The 3T Tornova Team Carbon handlebar combines the tops of their Ergonova with the traditional round bends of the Rotundo, to produce a bar that is both comfortable on the tops and extremely aggressive in the drops. It won't suit everyone, but if you want to get as low as possible, and want a classic looking handlebar, the Tornova Team Carbon is a top choice.
Bar shape is an immensely personal aspect of the bicycle, much like a saddle. The round bend is a classic shape that is still favoured by professional racing cyclists to this day. To mny riders it's a shape that just feels more comfortable than any ergonomic design. The smooth curve also offers satisfying aesthetics.
The bars have an indicated 83mm reach and 139mm drop, so it's quite an aggressive handlebar compared to say the 3T ErgoSum Team Bar, a shallow drop bar with a 128mm reach and 89mm drop. As you can see the reach is actually a bit shorter so it brings your hands back a little bit, but the extra drop is significant.
Such a deep drop won't suit everyone though, hence the rise in popularity of shallow drop bars. If you want to get seriously low, whether you're racing, time trialling or just enjoy riding as fast as possible, and appreciate the benefits of an aerodynamic position, the deep drop is hard to beat.
Recognising that it's popular these days to ride predominantly in the hoods, 3T have shaped the bend to ensure the hoods are aligned flat with the tops of the handlebar. This creates a very comfortable position when cruising along in the hoods. Transition to the drops and you notice also that 3T have also pushed the bar ends out a centimetre wider so there is good clearance between your wrists and the sides of the handlebar. That's a nice touch.
Riding along on the tops and the flattened top section borrowed from the Ergonova provides good comfort for long rides. This section of the bar is shaped like an egg, with a longer radius on the top surface so there's an increased area to place the palm of the hand on, when compared to a regular round bar.
Constructed from carbon fibre, it's light at just 192g for a 42cm bar. It's plenty stiff enough for even the most hardworking cyclist: leaning heavily on the bars in a sprint or out of the saddle climb reveals no hint of flex. Yet it's a comfortable bar and manages to filter out some road buzz compared to an alloy handlebar.
Setting the handlebar up on the bike couldn't be any easier. There are indicator marks in the central clamping area and at the top of the drops for carefully lining up the brake levers. The clamp area is coated with a grippy treatment to prevent slippage. There is provision for internal cable routing so you'll need to whip off your gear and brake cables to install them through the handlebar.
Despite the bar's light weight, it's fine to clamp on some time trial extension bars, making them ideal for the occasional time triallist. So that's handy. There aren't many carbon fibre handlebars that you can happily clamp extensions onto.
Then there's the price. £249.99. Yes it's jolly expensive, but it is in a par with other carbon fibre handlebars, and scores well on the weight front, managing to be a smidgen lighter than the Thomson Carbon Road Bar but not as light as the cheaper Bontrager Race X Lite Isozone. If weight is really important to you, the Tornova Ltd has a claimed weight of just 180g, costs £300, but can't be used with clip-ons.
Light and stiff carbon fibre handlebar with a comfortable shape and traditional round deep drops.
road.cc test report
Make and model: 3T Tornova Team Carbon
Size tested: 42 cm Black Red
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Tornova combines the plush comfort tops of Ergonova with the traditional round bends of Rotundo – a pattern many riders have been waiting for. Two new features further enhance Tornova's comfort and convenience: internal cable routing, and stepped location for the brake/shifter units. The stepped-location feature molds a small downwards step above the shifter clamp, so the shifter tops align truly flat with the top of the bar. This makes for a more comfortable handhold. Internal routing aligns cables better, so the bar assembly is tidier and gear changes snappier. Tornova Stealth is a versatile, light racing bar featuring the elegant Stealth finish in Matte Black. Clip-on compatible.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Weight: 215 g (42 cm)
Width: 40,42, 44 cm
Bar: 31.8 mm
Drop: 139 mm
Reach: 83 mm
Finish: UD Matte Black
If you like a round deep drop, you'll like these, with the added comfort of the egg-shaped tops.
Good comfort on the tops, in the hoods and in the drops.
Jolly pricey but comparable at least to other carbon handlebars of a similar weight.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. The stiffness and comfort is good.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The deep drops and rounded tops.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The price tag.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
If you like a traditional round bar with a deep drop, you'll love this bar. The price is hard to stomach though.
About the tester
Age: 31 Height: 180 Weight: 67
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.