If you are anything like me, you have put a lot of thought into what handlebars you are running. There are some pretty big differences in what angles and rise you can choose from when looking at a new set of mountain bike bars. From the brand to the angles, to the rise, there is an endless amount of options. So you might be asking yourself, what would make OneUp components carbon handlebar any different? Until recently, I never really put much thought into how the handlebar performed from a stiffness and comfort side. There has been much talk about 31.8 bars having a better feel, whereas 35mm bars are stiffer and not as forgiving on long rough descents.
OneUp’s mission was simple. Create a handlebar with the best traits of a 31.8 and 35mm bar. In their own words, this is 35mm done right. OneUp has come to the market over and over again with innovative products that are truly “one-upping” the industry, from chain guides to dropper posts, to their EDC tool system and stem, each product really does have a fresh feel and design. The same goes for their carbon handlebar. Featuring a unique new shape, OneUp has been able to work in the comfort of a 31.8 handlebar with the stiffness and precision of a 35mm handlebar. By quickly going from the 35mm clamping area into the bend and rise of the handlebar, the overall diameter of the bar gets smaller faster. Combined with a flattened oval shape in the bend transition area, results in a much more compliant handlebar. Basically, the ability to tune carbon layup has given life to this unique patent-pending flattened oval shape, creating the best of compliance and stiffness.
There are two rise options for the handlebar, a classic 20mm rise, and a higher 35mm rise. Both bars get 8 degrees of back sweep and 5 degrees of upsweep, staying in line with what common handlebars are using. They also happen to be on the lighter side at 220g for the 20mm rise and 5g more for the 35mm rise. While I wouldn't really look at weight often on a set of handlebars, I don't think many people would complain about shaving some extra grams while gaining performance. At last, OneUp has really rounded out this handlebar with an amazing price at $138! Almost $20 cheaper than any other top brands carbon handlebar offering.
Having spent the last few months riding the OneUp bars, they are easy to get used to and after a short time, you wouldn't think anything is different about them. The real difference comes when you swap out the OneUp handlebars for another brand, then you really can feel what the OneUp handlebars can do. From climbing to rough descents, you get a more compliant handlebar that can help improve hand and arm fatigue.
Starting on the climb, when putting in a lot of effort and body English to the bike, you can feel the OneUp flex more than others. In most cases, I don't think this really makes a difference, but on tech sections, I would say this is a less than a desired trait. Once you are used to the handlebars you really don't notice this, but when jumping from the OneUp to say a Renthal carbon fatbar, it's instantly noticeable. One might prefer a stiffer bar if your focus is climbing or if you are putting the bars on an XC bike.
The real test, and what this handlebar is designed to do, is increase comfort while retaining control and enjoying the benefits of gravity. Just as I immediately noticed the difference when climbing, the same can be said for descending. The difference is pretty obvious - the OneUp bars really do take that harsh hit off the hands. The compliance compared to the other bars we tested is pretty insane. With the Renthal Carbon Fatbar 35mm being the stiffest both on paper and what we concluded from on the trail testing, its night and day difference between the two. I can see how the OneUp bars are a very appealing option. Especially if you deal with fatigue in the hands or arms and are always riding chunky, rough terrain.
Not only do the OneUp handlebars take off that edge, but they also remain stiff when turning and handling the bike. A true best of both worlds when it comes to compliance and performance. We rode bars from Renthal, Raceface, and Truvativ, and all those bars felt pretty normal when it comes to the feel and what you expect from a nice carbon handlebar. In that order of brands, the Renthal is the stiffest, and Truvativ is the most compliant next to the OneUp.
I think that all these handlebars have their place, it just depends on what you are going for in a handlebar. There is definitely a place for a very stiff handlebar, from XC riding to freeride, or really just how you like your front end to ride. But if you are doing general trail riding, I think many people would really like the OneUp carbon handlebar. Your bike becomes more comfortable, the hard hits are smoothed out, and the entire ride experience with the OneUp is improved over a standard carbon or alloy bar.
OneUp components really nailed it with their first carbon handlebar, I wouldn't expect anything less from a company constantly coming out with great products either. With focusing on making a carbon handlebar that rides better by having more vertical compliance by 21% while also increasing steering stiffness by 28%, they truly have One Up’d all the other handlebars currently on the market. OneUp is not blowing smoke with this, they really do work as intended, they make 35mm handlebars the right way.