Reviewer: David Quigley
My name is David and I am addicted to carbon fibre.
I love carbon fibre bike components, at one point I had 7 carbon bikes all with carbon wheels, carbon cages, carbon groupset parts, carbon saddles, carbon seatposts, carbon everything…. even my mini pump is carbon, everything is carbon……… except for my handlebars and stems. All of my bikes are fitted with the Deda Newton anatomic aluminium bar. Now why would a carbon junkie do that ?
Call me old fashioned, call me paranoid but I never fully came to terms with the notion of carbon fibre handlebars. Perhaps this is because I saw a carbon stem/bar failure result in a skull fracture for a rider in one of my first ever races, or perhaps it is because the weight weenie in me realises that of all the places to spend money to save weight, handlebars represent pretty much the worst value for money.
Disregarding the safety issue (opinion is divided on whether carbon is more likely to catastrophically fail than Aluminium – my personal experience is that it is, although others would disagree – these others do not include practically the entire pro peleton however who are pretty much all riding with aluminium cockpits in the tour this year) The fact of the matter is that a good aluminium bar can be almost as light as a top end carbon bar, indeed many carbon bars are heavier than their aluminium counterparts. Leaving aside the relatively uncommon boutique brands and exotica and sticking with the more mainstream brands lets compare the Easton EC90 carbon bar. It has a claimed weight of 195g vs the claimed weight of the Deda Newton Aluminium bar of 205g. On paper then with the EC90 retailing at around the €250 mark and the Newton going for around €55 that works out at about €20 per gram saved. I’m no economist, but I reckon that’s a pretty poor return. Of course these are claimed weights and in reality most products come in a little heavier than advertised and the Newtons are no exception. I have four pairs of them and they vary between 214 and 240 grams.
Deda are slightly quirky with their measurements incidentally as they measure width from end to end rather than center to center like most manufacturers, therefore you need to size up. e.g. I ride with 42cm bars therefore I need to use size 44cm Deda bars.
The drop on the bar is semi anatomic (you can also get a standard round version). It is very subtle and just very slightly squared off at the lower end of the drop but it is very comfortable and nowhere near as dramatic as the curve on one of it’s close competitors like for example the Pro PLT or Vibe bar. I ride the standard 142mm drop version because I like the old school position it gives, but for the less flexible of spine or larger of gut there is a shallow drop version available also.
Overall, these are a light, cheap, comfortable and very stiff bar which I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to anyone. Anecdotaly I can tell you that they seem to be quite tough also. I have had quite a few smashes on an old set I have had for 5 years now and touch wood they still seem to be perfect – whilst I am not sure that I would have the same confidence in a crashed carbon bar.
Aesthetically they may not be as flashy looking or as fashionable as Zipps new Alumimium bars, but with claimed weights of 280g and 300g, Zipps offerings are competing with the bottom end of the market in my opinion, despite the decidedly premium price tag you are paying for those bling bling Zipp logo’s.
If you are a true weight weenie and want something for your show bike then you should go for the Zipp Carbon SL, Easton EC90, AX Lightness or something exotic like that. If you want a versatile “working” bar for racing and training, then there are few better options on the market than the Deda Newton Anatomic.
As usual, if anyone has any handlebar recommendations feel free to leave a comment below.