PNW Components has been on a hot streak lately, introducing new products almost every month it seems. A few months ago they came out with their version of a gravel handlebar and stem. We have had Easton test riding the bar and stem for the past month and he is here to share his thoughts. Let's check it out!
Hello folks, I’ve been riding the Devinci Hatchet Carbon gravel bike for about 8 months now and I’ve really been enjoying it but I have also been considering a couple of upgrades, as cyclists do. To be more specific, I was really looking for a bar and stem combo that would be more appealing for gravel riding. I wanted to drop my stem length a little, at 110mm currently, and I wanted to just have a bar that provides a little wider stance so I could really feel stable on the bike when riding on dirt. I basically just wanted my gravel bike to feel more like a mountain bike so that I could do all the stupid things I want to do on the bike without feeling like I am constantly on the verge of eating dirt.
During the summer, I think I got my kicks on the mountain bike and it never really bothered me that I wasn’t able to really feel confident on my gravel bike because I didn’t feel like I was missing out on mountain riding. Since I have been doing a lot more gravel riding during the winter months, I have been desperately looking for any amount of dirt that I can get the tires on and the lack of confidence has become a lot more obvious to me. I enjoyed the bars that came stock on the Devinci, they had a pretty decent flare at 16 degrees but it still didn’t feel like it was wide enough to bridge the gap between road and MTB that I was looking for. Enter: The PNW Coast Drop Bar & Stem.
When you really break down the specs on the bar and stem you can tell that PNW wanted to make a bar that stood out from the currently available drop bars intended for gravel riding. The extra width, short reach, and short drop make the bar fit perfectly between a road and mountain bar. As a mountain bike rider looking for the stability and responsiveness of an MTB bar, these subtle changes made all the difference in the world. I was really impressed with how confidence-inspiring a bar like that could be, it gives you a position that kind of makes you feel like you are still on a mountain bike but with a drop bar of course. The new bars have really made the winter months bearable, just when I thought I might not make it without a trip out of the state, the old lady is happy that this setup costs a lot less than a trip to Sedona.
The stem is rad too, it comes in a variety of sizes that go a bit shorter than most other similar style stems which allow you to customize your fit more easily and is very convenient for some folks that want a short stem with a more responsive feel. Personally, I like a shorter stem on my mountain bike so the ability to run a shorter and more similar feeling stem is great for me. I’m sure I could have just run a short mountain stem on previous drop bar setups but it feels a lot more natural when stem sold for gravel use comes shorter than 100mm.
I also run the PNW Coast Dropper Post on my gravel bike which is supposed to pair with the bars and stem, as the name suggests. I wrote a review on the post alone which you can check out HERE so I won’t go into great detail on the post.
All in all, the bar, stem and post combined make for the most comfortable setup I have ever felt on gravel. I became so accustomed to riding narrow road-like bars, with a long 120mm stem and a rigid seatpost that was not the least bit forgiving, that I honestly lost sight of the comfort I dreamed of. PNW really restored my faith in the industry as they frequently do. Producing innovative and affordable products that change riding for me over and over.