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The FSA A-Wing AGX handlebar is designed for gravel and adventure riding. On paper it ticks many boxes, but its shape won't be ideal for all riders.
The bar has a 120mm drop, which is very popular among similar gravel/adventure handlebars. It lets you get your body weight lower down and gives more control for rougher sections and particularly downhills.
Where it differs from most others is the flat section, which has a forward sweep. Some, such as the Ritchey Butano, have a slight backsweep, while the majority of bars will have minimal or no sweep at all. The forward sweep here increases reach but gives a hand position that doesn't feel very ergonomic for the typical riding position.
The reach measurement also changes for each of the three bar sizes – FSA lists it as 80mm, but measured from the centre of the stem it increases from 87.4mm for the 42cm bar, to 88.6mm and 89.8mm for the 44 and 46cm bars respectively. That makes them quite long, and longer than most other similar handlebars; if you are changing from a bar with shorter reach, this will have a small effect on handling.
While riding and moving from the hoods to the forward-sweeping flats, the amount of rotation in the hands is quite substantial, and after prolonged use I found it quite uncomfortable. It could simply be that I'm not used to this position, but having tried lots of different styles and shapes of handlebars, this didn't seem very ergonomic. I felt like I was poking my elbows out to counteract it, a little like Chris Froome.
The ovalised top section is comfortable, a nice width and length that gives lots of support, although in use and because of the forward sweep I found myself simply resting my hands on top rather than actually gripping.
The bar has lots of access holes for internal cable routing options and should mean that every option is covered. There is even a small hole to allow cable routing into the stem section, though this will be rarely needed on a gravel bike.
There is also routing at the end of the bar for a Shimano Di2 EW-RS910 bar end junction adapter, although if you use this there will then be a Di2 cable running externally under the bar tape.
The inlets and outlets are only around 10cm apart, and the positioning isn't ideal for all shifter/brake hose options. Also, given they will only be inside the bar for a short section that, on a gravel bike (which the bar is designed for), will likely be taped for comfort, it hardly seems worth it.
The A-Wing has a reasonable but not massive flare to the drops. Our 440mm bar (measured centre to centre) flares out to 488mm at the ends of the drops. This type of flare is popular with gravel and adventure bikes, with the idea being the wider section gives more control on rougher descents. It works, and the amount the A-Wing has makes for a good hand position on the downhills.
If you're looking to use any style of out-front mount, or lights, there isn't much room before the bar changes shape and becomes ovalised. I managed to just about fit a Wahoo out-front mount, although another issue, caused by the outward sweep, which starts almost exactly after the stem mount, is that the computer makes it look like the stem isn't straight. While it isn't really an issue, it might bug anyone with a bit of OCD – which includes me. As I jump on the bike, it seems to be the first thing I notice.
There are lots of similar weight and style gravel bars around this price: the Ritchey WCS Butano I mentioned earlier is a little less at around £84.32 (€94.95), and the Easton EA70AX is £79.99, though the Ritchey WCX Venturemax XL is slightly more expensive at £95; it's a much wider design that also features a wide 24-degree flare to the drops.
Unless you specifically want a bar with forward sweep, or a little extra reach, the FSA A-Wing is a bar that is difficult to get excited about. Sure, it has all the internal cable options you would need, but the shape and position make them seem superfluous.
Well constructed, but with a shape and features that don't seem to suit its intended purpose
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road.cc test report
Make and model: FSA A-Wing Pro 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?
FSA says, 'The A-Wing Pro alloy handlebar is designed for Adventure, Gravel and Cyclocross usage. A-Wing Pro features an unique shape, with flared drops for better control and clearance when descending.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Bead blasted anodized black,
80mm reach (measured from centre of stem increases to 87.4, 88.6 or 89.8mm depending on size.
15° outward bend.
Features Aerodynamic integrated Cable Routing (ACR).
Well constructed with markings that make correct fitment easy; cutouts for internal routing are also well finished.
No issues and none that are likely. All logos and anodising will be hidden beneath bar tape.
There are lighter bars available, although it is not overweight and on a par with rivals.
I found the shape of the ovalised section great, but not the forward sweep, which impacts overall comfort quite a bit.
Similar to other handlebars of similar spec.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The A-Wing has a longer reach than many other bars, which might not be ideal for all riders. While it has internal cabling, it is only for a very short section and the shape, size and position of the exit ports might make it difficult to install.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The ovalised shape and depth made it comfortable to rest my hands.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The shape, the way out-front mounts are not straight, lack of space to mount other parts either side of stem, size and position of internal cable routing.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's similar to rival bars: the Ritchey WCS Butano is an aluminium bar with many of the same features but a very different shape profile to the A-Wing and is slightly cheaper at around £84, while the Easton EA70AX is £79.99, although this does lack any form of internal cable routing. For a very different shape, the Ritchey WCX Venturemax XL is a much wider design that also features a wide 24-degree flare to the drops and costs £95. If you are after a cheaper option, the Genetic Drove is £29.99, and Stu found it comfortable and solid.
Did you enjoy using the product? No
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if I knew someone specifically wanted a bar with longer reach or a forward sweep.
Use this box to explain your overall score
The handlebar didn't prove to be very comfortable for me, though others might get on better with it, and some of its features aren't as well thought out as they could be.
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,
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.