GENETIC DRISER 4 BARS
337g 44cm (as tested) £44.99
The Genetic Driser 4 Bars are a road-centric sibling to their very likeable Driser 16, which performed really well in gravel/cyclo cross contexts. On balance, I’d stick with the 16 for drop bar mtb conversions and though it doesn’t affect me personally, drilling for Di2 would extend their appeal.
Pros: A well balanced bar with an edge on the road.
Cons: Di2 drilling would be welcomed.
In common with their siblings, these are made from butted heat treated T6 6061 aluminium alloy. The satin black anodised finish looks good and moreover, seems durable, with the usual provisos - fitting/adjusting controls and accessories carefully avoid scratching etc.
Lazer etched graphics add to the contemporary feel and marker lines ensure easy alignment of brifters/brake levers. Shot-peening distributes stresses more evenly and ultimately reduces fatigue. Standard at this price point but welcome nonetheless. Ditto the cable routing groove.
The top section is a semi aero pattern, which is flattened for a palm friendly ergonomic, when cruising along the tops. This is refreshingly uniform, so lights, computers and other creature comforts should be compatible.
There’s a reasonable amount of scope space-wise, but given I run a handlebar cam, dynamo and USB charger, I’ve popped charger and wireless computer head on their Neuron Accessory Bar .
Since we’re on the subject, those sticking to metaled roads but wanting to take advantage of the bike packing type bar bags, should have no troubles width-wise with the broadest (44cm, as tested). There are three sizes 38cm, 42 and 44cm. The 4degree flair equates to an additional 17mm, when riding on the drops, which is another factor to consider when choosing-especially online.
The gravel and adventure markets are widely credited for the introduction of dropped bars with a “riser” section. As with the flared ends, the riser element gives some additional height, without resorting to taller head tubes, flipped stems and/or additional spacers.
The 20degree rise offers a slightly more upright stance, without playing the spacer lottery. Not that we approve of bodging. However, many of us can relate to the frustration of a steerer found to be fractionally too short. This additional lift could prove an elegant and relatively inexpensive solution.
The Reach is 75mm and drop 105mm, which strike a good balance for general road-biased riding, without being detrimental to a little rough stuff, or competitive cyclo-cross for that matter. Now, while the adventure/gravel markets are the obvious drivers for this design, the breed may also benefit riders like me, who are of “feminine proportions” i.e. long in the leg, short in the body.
Yes, semi/compact geometry framesets and a much wider choice of stem/steerer length has greatly reduced the need for custom frames. However, top tube length can still prove proportionally too generous. Shorter stem and bar lift can solve this-without a frumpy aesthetic.
Now a quick word about flare, in the more generic sense. This refers to the degree by which a handlebar slopes outwards. Most road bars have no, or as with this version of Genetic’s Driser, minimal flare. The growth in gravel/adventure, as a genre has brought with it, bars with quite pronounced flare. This is designed to provide additional stability and control when on the drops.
Having experimented with all kinds of drops on mountain bike/based cyclo cross/touring builds for over 20 years, flared designs ensure drops are practical off road, without loss of control.
A secondary benefit of this is greater control when towing trailers, or tagalongs.
I’ve run the Driser 16 for a good six months solid and found it met most of my needs. I wasn’t expecting the D Riser 4 to make any tangible difference. However, I set them up exactly the same way. Several hundred miles in, I’m here to say the less pronounced flare has been a welcome improvement for general riding.
The slightly narrower profile hasn’t been at the expense of climbing prowess and has improved fatigue on longer rides, especially when hunkered low and battling cross/headwinds. I was also surprised to discover the hand/wrist alignment a better fit for me and my fixed gear winter/trainer.
With no other alterations, handling felt that fraction sharper-say swerving to avoid a hole, or similar hazard at speed. Otherwise, the ergonomic tops fall very naturally and are pleasant to grip when cruising for long periods, or simply grinding away on the indoor trainer.
Sans asphalt, things have behaved in good proportion. However, the Driser 16 have a slight edge in the leverage stakes and required less effort/concentration to remain on track.
This was less significant when towing my low-slung Yak pattern trailer, although again the 16 still had an edge when keeping everything impeccably mannered along 1in7s at 30mph, or performing slow speed turns/similar manoeuvres.
A small point but one worth noting if your tourer/trainer/cross or gravel bike has to earn its keep during the week, or you prefer touring with a trailer.
There’s a lot to like here and at an affordable price. Nonetheless competition is equally fierce. Pro Medium Handlebar is another option if you wanted something with a more pronounced flare than the Driser 4 but sleeker than the Driser 16. Some have suggested the Discover’s finish is less grippy, so brakes/brifters have to be torqued particularly tight.
A non-issue with the Genetic and I’ve not tried the Pro, so can’t comment. Then of course, there’s the Ritchey Comp Ergo Max. This is £7 dearer but both are pre-drilled for Di2 and may tug your wallet in their direction.
Ultimately, the Driser 4 is no better, no worse, than its Driser 16 stablemate, although there are subtle, tangible differences. The Driser 4 has most to offer road biased riders who, like me are proportionately short in the top tube. It does so, without hammering off-road potential. Riders looking to spend more time sans asphalt, or are touring/commuting with a trailer/tagalong may find the D-16's greater control/leverage wins by a nose.