Word is, Lauf was testing their first generation carbon handlebar at their Icelandic introduction of the True Grit gravel bike this summer, but weren’t happy with the overall shape. In particular, there wasn’t enough flare, so they kept it under wraps and asked that everyone else in attendance did, too, while they refined the shape.
What’s not changing is the 90º bend from the tops to the hoods. That sharp bend provides a big platform for your palm and did a great job of eliminating any pressure points on a two-hour ride this weekend.
The one I rode had a 42cm width, measured center to center at the hoods, which worked really well with a new, wider flare on the drops…and that’s what did change. This is round two, which increased the flare from 4° to about 15°. They found that the shallower flare didn’t allow your wrist to completely clear the top of the bar, and therefore had subpar ergonomics. This new design solved that completely. It’s worth mentioning that this prototype I rode is one of two, and this was only the second ride on it ever. All facts I found out deep into our ride…nothing like being a guinea pig. Fortunately, it uses the same layup as the original design, which had already passed all testing at mountain bike safety standards.
For now, the reach is around 80mm and drop is about 120mm, with a mild ~4° backsweep. All of those numbers added up to an extremely comfortable drop bar on both pavement and washboard gravel sections. It’s still a prototype, so those figures could change, but I liked it a lot as is. The drops had a bit of flex, taking up any vibrations and hits that made it past their new Grit SL fork.
In addition to being immensely comfortable, it’s also impressively light. Or, at least, they claim it will be, coming in at a targeted 190g or so. They say this is possible because they kept the rest of the shaping very simple, eschewing any cable channeling, recesses or ports. The tops do ovalize slightly as they move into the swept-back section, which further improves ergonomics, but otherwise it’s very straightforward.
I liked this bar a lot. Lauf doesn’t seem to be in as much of a rush as I wish they would be on this. It’s slated for a mid-year 2018 release, but that, too, could change.