Control Tech XC Carbon handlebar review£130.00

Distinctive flagship cross-country bars

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Control Tech do a wide range of bars, from basic alloy numbers to ones aimed at downhill racers, but these distinctively shaped carbons are their cross-country flagships.

The bars have a marked flat ‘M’ shape where the outer tips sweep right back from a relatively flat centre. The bulge extends through the riser bends too, combining with the narrow width to make them a relatively stiff unit.

This shape and feel divided users between haters and a few who adored it, but with so many similar bars, something a bit different is a useful option. There is a wider standard diameter version for £110 if you fancy a bit more flex.

With a weight of 200g (sadly not the advertised 145g) and a limited amount of control space, it’s sure to be the distinctive shape not basic performance that’ll lure buyers.

Control Tech's scandium bars (£45) have a similar 'high sweep, high elbow' shape but are way cheaper and only 28g heavier, making them our recommended Control Tech choice.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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