Easton Monkeylite DH handlebar £130

Big leverage and strength with low weight

BikeRadar score 4/5

Easton have been at the forefront of carbon fibre bar development for more than a decade. In fact, they forged carbon fibre’s reputation for reliable, low weight, high strength bars pretty much singlehandedly in the early days. 

They certainly haven’t rested on their laurels while others cashed in either, as bars like the Monkeylite DH prove. Despite being 710mm (28.1in) wide, they’re still easily light enough for trail use. 

The relatively flat outer section of the bars means that even with a 40mm centre rise they’re not so high you’ll ‘chopper’ your position too badly. Taperwall butting through the long, low bends means pinpoint steering accuracy and traction feel, without any tiring buzz on longer rides.

If you don't like the way this high rise carries on climbing to the tips there's a flatter profile low-rise version too.

Easton have worked closely with another top composites company, Zyvex, to add microscopic Carbon Nanotubes (hence CNT) to their ‘Enhanced Resin’ material. This basically makes the resin a structural rather than just adhesive component, with Easton claiming a 20 percent strength increase over the previous version. 

Add reinforcement of brake and stem clamping areas, and you’ve got a bar tough enough to be a regular choice of World Cup downhill racers and other high stakes headcases.

As you can see from our three-year-old sample, the carbon construction can get surface damaged more easily than alloy bars though. With scars and gouges potentially creating dangerous stress risers, some TLC is wise to protect your investment. We’d say that about any carbon bar though.

If the span is too much, the £110 MonkeyLite XC uses the same CNT technology for excellent strength in a 685mm width, 168g weight all-rounder.

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