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By no means fairly happy with the form of drop bars, Miles finds curvy bar bliss on the Ritchey Beacon XL, a brilliant extensive drop bar with a 36° flare. Discover his ideas on it right here…
During the last 4 years, I’ve examined and reviewed a complete of 10 drop-bar bikes on this website. Over that point, I can say with certainty that I’ve by no means actually beloved any of the handlebars these bikes had been specced with. The Ritchey WCS Carbon VentureMAX handlebar on the Ritchey Outback I reviewed just a few years again was shut—in all probability the perfect I had used on the time—however alas, I didn’t prefer it sufficient to put in writing an entire article on it. In my eyes, the correct handlebar can change your total expertise on a motorcycle. They’ll change your place and match on the bike, play a task in what you possibly can and may’t trip comfortably, and even influence what sort of baggage you should utilize, relying on their form and width.
As somebody who usually thinks, “Why am I driving this on a drop-bar bike?” and prefers the soundness and familiarity of flat mountain bike bars, I discover that almost all drop bars fall quick. They’re too usually slim, not flared sufficient, too lengthy, or the drops are too deep. For the kind of driving I love to do, which just about at all times includes terrain that may very well be thought-about mountain biking, I’ve realized I want drop bars which can be extensive and tight. That’s the place the Ritchey Beacon XL is available in.
I’ll give the oldsters at Chumba all of the credit score for this one, because it was the Yaupon construct they despatched me to check out that launched me to the Beacon XL. Up till that, I wasn’t paying a lot consideration to the drop bar area and made myself a promise I’d take a break from driving any sort of racy drop-bar gravel bike. The reality is, these emotions are all fairly new to me. There was a time (I’m pondering again to my authentic Idiot’s Loop scouting journey) after I’d fortunately fly down tough tracks on drop-bar bikes outfitted with nothing bigger than a 45mm tire. I feel what has actually pushed me away from these bouts of self-inflicted torture is the truth that my physique has begun to harm.
Spending most of my days both sitting at a pc, driving lengthy distances in my van, or driving a motorcycle has wreaked havoc on my decrease again and neck. Whereas I’ve managed to chill out my neck with common stretching and a extra ergonomic work setup, my decrease again continues to be a piece in progress. Briefly, my hip flexors have shortened and weakened to the purpose that I’ve some severe muscle imbalance. The very last thing I wish to do is trip a drop-bar bike that places me into an aggressive driving place, hinging my already tender again nearer in the direction of my thighs.
I’m positive the Chumba Yaupon’s beneficiant stack top is partly accountable for the perceived improve in consolation, taking among the pressure off my decrease again, however the Beacon XL looks like a mountain biker designed it. Its 520mm width (from hood to hood) and 36° flare equate to an enormous 667mm width from finish to finish. Driving within the drops, the additional width gives a brilliant secure platform that additionally soaks up vibrations from the path. Whereas it isn’t that noticeable, the bar makes use of Ritchey’s anatomical drop profile, offering two distinct hand positions: an angled half additional up and a straight part in the direction of the tip of the bar. Though it may not supply the identical stage of versatility because the bio-bend profile discovered on their VentureMAX XL, I discovered it straightforward to change between driving within the hoods, on the highest part of the bar, and throughout the two positions within the drops.
Drop, Attain, and Flare
Between all of the completely different specs, angles, and measurements a handlebar can have today, it may be troublesome to discern between them. Ritchey does an awesome job at making this additional difficult with their completely different drop profiles and high part shapes. For instance, the drop bars can have one in all 4 completely different high part profiles: aero, ergo-aero, ergonomic, and spherical. Plus, there are two different drop profiles along with the 2 talked about above. The Beacon XL has an ergonomic high part, making for a spherical and extensive bar that’s straightforward to get a superb maintain on. It additionally has a slight backsweep, 4.5° to be actual, which helps create a extra pure hand place whereas driving on high.
Ritchey Beacon XL vs The Relaxation
In comparison with another equally formed bars, the Beacon XL manages to supply a singular set of angles and measurements. Primarily, its drop (vertical distance from the horizontal stem clamp space to the underside of the bar’s drop extension) and attain (how far the handlebar extends ahead from the stem clamp space) numbers set it other than the others. I contemplate something beneath 120mm to be a shallow drop, and the Beacon XL’s is simply 80mm—one of many shortest on the market. That is one in all my favorite elements of the bar, because it makes transitioning from drops to hoods faster and simpler, even whereas driving off street. It additionally leads to a extra upright driving place when within the drops, which helps my again and boosts my confidence whereas driving on trails. I nearly by no means trip within the drops, however the Beacon XL has me reconsidering this. The 65mm attain can also be fairly quick however proper on development with different fashionable off-road drop bars. Once more, the shorter attain pulls the cockpit again in the direction of the rider for a extra upright, much less stretched-out place.
In truth, I’ve by no means been an enormous fan of super-flared drop bars. Awkwardly angled hoods don’t make that a lot sense to me, and I feel a wider bar gives most of what I’m after. Nevertheless, the mixture of the Beacon XL’s drop, attain, and 36° flare works, and I discovered it extremely snug on all terrain. Paired with some tremendous thick Wolf Tooth Supple bar tape, there was lots of bar to seize on to on tough trails, and extreme hand-numbing vibrations weren’t a lot of a problem on lengthy descents. I’d be comfortable to see a carbon model of the Beacon XL, however for now it’s provided because the Beacon Comp (double-butted 6061 alloy) and the WCS Beacon (triple-butted 7050 alloy). The latter being stronger and lighter than the Comp mannequin examined right here.
- Huge sufficient to remind you that you need to in all probability be driving a mountain bike
- Shallow drop makes for straightforward transitions and stability
- Double-butted Comp model is barely $60
- Bar and drop profile is straightforward to get a superb maintain on
- A number of room for luggage and equipment
- Just one width, though the usual model is available in 40-46cm
- No carbon choice
- Flare may be an excessive amount of for some
- Materials (as examined): Double-butted 6061 Alloy
- Weight: 325 grams
- Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
- Worth: $58.95 USD
- Producer’s Particulars: RitcheyLogic.com
When the Beacon bar was launched again in 2020, it caught our consideration. Even amongst an amazing variety of handlebar choices on the market, it managed to supply a singular form that seemed very nice, no less than on paper. The draw back? This primary batch topped out at 46cm, which wasn’t fairly extensive sufficient for greater, rowdier riders. Put in on a drop-bar mountain bike just like the Chumba Yaupon, the Ritchey Beacon XL lives as much as the hype. The shallow drop is straightforward to make use of, the width feels pure for somebody extra snug on extensive flat mountain bike bars, and the tremendous flared profile works, even when it appears kinda funky. Wrap this stuff up in some thick bar tape and also you’ve bought your self a drop-bar setup that even essentially the most devoted of mountain bikers can get behind.
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