PRO are the hardware wing of Shimano, so there’s no shortage of manufacturing tech going into their products. A glance at the XCR reveals its cross-country orientation – it’s ﬂat, light and, at 580mm (23in), race-narrow.
The company offer a wider (but still light) handlebar, the 660mm (26in) XCR Carbon OS Riser, that may be more appropriate for many riders. Both models share the same top-notch carbon ﬁbre construction. Of particular note are the reinforced ends to resist crash damage and – particularly on the ﬂat bar – support bar ends.
The textured coating on the bulge reduces reliance on friction paste to stop the bar slipping in the stem. The rest of it is shiny smooth, so a dab of paste on the lever clamps is a good idea to help them grip without risk of over-tightening. A centreline and angle markings on the bulge ensure repeatable setup.
Despite its somewhat uncompromising shape, that ultra-light carbon construction delivers a useful bit of vibration damping that would be even more pronounced on a much wider bar.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.