GENETIC STV ROAD HANDLEBARS
300g 44cm width black (as tested) £29.99
Although the Genetic STV Bar is tagged as “Road Race” as the main function, the second line goes onto suggest “Road, Track, Gravel, Touring, or commuting”, too. Well, that’s a pretty comprehensive list of drop-bar uses. They are, though, fundamentally, a compact general road purpose bar, which emphasise the ‘race’ position. As such they seem to hit their design brief nicely.
Pros: good value, some nice touches.
Cons: good generic, but generic.
Spec and materials 3.5/5
Constructed from 6061 Aluminium alloy, offering both strength and toughness, and promising good fatigue reistance. As you’d expect, at this price point, weight is lower than some, but higher than others.
Genetic have some innovative bars in their range, but, in many ways, these are very traditional – and nothing wrong with that. Consider 31.8mm clamp size, 70mm of reach, and 125mm drop, with a flat transition from clamp bulge to hoods, and no flare. Sounds plain? Well, that is what many people like. Very much the model of the modern compact drop bar.
There are five size options 360 to 440mm, in 20mm increments. Again, very much the norm. There are no cable grooves, which may be a turn-off for some.
Black anodised, sand-blasted finish, is, in my opinion, functional rather than beautiful. Let’s face it, we’re going to wrap it up in some dandy tape anyway. Laser etched logos and some handy calibration markings complete the job.
STV bars are aimed at “the road rider/racer, but are also suitable for track, cyclo-cross, gravel, touring, and commuter bikes,” according to Genetic.
31.8mm clamp size, is suitably common and chunky enough for most riders. As ever, just check compatibility with the stem.
Apart from that, these were a joy to fit. Everything slipped in and over nice and easy. Modern day head-sets and stems make things easy, and, frankly, I would not be putting these on a retro machine. Even better, the anodised finish showed no signs of scratching when levers were put in place. There are handy calibrations to help fitting – I find these a definite plus, and even some very good bars don’t have them. Levers seemed to grip very well on the sand-blasted surface, without resorting to caveman antics to get them to hold. I’d expect that of most decent bars these days.
So, bar tape on, and away we go.
Testing out as an upgrade on a branded road bike from a well-known business, these offered distinct improvements to the original bars. The design was not really that different from the originals, but the lengthier tops, along with the smaller profile, made reach to controls easier. Likewise, comfort was improved. Weight was reduced, too.
On a similar note, the lack of cable grooves barely noticed. Put this down to careful placement when wrapping the tape. Really big mile-munchers might prefer to remove all lumpiness by going for grooves, but for mere mortals the issue it’s less likely to be a serious issue.
The drop is 125 mm with quite short flats at the end of the bar. That’s great for racing or quick blasts. On the other hand, in my opinion, a bit on the short-side for more relaxed touring posture, but perfectly adequate, especially for folk with smaller hands, and those who commute/tour primarily on the hoods. However, the compact curves make access to controls easy when really going for it.
Whilst there’s decent width on tops for GPS e.g. MIO Cycle 210, lights etc, but multi-tech enthusiasts may want opt for a bar extender such as Genetic’s Neuron. Mind you. That is pretty much the norm for some cockpits these days.
The STVs feel very rigid, as you’d expect from road bars, but have been fine for fine for light gravel stuff – although more sensitive wrists may appreciate a layer of bar gel or well-padded mitts. Control remains very good when hunkered down and pushing hard, with confident cornering on twisting roads, and sure braking (of course, neither are purely a function of the bars). On gravel, or cycle track sections of a commute, things have remained sound. However, those desiring a greater gravel emphasis may want to look at Genetic’s D-Riser bar range. With subtle differentiations that can make a significant difference to your cycling, these still have multi-discipline capacity.
What about track and cyclo-cross. Well, yes, though my track-enthusiast friend would prefer a little more depth in the drop and curve of the bar. I suspect those who ride track style bikes (please remember your front brake) will take a more track specific route They’d seem to be admirable for cross-bikes which fulfil other roles, too.
The verge of £30 seems to me to be pretty fair for this type of bar and this spec. More cash will get you more subtle discipline biases, without going totally discipline specific. For example, Genetic’s D-Riser 16 bars are 50% more expensive, and tend towards the gravel/cyclo-cross scenes. On the other hand, Soma’s Highway 1 bars, though more expensive, are more solely road orientated - and have a higher spec. Bear in mind, contact points are very personal things.
Jack of all trades – well, road, gravel, touring. Inevitably, specialists will go more specific. For the general rider who defaults to drops, these are hard to fault for general riding and speedier road stuff. It’s tempting to see this type of bar as a rite of passage on the journey of cycling life, but that underestimates the STV’s qualities. For the occasional blaster, who likes a little rougher riding, and wants to commute on the same bike, why look further? The same is true for lone-bike owners who like drops.