Bontrager Race Lite XXX Aero bar and XXX Carbon stem review

A cockpit built for speed

This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

Bontrager's new Aero cockpit line has been designed to partner the low-drag Madone bike from its parent company Trek. Whereas Bontrager's other stem and bar combos are built for reducing weight or increasing comfort, this time the focus is very much on maximising speed.

But just because Bontrager has optimised the bar for an aero advantage, does not mean it has skimped on comfort. The VR-CF bend – 'Various Radius, Compact Flare' – is shallow, but the shape of the curve, with its gradually opening transition, means it's comfortable for even the largest hands to hold. On the road the bar does an impressive job of neutralising road buzz without becoming overly flexible.

  • Highs: Super-light pairing that combines stiffness and comfort
  • Lows: It's an expensive pairing
  • Buy if: Your priorities are aerodynamics and ergonomics, not economics

The slight flare to the drops also helps to improve wrist clearance, so when you're down in the hooks sprinting there's plenty of room without your wrists hitting the transition from drop to top.

Bontrager claims the KVF aero-profile top section is good for saving 23 seconds per hour over a traditional round bar. That's hard to quantify without a wind tunnel, but it definitely provides a wide grip-friendly hold when you're riding up on the tops when climbing.

The bar weighs just 239g (44cm), and despite its low weight the carbon top section is still safe to be used with clip-on time trial bars, with the clamp zone widened to allow for this. At just 142g the matching 110mm stem is also impressively light, with the wide rectangular shape delivering excellent torsional rigidity. Four titanium bolts and a dual-band save a few more grams, creating a cockpit that shouldn't just be reserved for Trek owners. Though this low weight does mean a heavyweight price.

Full Specifications

Name: Race Lite XXX Aero bar and XXX Carbon stem (16)
Built by: Bontrager
Price: £400.00 / US$N/A / AU $N/A

Weight (g): 239
Width (mm): 440
Material: Carbon 

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