Flared Handlebars – UPDATED 2021 – Best Handlebars For Gravel Riding
With the growth of gravel riding happening over the past few years, more and more gravel-specific tech has hit the market. One product that stands out is flared handlebars. These newly designed handlebars have been widely accepted by gravel racers and riders alike.
So, what is a flared handlebar, and how can it help your gravel riding?
In this article, we dig into some of the best handlebars for gravel riding and how the flared design can help you become more comfortable and have more control over your gravel bike.
Flared Handlebars – A Complete Guide
Originally flared handlebars hit the road cycling market first and were developed for road cycling originally. Manufacturers were looking at ways to improve aerodynamics while improving stability while positioned on the drops.
They had to design a bar that allows the hands to be closer together on the tops while allowing the rider a more stable position on the drops. They achieved this position by flaring out the handlebar drops wider than the hoods.
Once gravel cycling gained popularity, they found that the design offered everything a gravel rider needed. The flared drop design helped the gravel rider with better stability while descending and more control through muddy trails.
Since gravel riding needed much better control and stability than road cycling, gravel handlebars were designed to flare out much more than a similar road handlebar.
So what is the difference in flare between gravel and road handlebars?
Your typical flared road handlebars can offer up to 2cm of flare (measuring from the outside of the bar to the widest point of the drop).
Gravel handlebars generally provide much more flare, as more stability is needed while in the drops. The drop then can range anywhere from 2 cm up to 4 or more centimeters. However, some more extreme designs flare out considerably.
Knowing this, a typical drop handlebar that measures 40cm wide from the top can end up being as wide as 46cm on the drops for the gravel rider.
However, there are many different variants of the flared handlebar to cater to all types of riders.
Best Handlebars For Gravel Riding
Since stability, comfort and control are vital when riding off-road, the best handlebars for gravel riding should provide the rider with stability and control when down in the drops.
That means using a flared handlebar can offer the rider much better control than a standard road handlebar. The amount of flare needed will depend on the terrain you are riding.
If you are riding more technical gravel courses, you should look to a handlebar with a wider flare. Otherwise, anything from 2-4cm of flare should be enough for any rider tackling any long gravel routes.
Below are some of the most popular types of handlebars for gravel riding.
Flared Gravel Handlebars
Flared gravel handlebars typically come standard on most gravel bikes today. These bars often provide a small amount of flare and are made from aluminium.
FSA Adventure Compact Alloy Handlebar 44
The FSA Adventure handlebar has been designed to tackle all types of gravel riding with a 12-degree flare. The FSA Adventure handlebar offers a low-cost alternative to customizing your handlebar setup.
WHISKY – No.7 Aluminum Alloy Drop Handlebar
The widest flared handlebar on the list, the Whisky alloy drop handlebar is a great alternative for the rider looking for a more relaxed and comfortable position. Made from 7000 series alloy, the handlebar offers 24 degrees of flare for the rider that wants to spend more time in the drops.
Carbon Flared Drop Bars
If you are already using a flared bar on your gravel bike, upgrading to carbon flared drop bars can help increase comfort and lower weight. However, there are many models of carbon bars for gravel riding, and picking the correct handlebar can often be a pain.
Below are a few of the most popular carbon-flared drop bars for gravel riding.
Easton EC70 AX Handlebar Carbon, 44cm
The Easton Ex70 AX carbon handlebar is for the rider looking for an ergonomic drop shape that is compatible with bar-end mounted Di2 junction boxes. The carbon design provides lower weight and higher vibration dampening than alloy bars. The short drop and 16-degree flare offer a more comfortable hand position and greater control and leverage.
The Control Tech CLS is for the riding looing for a more upright position. The handlebar offers 16 degrees of flare for better hand position and control. Made entirely of carbon for a smooth and comfortable ride, the Control tech CLS gravel handlebar is perfect for the recreational rider.