Specialized Expert Alloy Shallow Bend Handlebar
The Specialized Expert Alloy Shallow Bend Handlebar is a close copy of the S-Works carbon version, which has been popular, so offering a more cost effective alloy version was a welcome addition to their handlebar line-up. With many handlebars manufacturers offering excellent options in compact carbon handlebars, Specialized developed this compact, shallow design for cyclists with smaller hands, but because it has shaped top sections that favor riding on the tops or hoods, it is also an excellent option or climbers or for relaxing the arms and shoulders. The premium 2015 Alloy has been butted and formed to an almost exact copy of the carbon bar. The engineering team couldn't make the stiffness and compliance exactly the same, but the overall strength and riding feel is excellent. At 290 grams for a 42cm width, the Expert Alloy Shallow Bend Handlebar is modest, but obviously heavier, and still a great addition to any bike or rider who embraces the details and measurements.
As noted, this is a shallow drop, at 123mm, with a complementary 75mm reach. This allows for quick hand transitions, but maybe a bit tight for average to large hands. The drop tapers to a slightly flatter section before the end, which then take standard round form, giving you a physical structure that offers leverage and an immediate tactile safety response. The radius of the bar is fully compatible with current Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo levers in all variations, and puts brake lever reach in the best possible place while still allowing full lever pull and shift functions. Moving off the lever hoods and onto the top, the S-Works Shallow Bend Carbon Handlebar has a somewhat oval shape and smooth transitions that create a more comfortable wrist angle and palm support while riding on the tops, but takes into account the smaller hand emphasis. Even wrapped in thicker cushioned tape, hand pressure and grip on the shape offers effectively control.