Prime's Primavera X-Light handlebar is really, really light. And cheap, especially at its current selling price of £89.99. Keith Bontrager's old axiom – 'Strong, light, cheap – pick any two' – comes into play to a certain extent here. It's not that the Primavera bar isn't strong – I haven't broken it or anything – but it's certainly not stiff. For lighter and less aggressive riders that'll mean extra comfort, but it won't suit everyone.
Under 200g for a handlebar is proper superlight territory. Our 42cm bar tipped the scales at 183g, and Prime claims that the 40cm bar is just 169g, which is certainly believable. The 125mm drop and 78mm reach is a pretty standard compact geometry, and the drop position is easily accessible; there's no outward flare to help with that but the drops are reasonably long along the bottom. There's a drilling to house a Di2 box.
The only thing that isn't standard is that Prime uses a triangular profile in the curve of the drop, which the company says 'heightens comfort while also allowing you to benefit from a greater feeling of control'. I can't say that I particularly noticed it, but an aggressive position in the drops – hands forward holding the curved section – felt comfortable and fairly natural. The hoods and the flat section of the drops both offer comfortable holds too; I prefer a couple of degrees of flare on the drops but that's a personal thing.
Now there's not a lot of material in this bar. The first time you pick it up you end up throwing it at the ceiling because it's so much lighter than you expect. Prime says that the bar is 'a strong and stable platform for you to maximise every pedal stroke'. I say that the bar is pretty flexy: flexy enough that you can lean on the drop and see the lever move; there's even slight movement just by resting on the tops.
That's a double-edged sword. If you struggle to stay comfortable on the bike over rough surfaces then this is a really comfy bar. I fitted it to a Carrera Crossroad E which had a horrible bar and a harsh front end, and it completely transformed it. It's so much more comfortable now, and dropping to the lower position gives even more damping over rough surfaces.
The flip side is that this really wouldn't be any good for a lot of faster ride scenarios. If any part of your ride involves winding up the watts and muscling the bike about then the Primavera is just not stiff enough. I'm a big rider (95kg) with a reasonable sprint (1,300W) and there's no way I'd use this bar in a race. If you're a lightweight hillclimber looking for marginal weight gains on a budget, it might be just the ticket though. Horses for courses.
Its rrp is £149.99 but Wiggle has reduced it to £89.99, which is cheap for a carbon bar. It's a very different beast to something like the £450, 147g Schmolke Roadbar which is light and stiff and, you guessed it, not cheap. Even mid-range carbon bars like the Pro PLT are pushing towards £200 normally, and the Pro isn't as light as this Prime. Although it is a lot stiffer.
All in all, I can see it appealing to some riders and not to others, so it's hard to score overall, but if you want the extra give to soften up the ride of a harsh bike, or you're happy to put up with it for the weight gains, then it'll do a good job.
Incredibly light for the money and comfortable, but will be too flexy for some
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: Prime Primavera X-Light Carbon 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?
At just 169g, the featherweight Primavera X-Light Handlebar is unrivalled at its price point. The perfect blend of stiffness, strength and low weight has been achieved with this high-quality handlebar, giving you the edge in your pursuit of victory.
The race ready Primavera X-Light features a stiff carbon construction with a high strength-to-weight ratio that will satisfy even the most weight-conscious rider. It ensures a strong and stable platform for you to maximise every pedal stroke while its flared design along the tops improves aerodynamics without adding any excess weight.
Keeping you poised on every run, the Primavera X-Light's triangular drop design heightens comfort while also allowing you to benefit from a greater feeling of control. This also provides you with a more tactile connection between your hands and the handlebars, so they feel like a natural extension of your limbs. Furthermore, its 125mm drop and 78mm reach is designed to keep you composed and comfortable as you battle for victory.
This is the ultimate choice of upgrade for racers and weight weenies alike!
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Material: Carbon Fibre
Cable Routing: External
Oversized 31.8mm bar diameter increases stiffness without adding weight
Compatible with Shimano's Di2 junction box for a tidier, more aerodynamic finish
Weight: 169g (400mm)
Hood Centre to Centre
Looks to be well made and finished.
Depends what aspect of the performance is most important, really.
No issues during testing, but early days so hard to say.
Wiggle lists its rrp as £149.99 but is selling it for £89.99, which is impressive for a sub-200g bar.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Well for some things, less well for others.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Light, good value, comfy.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
This is about the cheapest super-light bar you can get.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, in the right circumstances.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, in the right circumstances.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, in the right circumstances.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Hard to score overall, it'll depend on whether it suits you. It's a good bar if you want the extra give to soften up the ride of a harsh bike, but it won't be stiff enough for some.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Merida Scultura, Dward Design fixed
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.