Easton Cycling initially made its name by producing competition-grade alloys, and — when carbon first became a viable option for performance enhancement — the company demonstrated its innovative nous to become one of the leading pioneers in the synthetic field. The EC90 SLX Handlebar represents the culmination of a tradition of development innovative cycling products that, in reality, are just a hell of a lot of fun to ride. While Easton manufactures a few aerodynamic models, the EC90 SLX is myopically focused on reducing weight. And it does a smashing job of it.
The EC90 SLX isn't the absolute lightest bar we've seen, but the bars that beat it on the scale typically sacrifice reach and drop. These dimensions have already taken a pretty significant hit from the ergo trend, and those of us on frames larger than 50cm will definitely appreciate the extra millimeters of real estate, even if it comes with a 15g penalty. Given its dimensions and weight, the EC90 SLX is one of the lightest models on the market, and the fact that it does so while dropping almost $100 off the typical price for bars in this class definitely helps make up the difference. Finally, the MCD shape and TaperWall technologies let Easton hit weight targets while still modelling recesses for cable routing.
- Drop grams without losing real estate on your handlebar
- Carbon fiber provides rigidity with low weight
- MCD shape provides ergonomic comfort in your aggressive stance
- TaperWall technology reduces weight and maintains strength
- Recesses allow sleek cable routing
- Q & A
Light, Stiff, Comfy
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
These are super nice bars that have a good shape. The dimensions are within millimeters in drop and reach of Enve's compact road handlebar, and works really well for me. Going from a regular set of alloy bars to something like these would save you around 80 grams, which is pretty nice. More importantly, you'll be able to feel the stiffness of these bars when you get out of saddle to sprint, while still cutting down on road buzz. So long as the bar dimensions work for you, i'd say upgrading bars after wheels and tires is one of the best easy upgrades you can do for your bike.
These bars are bomber
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Dimensionally, these bars are slightly more compact than the average stock bar that comes on your new bike. The specs are explicit about this for reach, which is 80mm compared to 90mm for a typical bar. I can only speak for myself, but this serves me well. It feels comfortable on the hoods. I miss nothing.
The width also feels very slightly pared down. I ride 42's. And before swapping out bars, I took the Easton's and matched them bar to bar, and it appeared to my eyes to be the same. But once the new bars were installed, it felt slightly less. Can't explain, but it feels good to me anyhow. Maybe the stock bars themselves were a little broader than 42. [Addendum: They measure the same, so I can't explain the difference in feel.]
The drops are great. I can push the crook of my thumb and forefinger into the deepest part of the bend when I need to have a finger or two on the brake levers. Otherwise, I'll drop my hands just a bit onto that partially flattened section while I'm cruising along. Very comfortable in both positions.
The bars themselves are ridiculously light and crazy stiff. I walked around spinning them in my hands for a while after first getting them, just because I was so surprised how light and stiff some formed tube of carbon could be. Sprinting in the drops supports this. No sensation of whippy-ness, whatsoever.
I only had the original aluminum bars on my new bike for a week or so before installing these. So it's hard to say how much dampening effect they have. But there's something going on there. It seems to involve the severity of vibrations coming up from the road and through the frame. And I feel fairly comfortable saying that I don't feel quite as rattled on heavily patched and old beat up road surface. Granted, it's a new frame. But in theory it should be less forgiving than the "endurance" ride I had before. In any case, nothing scientific to report. But my hands feel good on the bars on rough stuff. And some of that seems attributable to the carbon in my grip. [Addendum: A section of beat-up pavement that I ride regularly no longer leaves my hands numb by the end. At least partially due to the bars, I think.]
I considered some of the carbon offerings from the company that makes my bike. But one thing or another turned me off. These Easton bars have a traditional diameter with provisions for cable routing engineered in, they're very light, and very stiff. They feel comfortable in all positions, and they're solid when sprinting. Carbon road bars are not cheap. But I'm happy with them. My two cents.