While gravel bikes don’t require flared bars, they do come in handy when the terrain gets technical or additional comfort is desired. With the Easton EC70 AX drop bars, you can get a lightweight and comfortable gravel bar for a reasonable price point.
Easton EC70 AX Bar Features:
- UD carbon construction
- 80mm reach with 120mm drop
- 16-degree flare
- Cable grooves for sleek cable routing
- Compatible with bar-end Di2 junction box
- Weight: 246 grams (44cm, stated)
- Warranty: 2 years
- MSRP: $214.99
The EC70 AX is easy on the flare
We’ve seen some serious flare hitting the gravels these days. Derived from adventure bikes, many modern gravel bikes are equipped with wider, more comfortable drop bars that add a serious dose of leverage. This comes in handy when the terrain gets beyond run-of-the-mill gravel roads and into singletrack or rough gravel descents. Easton is no stranger to lightweight and durable carbon handlebars and the EC70 AX takes their expertise to gravel and adventure riding.
For starters, these bars feature cable grooves and are also compatible with Shimano’s EW-RS910 bar end junction box for a clean look with Shimano Di2. While I appreciate the clean aesthetic of internally-routed handlebars, it makes upgrading an absolute nightmare. I’m a pretty capable mechanic, but disassembling, routing and re-bleeding hydraulic brakes is beyond my skills. Easton, thankfully has eschewed internal routing for a more sensible approach and I’m a fan.
The shape of the bars is as round as can be. While other bars feature ovalized tops or aerodynamic features, these are straight-up round. While that’s sometimes problematic, aboard the BMC URS 01 One test bike, it wasn’t that big of a deal. The reason why is because that particular bike has such a tall stack that I rarely had occasion to put my hands on the tops of the bars. I was either in the hoods or drops. And, let me tell you that sitting in the drops of the EC70 AX drop bars is like heaven. That said, I still would wish for ovalized tops for added, comfortable hand positions.
With the 16-degrees of flare in the drops, the EC70 AX really feels awesome on long gravel roads or when the going gets rough. Because of that flare, it was easy to pull the double hand drop from the hoods to the drops and vice-versa. Honestly though, I loved diving deep into the drops and staying there — even while climbing. Standing sprints are awesome due to the added wrist clearance they provide. With only a 120mm drop and all that flare, it feels natural to hang out there.
Comfort is excellent as these bars also deliver a smooth ride while remaining stiff and responsive when needed. And, while some extremely-flared drop bars turn the hoods horizontal, these aren’t too bad. Braking and shifting never felt awkward and I always appreciated the added leverage as I bombed twisty singletrack with them.
- Oodles of comfort
- Love the external cable routing grooves
- Round tops make for easy mounting for computers and lights
- Plenty of wrist clearance in the drops
- One of the most affordable gravel drop bars
- Excellent leverage and power in the drops
- Round tops aren’t the most comfortable for long periods
- Your non-flared bars may get neglected
The Bottom Line: Easton EC70 AX
If you’re set on a pair of carbon, flared gravel bars and don’t have $300+ to spend, I have no hesitation recommending the Easton EC70 AX drop bars. They reduce chatter, add a serious dose of confidence and feel ultra-comfortable (especially in the drops).
Buy Now: Available at CompetitiveCyclist.com