Not too long ago PNW Components came out with a dropper post called the Coast Suspension Dropper Post. It was aimed at the average gravel rider, commuter, and anyone looking to make their butt just a little more comfortable while on the bike. Today PNW has launched its Coast Drop Bar and Stem. The new Coast Drop Bar and Stem help address many common handlebar issues and also come in at a very reasonable price point. Both the Coast Drop Bar and Coast Stem are only $69 USD, which makes switching to these bars an easy decision, read on for detailed specs!
The PNW Coast Drop bar looks like many other gravel bars on the market, it's a bit wider with flared drops, has a short reach, and short drop. It’s not until you look at the numbers and the two width options that you realize PNW did their homework and made what I consider to be a mountain bikers’ drop bar.
To start, there are two width options, the narrow at 48cm and the wide at 52cm. Just as mountain biking has seen handlbar width widen, so has gravel. This helps add more stability and better control when getting wild in the dirt. It also gives you more room for hand positions during long rides, more clamping area for lights, computer mounts and also the ever-popular burrito bag. Along with the width being wide, there is also quite a bit of flare at 20 degrees. If you are not familiar with flare, that is the angle at which the drops angle outwards away from the bike when the handlebar starts to go from the flat section to the round drop section. Having more flare puts your hands in a wider overall position and helps further increase control and stability. This becomes very useful when changing positions on rough terrain that you would be riding on gravel roads or even singletrack.
The reach of the PNW Coast Drop bar is a short 65mm, meaning that from the stem mounting point to how far the drops roll out in front, keeping it compact means that your brake/shift hoods stay nice and close helping comfort and handling. A short reach combined with a shallow drop really makes this Coast Drop Bar extremely comfortable for long rides. At 105mm of drop, that is quite shallow compared to most other handlebars on the market, this is when comfort is a priority over being aero. A few other specs; clamp diameter is 31.8mm, made from 6061 alloy and $69 for the Coast Drop Bar.
Matching the Coast Drop Bar with the Coast stem would be a very wise choice, mainly because having mix-matched bars and stem just really makes me upset. The Coast Stem does exactly what you need from a stem with a little extra feature. With minimal graphics and a price of $69, if you decide to get the Coast Drop Bar, getting this stem would be an obvious addition. You can also use this stem without a Coast Drop Bar, especially when you see the special feature that helps set this stem apart from most.
With a standard 31.8mm clamp, it works with most other gravel and even XC handlebars on the market. The Coast Stem also features a 7-degree rise or drop to help keep you comfortable for rides of any length. Available in 10mm increments ranging from a short 60mm all the way to the long 100mm option.
The special feature… the front of the stem has a GoPro/Light mount that attached to the face plate. This is of course, removable, but also a very cool and unique feature to see especially on a stem of this price point. Want to mount up a GoPro to film some badass adventures? Need a light mount for that commute home? Boom, it sits right in the middle and doesn’t take up any handlebar space either. If you don’t want it, it's an easy part to take off and the face plate still looks great with or without the GoPro/Light mount.
I’ve been using the PNW Coast Drop Bar and Stem on my gravel bike for about a week now, so this is just a first impression and not a full review. I do have enough time to know what I immediately like and might not dig so much about the setup. The first thing that stood out was really how wide these Drop Bars are! Coming from a more standard road drop at 44cm (measured from the drops) to these PNW Coast Drop bars at 48cm (measured from the tops, even wider) I wasn’t sure how they would handle. Because I knew that these would be much wider, I would need to shorten up my stem to compensate for my hands being farther apart taking up some reach. I chose to go with the 100mm PNW Coast stem for test (I had on a 120mm stem before). Most of my riding is split 50/50 between paved and gravel so I often am sitting in a road position many miles before getting into the dirt. Having good and comfortable positions is much needed for my riding style.
When first riding these bars down the street, they felt so wide I wasn’t sure I would enjoy them, that is until I hit the dirt. When riding on some winding gravel roads getting to a fast double track I immediately could feel the improvements from the wider bar and shorter stem over my previous setup. In the dirt it was easy to get used to the wide bar, I spend most of my time on the hoods while handling in the dirt, but occasionally I go to the drops if the road has a long section and I just want to put some power down. The shallow drop really helps keep you upright and I think if it was any deeper combined with the width it just wouldn’t work. PNW Components definitely found the best of both worlds with the width and drop of the Coast Drop Bar.
I have a full roadie background so I am more used to a narrow traditional road bar for logging road miles, so take this part as a full opinion. Going back onto the road, at first I thought they were not ideal for how I like to ride. That being said, I still found the drops very comfortable and not too low given my hands were placed wider than I am used to. I was still able to do a 2-hour ride with 50% road and maintained my comfort throughout the entire ride. The big improvement is going back into the dirt and where the numbers of this bar really shine!
The PNW Coast Drop Bar and Stem brings a great quality handlebar and stem to the gravel bike at an affordable price. The Coast Bar combines the best gravel attributes you want in a handlebar like a wide width at 48mm or 52mm, shallow drop at 105mm, short-reach at 65mm and a 20-degree flare to round it out. The stem looks great and has the ability to mount a GoPro/Light on the front well. With the Coast Drop Bar and Stem retailing for $69 each, this is an obvious upgrade option for many riders out there. Once again, PNW has hit the nail on the head with its new Coast product line.