Comfortable and road bike bars don’t often go hand-in-hand. Most of the time, it’s a constant dance to find the right hand position: tops, hoods, drops, top of hoods, back to the tops then repeat… that’s the name of the game while pumping out the miles on a road bike. I’d had enough with the aluminum bars I’ve ridden for years and thought it time to venture out into something more ergonomic. My search led me to the Control Tech Carbon Comp drop handlebars.
ControlTech Carbon Comp Features:
- Monocoque structure full carbon fiber drop bar with ergo-aero shape
- Greater surface area on tops, hood-hold palm rests for reduced fatigue
- Reinforced, textured lever clamp areas, internal cable routing
- Weight: 246g (42cm)
- Widths: 42 or 44cm (center-to-center)
- Specs: 150mm drop, 80mm reach, 31.8 clamp
- MSRP: $349
ControlTech Carbon Comp Bars Review
I had been researching carbon road bars for some time, but had a hard time justifying the cost. It wasn’t until this year that I decided it was time to plunk down some cash and give some carbon road bars a whirl. I didn’t just go with a standard-style carbon bar, I instead opted for an ergonomic bar that would hopefully help reduce some wrist fatigue and add a measure of comfort.
My search led me to the ControlTech Carbon Comp bars. Due to being a lesser-known brand, these can be had for a fraction of retail and much less than those offered by the usual suspects. In the 1990’s, ControlTech’s headquarters was just up the road from us in Des Moines, WA, so I was familiar with the brand and their heritage in anodized bar ends and other miscellaneous components from back in the anodization-crazy early 1990’s.
After riding the included aluminum bars on my Specialized Roubiax SL3 Expert for the entire season, the day came for the switch to the Carbon Comp’s. I had been hesitating because I knew it would be a painful process. So much so, that I had to stop midstream and take the bike down to Timpanogos Cyclery to finish the job. It turns out that re-routing internal cables is not something I’m proficient in… I’ll just leave it at that.
Rounding out the install process, keep in mind that you’ll have to route the cables through the bars (easy part), but if you have internally-routed cables, you may not be successful at re-routing them yourself. Turns out that the crew at Timpanogos had to re-route the cables after also installing new ones. I also had some of Specialized’s wider bar tape that was just introduced, so I had that installed for good measure.
So, after all was said and done, I had to plunk down for new bar tape, new cables and shop time. A bummer, but not a terrible cost for the end result. Though as you can see, my wrap job needs a little help (see below).
My first ride on the Carbon Comp’s was mixed. I was not thrilled with the angle of the bars and the hoods seemed too far out of reach. After returning, I stripped back the tape, rotated the bars forward (bringing the drops into better reach) and moved the hoods up on the bars as far as they could go (about a half-inch more). Resulting rides yielded amazing results as I could comfortably stay in the drops on extended descents and the bar felt as comfortable as I had hoped.
The bar dance is met with a stellar dance partner in the Carbon Comp’s. I can move my hands all around the bars and always find a comfortable hand position. I really love the contoured top with the finger grips on the underside. I’ve currently got kind of a sloppy tape job going on, but you’ll need to stop your wrap just as the tops begin since the tape won’t adhere to the indented finger area underneath. I thought that may cause an issue with road vibration, but the carbon fiber takes care of that — even unwrapped.
I really like the myriad of hand positions — each one super-comfortable and heads-and-tails more comfortable than those offered by the standard aluminum bars they replaced. The biggest testament to the greatness of these bars is the substantial reduction in wrist and hand fatigue. I used to get numbness on long climbs… not anymore. I used to get some wrist pain after long descents… not anymore. I used to dance around the bars much more than I do now as well. These bars add a great level of comfort and control both uphill and down. Yup, I’m sold.
Good Carbon Comp
- Very comfortable in a variety of positions
- Excellent vibration reduction
- Internally-routed cables eliminate cable bumps
- Love the extra-curvy top section with inset hand curves
- Greatly reduces wrist fatigue
- Tops feature excellent hand positions
Bad Carbon Comp
- I wish I could rotate the brake hoods upwards just a tad more, but can’t due to the internally-routed cables
- Installation required a trip to the bike shop for re-routing my internal cables
- ControlTech is an elusive company with no contact info on their Web site… makes it hard to tell if they are still in business or not. Looks as if BTI is their marketing/distribution arm in the States.
Bottom Line: ControlTech Carbon Comp Bars
The ControlTech Carbon Comp ergonomic road bars have a lot to offer. I personally appreciate the more ergonomic hand positions on long rides and climbs, but the ride quality of carbon fiber makes these amazing for my riding style and personal preference.
Buy Now: Search on Google