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Verdict: 
Very comfortable bar with plenty of hand positions that also looks the business
Weight: 
286g

The Ritchey WCS Butano Handlebar not only looks great, with its excellent finish, but also offers loads of comfortable hand positions for gravel/adventure riding or for long jaunts on the road.

  • Pros: Shallow drop means they are accessible for all; great quality
  • Cons: Minimal grooves leave the cables proud of the bar

The WCS range is the showcase for Ritchey's top end kit and the paint finish makes the Butano look and feel like it is carbon fibre. That finish is hardwearing too – it takes a lot to scratch it and make it look tatty.

> Find your nearest dealer here

The Butano is a bar designed for gravel and adventure use, primarily thanks to the curved shape and flared drops. Flared drop bars for off-road riding have become commonplace: you can ride in your normal narrow road position on the hoods, but when you are descending at speed or attacking a fast technical section in the drops, the wider stance means you have better stability by distributing your body weight wider.

> road.cc Gravel Bike of the Year 2019/2020

Like many, Ritchey has gone for a 12-degree flare either side, which means that the bar's width increases outside to outside from the tops to the drops by around 5cm in total.

The drop is just 118mm from the top to the bottom of the bar, so you don't need to be super-flexible to make full use of them.

Ritchey WCS Butano Handlebar 2.jpg

For comfort, it's not just the drops that are flared. The top of the bar either side of the main clamping area also kicks back by 4 degrees, putting these areas in a closer position to you for a more upright riding style when climbing or taking it easy, without affecting the overall reach figures for when you're riding on the hoods.

Ritchey_WCS_Butano_Tech_dwg.JPG

The bar is made from 7075 grade aluminium alloy and offers all the stiffness you need without feeling overly harsh when riding on rough roads or gravel.

The clamping area for the stem and that of the gear shifters has a sandpaper effect for grip, and I had no slippage issues with either.

Ritchey WCS Butano Handlebar 3.jpg

The only thing I would prefer to see are slightly wider grooves to run cables and hoses, because they are quite shallow on the Butano and end up sitting proud of the bar. I positioned the cables one in front of the other underneath towards the front of the bar to avoid having to wrap my hands around them, but some bars have a cleaner finish, such as the Deda Gravel100 RHM.

In fact, I swapped the Deda bar out of the gravel bike for this Ritchey, and the quality of the finish and ride is very similar. The Deda is more expensive at £94.99, but it's also lighter by 30g, if that is important.

> How to find the best drop handlebars for you + 8 of the best

Another very good bar I have been using is the Easton EA70 AX, which comes with plenty of clamping space for all your bits and bobs along with flared drops for £79.99.

There are other cheaper options out there, but taking the performance, fit and finish into consideration, I think the WCS Butano offers decent value for money, especially when paired up with other WCS components.

If the WCS is too rich for you but you like the design, there is a much cheaper Comp version which starts at around £40. 

Verdict

Very comfortable bar with plenty of hand positions that also looks the business

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Ritchey WCS Butano Handlebar

Size tested: 42cm

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?

Ritchey says, "Named for the mixed-use trails behind Tom's home, the WCS Butano is an homage to the early days of off-road and mixed terrain riding. Designed for the rigors of gravel and adventure riding, the WCS Butano handlebar puts the rider in a confident position with a shallow 118mm drop and a comfortable 73mm reach. The WCS Butano doubles down on its ergonomic comfort with a 4-degree sweep on the top and a 12-degree flare for the drops. Ready for exploration and adventure, the Butano serves up plenty of comfort and control."

A clever shape that is very suited to off-road riding and long rides on the road.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Ritchey lists:

Sizes: 38-46cm

Material: 7050 alloy

Reach: 73

Drop: 118

Flare: 12°

Backsweep: 4°

Flare out: 2°

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

A bar shape that is perfectly suited to gravel riding.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

I love the shape.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Grooves could be deeper for channeling cables.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Compared to very good Deda and Easton options I mentioned in the review, the WCS Butano sits right in the middle.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

One of the nicest gravel handlebars I've used, and the finish definitely justifies the price.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 41  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!