There are bars and then there are bars. Don’t just settle for any old set of handlebars when decking out your bike. With all the myriad of options on the market, how do you choose? Easton has several great options for every type of rider but the safe bet is the classic EC90 SLX.

Easton EC90 SLX Handlebar Features:

  • EC90 carbon layup
  • MCD shape with TaperWall technology
  • Cable grooves front/back of tops
  • Reach: 80mm
  • Drop: 125mm
  • Weight: 200 grams (44cm, actual)
  • MSRP: $269.95
Easton EC90 SLX Bars Review

The EC90 SLX dampens road chatter and has a nice shape for comfort in the drops.

Stiff, yet comfortable cockpit

Easton has long been known for their cockpit bits. I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to ride several of their models with my current favorite being their new EC70 Aero bars. The previous EC90 bars were comfortable but left something to be desired in the responsiveness category as they flexed terribly under load. That said, after riding both of the current EC70 models, I knew that the new EC90 SLX would live up to the hype and they certainly have.

The shape is a modern/classic one with the current standard 80/125 reach/drop that allows for traditional stem lengths without an overly-stretched cockpit. Hopping from hoods to drops and back again is easy with the compact MCD shape. And, hanging out in the drops for extended periods (long, flat sections or mountainous descents) is extremely comfortable and always allows for natural, responsive handling. Much of this comfort is due to the flat-ish shape of the drops.

BMC Roadmachine and Easton EC90 SLX Bars Review

Stiff and responsive for out-of-the-saddle efforts.

Regarding the shape, these don’t offer much in the way of comfort in the tops. They’re a round shape with not much to lure you into hanging out there on long climbs. Luckily, I don’t spend much time there, but prefer to get situated deep into the hoods on most long climbs. That said, the flat tops of the EC70 Aero’s offer a great perch on the tops for comfortable hand placement on long rides — unfortunately, you don’t get that here.

I’ve had these bars aboard two different bikes: Focus Paralane and BMC Roadmachine 01. The Paralane had a set of cheap aluminum bars that were wicked-stiff. The EC90 SLX made for a notably comfortable ride and improved the overall feel of the Paralane. Aboard the Roadmachine 01, the EC90’s just fit right in. That bike already has a pleasantly-smooth ride and these bars fit like a glove.

Focus Paralane with Easton EC90 SLX Bars

Aboard the Focus Paralane, the EC90’s noticeably reduced road chatter.

Standing and sprinting always results in a responsive bar with no noticeable flex. There are bars that offer more road damping on the market, but these are good overall.¬†Wrist clearance is excellent in the drops with no interference at all. It doesn’t flare out quite like Easton’s EA70 AX, but just enough to eliminate typical interference when sprinting hard.

I’ve appreciated the textured clamping area that has worked well with a couple of different stems as well as both Shimano Ultegra and SRAM Red eTap HRD levers. The transition from the tops to the brake hoods is seamless and easy with both designs.

The Good

  • Good shape that’s an easy dance partner
  • Flat-ish drops make for comfortable placement on long descents
  • Extra bit of road damping
  • Grippy clamping areas keep hoods and stem in place
  • Visible stem and hood markings

The Bad

  • Round tops aren’t built for lingering there

The Bottom Line: Easton EC90 SLX

The new EC90 SLX bars are a serious improvement over the previous designs and come ready for aggressive riding. Moving around the bars is easy and long descents in the drops are very comfortable. I really appreciate the shallow drop shape for extra aero advantage without turning myself into a pretzel.

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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