Handlebar Innovation in Gravel and Adventure Racing
There has been a recent surge in discussions about handlebars, ranging from construction to hand placement to breakage. Handlebars are becoming more specialized for different types of rides and riders. While the UCI has not yet embraced gravel and adventure racing, these racing realms offer handlebar manufacturers the freedom to innovate and create new ways to keep riders comfortable over long distances on rough terrains.
Profile Designs: Going Beyond the Wider Trend
When most people think of Profile Designs, they think of aero bars, aero bottles, and aero wheels for road bikes. However, Profile Designs has recently introduced the DRV/GMR gravel bar, which features a progressive shape designed to seamlessly work with the company’s Neosonic-45 aero bars and DRiVe fit system. The DRiVe (Drop Reach Variant) system aims to provide a better fit for riders without altering critical touchpoints. It measures the intersection point of a 73° line drawn from the bar bore, pinpointing the DRiVe metric. This innovative feature allows for a more customized fit based on hand size and overall rider preferences.
Understanding DRV/GMR Bar Design
The DRV/GMR bars come in various measurements, allowing riders to choose their desired width while also selecting a “Drive & Drop” size to dial in the hand position. Unlike many other gravel bars, which flare out abruptly from the drops, the DRV/GMR bar takes a similar shape to traditional road bars, with a slight rise and flared drops halfway down. This design ensures that brake levers are not placed in an awkward position, optimizing comfort and handling for the rider.
Finding Your DRiVe Size
Profile Designs uses its DRiVe measurement system to calculate the perfect DRiVe size based on the rider’s overall hand width. This system provides options for riders without changing the recommended bar category. To find your DRiVe size, refer to the guide on the Profile Designs website under the sizing tab.
DRV/GMR Drive & Drop Specifications
- Size: 105 (36, 38, 40, 42cm *tested) or 120 (40, 42, 44cm) (center to center)
- Reach: 105 (70mm) or 120 (75mm)
- Rise: 9mm
- Clamp Width: 100mm
- Clamp Diameter: 31.8mm
- Drop: 105 (121mm) or 120 (137mm) (drop from top center)
- Drop Width: 105 (438, 458, 478, or 493mm) or 120 (480, 500, or 520mm)
- Drive: 105 or 120mm (drive from bar center)
- Weight: 290g (42mm tested)
- Price: $91.00
Impressions of the DRV/GMR Bar
I installed the Profile Designs DRV/GMR bar on my multi-purpose gravel/cross bike. The installation process was slightly challenging due to the absence of an internal routing port. However, after making some modifications, I was able to install the bar with my Di2 setup. The DRV/GMR bar with a 42cm width, 105mm drop, and 70mm reach offered a similar hand position to my previous bar, making the adjustment period shorter. The bar’s design placed me in a more relaxed posture, allowing for better control and comfort on gravel terrains. While the DRV/GMR bar provides decent compliance for an alloy bar, it may not be ideal for extremely rocky roads.
Neosonic 45ra Aero Bar Impressions
In addition to the DRV/GMR bar, Profile Designs offers the Neosonic 45ra aero bars. These clip-on aero bars are designed for road, gravel, and bike packing, prioritizing comfort and efficiency. While the concept of aero on a gravel bike may be debated, the Neosonic 45ra offers a comfortable and efficient aero bar package.
Neosonic 45ra Specifications
- Armrest Offset: -95mm to -42.5mm in 7.5mm steps
- Armrest Width: 124mm to 290mm in 18.5mm steps (With Extensions at 100mm)
- Armrest Stack: 59mm (no riser kit) to 130mm in 5mm increments (With aftermarket Riser Kit)
- Extension Width: 100mm
- Handlebar Clamp: 31.8mm
- Extension Clamp: 22.2mm
- Weight: 563g
- Price: $161.00
The Neosonic 45ra aero bars provide several adjustments to customize the riding position. Riders aiming to maximize power production should consider a professional bike fit, preferably by someone experienced in the triathlon or time trial community. Despite adding some weight to the bike, the comfort and efficiency offered by the Neosonic 45ra outweigh the weight gain.
Overall, the Profile Designs DRV/GMR bar and Neosonic 45ra aero bars offer innovative solutions for gravel and adventure riders, prioritizing comfort, control, and efficiency. These handlebars and aero bars demonstrate Profile Designs’ commitment to pushing the boundaries of handlebar design and providing riders with optimal riding experiences.