Havoc 750mm carbon fibre handlebar £119.99
From Easton’s gravity focused range, the Havoc handlebar is a whopping 750mm wide but weighs just a bit more than the shorter trail/all-mountain Haven, at 235g.
Why choose a handlebar from the company's gravity range? Simply put, the widest Haven bar is 711mm. To get a 750mm bar you have to dip into Easton’s range of products aimed at all-mountain/freeride riders, where the harder hitting demands place an emphasis on strength and toughness. With the Havoc range the weight penalty isn't too restrictive that trail riders won't be tempted.
Easton have a solid reputation with their carbon components, and that shows, they're extremely well finished handlebars. They manage to be as strong as they are, without a serious weight penalty, thanks to the tapered wall technology that Easton use to layer the carbon fibres more thickly at the sections of the stem prone to increased stress.
The shape of the bars is spot on. A 9 degree bend combines with a 5 degree upsweep and a 20mm rise to fit so perfectly in the hands that I swear Easton designed them just for me. And if they’re too wide there are handy trim marks to slice them down a little.
I’ve been running them for a few months and not had one single problem, and that includes some pretty tough riding and some sketchy crashes. Also installation was a breeze, with no problems like lock-on grips slipping around.
Compared to aluminium bars of the same width it’s easy to detect the Easton is right up there in terms of stiffness. There’s no noticeable flex or bend even when on hard hits and landings, they felt solid and reassuring.
Havoc 65mm aluminium stem £79.99
It made sense to pair the bars with a stem from the same range. The Havoc stem is similarly a step up in beefiness from the Haven range, CNC-machined chunk of solid aluminium.
It’s a lovely bit of kit, and is very cleanly finished with smooth edges everywhere, particularly at the steerer tube. The repeated logo print is certainly distinctive but not to everyone’s taste.
Easton’s Top Lock Technology places the top of the faceplate flush with the stem, to remove stress risers. When fitting the stem you first tighten the top two bolts, until the face plate is resting against the stem body. Then you tighten the bottom bolts. Opposing bolts spread the load on the steerer tube.
Three lengths are available, 35m 50 and 65mm; we tested the later. For most trail riders it’s probably about as short as you want to go. It gave the increased control I wanted in my riding without the handling getting too twitchy.
People are steadily opting for wider and shorter cockpits, and even cross-country types are going wider. For the past six months I've become a fan of this setup, finding my riding has improved as the wider bars allows more leverage and control at high speeds and through tricky and fast corners.
Easton make the nicest handlebars and stems and the Havoc range fits the crossover between trail and all-mountain riding, with a wider choice of widths and lengths with a decent weight, thanks to some impressive carbon fibre technology.