First Look! Thomson Cyclocross, All Mountain & DH Handlebars Unboxed & Weighed

LH Thomson carbon fiber Katie Compton cyclocross and all-mountain bike handlebars and alloy downhill mtb riser bars

It’s been with quite a bit of anticipation that we’ve all been waiting for Thomson’s handlebars to become a reality. They’ve done the slow tease with information buried on their website over the past few months, but at Eurobike we got the first look at the complete collection.

Now, we’ve got our hands on some of the very first production pieces to photo, weigh and ride. Our test batch includes the KFC (Katie F’ing Compton) carbon cyclocross drop bars, the carbon all-mountain low riser bars and the alloy DH risers.

The first thing you notice is the quality finish and respectable weights. Of course, we expected nothing less from Thomson, so it’s with both excitement and relief that we tell you they live up to expectations at first glance…

LH Thomson KFC Katie Compton carbon fiber cyclocross drop handlebars

The KFC drop bars have a fat upper section that essentially retains the OS 31.8 mounting diameter all the way out to the bends. The top 200º or so of circumference maintain the same round profile, too.

LH Thomson KFC Katie Compton carbon fiber cyclocross drop handlebars

On the bottom are two concave, rounded sections for nesting the cable housing. Once taped, it all stays nice and round and quite fat. The bend is a mostly traditional curve with an extended flat section at the ends of the drops.

LH Thomson KFC Katie Compton carbon fiber cyclocross drop handlebars

Most of the bar is UD carbon fiber with a small woven section at the ends for improved impact resistance. The brake/shifter lever mounting area has a small span of nubbly surface texture to help keep things in place.

LH Thomson KFC Katie Compton carbon fiber cyclocross drop handlebars

Our 42cm (center to center) came in at 195g, pretty darn good for a somewhat oversized bar.

LH Thomson KFC Katie Compton carbon fiber cyclocross drop handlebars

Installed, before taping.

LH Thomson KFC Katie Compton carbon fiber cyclocross drop handlebars

After taping with Zipp’s Service Course CX bar tape, which is grippy and cushy.

LH Thomson KFC Katie Compton carbon fiber cyclocross drop handlebars

The top of the bar carries straight out and doesn’t bend until the last bit. It’s not until it’s taped that the girth at the corner becomes evident. It’s huge, but it makes a very nice perch, particularly for large hands. And no, that’s not the cable housing causing the extended platform on the inside of the curve, I taped that under the bar before wrapping. The reach is just 78.5mm, which is good for ‘cross because it keeps me in a more upright position. Drop is 140mm on the 42cm bar.

A quick parking lot ride shows that the upper part of the bar is very stiff, perfect for yanking on when trying to power up that run up instead of dismounting. The drops have a slight bit of vertical flex to take the edge off. These’ll get their first race-day test in October at the Asheville night CX race.

LH Thomson carbon fiber all-mountain bike low rise handlebar

Both the Cyclocross and All Mountain bars have a deep black gloss that appears solid at first glance. Only in the right light or upon close inspection can you really start to pick out the UD fibers. Two models are available: This one with a 12mm rise, and one with an offset center for a truly flat hand position. Both have 6º of backsweep, and the riser has 4º upsweep.

LH Thomson carbon fiber all-mountain bike low rise handlebar

Both are 730mm wide and have cut marks. They, too, get the woven carbon ends for better impact resistance and to bolster them for lock-on grips and bar ends.

LH Thomson carbon fiber all-mountain bike low rise handlebar

Weight is 189g. It uses three different types of fibers throughout to balance strength and flex. It claims to be an “all day” bar, something we’ll put to good test in the mountains soon.

All of Thomson’s carbon bars are, for now, made in Taiwan under their supervision. They use Toray carbon fiber and a “nano epoxy resin” to improve strength and impact resistance. Thomson hopes to have their carbon parts made in-house in the US by 2015. It’s ambitious, but it’ll also benefit their other (and much larger) aerospace side of things.

LH Thomson alloy downhill mountain bike riser handlebar

The Downhill bar is formed from 7050 aluminum alloy and comes in at 780mm wide, 12mm of rise, 6° of backsweep and 4° of upsweep. It gets extensive CNC shaping and bending, which lets them avoid any post-production smoothing that could weaken stress points in the bends. Above and below, you can see how the 90mm wide center section actually dips down a bit before the rise.

LH Thomson alloy downhill mountain bike riser handlebar

The extra wide OS center section pushes the bends away from wider direct mount stems to reduce stress on the tube.

LH Thomson alloy downhill mountain bike riser handlebar

Cut marks help you get it sized just right. Ends are a bit thicker to make them stronger where impacts are most likely to occur.

LH Thomson alloy downhill mountain bike riser handlebar

It comes in at 298g. Once she’s flogged it good, look for a full test from Saris later this year.

All bars shown here became available October 1. The titanium bars are supposed to be available, too, but last we heard they might be just slightly delayed. We’ll update as we hear more.


Champs - 10/08/12 - 11:54am

I suppose I’m a little bit disappointed that it’s offshore manufacturing. It would be nice to have at least one build that I could upgrade to primarily American-made components. Velocity rims, King spinners, Thomson cockpit, you get the idea.

Scotty Carlile - 10/08/12 - 12:23pm

Champs – If you’ve paid attention over the past few months to the information Thomson has been publishing, that is exactly their plan, to be manufacturing their carbon products in-house by 2015. Just wait, my friend.

michael - 10/08/12 - 2:33pm

Can’t figure out why they come out with super wide downhill and all-mountain bars first.
Since most of the mountain bike market is XC.

MorganJ - 10/08/12 - 2:44pm

Are the carbon road bars clip-on compatible? The profile looks it could be a great bar!

Eric - 10/08/12 - 3:40pm

Are flats the new thing this cross season? Did I miss the memo? Man, I’m so behind.

Looking forward to trying out these bars.

Mindless - 10/08/12 - 3:43pm

6 deg of sweep? What kind of an evil shit is that?

It ain’t 1990s, folks.

dale - 10/08/12 - 4:40pm

KFC droppin mad biscuits.

DrRenn - 10/08/12 - 11:47pm

You should probably be running wider bars on Your XC bike Mike. So it kind of makes sense, and at 189g if you cut them down they would be lighter then most other XC bars.
Plus at that width you really want less sweep so I am glad someone finally stepped up and went against the standard, 8 or 9 Deg.

Mindless - 10/09/12 - 3:26am

Heavy and expensive.

Mindless - 10/09/12 - 3:28am

DrRenn – you want LESS sweep? Are you serious? At this width 11deg or more is what one needs.

chadquest - 10/09/12 - 9:06am

Wider needs more sweep, narrow needs less sweep.

truman - 10/09/12 - 9:49am

Sweep is personal preferance. Not everyone has the same riding style and preferances.

juicebox - 10/09/12 - 12:28pm

…But what does the bag look like that these bars come in?

hoonz - 10/10/12 - 12:50am

dirty pavements require more sweep, clean pavements require less sweep

Henry - 10/10/12 - 10:16am

Yeah, 6 degrees of sweep seems a little shallow. I was over the moon when i heard Thomson was doing bars, but I just can’t find comfort on anything less than 9. It’s definitely personal preference… but I feel like it’s the personal preference of many.

Mindless - 10/12/12 - 3:11am

truman – sweep is personal, but need for more sweep for wider hand position is universal. 6deg is way too low for 700+mm.

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