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Flared drop bars

Old 04-15-18, 04:12 PM
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thehammerdog
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Flared drop bars

I am in the market for new bars on the Mongoose super graveler and lening towards a flared bar. With so many choices not sure of how they differ or actually what the benefits or this style is for the rider
who has one and how is it better. I have normal drops and need something wider and shallow
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Old 04-15-18, 04:43 PM
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I recently put some Salsa Cowbell’s on my CX/gravel ride, and am really enjoying them so far. The time spent in the drops is much more comfortable and the extra flare does add a bit of leverage/control.

I picked these bars because they were not as aggressively flared as some of the other ‘dirt drops’ out there. I could see wanting something with more for a different kind of build down the road. There’s definitely a lot of choices these days.
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Old 04-15-18, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by thehammerdog View Post
I am in the market for new bars on the Mongoose super graveler and lening towards a flared bar. With so many choices not sure of how they differ or actually what the benefits or this style is for the rider
who has one and how is it better. I have normal drops and need something wider and shallow
Origin8 Gary OS sweep
Salsa Cowbell
Salsa Cowchipper

Start with these 3. Google them + Guitar Ted as he has reviews on all of them.

Ive had the Gary bars for 3 years now and really like them, but decided to try the Cowchipper bars. They ate too similar thojgh, so i will eventuay get some Cowbell bars this summer as they have less sweep and flare, but i think itll still be enough for me to like em.

The heavily flared bars are supposed to be set up so the drops are level with ground. This cants the brake levers in and down.
The reason for this is because the rider is supposed to ride in the drops for much of the time.
As a result, bars are often set higher than on paved road bikes.


With that said, i see a bunch of people with the bars set so the ramps are level. Defeats the purpose, but if they like it, then ok.



Splayed out drops help give the rider more control on unstable ground. This is the reason they are popular(well this, and marketing/look).
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Old 04-15-18, 10:22 PM
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I recently moved to the Ritchey VentureMax (the cheaper COMP version) from a run of mill compact bar. Opened up my gravel bike experience. I have so much better control and comfort and only come out of the drops for a temporary change of pace. I move my hands around the "bio-bend" in them and drop area more than I come out of the drops themselves. The Venturemax is similar to the Cowchipper but slightly more reach and slightly less drop. I did exactly as @mstateglfr says above, raised my bar up one spacer and since I have short stubby fingers I position the shifters down and angled them in a little more so I could reach them better from the drops. I'd never switch back to regular bars.

Last edited by u235; 04-15-18 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 04-15-18, 10:30 PM
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Thanks guys. My bike feels ok but i lack leverage with the normal bars i have on it nice in road but on dirt / trails jumping stuff it is shaky. Gary bars looked good cheap
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Old 04-15-18, 10:49 PM
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FSA Adventure! 12º sweep, very similar geometry to the Salsa Cowbell. But dirt cheap-- under $40-- I love mine.
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Old 04-16-18, 07:36 AM
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+1 for the FSA Adventure. I use them on my drop-bar 29er that I race the combination gravel/mtb races down here in the Southeast. They're a very good bar and provide about the best control for drops that I've found.
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Old 04-16-18, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Origin8 Gary OS sweep
Salsa Cowbell
Salsa Cowchipper

Start with these 3. Google them + Guitar Ted as he has reviews on all of them.

Ive had the Gary bars for 3 years now and really like them, but decided to try the Cowchipper bars. They ate too similar thojgh, so i will eventuay get some Cowbell bars this summer as they have less sweep and flare, but i think itll still be enough for me to like em.

The heavily flared bars are supposed to be set up so the drops are level with ground. This cants the brake levers in and down.
The reason for this is because the rider is supposed to ride in the drops for much of the time.
As a result, bars are often set higher than on paved road bikes.


With that said, i see a bunch of people with the bars set so the ramps are level. Defeats the purpose, but if they like it, then ok.



Splayed out drops help give the rider more control on unstable ground. This is the reason they are popular(well this, and marketing/look).
Sidenote addendum...there are 3 different versions of cowbell that are all a bit different...
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Old 04-16-18, 10:21 AM
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Easton EC70 AX are full carbon if you want to go that route...

Review: Easton EC70 AX Carbon Adventure Handlebars - Gravel Cyclist: The Gravel Cycling Experience


-Tim-
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Old 04-16-18, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Sidenote addendum...there are 3 different versions of cowbell that are all a bit different...
yep... 2 aluminum and 1 carbon version, which is new this year. the measurements are all the same though.

I’ll add that i got the Cowbell 3’s a few weeks before the new line showed up. Looks to be the same as the new, least expensive option.
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Old 04-16-18, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by justin1138 View Post
yep... 2 aluminum and 1 carbon version, which is new this year. the measurements are all the same though.

I’ll add that i got the Cowbell 3’s a few weeks before the new line showed up. Looks to be the same as the new, least expensive option.
Cowbell 3 has a different flare than cowbell 2 IIRC
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Old 04-16-18, 11:28 AM
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I have On One Midge bars. I like them a lot, because 1) more leverage 2) don't bang forearms when it gets real rough, and 3) much more comfortable in the drops.

I end up spending roughly equal amounts of time in the drops, cross bar, and hoods.

I have bar end shifters, and I don't think I'd recommend On One Midge bars without them because the bars are kind of short without the extra extension provided by the barcons.
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Old 04-16-18, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Cowbell 3 has a different flare than cowbell 2 IIRC
You are correct. I was looking at the new line up when I posted my comment. Those are all the same.

The older 2’s have a bit more drop/reach.
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Old 04-16-18, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Sidenote addendum...there are 3 different versions of cowbell that are all a bit different...
Huh- must be new. For years it was 2 offerings and they were identical in geometry. The differeence was weight due to material used.
Ill have take a new look.
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Old 04-16-18, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Huh- must be new. For years it was 2 offerings and they were identical in geometry. The differeence was weight due to material used.
Ill have take a new look.

Not really "new", but old. There's lots of NOS Cowbell handlebars out there--being made/distributed by QBP they're everywhere....I believe Salsa on their website rebranded the "Cowbell 3" as the "Cowbell", further confusing things-as the specs are identical.
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Old 04-17-18, 09:00 AM
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I've got the Salsa Cowbell 3 on a bike and like the flare. I also like the shallow drop (easier on my aging back), but it leaves too little room for gripping the handlebar in the mid position, right under the brake levers -- the bar bends too abruptly at that spot.
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Old 04-17-18, 04:12 PM
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The FSA bars have 12 % flare is that enough seems minor vs, normal but I nevered used a pair. Seem like some bars have more of a flare so unsure how hard core to go. The slight flare seems like a good start but really unsure and $50-70 aint cheap with new wrap so....I will try to do more homework.
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Old 04-17-18, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by thehammerdog View Post
The FSA bars have 12 % flare is that enough seems minor vs, normal but I nevered used a pair. Seem like some bars have more of a flare so unsure how hard core to go. The slight flare seems like a good start but really unsure and $50-70 aint cheap with new wrap so....I will try to do more homework.

12* flare for me is plenty. Note that spec is side flare not vertical flare of the drop...FSA doesn't specify the vertical flare. Some people like the crazy cowchipper/woodchippers, but to each their own.



Fit is a personal thing ofc. between flare, reach, drop, width, as well as rotation of the bar in the stem, and placement of the brifters on the bar, plus stem angle/length/stack....you have a dozen points of adjustment easy.


The FSA is listed for $40USD on their website BTW, which is cheaper than the Cowbell--but it has longer reach (80mm vs 68mm)

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Old 04-17-18, 05:03 PM
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...and I picked up my FSA Adventure bar off of Amazon for $35. For me at least, the 12º is plenty-- but I have a 44cm bar, so they're like 53cm wide at the ends of the drops. Any wider would seem excessive.
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Old 04-17-18, 05:50 PM
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12° is a huge difference compared to 0°, for me it was on the order of several percentage points faster on any given segment of singletrack due to greater control and improved access to the brakes and shifters. Going from like 12° to 24° or great did not yield as much improvement and my wrists did not like the angle required.

Here's an example of how handlebars are measured, some companies do the flare/sweep inclusive so one company's 12° is another's 6°
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Old 04-17-18, 06:29 PM
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I agree with the others. 12° is a lot.

Mine are 16° and they took a long time to get used to. The wide stance does open my chest though, and I feel breathing is easier when I'm going hard.
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Old 04-17-18, 07:35 PM
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I had same dilemma with amount of flare and the size. In the end I went from a 400 compact that I rode the hoods 90% of the time to a 440 24° flare for $49 that I am in the drops 90% of the time and have no regrets. The hoods now is not ideal but the comfort and control in the drops more than makes up for it. Before I was always overly cautious around roots, bumps, downhill on loose and reluctant to hop or lift over things things without a clear line and planning from the hoods and I could never quite get a good reach on the brakes and still have a good grip from the drops. I've only been riding a drop bar for a little over a year and 4K miles so take my experience with a grain of salt.

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Old 04-18-18, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Easton EC70 AX are full carbon if you want to go that route...

Review: Easton EC70 AX Carbon Adventure Handlebars - Gravel Cyclist: The Gravel Cycling Experience


-Tim-
I'm running the aluminum version of these bars, and have been really happy so far. My old bars also had 16 degrees of flare (from my old GT Grade), but I sized down to a 42 on the Eastons and find them very comfortable The drops extend longer, which was another complaint of my old bars. The AL version doesn't have the cable grooves, but so far that hasn't been an issue.
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Old 04-18-18, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
I agree with the others. 12° is a lot.

Mine are 16° and they took a long time to get used to. The wide stance does open my chest though, and I feel breathing is easier when I'm going hard.

It makes breathing easier...OTOH if you live in the Great Plains with lots of surface wind, it makes your torso much more of a sail in a headwind. Hence why, this fall, I put the dork-bars on my own gravel rig.
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Old 04-18-18, 03:25 PM
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We have Salsa Cowbell 2 and 3's mounted on a couple of bikes, and the Cowchipper mounted on a third. Like all of them. Has anybody tried Specialized's Hover 15 degree rise with flare (12 degree)? It is certainly priced decently at $55.
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