New to MTB here (or rather, returning after a long time spent exclusively on drop bars). I have never loved a handlebar more than the Enve SES AR bars, and @Jonathan speaks really highly of their MTB bars too - plus it looks like their MTB bars aren’t nearly as expensive as their dropbars.
In the absense of other experience I was thinking I might just do a straight copy of Jon’s setup and get a set of Enve M5 bars. At some point this bike is going to end up on an ultra-endurance race though - does anyone know if the clamping area on the M5s is wide enough for clip-on aerobars?
If not, then can someone recommend decent bars that will fit clip-ons?
Bike is an Epic Evo Expert so came with alloy bars with a 35mm clamp. Obviously clip-ons won’t fit that diameter. I’d just ride it stock for a while, but I think I’m going to need to change stem length pretty much right away. Seems silly to spend money on another 35mm stem (plus there are a lot less options out there), so I might end up doing stem and bars all at once.
ask enve, they will be able to tell you the 31.8/35mm center section width
Newmen Carbon ones do. As do the aluminum ones but I especially inquired some years back whether Newmen was seeing their carbon bars fit to withstand clamping forces of clip on aerobars. And they said: yes. And indeed - so far they held up.
I was in the same boat a while back, specifically looking for a flat/0mm rise bar in my case… Enve’s offerings won’t work, and I sold my M5 partially due to this. There are a few options out there. I can physically get aerobars to fit on my Truvativ Atmos bars, although they don’t list them as rated for it, and you have to bump the clip ons right up next to the stem. But similarly, I’ve been running clamp on bar ends on bars that don’t spec it without issue, just go easy with the torque wrench.
The easiest to source is the Salsa Salt Flat Carbon, which is made for exactly this purpose, and features a wider(100mm) center section of 31.8mm diameter to give you more real estate for clamping. Berg offers a similar bar, with 105mm center section. They are good about spacing the torque values(5nm stem, 2.5nm elsewhere).
I ended up putting together a really sleek setup for my most recent race, which was pretty singletrack heavy, and didn’t warrant a full Clip-On TT setup. It’s the Specialized ITU short version, and mounts to a Venge or SL7 stem. I machined a small wedge to get the clamp to fit perfectly on my Syntace Flatforce stem. Honestly this is probably the setup I’d stick with on my Epic Evo, as if the course warrants that bike, there probably isn’t much need for a full blown TT setup. This worked out perfectly… Way under 1lb of weight, and due to the position of it, it didn’t force me to feel over-extended, which can easily happen with the modern trend of really long frames.
controltech also seems to the other company offering some sort of semi-universal stem mounted setup -
I have no firsthand experience with it though
That’s a really good shout. I have the long version of the Specialized TT bars and actually find them really comfy. I wonder what an epic eco with a tarmac sl7 stem looks like?
I do think I’d probably want traditional clip ons in some situations though. Will look for some of the options mentioned here.
Prime J-bend Clip-On Aerobars (31.8mm) | Wiggle
If you just shove “31.8” and aero bars into google lots come up with shims. Once you get a base bar in place you can tweak angle pad etc to your hearts content rather than some of the more janky ITU setups.
Deda do Carbon Blasts in 31.8.
If you really want to go OTT then I think the Deda Jet2 come with a 31.8 clamp
@Neuromancer The problem isn’t finding clip-on aerobars that are 31.8mm… That’s the most standard size clamp diameter for road and mountain bike bars. The problem is finding a MTB handlebar with a wide enough center section that maintains this 31.8mm diameter to allow for the clip-on bars to mount next to a stem. Most bars begin to taper to 22.2mm around 60-80mm apart. By the time 40-50mm of that space is occupied by a stem, you’re left with insufficient room for the clip-on mounts. And the shims don’t change anything, as then you’re able to mount them to the 22.2mm section, but thats significantly further apart than you likely want, as the tapered section tends to carry outwards for a while.
See - this has never been an issue on any mtb handlebar I’ve used - there has always been sufficient space to fit a 1-2cm wide clamp either side (e.g. for a light, computer mount etc etc).
PRO, ENVE etc.
So after looking around a bit more I had basically decided to try the S-Works Carbon Mini-Rise Handlebars that come on the non-Evo S-Works Epic. There are enough close-up photos out there to make me think the clamping area is likely wide enough, I’ve never been disappointed with a Specialized product, they’re available at 15% off RRP, and I figured at the very worst they’d at least hold ~70% of purchase price in resale value. Plus brand consistency (read: vanity), etc.
But then I stumbled across the Cannondale version for £35 which was just such a stupid deal that I pulled the trigger. No idea how long this deal/stock will last but if anyone else in the UK is looking they’re on Merlin here: Cannondale One Carbon Riser Handlebars | Merlin Cycles. Brand purists please forgive me!
At that price I can probably ride them for a year and still get nearly all my money back re-selling on eBay or similar (could even turn a profit!). We’ll see how they are once they arrive.
I also nearly bought an 80mm Venge stem for half off RRP since I still have the Venge bracket for my Spesh clip-ons. That would potentially give me the option of using either version of Aerobars depending on the event (generally I prefer the Specialized stem-mounted ones for one-day events and the more traditional version for multi-day stuff where I’m hanging luggage off of them). Made sense because it was from the same retailer as the S-Works bars, but I decided against making that purchase on its own.
I’ve deliberately kept a drawer full of standard -6deg 1 1/8 x 31.8 stems in 80-130mm explicitly for test-fitting purposes, so I’m going to try the new bars on an 80 for a while first before deciding to buy something special. Bike came stock with a 60mm which is at least 20mm too short for me but it could turn out to be more. Even if the Venge stem deal goes away there seem to be folk flogging SL7 stems on eBay on a pretty regular basis so I’m sure a bit of patience is all that’s required.
For readers in other markets: it seems like Newmen was the obvious purchase in the EU and Salsa was a good shout in the US, but neither was going to cost less than S-Works for me here in the UK.
I’ll report back if/when I have more to share. Thanks for all your help everyone!