Tom Ritchey made ergonomics the design principle for his handlebars a few years ago when more people started riding their drop bar bikes over varied terrain. He personally designed a flared riser bar that would make riders more comfortable on long-haul gravel rides or multi-day bikepacking adventures. Ritchey has since evolved its handlebar ergonomics with a super-wide drop flare bar featuring a shallow 80 mm drop that claims unmatched ergonomic comfort and stability.

Ritchey Beacon Handlebar

Ritchey Beacon handlebars are an image of comfort and stabilityThe Beacon’s most notable feature is its super-wide 36° drop flare. This allows you to span out into a more comfortable position while at the same time adding stabilizing control. This also allows plenty of space to mount a handlebar pack.

A flare for safety

Ritchey Beacon handlebars have a flare for safetyThe bars’ unconventional aesthetics take their inspiration from randonneur riding, where changing hand positions under load can easily result in a loss of balance. The Beacon’s very shallow 80 mm drop, plus its shorter-than-usual reach, narrow the distance between tops and drops so that the transition between the two is less hazardous.
Ritchey's Beacon handlebars shallow sweep make them more stable and ultimately saferThe Beacon borrows some design cues from Ritchey’s other bars, like a gentle backward sweep to shift weight off of the rider’s hands and wrists. This also allows for a more natural hand position when riding in the tops.

Ritchey Beacon drop bar sizing & specs

Ritchey Beacon handlebar sizing

The beacon will be offered in three sizes, which are measured at the inside of the drop. That means that even though the sizes are listed as 40, 42, and 44cm, the outer widths at the drops are really much wider at 55, 57, and 59cm. Note that the product details also list a 46cm version, that isn’t shown on the chart above.

Specifications for Ritchey's Beacon handlebars

Who is the Beacon for?

Ritchey's Beacon handlebars are for bikepackers, adventure tourists, and even urban ridersThe Beacon was imagined for adventure touring and bikepacking, either on asphalt or gravel trails. But then given the bars’ disposition toward control, the Beacon could also make a good choice for urban riding.

Ritchey

13 COMMENTS

  1. i might pick these up right now. i’ve been riding the venture max, but have had trouble getting the drops as flat as i want without having the hoods all the way up to the bars.

  2. Hmmm. Let me toss out a crazy, zany, futuristic idea here: I think that the continued natural evolution of these gravel bars will include a gradual widening (to between 740-800 mm) while the “drops” flatten to the point of disappearing completely.

    That adaption of course will require a different type of shifter and brake lever to go with, let’s call them riser bars or flat bars. They would then make the gravel bikes more and more capable on rougher and rougher terrain.

    I could be on to something here…!

    • Why would anyone want to give up the multiple hand positions of a drop bar for the single position, and sore wrists, of a flat bar. that’s not how evolution works.

      • It’s specialization. It’s exactly how evolution works. Wide flat bars were easier to develop for small makers and prioritized the upright position most ideal for technical riding.

  3. But as you ride over rougher terrain, you might consider equipping this “gravel” bike with some sort of suspension. Try it with the front wheel first, and if you like it, add a rear suspension as well.

  4. Look at some pics of gravel rides, most of the people riding with flared bars are riding on the tops, might as well be on a riser / flat bar.

    • – because they want their hands to be higher, not because the tops is any good for riding apart from road miles. They’d ride in the drops if the drops were shallower and not based on road bars. Oh look, that’s what Ritchey have done here. 80mm drop for hand position choice over a more practical range for road and dirt tracks use.

  5. Flared bars are trendy. Few people set their bikes up to properly take advantage of them. Flared bars are for setups where the drop is the main position. Riding in the hoods on a flared bar is just like riding on the hoods of a regular bar, except it’s awkward to shift and brake. If you’re riding in the hoods all the time, you may want to try the extra wide bars with little to no flare that some others are offering.

    • That’s not necessarily true. I do quite a bit of road riding on my “gravel” bike (just switch out my wheels for my dedicated road wheelset). I’m currently riding on a Salsa Cowchipper, which has quite a bit of flare on them. Enjoy the hell out of them even on urban rides. Drops just add to the stability on steep descents.

  6. I don’t know…I personally don’t understand the wide bar phenomenon unless you are riding super technical trails, and at that point I question why you wouldn’t use a mountain bike.

    Narrow is almost always more aero and since all the companies are pushing aero gravel bikes, it is weird they are then cutting all that benefit by slapping on super wide bars. I’ll stick with 44cm max for my gravel and cross bike.

    • Nothing to do with aero. Yes, more leverage on the trails, but wide drop bars also have more space for bigger bags and/or rolls for bikepacking. But you’d only know this if you actually read the article “he Beacon was imagined for adventure touring and bikepacking”. You’re welcome, Capt. Obvious.

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