Bars for sprinting

@Pete After a couple seasons of racing and trying various tactics, my best results are all from sprint finishes (I really wanted to be a 5min flyer guy). I had a couple mechanical related crashes (both chain related actually) last year so I have a bit of ptsd / caution when it comes to mechanical issues that could cause a crash. So, my question is, should I get carbon aero road bars? After listening to your “power circle” technique / sore chest from sprints comments on the podcast, I was left somewhat cautious of getting carbon bars. I’m not the hulk or anything but I probably have an above avg upper body strength for a cyclist (190lbs), and I’d prefer not to die in a field sprint… Should I HTFU and get carbon bars or stick with aluminum? Albeit this is somewhat of a carbon engineering question, but thought I’d throw it out there.

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Pete is next to me at the airport and I asked him your question.

Carbon bars should be plenty strong. He likes flared bars as it helps get into that sprinting position.

He uses the enve aero road bars and finds them really stiff.


Doesn’t Bontrager make a pretty nice aluminum aero drop bar? Bontrager Race Lite or something like that? Or they used to. Anyhow, there are probably some aluminum aero options out there so you don’t have to compromise.

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Ritchey do an Al Streem III - doesn’t look as aero as the equivalent C version but it’s 1/3 the price and 80g heavier, according to their specs.

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I know @Pete is a big dude but didn’t Cavendish have complaints with Enve’s bars? Perhaps updates were made…

I quite like the Zipp Bars, they are flared and come in narrower widths, with out having to chase Special orders.
though I am only using alloy bars at the moment, maybe one day I will buy some carbon bars.

I prefer a narrower bar, but I also did a lot of track and have a set of 35cm scattos on my track bike.

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Oh, whatever happened to the Cinelli 65-40s of yester-year? Those bars were bent in such a way that they’d never get in front of your wrist when you were jamming out of the saddle.

I wish a brand like Enve would take a hard look at some of those “old” shapes and update them to modern standards.

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those are some great track bars :stuck_out_tongue:
not much use for road bikes, if you want breaks

I seem to remember Cinelli making a bar that worked with integrated shifters in the 90s. Maybe I’m mis-remembering or maybe they were designed around an older style lever (thinner + more curved)? I’m getting old, my memory isn’t what it used to be.

For sprinting I personally prefer aluminium bars. I don’t care for the flex in carbon bars. That said, I did plump for carbon ars on my race bike purely to save weight.

@Trippy We actually talked about this one at Team Camp with Enve one year, it turns out he didn’t like the flare and wanted the standard bar. They ended up making him a custom bar, but he never complained about the stiffness of the bars or stems!


Glad to hear it wasn’t the layup/construction! I do recall it being said the stem being good for him.

@Pete I use 40-42cm now. I’m a similar size to you, Nate, Chad (6’3” / 190lbs), what would you recommend sizing wise for those bars? 39/44 or 37/42 I’m guessing?

I’ve got the enve ses aero road bars and love them. The shape just works really well for me. In terms of sizing - it’s a difficult thing to say as it’s so personal and depends on where you spend most of your time riding. 42 at the drops feels pretty normal - ties in with the bars that most people have. 37 at the hoods though is much narrower than most people are used to so could prove uncomfortable if you spend most of your time riding on the hoods (as well as make you feel like you have less control). You can get used to it, but it could create some fit issues that would affect comfort long term.
Personally, I’ve got pretty wide shoulders but prefer narrower bars. I also spend a lot of time in the drops and vary my hand position a lot (basically, I switch between the drops and hoods a lot). The 42 drops feel really secure and give me a great base for sprinting and descending. They have a comparatively shallow drop, which makes it easier to get into the drops and easier to spend longer periods cruising along in the drops. If I spent the vast majority of my time riding on the hoods I might want them a bit wider, but for me they are just about right.
Given they are a big investment, I’d be generally recommend that you try to find a cheap set of really narrow alloy bars to try for a while - to see if you are comfortable enough riding on 37cm hoods.