Mountain bike bars seem to be getting wider and wider these days, but for riders who are less gravity focused, widest isn’t always best. The Exsero LTD handlebar from 3T is a flat bar designed for speed and distance, with a middle ground width of 700mm, as used by the likes of cross-country legend Julian Absalon.
Like most of 3T’s components, the Exsero is offered in three tiers of performance, at corresponding prices. The aluminium Pro, the carbon Team and the high modulus LTD, which is the one we've tested here. The three models weigh 215g (220g claimed), 178g (180g claimed) and 147g (160g claimed) respectively.
The LTD version is competitive with the best on the market in terms of weight, and also in terms of the price. It’s stiffer than most bars in its weight range, providing confident steering. The downside to the stiff construction is the minimal bump compliance or ‘give’ that you'd experience with some carbon handlebars.
At 700mm wide, it’s already on the narrow side of more modern widths, but is well suited to a focused cross-country bike. Aggressive riders will likely want more width, but that’s not this bar’s purpose.
We feel the 9-degree backsweep is ideal for a cross-country bar and we felt right at home on this one straight away. 3T have used what they call an eccentric design, which lets you choose up to 3mm of upsweep or downsweep on the bar - we happily settled with a little upsweep.
Cutting guides along the bar make is easy to cut them down if you wish to, while clear guides at the clamping centre makes installation simple. A roughened surface at the centre provides greater security, less torque required to prevent slipping on the otherwise slick bar.
If you’re in the market for a new flat cross-country handlebar, you should definitely consider the Exsero. The hardest question? With minimal mass separating each model, how much is that weight worth to you?
Pricing for the three tiers:
Pro: £49.99 / US$70 / AU$88
Team: £94.99 / US$130 / AU$175
LTD: £109.99 / US$160 / AU$197