First Ride: Race Face Releases New Era & Turbine Handlebars

Apr 9, 2024 at 21:19
by Dario DiGiulio  
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Race Face has a very deep lineup when it comes to cockpit components, with offerings spanning the gamut from the light and stiff Next carbon offerings to the bombproof aluminum of the Atlas series. They saw a hole in that lineup though, namely in the shape of compliance and all-mountain comfort. Filling that hard-to-picture-geometrically hole are the Era and Turbine handlebars, tuned to provide comfort via compliance, without yielding any strength.

Both the Era and the Turbines come with a lifetime warranty, including crashes.

Turbine Details

• 8° back sweep, 5° up
• Material: 7075 aluminum
• 760, 780, & 800mm width
• 10, 20, & 40mm rise
• 35mm clamp diameter
• Weight: 315g (800x40mm)
• Price: $89.99 USD / $109.00 CAD
raceface.com
Era Details

• 8° back sweep, 5° up
• Material: carbon fiber
• 760, 780, & 800mm width
• 10, 20, & 40mm rise
• 35mm clamp diameter
• Weight: 220g (800x40mm)
• Price: $169.99 USD / $215.00 CAD
raceface.com

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All the rises, all the widths.

There were a few strategies that went into the "Goldilocks Tune" in both bars, starting with the external shape. The bars taper to a narrow diameter as quickly as possible, keeping them as small as possible throughout the rise. That rise starts earlier in the overall width, thanks in part to the relatively narrow clamp area. The carbon Era bars have a layup optimized to provide strength where needed, while minimizing material elsewhere. The alloy Turbine bars use internal butting to achieve the same effect, and apparently the ride feel is close enough to call the tune identical between the two.

Returning to that clamp area, the max clamp width for both Era and Turbine is worth pointing out. 60mm max, meaning they're not compatible with most direct mount stems.

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GL = Goldilocks.
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In case you forgot which bars you were running.

As mentioned above, there are a huge variety of widths, rises, and colors available. The idea behind the rise is obvious: more bike fits, suiting all the shapes and sizes of riders and bike geometries out there. The color is just the same, choose one that suits your fancy. The width is where things get a bit more interesting, as that's key to the overall comfort of the bar. Where most handlebars come in the nominal 800mm width and are then trimmed down to whatever your personal size may be (please trim your bars), these are offered in smaller jumps of 760, 780, and 800 so you're never cutting too much off the end. The more you trim off the end of a bar, the less compliance you have relative to the full-width version. By narrowing that window, they can optimize the layup and butting to a certain bracket of widths and try to hit the comfort targets.

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Grasp the rainbow.

There are claims made by Race Face to counter the popular choice of oval-shaped bars as the best solution to achieving a more comfortable cockpit. These revolve around a given person's bar roll and the change in compliance that comes with that. According to the Race Face team, a roll change of 20° in either direction leads to a 20% change in vertical stiffness, where the Era's change is just 6%. We didn't conduct any science here, but I can see the logic.

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Sweep feels natural.
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And 40mm rise is nice.

Ride Impressions

The Era handlebars I've been running on my Tallboy do a great job of connecting my hands to the bike. Beyond that initial impression, the rise and sweep feels natural and neutral, and the on-trail comfort is quite good. I'm not going make any hard claims here, as there are so so many factors that lead to more or less comfort on a given day of riding, from ground hardness to tire pressure to personal fatigue. I'm not terribly picky about bar stiffness, but I am averse to bars that feel noodly or too pliant in hand. These do not.

Whatever comfort gains are made by the Era bars doesn't come at the cost of steering precision or cornering stiffness, so I'm happy to keep them on. The only issue I've had was probably my own fault, but worth touching on as I think it's made worse by the very smooth finish of the Eras. I had the bars turn in the stem on a particularly hard bottom out, but in all likelihood I was below torque spec for the Turbine stem. Controls are also a little more prone to turning on these bars, also due to the polished finish. Check your torque, even if it is a drag - I'll try to do the same. In a perfect world, all carbon and alloy bars would come with texturized clamp areas, simply for the peace of mind and ease of on-trail adjustment.

All told, the Eras feel good, neutral, and keep my hands in one place while hurtling through the air on my little bike. What more could a boy want?

Author Info:
dariodigiulio avatar

Member since Dec 25, 2016
191 articles

82 Comments
  • 95 2
 "The Era handlebars I've been running on my Tallboy do a great job of connecting my hands to the bike." What more needs to be said. Review done.
  • 25 8
 You could say that 8 degrees of backsweep isn't enough
  • 3 0
 @mkul7r4: In this case, some added vibration would help
  • 3 0
 Next month a review on the most effective hands to connect to the gamut of handlebars kicking about these days
  • 4 0
 @mkul7r4: preeech!!!
  • 1 0
 Do you still have teeth though is the question.?
  • 1 0
 The pedals also did a great job of connecting his feet to the bike, as did the saddle for his bottom.
  • 1 2
 @mkul7r4: or its too much!
  • 4 1
 There are a couple of more things that could be said about a handlebar.

What type of riding is it approved for?
Which standard they tested against?
Why should I trust the manufacturer? (ie. it was tested by a third party like EFBE)

Best regards,
username that checks out
  • 1 0
 @mkul7r4: Give a try newmen 8/8 deg bars. I dont want anything else after I did.
  • 30 1
 I've extensively ridden and really enjoyed my OneUp and We Are One bar setups - obviously the more compliance without sacrificing meaningful precision, the better.

I'd really like to see some 3rd party testing of modern carbon bars in this "compliance focused" era (pun intended) to see where they really stack up based on numbers... just for the bike nerd in me.

Additionally, I'd be curious how some of the more notoriously comfortable aluminum bars stack up (OneUp, Renthal 31.8's, etc). I've gotten some good trail time on the OneUp aluminum bars as well, and riding them back to back with the carbon ones really highlights the difference between compliance (from shape, taper, thickness/layup, etc) and vibration damping (more materially related to carbon vs aluminum material properties).
  • 29 0
 Bikerumor did a really good group test with data regarding compliance, and they tested a lot of different bars too


bikerumor.com/does-handlebar-compliance-make-a-difference-faction-bike-studio-blind-test
  • 4 1
 Bikerumor has complete 3rd party testing on compliance and vibrations.
  • 2 0
 @samdaman1: Thank you, I wasn't aware of that and had never searched for such testing. I just got curious reading about another comfort oriented bar and started typing. I'll definitely be reading that article!
  • 1 0
 @mitch7mtb @samdaman1: Interesting points about compliance vs. vibration damping. At least according to the bikerumor article, the pnw alloy bar is more compliant than the oneup carbon bar. From my experience, after a back to back swap, I experienced a bit more hand buzz swapping from the oneup carbon to the pnw alloy bar. But after a few rides, I think my hands got used to it and between the bar sweep and "flex', the pnw bar is starting to feel more comfy.
  • 1 0
 @samdaman1: Kudos to Bikerumor for doing that. It was definitely interesting. But I thought a potential flaw was that they tested vertical deflection on a bar positioned in what I think would be considered "normal" bar roll position.

But I'm not sure that's the plane on which your bar is flexed when riding. I think it would make a big difference on an ovalized carbon bar. But the folks at Faction seem legit and I have no technical background, so what do I know.
  • 1 0
 @samdaman1: Great article! Would be cool if somebody measured fore/aft stiffness as well, since that will affect both comfort (as the bike pitches forward and backwards) and steering precision.
  • 1 0
 @samdaman1: I've always thought it would be really cool if somebody did a similar vertical and lateral deflection test on hardtail frames by locking the BB and headset into a jig and hanging a weight from the rear axle.
  • 1 0
 @samdaman1: That article was great. Thank you for the share.
  • 2 0
 @samdaman1: I have the Nukeproof v2 carbon 31.8 and I can confirm they are Viagra stiff

So stiff I'm swapping for a cheaper aluminum bar with more backsweep (Salsa Rustler)
  • 3 1
 Also, as somebody who weighs ~140 lbs / 64 kg, I can say that the most compliant bars (Roost Ti) never feel even remotely flexy or noodley and the steering precision is excellent. I think most bars in general are way too stiff for lighter riders. This will likely never happen, but it would be really nice if companies would offer bars in 2-3 different stiffness options to suit riders of different weights.
  • 2 0
 @samdaman1: Interesting read! I have Roost Ti bars, a couple one ups, and a wao dapackage - I feel the da package is the most forgiving, with the TI being the harshest one. Was really surprised to see that the Ti bar was the most forgiving in this test, becausethat doesn't quite match what I feel on bike. My hands just hurt a lot more when I ride the TI bar on my hardtail, but with the da package I feel I can sustain at least 1-2 more rounds.
  • 1 0
 @jalopyj: That makes sense - that's just the raw difference of material making itself known. Carbon just has superior vibration damping qualities when done even remotely correct vs aluminum. It's not that aluminum sucks, it is just a different material that has its own strengths and weaknesses.
  • 2 0
 @amaranth: Have you tried swapping the bars between bikes? A hardtail is not a fair comparison.
  • 2 0
 @dlxah: oops I forgot to mention I ride all of them on my hardtail.
  • 4 0
 @amaranth: I wonder if the fatigue we feel is related more to the rebound characteristics of the material rather than just the deflection/compliance. In other words, what if the TI returns to its original position with more force and that is what you are feeling? Just a thought.
  • 2 0
 oneup made a video about it and how they tested after bikerumor made an article (which, you know, PB doesnt even do these days anymore haha). I found it interesting because they tested the damping - which is exactly what I feel like is required to make is both compliant but not noodling.

It feels like many others just test compliance instead.
  • 1 0
 @samdaman1:
Anyone tried the Hope carbon bar tested in the Bike Rumor article?
  • 1 0
 @samdaman1: Great read. THanks for sharing. The bit I get stuck on is how do you find out what is the best shape for you without spending a fortune on bars and having a huge pile of rejects? Some form of ergonomic test to identify what is the best shape for you would be excellent
  • 29 1
 All the rises, all the widths, but none of the different sweeps because in this respect we are all the exact same.
  • 13 1
 Right? I’m not looking for Jones bars, but it’d be nice to have more than a few options in the 10-12° range.
  • 3 0
 @MegaStoke: im running surly corner bars on my gravel bike, I can't get over how natural that angle feels. It has me holding out for a little more backsweep on the next mtb bars I buy.
  • 1 0
 @MegaStoke: I just ordered a Salsa Rustler (11 back), $40 shipped @ Tree Fort Bikes
  • 1 0
 @MegaStoke: been using the SQ Labs larger sweep ( 16° I think ) for a couple of years on a bike I'd use for longer distance/ very pedally rides. It's really comfy , I love it , it also opens wrists out rather than closes them in which is much better.
I still prefer my Renthal with low sweep on the bigger bike if I'm riding anything downhill/fast/tech though , just feels faster/more direct for quick/strong handling. No science for that just preference. I think it depends a bit on the type of riding.
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: been deliberating over those for months for a lightweight/gravelly type singlespeed Im working on. Read mixed reviews.
What do you reckon overall? Is getting your levers in the right position a pain?
  • 2 0
 @gulogulointhearctic: I have them on my single speed. They do make a big ugly loop with your brake lines, and require a bit of length to not have alot of lateral pull on my shimanos. Getting the levers in position was not difficult at all, but I am using mt200 levers that are fairly long. They don't feel like regular drop bars, they feel more like riding on the hoods than riding on the drops. Personally they help with some wrist issues I have on big rides. I like them but fully understand why someone else wouldn't, especially if you are coming from road bikes since you have multiple places to grip but only one position has brakes.
  • 2 0
 @RonSauce: thank you for that - really useful info.
Smile
  • 2 0
 Protaper 20/20 bars have entered the chat
  • 20 3
 35 is quite possibly the worst standard to ever come to MTB. There's absolutely no benefit. I never once had hand issues with 25.4 or 31.8 bars but as soon as I got a bike w 35s my hands were wrecked. OneUps help but I would revert to 31.8 if it didn't require an act of Congress with the stupid headset routing special stem on Orbea. Why Orbea WHY!!!!
  • 4 0
 Can't you just use an adapter to fit a 31.8 handlebar to your 35 stem?
  • 2 1
 @Mightyfirelord: The problem is you can't *get* 31.8 bars anymore. Not with any choice of rise, anyway – they're all XC bars as far as I can tell.
  • 1 0
 @MtbSince84: Nukeproof sam hill signature handlebar, only one with 6 degrees upsweep. 31.8
  • 15 0
 What, no 50mm rise?… cowards
  • 1 0
 pretty sure handling and steering inputs start to get goofy/vague when you creep past 40mm of bar rise. For the sake of a gravity race bike.
  • 15 0
 31.8?
  • 3 14
flag RonSauce (Apr 10, 2024 at 12:59) (Below Threshold)
 Is dead.
  • 10 0
 Who on earth rolls their bars forward/back 20 degrees from the neutral point (relative to stem)? Whenever I fiddle with bar roll, anything more than a couple degrees feels terrible and weird.
  • 2 2
 I roll mine far forward, we all have different wrist ergonomics. I have 12 degree backsweep bars, and after measuring on my bike, the upsweep is 12 degrees and backsweep 5 degrees. The measurements are flipped! They must be rolled forward more than 40 degrees. I always setup my bar for when I'm standing up for descending.
  • 11 0
 Nice another 8*degree back sweep
  • 1 0
 Honestly 8* back sweep benefits guys with super wide shoulders. A 9* back sweep would bring your hand contact points closer together. But I will say 8* sweeps causes you to ride more "arm heavy" like Aaron Gwin where you get your wrists beat up more but with the benefit of being able to 'muscle' to front end of the bike slightly easier.

Depends how you ride and how your body is built
  • 3 0
 @TokenCanfieldGuy: Since I've tried 9* sweep it's the only thing I'm riding. Also 31.8mm > 35mm
  • 2 0
 @souknaysh: Check out the Deity CZ40 (Cam Zink's bar). 9.5* back x 4.5* up...unfortunately its 800mm wide, though (I run 755mm).
  • 1 0
 @TokenCanfieldGuy: thank you, wish they were carbon tho, will keep that in mind! Ibis Hifi has been my go to lately but wish they had a bit more rise
  • 10 0
 'Both the Era and the Turbines come with a lifetime warranty, including crashes.' Am I reading that right? Crashes included?
  • 14 10
 35mm handlebars was the dumbest industry standard of all time. 31.8 was truly a sweet spot, even an alloy Altas 31.8 DH bar has some nice give to it. I tried a Atlas 35 on my dirt jumper and my hands were numb in minutes the bar is hilariously over stiff for any rider and discipline. I am curious on the GL turbine but not sold its gonna be any reasonable about of compliance
  • 9 1
 So 35 mm bars didn't work for you, that means it won't work for any rider and discipline...Got it.
  • 11 1
 It's kind of funny to imagine someone hitting a set of dirt jumps and their hands going numb "in minutes" because of a handlebar.
  • 5 0
 @imbiker: he does have a point though. It isnt that they "dont work for everyone" its the fact that now we have waited years to get 35mm bars that feel like 31.8 and if you were a holdout who thought 31.8 felt great and maybe need some new bars now you have to get a new stem as well. Its an unnecessary change just to get bars that feel as "compliant" as they used to be.
  • 8 1
 31.8 for compliance please?
  • 5 0
 No torque,no paste...school boy error maybe
  • 1 0
 The different stock widths are awesome to see, I hope more brands start doing this. That said, a bar with the same compliance in all directions doesn’t make sense to me. If your bar roll is set-up correctly, you would definitely be getting more feedback from the trail through your bars vertically than laterally - no?
  • 4 0
 I'd rather see different angle sweeps and one bar width I have to cut
  • 3 0
 @DizzyNinja:

Fair, but for the most part the bar is inherently going to get stiffer the narrower you cut it. So even if your hands are at the perfect angle for your body, they'll still get rattled if you cut a wide bar down to be narrower.
  • 1 0
 Glad i got black friday turbine and atlas bars(for kashima) lol f*ck. I can for sure feel the stiffness of the atlas bars. Ill prob have to sell them and try these kashima turbines and see. Even run the massively thick wolftooth foam grips and they still rattle your skeleton
  • 1 0
 would like ask an opinion here, I have 35mm steam ( 35mm length and diameter). I feel like I want to try 32mm long one.... but I do not want to drop 200 CAD just to try it. Can I achieve that with rolling bar? Or will I screw up too many things?
  • 2 5
 Not sure if that's sarcasm? 3mm? Just get some thinner grips!
  • 1 0
 @gulogulointhearctic: perfect setup is perfect setup, sometimes I have options to try, sometimes not. 5mm shorter cranks, 5-10 mm riser bar, different stems, all this makes a difference. Would you rather be able to adjust brake lever position? Or ride "universal" one that allows 7ft giants and 4 ft kids to press the lever Big Grin
  • 1 0
 I have a couple sets of RF Next R bars, got them pretty cheap. Stiff as heck but they are pretty bomb proof. Survived more than a few crashes when my ambitions out wieghted my skills. I would give these Era bars a go after appreciating bars with more compliance like the OneUp's.
  • 2 0
 @mbm0103 yep inclusive of crashes, as long as you're riding your bike at the time www.raceface.com/pages/lifetime-warranty
  • 1 0
 Nice!
  • 2 1
 See's 35mm clamp size only and nods with approval... Wait what if they invent a 37.5mm e-bike clamp standard. Then the madness will start again!
  • 1 1
 a bar, is a bar and interfaces my hands via a grip. please provide a review of the bar and its statistically relevanz, of its behaviour in relation with different grips,in different positions. thnx
  • 1 0
 Gut feel comparison to the ubiquitous OneUp bars......which I bought last week, and promptly cut down to my preferred 760 mm width...... D'OH!
  • 7 5
 Like my life, holding on as hard as I can, to the end of an Era
  • 1 0
 Loving the lots of rise and width choices. Not loving the need to cover them in naff graphics.
  • 1 0
 more rise is a good stuff
  • 1 0
 Still 8\5, still not going to work for me. Not enough sweep out there.
  • 1 1
 "Compliant 35's"...in other words, 31.8.
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