By: kiritozhang Translator: alanyu
The integrated handlebars (stem/bar combo) have been very popular in recent years. Many brands have introduced integrated bars. However, many are difficult to buy in China, so four integrated bars easy to get here were purchased by the author himself. These four products are outstanding in integrated bars, including the Vision Metron 5D, the Bontrager XXX, the Farsports F1 and the One.
This review is divided into three sections:
1. Details review;
2. Lab test;
3. Riders’ feel.
1.0 Details review
1.1 The Vision Metron 5D
In my opinion, the most famous one is the Vision Metron 5D. It has a very high using rate in competitions, and many brands choose it as the stored cockpit for their high-end aero bikes.
For example: Bianchi Oltra XR4, Merida Reacto, Orbea Orca Aero, etc.
The Vision Metron 5D is highly recognized, strong and aerodynamic.
The shape is the most flat and aggressive of the four products. The computer mount uses an A-like structure fixed underneath.
The cockpit can conceal the Shimano Di2 controllers and the computer mounts are adjustable in length. The integration of the accessories is extremely high. However, I have seen some Di2 storages broken.
The specifications and torque values of the bars are marked on the bottom side. The width marked on the bar is measured at the drops center-to-center.
The Vision Metron 5D is designed to be integrated with many frames. With a dedicated spacer, you can achieve more integrated and better visual effects. In order to align with the spacer, there is a positioning design at the bottom of the stem.
The stem angle is -12°. The top of the stem is integrated with a dedicated top cap. The stack (locking part) of the stem is 40mm.
It is internal routing, but you may face with some trouble when routing due to the flat shape and the roughness inside.
The shape of the drop is quite different from the traditional design. Both sides are 5mm flared, but keep the shape vertical, so it will look a bit awkward, which is said to be a design from the feedback of the World Tour riders.
Vision Metron 5D supports not only the traditional DI2 controller, but also the latest bar end controller RS910. The holes at the drop bar are oval, allowing easy routing for Di2 cables.
After prolonged use, the surface pattern will crack.
Why it’s weighed with accessories? Because this is the weight when we ride.
The Vision Metron 5D is an integrated bar that heavily adopts the opinions of the pros. Thus, weight is not a priority due to the 6.8kg limit of the UCI. 465g is not on the light side, not including the 14g top cap. It is a barrier to the weight weenies.
The Vision Metron 5D offers four stem lengths: 100/110/120/130 and three widths: 400/420/440. Narrow width options are not available.
1.2 The Bontrager XXX
The Bontrager XXX is on the opposite side. The official weight is only 220g, which helped Trek create a 4.8kg Emonda SLR.
Emonda’s philosophy is to streamline, without any fancy or aero design. The Bontrager XXX uses a single screw on the front to secure the computer mount. Through the official mounting bases, you can install different accessories such as light and GoPro.
Pay attention to the label: at least one 5mm spacer is required under the stem. Be careful with the 5.2 N.m torque during installation. A torque wrench must be used, because it’s expensive and fragile.
The stem angle -7° and the stack is 42mm. The stem’s locking structure is designed obliquely to optimize the force. This is also an important difference between the genuine and the cheap copy.
The inner side of the stem has a step for mounting the expender.
The label is upright, not easy to see. The nominal width of the Bontrager XXX is measured at the hoods c-c.
85mm reach is a bit long. The geometry of the Bontrager handlebars is not very friendly to Asians with short arms and small hands. The Madone 9 and Madone SLR both have long reach bars.
There are scales at the shifter mounting area, but there is no anti-slip treatment, and the scales are a bit lower for the normal mounting.
I bought the discounted earlier product , which is not compatible with the RS910 controller.
Bontrager XXX also uses a flared drop design. The width is 42cm c-c at the hoops, while it is 44cm c-c at the drops. The nominal width is c-c at the drops, but please don’t leave the label inside the drop. Such an expensive product requires attention to detail.
1.3 The One
The One is a cheap integrated carbon bar from China. Only 1099 CNY, about 150 USD.
It was originally a copy of Canyon’s product, first released in 2017. It has now evolved to the third version, quite different from the Canyon one.
My bar is the second version. The third version is now compatible with 31.8mm forks. You can also watch this review on YouTube by an English gentleman living in China: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuCW4oArpUU
The stem angle is the most aggressive of the four products, -15°. However, considering the lower stem stack of 35mm, the actual stem angle is about -17° comparing with a 40mm stack stem.
The labelled bar width is measured at the hoods c-c, and the drops have a 10mm flaring each side.
The One uses a common computer mount design, compatible with the computer mounts from other brands such as the MOST. The stem is clearly different from canyon. The closed hollow results in a better stiffness-to-weight ratio. It’s external routing, thus more friendly to the mechanic. The holes are designed for Di2 cables. However, some mechanics said that there were some residual airbags for molding inside, preventing the internal routing of Di2.
Compatible with the RS910 controller .
It weighs only 314g excluding the computer mount. A carbon fiber computer mount weighs about 35g, which is not included in the 1099 CNY package.
The One is now available in 5 stem lengths 80/90/100/110/120, and three bar widths 380/400/420. All can be freely matched with a total of 15 specifications, and the specifications commonly used in the Chinese market are basically fully covered.
1.4 The Farsports F1
The Farsports from Xiamen, China, launched their first integrated bar F1 in 2019. It sells from $ 299 worldwide.
It’s completely original designed. The golden finish looks high-end.
The shape in the middle of the handlebar used the airfoil shape in the Second World War. The computer mount is dedicated.
The Farsports F1 has a caliber of 31.8mm and is compatible with models such as Giant, Canyon, and Scott. The handlebar comes with a reducing sleeve, which can also be mounted on a standard 28.6mm fork.
The stem angle is -10 °. When using reducing sleeves, the stem angle can be adjusted. Two free reducing sleeves are included, one with a 0-degree inclination and the other with a 3-degree inclination. It is possible to switch the stem angle between -7 °, -10 ° and -13 ° when mounting on a 28.6mm fork.
It has no holes at the drops. but it’s claimed to be compatible with the RS910 controller.
The cables are internal routed, but the holes are relatively narrow, making the cables difficult to go through.
With a computer mount, it weighs only 331 grams. Both the One and the Farsports F1 from China have a good weight.
Farsports F1 is available in four stem lengths: 90/100/110/120 and four widths: 360/380/400/420. You can freely choose the combination of length and width. The biggest highlight of the handlebar is that it provides a 360mm width. The bar width is measured on the hoods c-c, and the drops are 10mm flared on each side.
One more good news:
The Farpsorts F1 are available in aero bike compatible versions! It can be mounted with specified conversion kits on Trek Madone SLR, New Cannondale Supersix EVO, Focus Izalco max disc, BMC SLR01 / RM01 / TMR01 so far.
There will also be versions of Wilier Zero SLR, Scott Addict RC Disc, S-works New Venge, and Pinarello F12.
Of course the conversion kits are not free.
Red: no such choice; Green: single choice; Blue: choices are few; Yellow: choices are rich.
Chinese products take more care for Asians, and they all offer narrow bars. Fewer and fewer brands are insisting on producing 440mm width. However, there is still narrow choice on the integrated bars with 130/140mm stem.
2.0 Lab test
The test used single-sided and double-sided pull-up and push-down. The bar drop was locked at a distance of 50mm from the bottom according to the ISO standards; the hoods part was locked at 26 ± 0.5 ° according to the shifter installation position.
The test standard is 30kgf vertical force on single side pull-up / push-down, while it is 100kgf vertical force for double-side pull-up / push-down.
This data represents for the tested samples, and there may be individual cases. All the integrated bars were tested on the same machine, the same angle, and the same test position.
1. Pull up on single side at the shifter lock position
2. Push down on single side at the shifter locking position
3. Pull up on single side at the drop
4. Push down on single side at the drop
5. Push down on both shifter locking positions
6. Push down the end of both handlebars
Single side pull-up / push-down reflects the value of torsional deformation during the sprint. There is not only the force downwards, but also the force upwards during the sprint.
The calculation of weighted torsional stiffness includes the lower position, which uses 75% of the hoods position and 25% of the drops position.
The formula is: weighted torsional stiffness = (① * 0.5 + ② * 0.5) * 0.75 + (③ * 0.5 + ④ * 0.5) * 0.25
It is obvious from the data that the Vision Metron 5D is a roller compactor compared to other competing products. The Farsports F1 performed well in all aspects of the test, and the Bontrager XXX had the worst stiffness though it is extremely light.
According to international safety standards, the handle should be able to withstand a test of 400kgf. However, during the 200kgf test, the Bontrager XXX started creaking. It remains a big doubt whether the Bontrager XXX can withstand 400kgf, and the author is afraid to conduct further testing due to his wallet. Remember that all these bars were purchased himself. There is no sponsor.
3.0 riders’ feel (several riders)
The Vision Metron 5D: This is on the top of the stiffness side. No matter it is a sprint or a climb, it will not lose a little force, but it is not comfortable when the road is bumpy.
The Bontrager XXX: Most people find it a bit like noodles, especially for heavy riders and sprinters. The opposite side is the good comfort when riding.
The One: No obvious flaws. Most riders can accept its stiffness and comfort. However, for some sprinters it is still not rigid enough.
The Farsports F1: Excellent comfort during cycling. But you may hit your wrist when sprinting.
(In the No. 5 test, Farsports F1 has a large difference from other products, the vertical deformation of the stem is smaller, but the handlebar part is twisted forward.)
The Vision Metron 5D: If you don’t care about the weight and your wallet is deep, this is a handlebar with no shortboards in performance, complete accessories, high integration, and it is the best choice for sprinters.
The Bontrager XXX: The stiffness-to-weight ratio is the best, but the stiffness is insufficient. If you are a weight weenie and don’t care about the stiffness too much, it will be a good choice.
The One: Cheap and quality options, no obvious problems, but the stem angle is too low.
The Farsports F1: Good performance in all aspects. There are many widths, lengths and angles to choose, and the bike fitter will love this handlebar.
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