Bontrager Race X Lite Blade OS handlebars £149.99
Bontrager is on a roll at the moment, producing some really well designed and well executed products, with the latest being these carbon Race X Lite Blade bars.
They’re made from High Compression Moulded carbon, and the Blade part of the name refers to the aero-shaped top section either side of the round central clamp area. Aero-shaped bars tend to be something of an opinion divider, but they’re great for comfort on longer rides, providing a large flat surface area for resting your hands. Bontrager produces a non-aero (the Race XXX Lite VR OS) if you prefer yours round.
With the dropped part of the bars, Bontrager have used a Variable Radius bend, which is in essence nearly a classic round bend but with a slight hint of an ergonomic shape. A sort of smooth ergo shape, if you like. It’s a nice halfway house between the extremes of some ergo bars and round bend bars, and fitted the bill nicely. The corners of the bars are curved enough to provide clearance for your arms when on the drops. Reach is 85mm and the drop 135mm.
Along the front of the bars are grooves for concealing cables, and the bends feature a roughened up area for clamping the brake/shift levers too, with laser etched position lines for setting the height of your controls. The bars are finished with a deep lacquer covering the carbon weave finish, and the decals look smart when fitted to the bike.
In use the bars are comfortable, with the area-shaped sections providing a comfortable position for when cruising along, while the drops provide a perfect hand position for keeping low and tucked. There is some flex noticeable on occasions, but not enough to distract from their great performance on rough roads, where they soak up bumps and holes nicely.
Weight is a claimed 228g, which compares well with other similarly priced and made handlebars. Available form 38cm to 46cm length. RCUK tested the 42cm (weight 222g).