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Pro Vibe Aero Alloy Handlebar

9
£99.99

VERDICT:

9
10
Stiff, race-orientated bar that looks great, with internal cable routing, and will save you a packet over carbon alternatives
Great shape
Room for mounts on round section
Stiff
Internal routing
Heavier than some
Weight: 
333g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Pro Vibe Aero Alloy Handlebar is comfortable to hold, whether on the tops or drops, with the six-degree flare allowing for a narrower position when on the hoods while retaining maximum control when using the drops. It's not the lightest bar, but it's high quality and will save a heap of cash over carbon alternatives, plus it features internal routing and looks the business.

The Vibe Aero Alloy is available in 38, 40 and 42cm widths, which should cater for most riders looking for a road racing bar. If you're looking for something even narrower then Pro also makes a Pursuit version of the bar, which is available in a 36cm.

> Find your nearest dealer here

In the 40cm size tested, it weighs 333g on our scales, not far off the claimed weight of 330g for a narrower 38cm bar, so possibly a little lighter than expected. That's still not overly light for a handlebar – Pro's very own carbon PLT Ergo, for example, is over 100g lighter in a comparable size.

As the name suggests, the Vibe Aero is not a traditional round tube bar, instead the tops have a flattened profile, but not so wide that you can't fit your hand round it when climbing on the tops.

2021 PRO VIBE Aero Alloy Handlebar - top 2.jpg

Pro hasn't made any claims about how much quicker this bar will actually make you, but a bit of research shows that around 7W can be saved at 30mph when comparing aero profile bars to round profile ones. Of course, this isn't noticeable on the road, but I'll happily take any gains, especially when they look this good.

What I can give my findings on, though, are stiffness and comfort. It can be a tricky balance to get right, but something that the Pro does brilliantly. Yanking on the hoods when sprinting up sharp climbs reveals no discernible flex, nor is there when you are braking hard, transferring your weight through the handlebar.

> How to make your bike more comfortable – check out our 14 tips

It's the same when you're down in the drops. This is a proper racer's bar, and they love to sprint. Aluminium bars do tend to translate road buzz through to the hands more than carbon, and this is indeed the case with the Vibe Aero, but for an aluminium race bar it's really not bad, and I've completed plenty of six-hour rides on it in relative comfort.

With a reach of 78mm and a drop of 130mm for all sizes, it isn't as shallow as some more endurance style bars but nor is it so deep that only the most flexible can make full use of the drops. You are likely to find that 78mm reach slightly longer than the compact bars which come as standard on bikes; 70mm is a more typical number, especially on bars 40cm and narrower.

2021 PRO VIBE Aero Alloy Handlebar - drop.jpg

The Vibe also features 6 degrees of flare, which on this 40cm wide bar means that at the ends of the drops it measures 43cm across. A flared bar can be an excellent compromise of getting the aerodynamic benefits of narrower bars at the hoods while retaining the control of a wider bar, useful for when descending in the drops. Having used the bar for a month or so, I'm a big fan of the 6-degree flare as it means I can still have my Shimano shifters almost vertical while reaping the benefits over a non-flared bar.

2021 PRO VIBE Aero Alloy Handlebar - rear.jpg

The 31.8mm central section of the bar (with the round profile) stretches about 100mm, giving ample room for a Wahoo/Garmin or light mount either side of the stem, which isn't always the case on aero profile bars.

2021 PRO VIBE Aero Alloy Handlebar - centre.jpg

The flattened top section is not only a comfortable place for your hands, but the internal routing also means cables or hoses don't detract from the clean looks, whether you're using a mechanical or electronic setup. The elongated holes are large enough to get the outer housing through without too much of a squeeze, and I set it up with no major stress and a small amount of guidance from a small screwdriver.

2021 PRO VIBE Aero Alloy Handlebar - underside.jpg

Personally, I don't think there's a better-looking handlebar out there for the price. Carbon aero alternatives will set you back a huge amount more – the Zipp SL70 Aero, for example, is £296, and even the excellently priced Prime Primavera is £149.99, though both will save you some weight.

Aluminium bars can be found for less, but few will have internal routing and an aero profile. Two exceptions are the Profile Design DRV/AeroA at £69.99, and the Prime Doyenne Aero at £59.99, but both are made from 6061 aluminium alloy, which is generally regarded as lower quality than 6066 alloy due to lower fatigue strength.

> 13 of the best cycling drop handlebars – how to buy the perfect bar

Overall, I think the Pro Vibe Aero is a really good buy. It looks excellent, performs admirably and is a great shape for both racing and training.

Verdict

Stiff, race-orientated bar that looks great, with internal cable routing, and will save you a packet over carbon alternatives

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Pro Vibe Aero Alloy Handlebar

Size tested: 400mm

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?

Pro says: "The Vibe Aero Alloy handlebar boasts aerodynamic advantages in an affordable 6066 alloy construction. Clean aerodynamic top sections are further complimented by semi-internal cable routing and Di2 integration."

I agree. It's much more affordable than aero carbon alternatives and performs extremely well.

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

From Pro:

Aerodynamic alloy handlebars

6066 alloy construction

Aerodynamic top sections

Compact bend to the drops

Internal cable routing

Shimano Di2 integration

6-degree flare

Sizes: 38, 40 and 42cm widths

31.8mm clamping diameter

Weight: From 330g

Drop: 130mm

Reach: 78mm

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
5/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
7/10

Carbon bars are always likely to win this as they are more compliant, but the Vibe Aero is an excellent shape to hold, both on the tops and drops.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

A lot cheaper than carbon alternatives, but you can get alloy aero bars for less, though not necessarily of the same quality (or looks).

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

Very well: comfortable in all positions, can attach necessary mounts, and stiff without being unduly harsh on poor road surfaces.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Sprinting on it, great to hold, and nice and stiff.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

It's heavier than some.

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

As mentioned in the review, for an aluminium bar it's not cheap but it is very high quality and far cheaper than carbon alternatives. We haven't tested an abundance of aero profile aluminium bars but the Profile Design DRV/AeroA is £69.99, albeit made from lower fatigue strength 6061 alloy.

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

It's excellent. It's made to go fast, is stiff during sprints and out the saddle efforts, the routing is tidy, and the shape is excellent – wider in the drops for control, and narrow at the hoods. It's much cheaper than carbon aero alternatives and looks great, plus there's room for mounts next to the stem, which is often overlooked by manufacturers.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 23  Height: 6ft  Weight: 74kg

I usually ride: Specialized venge pro 2019  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,

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