These oversize Ergo-Bend EA70 bars from Easton follow the trend for handlebars with less reach and drop than is traditional as manufacturers finally wake up to the fact that there are a lot of mere mortals out there that don't have the lanky arms of a 23 year-old Dutch rouleur or the stretching regime of roadie pros who can get into drops that are in a different postcode. Bring on the trumpets!
With a reach of 75mm and a drop of 130mm it makes using the whole of the bar a reality for the less bendy amongst us, and being in the drops a more comfortable and regular occurrence rather than merely reserved for steep downhills and bank-holidays.
I have become a bit of a fan of bars with flat-sections on the tops, so much so that it feels odd going back to 'normal' round bars again. Flats are nice to gently rest the palms of your hands on when cruising, grip tight when climbing, chew on for headwinds and as a totally unexpected aside, if you run STIs with the cables sticking out the sides and like to hold onto them in a aero-tuck for when you do want to be a lanky Dutch rouleur then the flat sections make for real comfy rests for your forearms.
The Easton's flat top-section starts out pretty quick from the stem (about 35mms) so if you like an assortment of computers/lights/ bells/direction-finding gubbins and gonk handlebar clutter then these aren't for you as there's realistically only room for one gadget/lucky mascot on either side of the stem. The flats are good and wide measuring 40mm across giving enough room to eat your dinner off and the double-grooved underside is deeply recessed to tidy cables away neatly. With the ends of the bars rotated to the right angle for me the angle of the top flat section forced my hands into a wrist-down position, not ideal when just resting but it came into its own on climbs especially when hunkering down and putting some effort in, and after initial grumbling and tutting I got used to the angle anyway. Fussy riders however could spend forever never finding the right compromise between bar end and flat-top angle.
Moving down onto the drops, the 'anatomic' shape actually puts hands further away from the brake levers so those with short phalanges might want to look elsewhere. Conversely those with wide or large palms should shy away as well as the flat section at the end is really rather stubby and even my dainty hands felt themselves nudging over the bar-plug. Despite all this, the large straight 'ergo' drop section of the bar locks the hand in place and is a comfortable and re-assuring place to be.
They felt plenty stiff enough, as sturdy as any other alloy OS bar I've tried, but then I'm no 15 stone sprinter, and my knotted-string arms could worry little flex into them. They were however bolted onto a cyclo-cross bike and there was no untoward noodly tendencies when things got jiggity so we'd have to give them the thumbs-up in that department.
Overall we'd rate these bars as OK. Not because they were in any way bad, far from it: as handlebar shapes are as personal as finding a nice fitting pair of shoes these really didn't quite fit me, but my poison may be another mans meat. I couldn't fault the construction or performance, just the fit.
A quality set of bars with some interesting features, but check that they bend the right way for you
road.cc test report
Make and model: Easton EA70 bars
Size tested: n/a
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?
"Our top end aluminum bar. Light, strong and bombproof. Grooved for smooth cable routing. Available in flat wing on top or traditional round."
That's right on the money, although we didn't have any explosives to test the 'bombproof' claim, we guess this might be part of the American anti-terrorist measures. And it's "aluminium".
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Easton TaperWall™ Aluminum, Limited 5-year warranty
It clamped into a stem ok, it kept the brake levers where they should be ok, they didn't crack, snap, bend or burst into flames, all good.
So far no bends, dings, dents or scratches
Comfortable on the tops, but some compromise in the drops for small, or large, handed people.
Quite pricey compared to other compact and ergo alu bars out there.
Did you enjoy using the product? Mostly
Would you consider buying the product? No, too many niggles for my hands.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? I wouldn't recommend per se, but I'd say worth a look.
About the tester
Age: 42 Height: 180cm Weight: 74Kg
I usually ride: a variety My best bike is: My best bike is: Enigma steel road bike
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: As much as I can I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road, cyclo-cross and mountainbike just riding around, sometimes fast, sometimes with lots of stops for cake. Mountainbike and cyclo-cross racing, the odd evening road crit. Far too much singlespeed for my own good.
Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he’s not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he’s not doing either of those he’s pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he’s agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours doesn’t. He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.