Easton EC70 AX handlebar review
Ride with flare, 16 degrees of flare, that is
Easton EC70 AX
Easton EC70 AX
Easton EC70 AX
Groad, adventure, gravel, endurance—call it what you want. People are riding more than ever on all sorts of surfaces with skinnier tires. Easton recognized that with variable surfaces comes variable traction. The company introduced the AX line of handlebars, which includes the tested Easton EC70 AX and also the EA70 AX. (The “EC” is for “Easton carbon,” while “EA” is for, you guessed it, “Easton aluminum.”) Both models are available in 40, 42 and 44 cm widths, all with a comfortable 120-mm drop, 80-mm reach and a whopping 16 degrees of outward flare.
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Sixteen degrees of flare may seem like a lot compared to your standard sprinter-style bar with almost zero flare. When your front wheel starts to slide, however, you will be happy you have it. Easton settled on 16 degrees because it was the maximum amount of flare that still allowed you to operate the shifters and brakes easily. The first time you lean over onto the hoods, you will notice that your hand position is much more ergonomic than with a standard bar. The flare puts your hoods on a slight angle that allows a more natural wrist position. This position really helps you to get a good grip. I felt almost as confident steering on the hoods of the AX as I do in the drops of some standard bars. Where you will notice the biggest difference is when you reach for the drops.
With the wide sweep, you end up almost letting your hands fall to the side of the hoods and onto the drops rather than of reaching down and in for the bend. The curves on the Easton EC70 AX make for a very fast and easy transition of hand positions, something that is very helpful when traction is at a minimum on loose road surfaces. With 120 mm of drop, the AX keeps you low, but not in an total wind-cheating position. With the extra flare, you really need to tuck in your elbows to help narrow your profile and keep slippery through the wind. This bar, however, wasn’t made for aero junkies (wind weenies?) but rather people looking for more control; Easton has done a great job providing that. With a wider hand position and added flare, it takes less input at the bar to control the bike. When cornering in the drops, I found the bar offered great feedback and helped give me confidence in how far to lean into corners without washing out the front wheel. Even when out of the saddle standing, I felt like I needed to rock the bike less thanks to the angled hoods.
I’ll be honest, if you’re a person who likes to sprint for road signs on club rides, or dabble in some racing, the AX bars probably won’t help you edge out a win. But, if you like riding on less-than-ideal surfaces that require more attention to wheel placement, or on all-day-long adventures in which comfort is key, the Easton EC70 AX bar is great. I can’t wait until fall hits to try these babies out on a cyclocross bike, where I think it might find a permanent home.