ONEUP CARBON E-BAR REVIEW
COMFORTABLE CARBON HANDLEBARS
Words by Drew Rohde | Photos by Max Rhulen
Just over a year ago we received our first set of OneUp Carbon E-Bars for review. We quickly mounted them to a bike and have slowly asked the kind folks at OneUp for “One more bar,” about three times now. We’ve got them outfitted on several of our personal bikes and love both the carbon and alloy versions. Today we’ll be reviewing the carbon version as we’ve spent a lot more time on them and believe they are our favorite carbon mountain bike handlebar on the market, and we’ll share why.
There have been a lot of tests conducted with the OneUp bar both in-house and by competitors, and everyone we’ve talked to agrees that the compliance is class-leading from a 35mm carbon bar. In fact, OneUp claims the bars average 21% more vertical compliance and 28% increased steering stiffness than other bars on the market. Along with compliance and handling gains the bars also tout some impressive vibration damping characteristics thanks to their unique shape.
Upon launch OneUp had the bar available in both a 20mm and 35mm rise, however they’ve currently only got the 35mm rise on their site, which is what we’ve been running and love. The bars are 800mm wide, feature an 8-degree back sweep and 5-degree up sweep. The bars weigh in around 240g and have eleven decal colors to choose from.
The bars have a distinct shape due to their oval tube profile, which is part of their patented performance enhancements. If you think about how a circle flexes, it will moves in 360 degrees, which means front and back, not just up and down with impacts. That movement can reduce steering precision, so the oval shape keeps the bar in place for cornering precision but allows for more up and down movement to reduce fatigue.
As a rider who has spent the last twelve years testing hundreds of bikes, countless handlebars and every other component you could think of, I’ve grown to develop my own barometer of sorts, that helps me evaluate how things perform on the trail. Every rider – professional, amateur, reviewer or hobbyist, likely has their own gauge by which they evaluate products on the trail. There is no right or wrong way but for me, hand and foot feedback are my go-to indicators to how a bike and components are working. If things are feeling smooth and lively then I start referencing speed, timed runs and sounds to pull everything together.
In my opinion, if things feel stiff, harsh or rough, they are not efficient. Furthermore, I think we can all agree that a tired rider is not a fast, or safe rider! Mistakes happen, speeds drop and fun fades quickly when your fingers are cramping, or your forearms are burning.
Now, we’re all aware a handlebar isn’t going to cure-all if your suspension setup is wrong, you’ve got ultra stiff wheels or you’re running 38PSI in your DH casing tire, but it can certainly take the edge off. So, assuming you’ve got the rest of your setup dialed in, how does the bar feel when comparing apples to apples? Noticeably better.
We first put the OneUp Carbon E-Bar on our Trek Fuel EX-e when OneUp Components first announced the bars. Since then, we’ve put the E-Bar on our Fezzari Timp Peak, Trek Slash and the alloy E-Bars on our alloy Turbo Levo. Have we mentioned yet that we really like these bars? With three sets of these carbon handlebars on three different bikes, we can say that each time we’ve installed them we have noticed an improvement in comfort, reduced fatigue and therefore, better riding experience. Is it a night and day difference? Well, not entirely, but on some bikes with a stiffer suspension platform or longer days of descending, it was certainly noticeable.
Along with the compliance and comfort claims, OneUp says that the unique shape of the bar allows for vertical movement but a stiffer fore and aft chassis, meaning that steering performance should be more precise and stiffer. This was less noticeable, or maybe less exciting than the reduction in fatigue and pump, but certainly didn’t present any drawbacks to the handlebar’s performance.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Back when OneUp launched the E-Bar we had the opportunity to make a YouTube video showcasing it in detail and shared a Loam Wolf-specific discount code with our viewers. Since that time, we’ve heard a large number of folks have purchased the bars and every one of them that has reached back out to us or left a comment has shared the excitement and happiness about their new favorite bar.
As riders, our points of contact with the machine beneath us are few and precious. When it comes to descending the gnarliest of terrain, our hands and feet are all we have to keep us on the straight and narrow. For that reason I place a lot of importance on the components that will help keep those points performing as best as possible. I believe these bars are some of the best on the market and ones that I will continue to put on my personal bikes whenever I have the opportunity.