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Superlight and super-expensive, the high-performance Deda Gera DCR Gravel Handlebar has a unique shape that will divide opinion. It may offer ergonomic benefits to some riders, but the very tight bend to the hoods makes cable routing and bar taping really difficult.
Deda is not the first company to offer a twisty handlebar design – Specialized might like to claim that crown with its Hover bar, and many others have followed with what seem like ever more extreme versions. The most extreme – before the Deda DCR – was probably the Coefficient Wave, but though it features a twisty top section like the Deda, the direction of the swoop is not the same. The shape overall is very different, with the DCR having more sweep and less reach than the Wave.
The ergonomic shape of the DCR – and specifically the top section – is designed to give a more comfortable place for your hands to rest naturally than a standard drop bar with a flatter top section.
The bar is available in 440mm, 460mm and 480mm options, measured outside to outside at the lever position, with a 16-degree flare that equates to widths in the drops of 520mm, 540mm and 560mm respectively.
Those figures aren't that extreme, but where the Gera DCR starts to stand out is the shape of the top section, with the twisted area. The forward bend allows for a significant 12-degree backsweep, substantially more than other handlebars. For example, the Lauf Smoothie has 3 degrees of backsweep, Ritchey's Beacon has 4.5 degrees, and even the dramatic Redshift Kitchen Sink only has 7 degrees.
The Deda has a very short reach – 40mm – the shortest of any handlebar I am aware of, and the bend to the hoods is less than 90 degrees, which makes fitting cables and tape... interesting.
The bar features internal cable routing and covers all options, with a central port in the stem clamp area, Di2 routing options, and reasonably large access ports on the underside of the bar and at the lever clamp area.
But despite all the ports I regretted trying to route cables internally because of the extremely tight bend. The bend makes it extra difficult to route and fit cable outers into the shifter, and shifting performance might also have suffered, with the tight bend likely increasing friction within the cables. For reference, the groupset used was Campagnolo Ekar. Shimano Di2 or other electronic options combined with hydraulic brakes wouldn't suffer the same problems.
The shape of the handlebar means multiple positions are available, so before taping I would recommend riding without bar tape to try to find an angle that works best for you.
The textured lever clamp areas are short and very low down, and I had the levers at the very top. This still gave a slight downward angle onto the hoods. I started with the swooped section at a horizontal angle, but into the first ride adjusted it to give an upward shape.
There's enough space on the bar to accommodate a typical out-front computer mount or Deda aero extensions should you wish.
Patience is a virtue and something you will likely need when taping this handlebar. I'd also very strongly recommend using tape that has a gel backing, rather than double-sided, as the chances are you will need to redo the wrap multiple times.
Bar tape with plenty of stretch would also be wise, to get around the tight bends (Easton Microfibre worked well). I spent around an hour trying to get a setup I was happy with, compared to 10 minutes or so for a normal wrap.
It might be worth experimenting with different wrapping methods, too, as the figure of eight that I used meant more stretch was needed.
With the cables routed and the bar taped, how does it feel riding? In short, it's comfortable with very good damping on bumpier, off-road terrain. There is a noticeable amount of flex in the drop section, no doubt helping comfort and likely helped by the lightweight construction – 230g for 440mm width.
Comfort and flex certainly seem engineered into the bar; the Deda Vinci road bar I tested last year has a very similar feel.
The drop from hoods to drops is a compact 100mm, which allows for easy transitions between the positions. Once you're in the drops, the decent amount of flare gives a wide stance, which inspires confidence on faster, rougher, or more technical downhills. It isn't quite as extreme as the 3T Superghiaia, but it is similar, with the flare not starting until after the clamp section of the hoods. This means you can keep the brake hoods at a more upright angle, unlike some flared designs that will set them pointing inwards.
The very short reach will likely impact your riding position and make you more upright; it's something I noticed instantly. This might be useful for you – but if you already have a position you are happy with then it's certainly something to be aware of.
I didn't feel the dramatic 12-degree backsweep any more comfortable than a more standard handlebar, and the curved shape also made the bar feel quite narrow, with just a single hand position on the flat tops.
There are a few more expensive handlebars on the market, but at £302.99 the Gera DCR is rather pricey – the Coefficient Cycling Wave is a measly £264.
Overall, while some might find the DCR comfortable, for me, the extreme shape, combined with the difficulty in setting it up and finishing, takes things a step too far.
Superlight bar with extreme shape that won't suit everyone
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Deda Elementi Gera DCR Gravel Handlebar
Size tested: 44cm
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?
Deda Elementi says: "Gera® simply defines a new standard for gravel handlebars. It is also the perfect choice whenever you ride an adventure & touring bike set-up. Multiple hands positions at the rider disposal to find the best grip, aggressive if you want to run fast or comfortable if you want to enjoy your long ride in the nature. The handlebar features a 12° back sweep angle and 7mm rise. The 16° outseep at the drops offers even more stability when you ride off-road. Reach and drop have been optimized (EOS), the 40mm reach allows a closer position of brake levers and the 100mm compact drop is for more comfort and fast transition from lever to bar-end. With Gera® you can use clip-on bar extensions in two different positions, traditional at the center clamp area or wider and riser to improve your comfort. The DCR system (Deda internal cable routing) allows the full integration of the cables inside the handlebar with any compatible frame, but you can also choose a semi-internal cable routing. Handlebar is available in 3 different sizes, 44, 46 and 48."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Deda Elementi lists:
Shape: EOS (Endurance Optimized Position)
Material: UD Carbon construction
Diameter handlebar: 31,7mm
Flare A: 0 degrees
Outsweep: 16 degrees
Back sweep: 12mm, 12 degrees
Sizes: 44cm (SKU: GERA44), 46cm (GERA46) and 48cm (GERA48)
Measurements: Measured outside-outside (at the lever position)
Weight: 220 grams (44cm)
Finish: POB finish
Note: DCR system compatible for internal cable routing. Wide center area for mounting accessories and Deda clip-on bar (Parabolica and Fastblack2).
One of the lightest on the market.
The comfort is one of its biggest plus points. The only potential downside is the tops, with the bend giving a single hand position; I wasn't able place my hands as close to the stem as I sometimes do.
One of the most expensive handlebars on the market, regardless of intended use.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Setting it up was time-consuming, with internal cable routing made difficult because of the tight bend. Taping the bar also took a long time, again on account of the tight bend.
Some flex in the bar gives comfort, and the big backsweep will please some.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfort in the drops, and the style and amount of flare, which gives a wide, confident position for downhills.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I found routing cables and taping the bar significantly more difficult than others with a more standard shape and less severe bend around the lever area.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's super-expensive. Of those we've tested, the Coefficient Cycling Wave is the closest match, but it's still cheaper at £264.
Did you enjoy using the product? Once set up it was OK, comfortable, with a nice shape. Cable routing was a nightmare, though, and wrapping bar tape was very tricky.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Unlikely, unless someone had very specific requirements for bar shape.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Overall I'm going for 'quite good': it's light, with flared drops that add confidence and stability downhill, but the extreme shape makes setting it up very tricky, and I didn't find riding on the tops that comfortable. And then there's the price...
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is: Cannondale SystemSix
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: road racing, cyclo cross, sportives, mtb, Lots of gravel style riding
Matt is an endurance nut who loves big rides and big events. He's a former full-time racer and 24hr event specialist, but now is also happy riding off-road on gravel bikes or XC mountain bikes and exploring the mountains and hills of Mid Wales.