What is it
Drop bars aren’t just for traditional road bikes anymore. Indeed, niches such as gravel and monster cross are requiring component manufactures to re-think off-road offerings. Whisky Parts Company is one such company, who’s been focused on the gravel segment. Already this year, they released an updated line of seat posts, stems, and bars tailored for off-road drop bar adventures. Now with Whisky’s line of new handlebars, including the No.9 6F Carbon Drop Bar reviewed here, their aim is to aid in comfort and handling without hindering cockpit set-up.
The No.9 6F Carbon is Whisky’s modern racing styled drop bar. It is equally at home on tarmac, gravel, or twisty cyclocross courses. The comfortable 6-degree flare provides excellent control and comfort with just enough forearm clearance from the drops. This bar also features a slightly deeper drop section than their wider flared offerings. The reach is also slightly shorter to compensate for the now-common, longer hydraulic STI levers from many manufacturers.
Low weight (215g for 44cm tested here)
Subtle 6-degree flare
Short 67mm reach for new style hydraulic levers
Confidence inspiring when in the drops
Expensive at $225
125mm drop may be too deep for some
Whisky is a company I’ve been intrigued by from the get-go. I appreciate their no frills, no crazy claims approach. They just offer straight-up, solidly made carbon components. The No.9 6F Carbon handlebar is the perfect example, with its understated graphics, low weight, and rock-solid construction.
Whisky is known for matte carbon bike components that upgrade and update many bikes. This year, Whisky released a new range of bars, rims, and forks all aimed at optimizing a riders off-road experience. Though most of the new equipment is for gravel and adventure market, drop bar riders of all disciplines can get behind the latest offerings.
The Whisky No.9 6F Carbon is a modern racing-style drop bar. With a drop of 125mm, short reach of 67mm, and flare of 6 degrees, the No.9 6F inspires confidence, while still giving the rider the ability to get aero in long gravel races. Crafted from high-modulus, unidirectional carbon, this do-it-all bar weighs a respectable 215 grams size 44cm. The construction is quality, while the matte finish and subdued graphics ensure the components will match any bike and paint scheme.
Measurement markings on the bends help with initial set up, yet are something overlooked by many bar manufactures — but not Whisky. The reach length is a response to now-common, longer hydraulic STI levers. For those unfamiliar, reach is the distance the bar extends from the clamp area. Reach overlaps somewhat with the drop, as an extended reach serves to pull you forward and down. Considering most traditional road bars have a reach of 80mm, these bar’s 67mm measure can drastically change the feel if not fit up correctly.
Like any new handlebar, he Whisky No.9 6F Carbon easy to install. I used a VeloAngle tool(https://www.roadbikereview.com/reviews/veloangle-pro-fit-tool-review) to get my measurements dialed from seat to stem.
Right away, I wanted to see how the shorter reach made a bike I’m already very familiar with (Specialized Crux) feel and respond. From the gun, I felt comfortable on the new setup, carving in and out of turns on my local singletrack. The Whisky No.9 6F Carbon bars are wider than the Full Speed Ahead SL-K (44cm, 80mm reach, 4-deg flare, 118mm drop) that I switched out, but some manufacturers measure width differently, so be mindful.
The comfortable 6-degree flare of the Whisky No.9 6F Carbon provides excellent control and comfort with just enough forearm clearance from the drops. The flare is the right amount for me, just enough to inspire play on long sketchy descents in the drops but narrow enough to sprint for town signs. The carbon eats up a considerable amount of road chatter and smooths out bumpy single track.
I’ve grown to appreciate the longer drop in the never-ending headwinds that accompany gravel and rail trail riding. The 125mm drop is enough to keep a 90-degree bend in the arms without feeling like you need yoga class before.
After many miles of testing, the Whisky No.9 6F Carbon are virtually scuff free with zero delamination issues, something that I find common in some other carbon road bars. The textured grip on the clamp areas is also clean and crisp as its first install, even after many swaps from bike to bike.
Bottom line, these bars can take a beating and keep on monster crossing. And though the $225 price tag will be high for some, finding the right bar for your riding style is priceless. The way I see it, the Whisky No.9 6F Carbon is a fantastic upgrade or build option for your next gravel, cyclocross, or do-anything drop bar creation. And with their new line-up of matching seatposts and stems, you can have a full matching Whisky build.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
More info: whiskyparts.co