Archive for May 5th, 2011

Product Review: Easton EC70 Wide Carbon Flat Bar

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

[ed. note: Some of the included photos are of the EC70 riser bar.]

It definitely seems like it would be tough to write a review about a mountain handlebar – generally it doesn’t seem like there’s too much special about a flat bar, even a carbon flat bar, to write an extensive review on.   I mean it either feels good or doesn’t, and is light or not.  What else is there?

Well, with the new Easton EC70 Wide carbon flat bars, there is quite a bit else there to talk about.  Yes, it feels awesome.  Yes, it’s pretty light.  And even more, this is a bar built for a specific application – 29er and single-speeds.  As such, it really makes you think about what you are placing your hands on and what it does to the ride when you go ripping down the trail.  Switching to these bars is like switching to a new riding geometry, built specifically for the needs of single cogs and big wheels.


tf-ec70bar-3 The carbon composite construction used in the EC70 keeps the bar extremely light and very comfortable to ride on.  At a mere 150 grams, it rivals with some of the lightest bars on the market.  The vibration dampening effects of these carbon bars are real – it soaks up trail chatter, providing better control and enhanced endurance.  Since they’re far more comfortable than aluminum and cheaper carbon options, you can also run thin and light grips, like the ESI Racer’s Edge, saving weight there too.

They’re wide too, at 685mm.  We’ll talk in a second how this affects the ride – but at this width you’d expect there to be quite a bit more flex than there actually is.  These bars hold incredibly stiff even when torquing hard on out-of-the-saddle steep climbs.

The Ride

Ok, so any great quality carbon bar should be what we described above –lightweight, vibration dampening and uber-stiff (which is why it’s hard to write good reviews of most mountain handlebars…).  But the width and angle, combined with the quality construction of the EC70 provide an awesome ride that 29er and single-speed riders must try to feel the benefits.

Wide bars have two pretty important advantages – first, they provide better leverage, meaning more controllable handling and aid in climbing.  Secondly, they open up the arms, which in turn open up the chest, making for better and deeper breathing.

There are also two downsides of wider bars – first, they are harder to get between narrow objects, like two trees spaced together tightly on the trail.  Secondly, sometimes wide is just too wide to be comfortable – for example, I have scrawny narrow shoulders, and really wide bars just feel awkward and clumsy.

At least for me, the 685mm width is perfect.  They are wide enough to give the benefits of leverage and an open chest, and narrow enough to feel comfortable to ride all day.

The 9 degree sweep brings the bars back, putting the hands in a comfortable, slightly angled position.  This sweep makes the 685mm width less sprawling and the handling more focused. I’ve noticed it adds better control and steering than narrower bars with a less dramatic sweep.

The Bottom Line

tf-ec70bar-4 29ers and single-speeds (and, of-course, single-speed 29ers) benefit from wider, swept back bars.  The big rotating tires of 29ers need that extra leverage to turn the front wheel effectively and effortlessly.  The out-of-the-saddle, grinding climbs of single-speeds benefit from the extra leveraging these wide bars provide in climbs.

The EC70 Wide provides this wide advantage, angled to just the right hand position for perfect handling.  Position it low on the steerer tube for a 29er, or wherever is comfortable for 26” SS, and you’ve got a winning combination.  Plus, it uses Easton’s awesome carbon composite, which is light, soaks up trail chatter, wildly stiff, and uses tapered technology making it sturdy and dependable.