OneUp's carbon handlebar combines great looks, a strong lightweight package and great vertical compliance.
We've been working with Squamish-based company OneUp Components for a few years now, and it's clear to us that they care about what they do. They're a passionate bunch of folk that all ride their bikes, and so they care about making quality, well-engineered products that actually work without breaking the bank - for example their V2 dropper post. I wouldn't use the word 'cheap' to describe them, but they strike an amazing balance between robust functionality and price, to the point where their components are not out of place on high end bikes, but it doesn't cost a fortune to put them there.
It's no surprise then that a lot of our customers choose OneUp pedals for their new bikes from us - pedals are an important contact point and it pays to have something that works well. Handlebars are also one of those important contact points, however they're often overlooked - they can make a huge difference to the way the bike feels and your overall comfort, and it's worth getting a pair that work well for you. OneUp released their carbon handlebar last year and in my opinion, absolutely nailed it. Rather than just producing something lightweight, they've used the opportunities that working with carbon affords them to create something a little different...
The shaping around the stem clamp area means that the bars are more vertically compliant, resulting in less arm pump
To understand what OneUp are doing differently here, first you need to understand handlebar clamp diameters. Historically there have only been a few standard diameters, and for a long time and up until quite recently 31.8mm was the standard diameter. Fast forward to maybe 3 or 4 years ago and 35mm started to creep in and is now the standard. The thinking here being that a fatter clamp means stiffer bars - something useful when we're all riding harder as a consequence of bikes being better. However this also tends to mean that many handlebars are now overly stiff, and this feeds a lot of trail chatter back to the rider, resulting in arm pump, sore hands etc. - and this is particularly true with aluminum handlebars.
What the engineers at OneUp have done to make their bars different is actually quite cool. Using carbon allows designers to create all kinds of funky shapes, though typically handlebars are mostly the same. Here the folks over at OneUp have created a small taper just where the bars rise that allows the bars to flex vertically enough to take the buzz out of the trail, whilst still remaining light and strong. The key word here is compliance - something you'll hear many people talking about in reference to carbon or steel hardtail frames too.
Borrowed from OneUp's website, you can see where they've removed material to create compliance.
Things like this can be quite difficult to test scientifically, with things like trail conditions, tire pressures, rider fatigue playing large parts in the equation. That said, having ridden the OneUp bars for some months now and spending some switching back and forth between different handlebars, I can say that I do feel a difference while using them - while it's not huge, the OneUp bars definitely do give some extra comfort over other stiff carbon bars, and actually make quite a noticeable difference over a stock 35mm clamp aluminum bar that might come specced on a stock bike build for example.
This results in noticeably less arm pump and so being able to ride a lot longer in comfort. Something that I did note was that this is more noticeably the case on our rocky, rough North Shore trails than other smoother trail systems for example Vedder out in the Fraser Valley. It also made massively noticeable difference on my hardtail, and I would certainly recommend them for any mid-high end hardtail build. It's also worth mentioning that while the effects of the added compliance are clear, the bar does not feel flexy to ride, it's pretty confidence inspiring and feels very similar to any other modern wide handlebar in that regard.
Clear markings make it easy to get your bars and stem aligned well... Though clearly I wasn't wearing my glasses here...
Maybe the additional compliance of the handlebar isn't what you're interested in, but at $189.50, the OneUp handlebar is indisputably one of the best value carbon handlebars out there. If you're looking to save weight, add some bling and/or fine-tune your fit, you can't go far wrong either way. Let's talk important numbers real quick - the OneUp bars come in at 800mm wide, with 8º backsweep and 5º upsweep and an option or 20mm or 35mm rise weighing 220g and 225g respectively.
Some other neat features include marked cut-lines to get your width dialled and some nice clear markings around the clamp area that line up perfectly with the OneUp stem faceplace so that you can get them centered easily and get your roll right. OneUp also produces decal kits to colour code your bars to your OneUp pedals and grips. Being that they're from the same company, the colours match really nicely!
You can colour code your grips, bars and pedals if you want to!
If you're the kind of person that likes to personalise your bike, the OneUp bars are a great way to go, not only are they great value, they're also well engineered and comfortable and a great choice if you're looking to improve your fit on the bike. We're stoked to be able to support a local company producing great parts that actually work. Thanks OneUp Components!