The Range Handlebar: KW Edition all started with a conversation. Kyle Warner called us up to talk about handlebars during one of the long road trips pro riders inevitably find themselves on. If you think handlebars are an odd conversation topic, we’d have to agree. While we often get caught up in conversations about the length of our chain stays, what PSI we’re running in our tires or the number of teeth in our drivetrain, we’re guilty of treating handlebars as an afterthought. But the truth is this simple component can unlock the difference between a good ride and a great one.
The reason why Kyle was calling is he wanted a handlebar that addressed some ongoing battles he had with his cockpit set up. Kyle is one of the first people we talk to about tech because he likes to dive deep into the minutiae of bike set up and body positioning, plus he puts more miles on a bike in a year than we can in five. While it’s no secret that wider bars are en vogue and bike frames are favoring longer reach numbers, what’s often left out of the conversation is the new pressure points these trends create for high impact areas like the ol’ bird bones in your wrist (disclaimer: nope your wrists don’t actually have hollow bones, but sometimes it may feel like it). This is one of the things we wanted to accommodate for.
Kyle has battled a bad scaphoid in his right wrist for years and after trying many different bar, grip and stem combos to help relieve the issue he began to realize the overall importance of the bars themselves, “what I have learned through all the experimentation is that the rise, sweep and material of the bar play such a huge role in how I’m able to get through a big day pain free."
So our task was to make a handlebar that plays nice with modern geos and gives all of our upper bods a bit of a break. First, we settled on a 10° back sweep and 5° upsweep to provide this relief. This combination helps put your shoulder blades in a more neutral position, especially while climbing and can help reduce unwanted wrist fatigue and discomfort for the downhill sections.
Like a good sourdough bread, the rise of a handlebar is also another important part of the equation. When playing around with his setup, Kyle has always preferred getting stack height out of his handlebar rather than using headset spacers. “When you add height via a headset spacer it actually shortens the reach of your bike ever so slightly in line with your headtube angle. More spacers equals a shorter reach especially on modern bikes with a slack head angle. However, when you are able to get rise out of your handlebar instead of using spacers it actually maintains your bike’s reach and just gives you the vertical height you’re looking for,” he explains. Keeping this in mind, we picked a 30mm rise on this bar. This keeps your front end low enough on the longer travel bikes while providing good height for the increasingly popular 120-140mm travel trail rigs.
As a brand we’re fans of alloy, for the cost, production and durability (we know carbon has it’s draw, but if you’re like us and like to crash from time to time… well we know our limitations). This handlebar features 2014 series aluminum alloy. 2014 is a trail friendly material, resembling carbon’s chatter absorbing qualities in a more cost conscious and durable package. It’s lighter than the ubiquitous 6061 alloy, and it’s more supple than the 7075 Series. So catch us partying over here like it’s… 2014? Sure, our metabolisms were a lot better back then anyway.
Last, but definitely not least, this handlebar isn’t just here for your bike, it’s also on a mission to give back to the cycling community. For Kyle it was really important we did something special with some of the proceeds. So, we’ve pledged to give 5% of the bar’s sales to NICA, the National Interscholastic Cycling Association. Kyle put it best by saying, “at the end of the day we are all big kids on bikes and what better way to keep the sport growing than to give back to the younger generation and the people helping them fall in love with the sport.”