gravitybars Gravity Light 710mm Handlebar Review from Spoke issue 31

There has been a lot of hype in recent years around the virtues of extra wide bars, especially amongst downhillers. I’m no ‘early adopter’ and have resisted the shift for quite some time, convinced that an extra 20–25 mm of length per side would do nothing for my riding and only result in carnage on tight and twisty tracks. However, after test riding a bike fitted with 710 mm FSA Gravity Light bars I finally decided to try some long term.

Gravity Light components are designed and marketed as downhill race equipment. I’m by no means a downhill racer, but when choosing components I nevertheless look for a combination of strength, durability and minimal weight. These bars combine top-notch materials (AL 7075/T6) with the best manufacturing techniques (triple butted and tapered with a 31.8 mm clamp diameter). There are two widths available––710 mm and 800 mm. The former comes with either 25 mm of rise (as tested) or 40 mm of rise. The latter is available with 25 mm only.

Going to a wider bar has not revolutionised my riding. But, without a doubt, there has been an improvement, particularly in descending at speed. A wider bar seems to have two advantages. Firstly, it allows you to adopt a better riding position: arms wide and strong, upper body forward and low.

Secondly, that extra width increases the leverage in your favour, meaning it takes less effort to keep the bike going in the direction you intend. The only occasion when the width has been a disadvantage is while climbing in the saddle negotiating very tight hairpins. In this situation I seem to run out of legroom in my relatively tight cockpit.

If you’re in the market for a new bar, or looking for opportunities to improve your descending, I recommend trying a little increased width. I’m also happy to note that, to date, I have not had any extra encounters with the vegetation on my local tracks. Touch wood. Leif Roy