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Prototype Lauf handlebar drops in with extremely comfortable shape

prototype Lauf drop bar road bike handlebar with 90-degree bends to hoods is perfectly ergonomic
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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.

prototype Lauf drop bar road bike handlebar with 90-degree bends to hoods is perfectly ergonomic

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.

prototype Lauf drop bar road bike handlebar with 90-degree bends to hoods is perfectly ergonomic

sneak peek at new Lauf carbon fiber handlebar for gravel road bikes

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.

sneak peek at new Lauf carbon fiber handlebar for gravel road bikes

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.

LaufCycling.com

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mudrock
mudrock
5 years ago

That sharp bend might be a friction hotspot for cables.

Rustilicus
Rustilicus
5 years ago
Reply to  mudrock

might be why they’ve run the cables on the backside of the bar

Larry Schafer
5 years ago
Reply to  Rustilicus

If you run them on the underside and make a smoother bend by cutting across the apex, it would be closer to the curve of a conventional bar. With no cable groove or ports, you can set them up anyway you want.

Ross
Ross
5 years ago
Reply to  mudrock

THE FUTURE WILL BE WIRELESS.

John
John
5 years ago
Reply to  Ross

Wireless brakes? Let us know how that works out for you…

Dinger
Dinger
5 years ago
Reply to  John

An opportunity nobody is taking advantage of currently is the fact that hydraulic fluid doesn’t care about tight bends. Manufacturers could “plumb” their frames for hydro with fittings to deal with any routing challenge.

Jps
Jps
5 years ago

That stem is a top lock one. You have installed the faceplate upside down and not locked the top!! Correct that, ride safe.

G
G
5 years ago
Reply to  Jps

That’s an EC70 stem that has symmetrical face plate. There’s no “up” or “down”

G
G
5 years ago
Reply to  G

Sorry, I stand corrected! Failed at my research. Also, wrong on the stem. It’s an EA70.

Therefore – good points. Please ride safe and smart and don’t assume like I did!

hagemeyp
5 years ago

A few months back I would have though this mad, however recently I threw Soma Gators on my single speed 9er and I am.in.love with wide shallow drops. I will put these bars on my road-bike in a NY minute.

slackers
slackers
5 years ago

Let’s start debating the existence of “gravel” specific bike parts. Any way, it has my attention, not a lot of choice right now for carbon bars w/ flare.

Joey B
Joey B
5 years ago

Reminds me a bit of the Easton AX bar, available in both carbon or aluminum.

myke2241
myke2241
5 years ago
Reply to  Joey B

Actually more niner’ish. They seem to be trying to model their company after niner. Next they will offer wheels

TheKaiser
5 years ago
Reply to  myke2241

How are they modeling their co. on Niner? Not doubting you, I just don’t get the parallel, but perhaps I don’t know enough about the early days of Niner. Do you mean hitting an underserved niche market hard, with 1 product, and then expanding from there?

myke2241
myke2241
5 years ago
Reply to  TheKaiser

Could be a fetch but this how I see things. When niner hit the ground running they had something that was not new but unique to the market. A frame fork pairing. What slowly trickled after was the niner branded parts which were stems, bars and caps. This is pretty close to what is happening here especially when you add the direct to consumers sales.

Richard
Richard
5 years ago
Reply to  myke2241

If you look around, pretty much everyone is now making their own bars, stems, seatposts, etc.. Niner I think were one of the first, and offered color matched which basically killed it 4-5 years ago. Now, Pivot, Santa Cruz, and others are taking notice. Why use an Easton, Renthal, Thomson, etc. when you can easily build your own and recover margin? It’s smart business. Santa Cruz took it a step further and build their own line of carbon wheels after a long and strong relationship with ENVE. Then they came out with their own with an impressive warranty and Danny hitting square edge ledges running 10 PSI. Time will tell to see how this ends up, but when you control the process and have cash like Santa Cruz now does (PON Holdings) then why not build an empire? 😉

Lars Danner
5 years ago

How do drop bars compare to aero bars in terms of comfort and aero dynamics.

Carl
Carl
5 years ago
Reply to  Lars Danner

Obviously aerodynamics suffer on a drop bar, but also a true aero bar only allows, by my count, two hand positions versus a drop bar that would offer 4-5. Aero bars would be a horrible idea for any sort of off road bike as they virtually eliminate any bike control.

Dinger
Dinger
5 years ago
Reply to  Lars Danner

Aero bars are becoming very popular for gravel racing. They relieve hands and arms, as well as dramatically reducing drag for energy savings/speed.

OriginalMarkV
OriginalMarkV
5 years ago

Like many bars with a sharp radius bend below the hoods, this bar makes reaching the lever from the drops a big stretch for small hands. That sucks if you take technical descents from the drops. A lot of well-meaning designs suffer from this (Ritchey comes to mind). Also, some levers have difficulty tightening down on sharply curved bars. I’ll pass.

Tim
Tim
5 years ago
Reply to  OriginalMarkV

Adjustable reach levers might help you

FFM
FFM
5 years ago
Reply to  OriginalMarkV

Sounds like you may have your levers angled way too high… not accusing you of anything, just saying.

Dinger
Dinger
5 years ago
Reply to  FFM

The hood position in the photos is low in my opinion. I find them far more comfortable when they’re angled a few degrees up, which wouldn’t work well on this bar.

RandoRandy
RandoRandy
5 years ago

This would excite me if it was aluminum. I’m searching for bars with tops that sweep back slightly like Rivendell/Nitto’s “Noodle Bars” (but without those bar’s 26.0 clamp, deep traditional bend drops). Ritchey makes a pricey carbon one like this looks to be.

Anyone know of an affordable modern bar with swept-back tops?

M
M
5 years ago
Reply to  RandoRandy

Salsa Cowchipper

Michele
Michele
5 years ago

Would have been really nice to see pics of these bars unwrapped….duh. i am always looking for something ovalized at the tops and bend for wrist comfort. So far zipp contour sl is best.

durianrider
durianrider
5 years ago

carbon road bars on a bike that is going to be getting dropped a lot on gravel fun riders or races? Id prefer to see it in alloy. Also be VERY careful with that top lock stem plate on carbon bars with the way you are using it. Can cause a catastrophic carbon bar failure!

Eli
Eli
5 years ago

Compatibility with clip on aerobars? Would rather be heavier and have enough material to take the extra stress

Pete
Pete
5 years ago

Lauf has some good stuff, and hopefully these will find their way into market soon.

Demetrios
Demetrios
5 years ago

My concern is the reach to brake levers.

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