SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MAY 30th
GENETIC D RISER 16 BARS
326g (44cm as tested) £44.99
The Genetic D-Riser 16 Bars are a flared design, though less extreme than some. Aimed primarily at cyclo cross and gravel audiences, the relatively shallow profile has an “everyman” flavour. There’s scope for commuting/general riding and are priced to suit. In some contexts, they’d also make good choices for older XC mountain bikes being reborn as rough stuff tourers.
Pros: Uniform top section, sensible widths cope with most scenarios, decent finish competitively priced.
Cons: Black finish won’t suit all tastes. No drilling for Di2.
The D-Riser are made from 6061 T6 butted, heat treated aluminium alloy. Reassuringly solid, and backed up with a shot-peened, anodized finish and laser etched graphics. Shot-peening serves to relieve stress and ultimately, reduce the likelihood of stress fractures. A sensible move for any handlebar, though especially one likely to see some rough-stuff.
Then there’s the cable routing groove, giving brake and gears a smooth passage, while avoiding uncomfortable lumpiness beneath the bar wrap. Talking of comfort, the top section features an unusual profile.
It’s a semi-aero pattern but reckoned to be “palm friendly” and “ergonomically comfortable”. A lot of semi/aero patterns I’ve used have been genuinely agreeable but presented headaches when fitting computers, lights and other accessories.
Several flared designs I’ve tested recently, including the Soma Condor and Condor 2 are different diameters at various points. Presenting similar problems. I’m pleased to report Genetic has kept this section a uniform, 23.8mm and the 31.8mm bulge diameter keeps things simple.
In common with the Condor, these are a hybrid design, although more subtle. The 20mm riser section, works to the same principle, giving some additional rise, without needing to add spacers. This means the effective drop is 105mm. A 16-degree flare is also more subtle, dare I say more road centric than some.
Now a quick word about widths. I’m a big fan of the flared type, having discovered them 15 years back. Not least, as I’m broad across the shoulder, so when it comes to classic road patterns, default to 46cm. The D Riser 16 are available in three widths. 40, 42 and 44cm, which should cater for most people.
As I intimated, these sound a little narrow, given the intended audience. However, bear in mind, they are measured between the lever clamp area, and that additional flare adds 93mm overall. Therefore, our 44cm were closer to 53cm, so a very good fit for me.
As I said before, the more uniform shape has a wealth of advantages and makes mounting accessories, that bit easier. Smaller brackets, such as my dynamo switch still call for the Genetic Neuron accessory bar . However, no problems with Action cameras, lights etc. Compared with Soma Condor2, the profile is more aggressive. 75mm reach (63mm) 105mm drop (Condor 2, 50mm).
Both claim (fairly) their shape counters the need for spacers and add a little more lift to bikes with shorter steerers. However, horses for courses. Converting older mountain bikes to commu-tourers/trailer tugs, the Soma Condor 2 have an edge (Especially if the host bike’s steerer is pruned quite short and you weren’t looking to buy a replacement fork).
Overall performance is excellent and caters very well for the intended audience. Coming from wider designs, the D Riser-16 initially gave my cyclo-cross inspired fixed gear winter/trainer a slightly twitchy feel. This eased given twenty odd miles, and I quickly appreciated the faster, yet still very predictable handling. A definite plus, on rides around the 50-75mile marker.
The ability to hunker lower, when battling more intense, early season headwinds, also made a big difference to fatigue. Quicker handling has obvious advantages. Flicking around looming holes, opening car doors and indeed, road kill at the last second, induced plenty of grins.
In keeping with the genre, filtering through gaps in traffic requires more careful calculation. However, I’ve found the D Riser’s shape and width conducive to cyclo cross type courses, forest trails and smoother dirt roads. To some extent, this will depend upon rider dimensions/build but there’s ample leverage to keep everything on track but without damping a ‘crosser’s sporty persona.
Talking of which, the aero profile and overall rigidity accentuates this direct, but not unforgiving feel. I might sing a very different tune, riding a 6061/7005 frame and rigid 7005 fork, and a Redshift Sports Suspension Stem, carbon fork and silicone bar wrap certainly helps. On balance, I’ve not felt quite so fresh, cruising on the tops for long periods. Nonetheless, fatigue around the shoulders, wrists or hands come the end of long/mixed terrain rides hasn’t been an issue.
The width also opens the chest cavity, meaning you can breathe better. An obvious benefit in racing but this also helps on the hills. Especially on a fixed, when you can’t click to a bail out gear and winch your way up.
£45 is a very competitive price point, relative to the specification and target market. Pro Discover Medium Handlebar has a less pronounced (12 degree) flare, which may prove a better option, if you’re doing more commuting/running a ‘cross/gravel bike as a one-does-all. £7 more buys Ritchey Comp Ergo Max. It’s also ready drilled for Di2, which might take the swing vote.
The Genetic D-Riser 16 bars are an excellent upgrade for a cross, or gravel bike. It faces stiff competition from some household names but still offers a lot of bang, for modest buck. It favours those who are looking towards ‘cross and sportier riding first, commuting second.
There’s still plenty of control for laden riding-including trailer/tag-along stuff. However, on balance models such as Soma Condor 2 have the edge for more serious mixed terrain touring, and/or converting an older, higher end mountain bikes.
Verdict: 3.75/5 Competitively priced, well executed flared drop.
PUBLISHED JUNE 2019
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH