Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Deda releases Mega-Fondo 50 handlebars: size matters

I'm a committed fan of 26 mm handlebars. They feel comfortable in my hands, they're plenty stiff, they're light, and they flex just enough to dampen some road vibration. I never understood the shift to 31.8 mm, and will resist it until my present bars fail.

But then as if 31.8 mm wasn't enough, Deda came out with the "35". For some reason the perception was that bar flex is to be avoided at all costs, as if we propel the bike primarily with our hands rather than our feet. Indeed, the 35 has had a tepid response even from the pros, who put out considerably higher torque than most riders, me included. 31.8 was already more than enough.

But manufacturers in the quest for differentiation never let the facts get in their way. I just found out, from some of my many inside industry contacts, that Deda will announce soon a new "standard" in handlebars: "The MegaFondo 50"

Why MegaFondo? Well, the pro peloton already rejected 35 mm. In any case, top-level racers just ride what they're given. The real market drivers are the gran fondo riders... including fast century riders, lunch riders, even performance-sensitive commuters who feel like every bit of stiffness is critical to getting to work in Strava-PR time.

Here's a photo:


That's some serious beef up there. Also note the special matching stem.

So while Djamolidine Abdoujaparov had no problem sprinting full blast out of the saddle to win Tour stages with his 26 mm handlebars, no self-respecting bike commuter should go for those yellow traffic lights with anything less than 50 mm.

Needless to say, I'm sticking with 26 mm.

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