Editor’s Note: This article is courtesy of the team at Art’s Cyclery. The original post can be found here.
Name your contact points: handlebar, pedals, and saddle. We’ve already suggested that you upgrade your pedals to some power meter pedals in Part II of “What You Want To Buy”. And because a “saddle upgrade” usually means shaving grams more than anything else, we’re focusing on handlebars as the third thing that you might want to buy, but haven’t yet found a reason to.
The best way for you to upgrade your handlebars is to get carbon. Not only will this save weight, but more importantly, it will increase comfort by reducing road vibrations and chatter, making for a much better ride experience. Carbon bars will also offer more torsional stiffness during out-of-the-saddle sprint efforts.
Up first is ENVE’s SES Aero Road Handlebar, which is designed to maximize both comfort and speed with its shape and construction.
When you need a stiff handlebar for your sprint effort, this carbon bar won’t let you down. But ENVE wanted more. It needed to be light, stiff, and forgiving. In working with an F1 aerodynamicist, they were able to design a handlebar that would also chew up extra road chatter and rattle to ensure comfort for the long haul. The drops are a full 25mm outboard from the hoods, helping widen your stance for maximum command of your bike.
Next up is 3T’s Ergonova Team Stealth Carbon Handlebar. This handlebar is a classic. No fancy polishes or weird carbon layups, this handlebar set a benchmark for the modern handlebar’s reach and drop as short and shallow.
Though the ergonomic perch up top is more comfortable than a standard round, 3T made sure this handlebar was still clip-on compatible should you need to make some changes down the road.
Finally, we bring up Shimano’s PRO Vibe UD Anatomic Carbon Handlebar. A handlebar for the serious roadie or powerhouse sprinter, these bars are incredibly stiff. They’re not the lightest, but they’re arguably the stiffest carbon bars around.
They sport a short reach and a moderate drop. Both positions in the drops are natural, and the flat transition into the hoods makes these bars comfortable no matter where your hands end up.