Spotlight: Bontrager XXX Aero Handlebar

Bontrager XXX Aero Handlebar
$360 / bontrager.com

Three Xs. The time-honored marker of things unsavory. Booze, dirty movies, and, of course Bontrager’s top-o-the-line components.

How might the latter possibly be unsavory you might ask? Well, here at Paved ‘unsavory’ is afforded a slightly broader definition and application—heck, I’ve been called it so many times I can only assume it’s quite the compliment, slang, if you will, for ‘avant-garde, edgy, before their time, damn that dude’s pretty cool, etc.’

Thus, I see fit to extend the same compliment to Bontrager’s latest wind-cheating (see, cheating isn’t always a bad thing…) handlebars. You see, in this case, the unsavory connotation implies a distasteful extreme in which the end result is a bit over the top—exactly the goal for Bontrager’s XXX product line.

At 225 grams, the Bontrager XXX Aero isn’t a pork chop by any stretch of the imagination, in fact, it’s quite competitive with much of its carbon competition.

But that’s not nearly the whole story.

Designed around the Kamm tail truncated aero profile utilized on many of parent-company Trek’s aero projects (not to mention many competitor’s aero designs as well), the XXX handlebar is claimed to offer a 23-second per hour savings over a traditional round profile, all while keeping within the constraints of UCI-legal 3:1 ratio.

Regardless of claimed aerodynamic gains, or x watts being saved at x miles per hour, Bontrager has produced a bar, that’s not only quite light, but also extremely comfortable. The flat top section provides a more than ample perch for your hands on long climbing efforts, and Bontrager’s “Variable-Radius Compact Flare” design makes for comfortably shaped drops that flare out just a touch for increased wrist clearance.

It’s only fitting though, that the XXX’s drops proved so comfortable given the handlebar’s intended purpose.

The verdict?

I love this bar, which is to say, it’s downright unsavory. While the aero profile isn’t for some, I found it extremely comfortable—and the free (well not exactly, this bar ain’t cheap..) speed (in whatever amount) it provides is certainly an added bonus. Add in the XXX’s smartly designed drops and you have yourself a winner.

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