Easton’s Haven Carbon- The perfect light carbon bar for aggressive riders?
First impressions My brand-new blingy, carbon handlebar just arrived and two thoughts immediately came to mind, “damn this thing is light” and “cool! new bike parts!” I’ve been running a carbon handlebar with 40mm of rise and 710mm width for a couple years now, and been somewhat of a holdout when it comes adopting the newer low rise bars that have become all the rage. Well I’m a sucker for new parts, and was eager to try one and see what the hype was all about- after all, the lower your cockpit can be while still being comfortable the better, right?
I haven’t been able to give the bar a proper 3-4 hour thrashing as it’s late in the season, temps are cold, and light is at a premium, but here are my initial thoughts on Easton’s self-proclaimed benchmark for all mountain handlebars.
Appearance, Finish, Setup The first things I noticed about the bar were its subtle looking graphics and sleek black carbon finish. The bar is eye catching, but not attention demanding. I like this subtlety in most of my components, however ironically my bright yellow Ibis Mojo HD bike is quite the opposite. What was clear to me right off was that Easton spent some time to nail the aesthetics. Now how about more functional features?
During setup I found the guide-lines on the mounting area which were just a hair wider than my 50mm Thomson X4 stem very helpful, as they made centering it a breeze. Rotating it to my preferred position was easy to do and dial-in to my preference using the indicators; which are outside of the mounting area and clearly contrasted against the black finish. Easton recommends using carbon fiber prep paste when mounting, and I took it, as I do with all carbon parts contacting alloy. My current go-to for fiber prep is Finish Line’s “Fiber Grip”- a must have for home mechanics. Fiber Grip creates more friction between the stem clamping surface and the bar clamping surface, allowing one to use lower torque values when mounting carbon parts- this is a good thing.
Weight, Stiffness, Strength Easton isn’t kidding when they say the Haven weighs just 175g while still being a functional 711mm wide, and mine actually came in a little underweight on the trusty kitchen scale. To put this number in perspective, my previous carbon bar is about 50g heavier. This is quite impressive considering how stiff and responsive it is while riding. When turning/leaning the bike at speed I felt very little flex and had the amazing sensation of my hands sending power to and directly controlling the inside edges of my front tire. For you skiers out there this is the same feeling you get between your toes and edges with a good fitting boot, stiff binding, and torsionally stiff ski. For aggressive riders who demand responsiveness at speed while riding any and all terrain, the Haven Carbon so far seems to be a very good match. Now how strong/durable is this plastic piece of functional art? I’ll have more on that once its clean finish has a few scuffs and dings on it…
Fit & Comfort The gentle backsweep/bend and upsweep (9 degrees and 5 degrees respectively) and minimal (20mm) rise is actually very natural feeling. It’s definitely a different feeling from the more upright position of my previous bar that had twice the rise, but in just two rides I’ve come to favor it over my previous setup. Impact dampening seems pretty good right off with very little detectable vibration or flexxing at speed, or deflection when riding on rougher sections of trail.
After I’ve had a chance to go on some longer rides I’ll have a full report on how comfortable I am with my new lower handlebar setup, the tech behind what makes it so damn light, strong, and stiff, and anything I might like to see improved upon. For now let’s just say it seems to work as good as it looks, which is badass!
Checkout Easton’s full bike component line-up at EastonCycling.com