ENVE Compact Carbon Road Handlebar Review

When the Moots was built up, I had my much-loved set of 3T Ergonovas on it.  For a myriad of reasons (none of which are the fault of the Ergonovas), it now sports a set of ENVE Compact Road handlebars (carbon).

Please excuse the garage shots.  I’m in full-on “preparing for a major ride” mode, getting ready for this weekend.

Looks great with the Moots Ti stem and K-Edge Garmin Mount.  You can see the gritty center-section that makes for easy mounting without slipping or unreasonable stem tightness.

These are 44cm bars.

Compact drop.

These are my first 44cm bars.  When I got them, I got 44s because I incorrectly thought I already had 44s.  In reality, my Ergonovas were 42s.  So on the first ride I did with the ENVEs, they felt huge.  That was due to no fault of the ENVE bars…but rather to the change in size.  Now having spent several hundred miles on them, I’m very comfortable on them, and appreciate the 44cm width.  Here’s my current train of thought: for a gravel bike like the Moots, I’d go 44cm.  The extra width and leverage is great in sketch, and adds greater confidence to the bike’s handling.

For road bikes, I’d stick with 42cm (myself), as the extra leverage isn’t really needed, and as I’d rather have the smidge of aero advantage that comes from the narrower bars.  Maybe it’s all in my head, but I feel a difference in my ride profile with the 44cm bars, versus 42s.

I ordered the Compact ENVEs because the reach and drop were comparable to the 3T bars.  I have to say…I love the shape.  The arch on the drops is a little different from the arch on the 3T bars, and it works better for me.  When I’m riding in the drops, I have much better reach to the brifters, as compared to the 3T.  The drops also feel a bit longer in length, which is nice.  With the 3T bars, I sometimes felt as though I was out of handlebar when riding all the way in the drops–as if the drops needed to be 1/2″ or 1″ longer.  The ENVEs do not have that feeling.

One thing I loved about the 3T bars was the flat top, and the ENVEs do not have that.  I would love it if ENVE came out with a flat top bar.  However, with the great bar tape I have, the profile of the top of the bar is very comfortable to ride, and it hasn’t been an issue.  In theory, there’s some aero advantage lost, but that’s well into the imperceptible range.

Aesthetics are great, as with all ENVE products.

So the drops are a little better shaped/designed, and the extra width is appreciated on gravel.  Is that all?

Not by a long shot.

Here’s what really amazes me about the ENVEs: compliance.  I can’t detect any ‘adverse’ flex in them, even when wrenching on them as hard as I can in an out-of-the-saddle sprint.  But on washboard gravel, railroad track crossings, or other rough surfaces, I genuinely believe that there is a difference in the vibration absorption of the ENVEs, as compared to the 3Ts.  The ENVEs do not feel as ‘harsh’ as the 3T bars–they feel better dampened.  I’ve spent a lot of time on 3T bars, on both my road and gravel bikes, and like them a lot.  That said, after several hundred miles on the ENVE bars, I’m sold.  They are a superior product for this application.  The next time I need to get a set of drop bars, ENVE will have my business.

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3 thoughts on “ENVE Compact Carbon Road Handlebar Review

  1. Pingback: Trek 520 Review | ridingagainstthegrain

  2. Pingback: 2014 Moots Psychlo X Specifications | riding against the grain

  3. Pingback: ENVE SES Smart Aero Road Bar Review | riding against the grain

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