At a glance, carbon fiber seems to be everywhere in the mountain bike world. There are components where some riders will not replace alloy with carbon, and handlebars is one of them.
Words and Photos: Mike Blewitt
Given the nature of carbon fiber, with strands running length ways, it doesn't like being clamped. Given all the different items that get clamped onto a mountain bike handlebar, it's fair that some people would rather avoid any potential failures after over-tightening their stem, brake levers, shifter, dropper lever or even their lock on grips! That's why every carbon handlebar has torque limits for the stem and controls.
Beast Components are based in Germany, and they produce an exquisite range of mountain bike, road and gravel handlebars in carbon fiber, along with stems, bottle cages, rims and more. You'll find a number of top athletes in cross-country and Enduro using their parts. The component manufacturer prides themselves on light weight production techniques in carbon fiber, and their products are made by hand at their German HQ – plus you get a signed note from them!
The company manufacture carbon handlebars to pass the toughest tests, and recently they updated the design of their flat bars and riser bars to cope with the unique pressures that new stems and brake levers are placing on the clamping areas. You can see the changes in the lay up in the clamping areas by a different tone on the UD finish. Beast have used a polyester prepreg mesh, which allows the clamping forces to be dissipated. Beast have optimised the layup for the clamping forces of split clamp brake levers, notably the latest Shimano brakes, which can load up some points more than others. The same reinforcement is used at the stem clamping area.
The Riser Bar 15 2.0 I was sent to test are rated for enduro and downhill use, which is pretty incredible given the 168g weight! While this model is optimised for trail use, there are also 25mm and 35mm rise models, in 31.8 or 35mm clamps. Beast have these bars rated for Category 5 use, which is pretty intense. They have no rider weight limit. Beast back up their handmade bars with a 5 year warranty, but they also offer a lifelong crash replacement with a 50% discount on a new set of bars.
Out of the box, the bars are 780mm wide in the 31.8mm clamp size, with 8 degree back sweep and 5 degree upsweep. There are good indicators for getting the bar centred in your stem. You can see the prepreg mesh on the ends, and while I could trim these bars to my preferred 760mm, my controls will end up close to the edge of the reinforcement. As such, the bars do come in 740mm as well, along with 800mm in the 35mm clamp. So buy accordingly, as you don't want to chop so much off that you lose the benefits of the stronger design.
On the trail
Having just come from the very racey Bontrager RSL bar and stem, the Beast Components riser bar felt a little different. However, the super light weight didn't feel obvious when riding, as the bar is still really direct. I do prefer less upsweep so I had the bars running back a little more than others would, but I did find the bars comfortable with no discernable flex.
Paired with a PRO Koryak stem, the combination made for a direct cockpit on my 120mm Norco Revolver, and the bars didn't budge in the stem or actually do anything at all over a few months of use. And that's awesome.
TESTED: PRO Tharsis 3Five cockpit
Overall, I like the attention to detail on the Beast Components handlebars. They had a great product already, and improved it to suit the rest of the componentry market with the latest edition with reinforcements. I think it's noteworthy that they rate these bars for downhill use – but I'd say this very model is best suited to trail riding, with a higher rise model perhaps fitting the setup needs for most gravity riders. If you like top quality components with great design principles, I would take a closer look at what Beast Components produce.
RRP: From $360
- Very high strength rating
- Reinforced in high stress areas
- Lots of rise and width options
- Light and strong
- Premium pricing