Easton wanted a wider bar for their hard-riding customers using their 750mm maximum Havoc bars but wanting to go wider still. The Havoc 35mm alloy is what they came up with.
Easton claim they were concerned with the steering precision and strength offered by 31.8mm stems and bars – once known as ‘oversize’ but now all but standard – in conjunction with new, mega-wide 780mm-plus handlebars. So they went hunting for a solution, which they found 3.2mm away at 35mm.
They claim 15 percent greater impact strength and a 10 percent increase in fatigue resistance – for a 10 percent weight loss. The alloy 800mm bars weigh 300g, while in carbon they’re just 220g.
We were sceptical until we rode them – the results are astounding. You simply don’t realise the ﬂex in your 31.8mm front end until you ride 35.
Bigger, more aggressive riders will see the most difference because they’re loading the front with more weight. Typically, testers on long-travel 32mm forks reported a notable gain in response with little drop in comfort.
Of course, smaller, lighter and nimbler riders might consider themselves immune from the forces of ﬂex, but we think this size will really catch on for hard-hitting bikes.
Easton make the 800mm bars in their proprietary EA 90 alloy with a standard nine-degree sweep and ﬁve-degree upsweep, so the position should be similar to your existing riser.
However, due to the monster width you need a shorter stem, as the spread effectively lengthens your bike’s top tube. Obviously, the only company making compatible stems right now are Easton – this or a direct-mount DH stem, both 50mm long – though we expect the choice to widen quickly.
The bars come in black, orange, silver or green.
So, another awkward ‘standard’ we don’t really need? No. Oddly, Deda have been giving roadies 35mm bars for years – with limited success – but off-road with big bars, the strength and weight beneﬁts of 35mm for harder riders are undeniable.
For a look at Easton’s handlebar fatigue testing process, watch the video below:
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This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.