ritchey-carbon Ritchey WCS Carbon Bar Review from Spoke issue 32

Back in the days of yore when wild Gary Fishers and Tom Ritcheys roamed the earth, there were only two choices in handlebars: straight and flat, or straight, flat and narrow. Would you like bar ends with that? Then downhillers started to use wide, sweeping riser bars, and before you knew it the flat bar was relegated to has-been status except among the most staunch cross-country riders.

Of late, flat bars have at least become wider. Mr Ritchey now offers a carbon fibre bar with a generous 10-degree back sweep and a width of 660 mm. At just 170 grams it will appease even the most finicky of weight conscious greyhounds. While ten degrees of sweep may seem excessive to some, the beauty of Ritchey’s design is that it angles forward from the stem clamping area before making its way back towards the rider. The ends of the bar sit in roughly the same position as those of a riser would, so you don’t get the shortening of the cockpit that some other swept-back bars (e.g. Salsa) can give. This also allows hands a more natural position on the grips. Even on technical, steep sections of trail, the bars don’t leave you wishing you had a riser, and you don’t feel as if you’re too low and about to go over the top.

As with all Ritchey kit, the finish is impeccable, the construction top notch, and the function can’t be beaten. And while the unusual looks of this bar may not be everybody’s cup of tea, they certainly garnered a lot of attention on the trails. If you’re looking for the benefits of a riser position with a flat bar weight, then this is the bar for you.

Brett Kennedy