When I first heard that Easton was releasing a new oversized bar and stem, my reaction was… ‘bollocks! Just what we need, another bloody standard’.
But it’s not a standard, because only Easton is making 35mm bars and stems… in which respect, it isn’t any different to running an I-Beam saddle/seatpost combo or choosing between Shimano or Crank Brothers pedals and having to use the corresponding cleats.
By upping the bulge of the bar from 31.8mm to 35mm, Easton claims to have increased strength by 15 per cent and stiffness by 21 per cent stiffer, while reducing weight by 10 per cent even though, at 800mm, it’s 50mm wider than the regular Havoc Carbon.
Easton offers two 35mm stem options and, while the direct-mount stem has two reach settings (45mm and 50mm), there isn’t enough clearance between the bulge of the bar and the fork stanchions to use the 45mm position with a Fox 40 or Bos Idylle.
Easton’s test data is impressive, as is the profile of the Havoc 35 Carbon bar, but is it too stiff? Not according to our not-so-scientific test. We spent (far too much) time trying to flex other riders’ DH bars with our hands. None appeared to have as much flex as the Easton Havoc 35 Carbon. Even compared to the Havoc 35 alloy bar (£69.99), the carbon version has noticeably more flex. Most of the movement is where the bulge narrows for mounting grips and controls, but you don’t notice this when riding.
Stop worrying about the flex and you get more comfort and less hand fatigue, with extra width, reduced weight and increased strength. So this bar and stem system is probably stronger, definitely lighter but not necessarily stiffer than what we’ve already got. Good thing too. Alan Muldoon
MBR rating: 9
Specification: Handlebar — Width 800mm / Rise 20mm / 9° bend / 5° upsweep / Weight: 225g
Direct-mount stem: Length: 45/50mm / Rise: -5mm / Weight: 102g / Colours: black or orange
Standard stem: Length: 50mm / Rise: 0° / Weight: 191g / Colours: black or orange / Contact: extrauk.co.uk
This test first appeared in the August issue of MBR.