Solidly in place in the pro peloton, FSA’s venerable K-Force Compact Handlebars are stiff, solid and light enough for the rest of us. See what makes these bars tick.

FSA K-Force Carbon Compact Handlebar Features:

  • UD carbon/kevlar composite
  • 110mm center section for clip-ons and accessories
  • Reinforced and textured clamping areas
  • Color graphic options – red, black
  • 31.8mm x 40, 42, 44cm widths(c-c)
  • 125mm drop, 80mm reach with 4-degrees outward bend
  • Colors: Red or Black (tested)
  • Weight: 210g (40cm)
  • Price: $290

FSA K-Force Compact Handlebars Review

Stiff, with unique curved tops

FSA components are widely-used in the pro peloton. An astounding 5 UCI World Tour teams trust FSA for their ultra-important cockpit appointments — that’s saying something. My experience has been aboard the Orbea Orca M-Team and I can say these bars are solid companions for hard-charging and long distances alike.

There are a number of features that make these bars stand out. Let me start with some little ones. As you finish up wrapping the bars, you’ll notice the first — an angled notch that’s made to create a smooth transition from tape to clamping area. It’s a nice touch and makes for an integrated look.

FSA K-Force Compact Handlebars Review

Something else to mention is the 110mm center section that’s compatible for clip-on aero bars or forward-facing computer mounts. Rounding out the nice features is a unique curvature on the tops. Most ergonomic bars feature flat tops of some sort. The K-Force bars have a backwards curve that makes for a comfortable perch for your hands. Some reviewers have appreciated them while others haven’t. I’ve got an affinity towards flat tops, like those found on the Ritchey WCS EvoCurve or Zipp Contour SL bars, but I’m also liking the curve on these bars.

What’s apparent here is these bars are built stiff. Standing and sprinting doesn’t cause any noticeable flex. This is also due to the FSA OS-99 CSI stem, which has proven very stout. Even though these are very stiff when pushed hard, they also reduce chatter with aplomb.

With a compact curvature featuring 125mm drop and 80mm reach, these bars allow for a better fit with longer stems to maintain steering leverage. Most bike sizes are built around a 110mm stem as the ideal and compact bars allow for that stem length to be maintained.

FSA K-Force Compact Handlebars Review

Rounding things out, these bars do feature a 4mm outward sweep in the drops to maintain clearance while hammering in the drops.

I’ll also mention that having the proper bar width is critical to a good bike fit. For me, I should be riding a 44cm bar. These bars were 42cm and did feel narrow to me, but are inline with widths common to a size 54-56cm frame. So, get a proper fit before you make the investment in a new set of bars so you don’t get the wrong size. And, don’t forget to utilize the included carbon paste and torque properly with a torque wrench.

The Good

  • Very stiff
  • Comfortable, compact design
  • Shaped tops are different, but feel comfortable
  • Solid clamping surfaces
  • Unique angled tape cutout for a flush finish

The Bad

  • Shaped tops may not be to everyone’s liking
  • Sometimes stock bikes won’t come with your proper width (I’m a 44cm)

The Bottom Line: FSA K-Force Compact

While there is certainly a sea of choices when it comes to handlebars, the FSA K-Force Compact is a solid choice — whether it comes equipped from the factory (as with the Orbea Orca M-Team), or if you’re looking to upgrade. These bars offer a stiff, responsive cockpit with good vibration dampening to boot.

Buy Now: Available at CompetitiveCyclist.com

About Author

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 --sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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