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OneUp has been charging hard to do exactly what their name implies and 1-up the rest of the industry. It is safe to say they have been succeeding thus far. With so many innovations under their belt, the introduction of a compliant Carbon 35mm Handlebar seems almost too good to be true. Fortunately enough, the design quickly began turning heads and the OneUp Components Carbon Handlebar quickly found a home at the top of our list of favorite handlebars. Our buddy Kyle recently made an upgrade to these bars to see what the hype was all about. Let's see what he thought!
Can the OneUp Components Carbon Handlebar possibly deliver on its dual promise of sweet comfort blended with precision steering?
I started mountain biking when the handlebar diameter was 25.4mm. Never much thought about it, this was just the way things were and that worked just fine for all those years until somebody decided I needed more. 31.8mm seemed like a good idea as bars went from universally flat to having greater rise and width. The larger diameter would be stiffer and sturdier to support the evolutionary bars.
Yet it didn’t seem like 31.8 hung around all that long before BAM! somebody decided we needed yet more. As usual with these things, little-to-no data was provided to assess whether or not we needed 35mm, but the decision was nevertheless delivered without my input or consideration. More is more, right?
Renthal initially disagreed with this, citing data that 31.8 is not only plenty stiff, but better performing from a comfort standpoint. They initially resisted producing 35’s until it became clear, as it always does, that the market wins (even when the market is misguided). After a few rides, it became apparent that 35.0 was stiff as all get out--perhaps too much so. Yet more and more bikes came outfitted with this hot, new-fangled size. And more and more folks came home from rides with hand, wrist, neck, and shoulder pain.
But the genie’s out of the bottle on this one I’m afraid, so some smart folks at OneUp worked out a patch. Carbon frames and bits vibrate in a generally favorable manner to aluminum and are often lighter weight. Better feel and performance plus lighter is a clean win.
OneUp took it further than producing just another generic carbon bar. By first assessing what’s great about the larger diameter clamp zone--stiffness--and then combining it with the unlimited formability of carbon fiber as a material, they figured out the fix for the 35mm problem. Form a bar that steers as well as the format promises, but make it simultaneously, incredibly comfortable. To the tune of 21% more comfortable.
This sounds also like so much marketing hoodoo: you get both cake and ice cream. But I like the OneUp brand and the ingenuity they’ve shown through time. My e-bike, like almost all new bikes, came with aluminum bars. I was having so much fun on the bike at first I didn’t notice the pounding my hands and wrists were taking. The height and sweep weren’t right, either, so I borrowed a spare Renthal SL aluminum bar from my son. That fixed the height and sweep problem, but the pounding, if anything, was more severe. But onward for months, I endured before at last I determined carbon was a must. Armed with no more data than a sales pitch and anecdote, OneUp got the nod. If they delivered on the promise, fantastic. If not, it’s carbon after all, so things will be better regardless.
I certainly wasn’t expecting the performance difference to the degree insinuated. Au contraire, the comfort improvement is simply astonishing. I bought my son (very much more the shredder) these bars for Christmas: he’s now a convert and promoter. It’s like injecting a new previously unknown suspension component into the whole bicycle system. That gorgeous shaping makes it easy to agree with the 21% comfort upgrade claim.
My trail bike has a 31.8 stem outfitted with regular carbon bars. They feel nice, but not on par with OneUp. I wish OneUp would cast the same magic and produce a 31.8 version so that I preserve my sweet Thomson stem. But until then, I’m willing to sacrifice the Thomson and buy a new 35 stem just to have these bars on that bike.
"So while I’m still not sure 35mm is necessary, the OneUp Components carbon handlebar is. Thank you, OneUp, for another innovative product that’s also the upgrade of the year (at least)." - Kyle