Salsa enjoys a reputation for being innovative. Made from 7075 T6 aluminium and weighing a svelte 268g, these bars are an excellent alternative to traditional drops. Less pronounced than some, the shallow design makes for a more upright position, giving a clearer view of conditions ahead.
To enjoy good control off-road I have traditionally had to resort to very wide (46cm) bars. The Bell-lap are less extreme than some shallow drops and place controls closer to hand, which may require getting used to. Fitted to my Mtb-based crosser, I enjoyed greater speed and control, being able to flick the bike through sweeping descents with confidence. The more upright positioning also left me with lots of time to look and plan ahead, making them equally good around town. However, if intended for a machine doing heavy offroad or winter duties, I would opt for something broader than the 42cm test model.
Despite the low weight, the bars are remarkably stiff and would not be persuaded to flex even with my full weight on them on a long bumpy stretch. While being nicely finished, the test sample seemed vulnerable to scratches, but this isn't likely to affect the structural integrity of the bar (which in most cases will be hidden by tape in any case.) Ultimately, these are ideal lap bars for those wanting to run drops off-road or riders looking for a less traditional drop but not convinced by the more extreme flared designs.