If your hands are telling you it’s time for a new handlebar, PNW Components have a new item on the menu. Their new Loam Carbon handlebar is their top shelf offering, though it’s made to be comfortable and predictable more than anything else.
There are plenty of handlebars on the market, so how do you choose the right one? For PNW, that involved a process of in-house and third-party testing of horizontal & vertical deflection. According to PNW, the horizontal deflection is what’s responsible for a bar feeling predictable or unpredictable. The vertical deflection results in a bar feeling comfortable or stiff.
The intersection of the two is what PNW was after, with the goal of a comfortable & predictable bar. They claim to have accomplished this with CBD. No, not the questionable supplement, but their Compliant Bore Design. Using EPS molding, PNW was able to create a unique inner bore profile that has a consistent, optimized wall thickness. Essentially, they are able to control the design of the inside of the handlebar as well as the outside.
When produced with pre-preg UD carbon fiber, PNW claims to have found the perfect middle-ground for carbon handlebars.
PNW Loam Bar Specs
When it comes to the bar itself, the PNW Loam Bar is currently offered only in 800mm widths with a 35mm clamp (31.8mm bars are in development). You can choose between a 25mm or 38mm rise, both with 5º upsweep, and 10º backsweep. That geometry is the same found on their Range Gen 3 handlebar for a slightly more upright riding position.
The Loam bar is available in a matte black finish with satin PNW branding, and additional color decal sets are offered for $5 each. The PNW Loam Carbon bar is priced at $145.
For an 800mm wide bar, the PNW Loam bar is decently light at 229g. And since PNW sent out a cockpit kit, we also weighed the grips (96g), and the Range Gen 3 stem. The stem sent was a 40mm length with 35mm clamp, which weighed in at 144g without the faceplate light/camera mount. The mount adds another 16g.
When it came time for testing, our REI Co-Op DRT e3.1 test bike seemed like a worthy platform. The bike comes stock with a Promax aluminum bar & stem setup, and I’ve been putting a lot of miles on it over the peak of fall riding season. The ride comfort is noticeably better compared to the aluminum bar, with my hands feeling much more fresh at the end of a 29 mile ride.
Is it better than other carbon handlebars? That question will require more back-to-back testing, but rest assured the Loam Carbon bar is worth the price of admission. The quality is excellent, the geometry is dialed, and visually it looks like an upgrade as well.