what you think.